Punk Rock Parents

Monday, August 22, 2016

Louie Misses Phi

So we have been in school for a few weeks now. We are starting to get into a routine and I have to admit that I am missing homeschooling Phi. I feel like I only really see her for 3 hours a day.

Insert sad face emoji here.

As much as I miss Phi during the day, Louie is taking it the hardest. She is not crying or moping around or anything. Instead she is directing her emotion into big projects for her sister. Over the last few weeks she has..

  • made a sea otter diorama with cardboard, paper and a soda can
  • put together a playlist of her sisters favorite songs
  • set up a dance party for her and her sister
  • drawn many many many pictures for her sister
  • let her sister pick the night music more than once
  • made me write down jokes that she could tell her sister
All day, Louie is thinking of ways to make her sister happy. I think she hopes that if she gives Phi gifts, she will miss Louie as much as Louie misses Phi. 

The girls are used to being with each other all day, everyday. And Phi is really loving junior high and she says things like "I can't wait for school on Monday" and I am sure that hearing things like that are hard for Louie to hear. I am glad that she is using these feelings to be a little more crafty and creative. And Phi is great and they get along great for the few hours they are together during the week. At night Phi reads to Louie from her Babysitters Club graphic novels. On the weekends they binge watch Rob and Big and Fantasy Factory together. 

I am so glad that Phi is loving school, and I am glad that Louie is adjusting to the change. But I am really happy to see how much my girls love each other. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Miracle Hamster

I thought for sure last weekend was going to end with a dead hamster in my freezer.

Let me explain.

Joey was gone last weekend working on his car. (Don't even get me started on this damn car project!) So it was just me and the girls. We slept in on Saturday with plans to head into Palm Springs for the day and meet friends for dinner. And then I heard...

"Mom! Persimmon is not moving!" 

I thought for sure she was gone. I walked in and expected to find the hamster dead. She wasn't, but she was not in good shape. Just so you know how bad it was, normal Persimmon will not let anyone get near her. If you tried to pet her or god-forbid pick her up she would bite you. Guaranteed. I opened the top of the little box she was in and she did not react. She was laying flat on her stomach and I could see she was breathing. I reached down to touch her and she did not react.

Not good.

Immediately Phi started sobbing. Full on panic crying. This of course brought Louie into the room who became hysterical when she heard. Now is a good time to remember that I was solo parenting. Then I started crying because my kids were so upset and I had no idea what to do.

I starting messaging my sister Elaine, she works at a great vet clinic and I knew she would know someone who could give some advice. But when it came down to it once a small rodent shows signs of illness it is almost always too late.

I cleaned out the box she was in and put her back and handed it to Phi. I told her to try to see if she could get her to drink some water while I scrubbed the cage clean. The next few hours were spent with Phi like this....

while I waited to her. "She stopped breathing".

Really guys I thought it was a matter of time.

Eventually Persimmon started to move a little but when she would get up she would be shaking and wobbly. As the day went on she started to move around more. As the afternoon started to get away from us I had to get Phi to get ready for dinner out. She went to take a shower and left the hamster with me and Louie. As we sat and stared we noticed that she was shaking less and moving around more. She was even pulling herself up. Then she opened her eyes. You would have thought she hit the Super Mega Lotto the way Louie reacted.

We put Persimmon back in her cage and headed out for dinner. As we drove home a few hours later I prayed that I would not come back to stiff hamster. Instead she was climbing through tubes and even eating a little.

By the next morning Persimmon was back to normal. Back to eating, drinking, pooping and trying to bite us. It was a freakin miracle. Even Elaine could not believe it.

Now I am super paranoid and am constantly waking up this poor hamster even time I see her sleeping. I need to make sure she is okay and not back to super sick state.

Did I mention this all happened while Joey was away??

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I Cried More Than When She Went to Kindergarten

Like lots of California kids, my kids went back to school this week. Back to school is always stressful and gives me lot of anxiety but nothing was like this year. See Phi has been at a small charter school homeschool program for the last 3 years. She was home with me everyday. I was her teacher so all her lessons were one on one. She went back to the same charter but this year was for all-day junior high. 

At school. 



I was so anxious about this transition. There are just so many new things at once. It's hard for me to not see these experiences from 11 year old Elissa's perspective. And 11 year old Elissa should have been on Xanex. It took me back to my first day of high school and that was still one of the scariest days of my life. I kept thing about all the things that Phi could stress about. There were just so many new things for her, from switching classes, dressing out for PE, locks and lockers, how the bells work and even what to do if she needs to go to the bathroom. She has not been in a real classroom setting since she was in 2nd grade. 

I was so anxious that for 2 weeks I was having typical school nightmares. The night before school started I had the worst one. I had a dream, a very vivid dream that Justin Beiber started a full on race riot at Phi's school. 

All day school also means we have to be up and out of the house at an ungodly hour. On the big day we were up and ready with enough time for the traditional by the front door picture. And this year thanks to my awesome paint job we had a cool chalkboard door to pose in front of. 

 Is is just me or did she grow-up into a pre-teen like overnight?

Holy Moly I can see what adult Phi will look like in this pictures.

I think Louie knew that this new adventure meant big changes for her. She has spent almost everyday of her life that she can remember with her sister. And now she was going to be riding solo for most of the day. Louie woke up really early and literally just sat and stared at Phi while she ate breakfast and got ready.

I have a few first day of school pictures with my sister in her pajamas! And chances are I also wore a long shirt and leggings on my first day of 6th grade!.

We drove to school and the entire drive Phi was talking non-stop. She was so excited for her first day. It was then that I was reminded that Phi is not like me at her age. She is much more confident and brave. She doesn't worry about the little things like I did. We pulled up to the drop off point and I asked for a selfie.

This is the exact moment the waterworks started. You can see my face is starting to crumble.

I kept it together long enough to kiss her bye and to tell her to remember everything because I am going to want to hear all about her day. Then she shut the door and walked away and I broke down. I started to drive away and I drove past to see her walk through the gate and that image was too much. She was literally entering a new phase of her life and I had to pull over because the ugly sobbing crying was happening.

This big change was really scary for me because this was the first time that I have had to let her go on her own and figure out all new things. To send her into the world without me literally holding her hand. I sat in my car and cried and hoped and prayed that I have been a good enough parent so far. That I have prepared her for this. I hoped that I was there enough and at the same time hoped that I let her be independent enough. Phi is my first kid so really I can only hope that I am doing things okay. That I am raising her to be successful and with the ability to take on new challenges.

It was a long day at work as I stared at the clock, looked over at my copy of her schedule and imagined her in whatever class she was in. I could not wait for the end of the day to go pick her up.

Of course she asked us to sign her up for the after school program so I didn't go get her until after work. When I picked her up she was again non-stop talking about her day. She loved it. She gave me a minute-by-minute recap of her day. She handled it all like a champ. She got to all her classes, reconnected with old friends from 2nd grade, and even made new ones. She loved all her teachers and is anxious to start learning new things.

The next day Phi was very excited to go back. I believe her exact words were "I can't believe I get to go back again!".  The next day was also Louie's first day of 1st grade. Louie is back in the homeschool program so she only goes to class for a total of 3 hours over 2 days. 2 hours one day and 1 hour the next. Since her class doesn't start until later in the morning I wasn't home for her big send off so Poppa took the pictures.

She wore a new dress that Grandma Kim had bought her and Poppa braided her blue-tipped hair into her signature 2 braids. Louie has the same teacher and same routine but when Joey sent me a text of a picture of her I cried again. This time it was because I knew that this was the last year of homeschooling for Louie. Our school is moving to all day elementary next year.

In one short year I will be dropping off both kids for a full day away from me at school. Ugh! 

Sunday, August 07, 2016

It's Baby Season

Yesterday I went to my best friend Sam's baby shower. She is due at the end of September with her second child.  She is having another boy. I also got to visit my friend Dana and meet her crazy cute almost one year old son. And as I am writing this my gal pal Angela is in a hospital in London, England and she is in labor with her first baby. She has been keeping us all updated through Facebook messenger and me and the girls are so excited and hoping for an easy delivery and cannot wait to get some adorable baby pictures. Louie even did some shopping today for her new London friend.

It's baby crazy around here these days. I even had someone ask us today if we were having a boy. (uh offended much?). Joey and I get asked all the time, if we are going to have more kids. People seem to just have this feeling when they know they are done having kids. Here is the thing. I never got that feeling. When Louie was born I didn't feel like we were "complete". In a perfect world I would have liked to have had 4 kids. All about 2 years apart. But of course we don't live in a perfect world and it took us about a year to conceive Sophia. When Sophia turned 1 year old, we ditched the birth control and started trying for baby #2. It took us over 3 years to conceive Louie. In fact right before I got pregnant with Louie I had went to my ob/gyno and started talking about fertility issues. After about the second year of trying Joey and I had decided that if we were not pregnant by the time Sophia turned 5 we would stop trying. We were not getting any younger.

Louie was born 10 days after our self-induced deadline.  After she was born I didn't immediately feel like my family was done. But we had to face reality. Odds were it was take us years to get pregnant again. We would be raising kids until our sixties! So for the last 5 years the chances of more kids has been decreasing and decreasing. At this point, with a 6 year old and a junior higher, the idea of starting all over again with a newborn seems exhausting. We are even starting to imagine what our life will be like when the girls are in college. The cruises we can take, the dinners out, sleeping in on the weekends. At this point we have started talking about the big "V" for J.

So this is what my family looks like...

If thing would have worked out differently maybe we would have had more kids. But 2 girls is what I have. 2 amazing kids. I am so lucky to be their Mom. Watching them grow how been such a trip and J and I have doe our best to pour everything we have into them. It's crazy to remember being a teen imagining what my future would look like. To try to imagine what my husband and kids would look like. I can honestly say I never imagined what I have today. What I have today is so much more and so much better than I even could have imagined.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

How Many People Does it Take to Paint an Entire House? 15 apparently.

Who could make us drive for 5 hours each way to spend two days painting a house and moving from one town to another? The baby of the family that's who.

Last weekend Elaine and Kelly moved into their first, we own the place, home. As you can imagine it is super exciting. So the family headed up to San Luis Obispo early on Saturday morning, packed up our cars and headed to Atascadero.

The new place is so cute and is a perfect home for Kel, Elaine, The El's, Dexter and Buster. The only thing was that almost every wall was a light lime green color. Like everywhere you looked it was green. The kitchen, the hallway, the dining room, the living room, every single bedroom. I don't think my sister has hated a color more. Earlier in the week Kelly's awesome parents had prepped the entire house for painting. They probably never want to see painters tape every again. And this is where we come in.

We started with a pow-wow in the living room...

The paint was poured. Natural linen for the downstairs. We grabbed our brushes and rollers and got right to work.

And by we I mean all of us.

And the kids too. I mean that's why we had these kids right?

This one eventually ended up with paint on her legs and at some point leaned against a wall.

After tackling the downstairs. Joey and I did the dining room and kitchen. We moved upstairs. More snatural linen for the hallways. Cari and Luis took a can of white truffle and went to work in the master bedroom.

While Joey and I painted Ellie's room. natural linen for 3 walls and a pinkish coral for one wall.

Of course there were hot dog and pizza breaks one day. Taco and burrito breaks the second day.

Moving in the middle of summer makes for very hot days. After day one we were all beat. Mom and Pops went home to sleep while the rest of us painted one more room. The master bathroom we painted in sea salt while listening to 90's alternative. By the time we were finished we were all exhausted. We took a trip to a near by fast food place and fed everyone. We headed back to the new house. set up air mattresses and took showers with no shower curtains. I totally forgot to pack blankets so I spent a very cold night sleeping in Ellie's room.

Day 2 was all about moving everything from the old place and painting baseboards.

Of course we were paid in food and beer.

And of course we all got to take turns loving on The El's.

2 days of painting, sore muscles and 10 hours on the road. I would do that and then some for my family. I mean look at this face. I would do anything for this face.

Kelly, Ellie and Elaine, we are so happy for you guys! The house is awesome and we have already made some great memories there. Keep that guest room ready for us. We are planning a visit very soon! 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Phi is Going to Junior High so Let's Reminisce

I think another reason I am not ready for the school year to start is because this year is going to be a transition year for Phi. She is going from home-schooled to a regualr everyday junior high school. Just the thought of it makes my stomach hurt with nerves. The worst part is I have to plaster a fake smile on my face so that Phi doesn't sense my nervousness. I don't know why these kind of things make me so nervous. Always has. Even in graduate school I would get stomach aches and would not be able to sleep the night before a new semester. I would be scared of things like...
  • not being able to find my classrooms
  • not getting my locker to work
  • not finding a parking space (if you went to CSUN around 2002 you know this was a legit fear)
  • not being on the roll call sheet
  • not getting a seat
  • being late to class
  • being a ghost and not knowing it and that's why people are ignoring me but I don't know I'm a ghost so I just think people are being mean.

It just  gets weirder from there.

Now looking back junior high was such a fun time for me. Of course I had to dig through pictures to really remember it all. Maybe a little trip down memory lane will help me feel better about Phi starting junior high.

Let me start by saying that I am sorry the pics are so grainy but my junior high day were from 1989-1991 and most of these pictures were shot on a Kodak Disc Camera.

Oh you don't remember what those look are?

Let me refresh your memory..

Man I loved this camera!
So junior high,... here is a little back story. My experience was a little different than most because I went to a tiny school. About 300 kids from kinder to 8th grade. This mean I went to school with the same 25+ kids for 9 years. So junior high just meant we moved classes during the day. All of us. Together.

So remember,1998-1991 so the hair is going to be permed and the bangs are going to be sky high.

You have been warned.

I had my absolute best friend with me all day long. We got to sit next to each other practically all day long. We had lunch together and only had to separate at the end of the day because we took different buses home.

Jessica is the perfect BFF, she is smart, funny and teachers love her so we got away with pretty much anything. She is the only girl in a family full of boys and that made her braver and much more daring than me. I wouldn't have had half as much fun if it wasn't for her encouraging me.

We were in the band together and that meant we had an excuse to go to each others house.  Flute practice.

Looking back at this pictures I notice the big air, the double tongue LA Gears, the double and sometime triple socks. But I can remember the feelings. The giggles and the happiness. I remember life being so exciting during this time that talking with your friends all day, and even on the phone after school wasn't enough. You had to spend time writing notes to each other.

Keeping up on who likes who, and who asked who out. Writing out in explicit detail what our weddings to Joey McIntyre or Donnie Wahlberg would be like. Even taking the time to put together wedding invitations. (NKOTB Forever). We schemed ways to go to the little league to talk to boys who didn't go to our school.

Junior high was a confusing and really formative time. There were rounds of truth or dare in the hallway and lots of discussion of what french kissing really was. There may or may not have been diagrams. We were going through puberty, our bodies were changing and there was so much to learn but I had such great friends to go through it together. There was not any topic that Jessica and I did not discuss.

And of course there were boys. By 7th grade I had noticed them and they had noticed me. I remember the nerves of going to a school dance. (They were held during the day after lunch!) I was such a nervous wreck because Matthew was going to ask me to dance. A SLOW ONE. And he did, and we swayed to "Have you Seen Her" by MC Hammer. How do I remember that? Well it was written on the back of the photo as well as things like "Matthew & Elissa Forever" and MEC". We use to make these monograms of the guys initials with your first initial in the middle. This does not make sense to me now but it's what we did. So in our different colored acid washed jeans we danced and my BFF was there to take a picture so that all these years later I can still remember that feeling. The excitement and being so nervous being that close to a boy.

seriously...the jeans...

And it just a few short years it was time to shop for a graduation dress, make that oh so important decision on who you would walk into the ceremony with. (Thanks Jaime P!). I found a beautiful white dress and Jessica wore pretty peach dress with ruffles. Someone bought us corsages and we ended junior high vowing that we would be best friends forever. And we have kept that promise for 25 years and counting.

So did this stroll down memory lane: junior high edition help relieve some of my nerves about my tiny baby starting junior high school? Not really.

I am nervous that I will completely mess up the drop off line, or get the times mixed up and pick her up an hour after school gets out. Ot what if the kids don't like her clothes or her backpack?

But looking at old pictures was fun!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

We want our August back.

10 weeks. That's all my kids go for summer vacation this year. And as I start adding school orientation and school clothes shopping into my planner I feel like we are getting ripped off. Big time. I mean what happened to August? My kids start school on August 9th. THE 9TH!

I remember August being the month of summer when you finally got bored. When the days seemed so long and you thought the heat would never end. When you got tired of watching the same movie (Little Shop of Horrors for me) over and over again. Your annual summer vacation was behind you and the conversations with BFF on the phone start turning to the new school year. Those last few weeks of August are there to make you ready for school to start.

With just 10 weeks off we feel like we just got into the summer groove. We just got used to lazy mornings and late nights. We just started movie marathons and even went on our annual summer trip earlier than usual. We are not bored yet. Not even close. There was still so much we wanted to do but instead we are shopping for pens and backpacks and waking up earlier everyday to get our bodies use to it. (spoiler alert: they never get used to it!)

The idea of getting Phi to school by 8 am already has me exhausted. And I know Joey is not looking forward to getting Louie out of bed and getting her ready for class even if its only once a week. And back to homework and homeschool. Back to not just keeping track of my stuff but all the kids assignments as well.

What happened to the good old days when school started the day after labor day?

We want out August back!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Day Date, Four Chords and a Gun

So you know that character from the show "Big Bang Theory" with the lisp? 

I believe the characters name is "Barry Kripke". 

Well the guy who plays that guy is John Ross Bowie. 

And John Ross Bowie wrote his first play. 

A pretty dang good play. 

A play about The Ramones. 

I know what you're thinking. "OMG a play about a punk rock band! This is like perfect for you Elissa because you love punk rock and plays!" I could not agree with you more. And super lucky for me Brian Nitzkin, the producer of the play thought the same thing, reached out to us and invited us to catch a matinee of ....

"Four Chords and a Gun" 

I know, great title. We were excited to accept and on Sunday we slowed down the car and kicked the kids out to stay with family. 

Look no kids in the background!

And we headed into LA to the Bootleg Theatre on Beverly Blvd. to catch the show. 

Now on a side note, child care is offered for the Sunday matinees but we opted to leave the kids with their cousins to spend the day swimming, but how cool is is that they offer child care right there on site? 

The venue itself was very cool. We got in, dropped our name and felt super cool and important for a hot second and headed in. And straight to the bar. 

"Four Chords and a Gun" tells the story of The Ramones and the recording of their 5th album "End of the Century". After 4 albums, a big fan following, this punk band from New York that is known as the founders of American punk rock, was just not seeing the commercial success they had been working so hard for. So for the 5th album they team up with infamous Phil Spector, record producer extraordinaire. Between the craziness that is Phil and the drama between the band members the story has no lulls. The story grabs you from the first word and doesn't let go until the end. 

Now how much drama can 4 punk rock boys from New York have between them? Let's say that the drama is at mexican soap opera levels. We are talking sex, drugs, guns and capes. Big velvet capes. 

The play has a cast of 6...

Marky Ramone.......... James Pumphrey
Johnny Ramone......... Johnathan McClain
Dee Dee Ramone....... Michael Daniel Cassady
Joey Ramone............. Matthew Patrick Davis
Linda Daniele............ Arden Myrin
Phil Spector............... Josh Brener (yup that guy from Maron!) 

After watching the play I had to a little side by side of the cast and the real Ramones to see how well it was casted. After the roughly 2 hour play I could not separate the real from the acting. You know how like after you see the movie Selena, and every time you try to picture Selena you see J. Lo? 

The Cast

The Ramones
Pretty damn good casting. Josh Brener as Spector steals every scene he is in. Even when standing next to 6 foot 5 Matthew Patrick Davis. So of course after seeing the play I am obsessed with all things Ramones. I spent the drive home googling every article I could about the band. Did you know that Joey Ramone once recorded with Debbie Harry?

You are probably thinking...

"I want to go see 'Four Chords and a Gun' but the run ends this weekend!". Well I have good news. The play has been extended for 2 more weeks. You can even head over bootlegtheater.org and get your tickets. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

An Added Bonus...

Louie and our CEO Jessica= BFF's
I am not a stay-at-home Mom, I am not a work from home Mom. Instead I have always labeled myself as a "Mom from Work Mom." 

What does that mean?

Well I have a very unique situation. I work for an exceptional employer who believes that children should be with their parents, even at the office. Both girls have grown-up in my office. When they were babies I had a pack and play in my office, a bouncer on the edge of my office doorway. Sometimes when I was on the phone with a client I was nursing a kid. There were times when they would literally nap on my desk.The girls are still here every afternoon with me. There is still a box of kids movies and a toy box here. Even now there is a small table with art supplies. The fact that I never had to put my girls in child care is a blessing that we will always be so thankful for.

The other day I realized another big bonus with having the girls in the office all these years. See I work for a company that has really worked hard to grow over the last few years. We purchased a competitor, we even applied for, was approved for and started a 30 student internship program. Now here is the bonus for my girls, this company is 100% owned and run by women. They are not just seeing their Momma solve problems, learn new skills and just work hard in general, but they are seeing our owner and her success. They can see how her hard work all these years has allowed her to work less and enjoy life more. They got to see how our CEO went from a consultant to running the show by working her tail off.

To my girls, powerful, successful women are going to be the norm for them. They won't assume that the owner of a company is a man, like 95% of telemarketers who call here do. They will grow-up to know that they can own and run successful companies because they literally grew up in the middle of one.  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sea World with the Girl Scouts

Chances are you bought girl scout cookies earlier this year. You may or may not wondered where that money goes. Well for each box you buy about $1 goes straight to the troop you bought it from. Cookies is a major fundraiser for us and our girls work so hard. Each summer we plan a big trip for the girls all funded by cookie money. This year we bought each girl a Sea World Fun Card and a behind the scenes tour. At no cost to the girl scout! 

We went a few weekends ago and had such a great time. 

Of course the moment we walked into the park there was one place Louie just had to go to...

This would be the first of 4 different trips to the sea otters on this day. The last one was as we walked out of the park. She needed to tell them all good-bye and good night. 

We had a few more minutes to check out some dolphins before it was time to meet the troop.

We met at the group tour and were happy to be reunited with all our Girl Scout friends.

We have a really big troop and had a great turn out for this trip.

And off we went on a behind the scenes tour of Sea World. Here we go behind the gates!

We got to see these really cool archer fish. They would spit water to knock down food from branches. We got to touch shrimp, starfish and even jellyfish!

Even Phi touched a jellyfish.

We continued the tour by heading to the dolphins that are being rehabilitated. We passed by the flamingos on the way there.

It was amazing at how close we were to the dolphins. Of course we couldn't touch them but they swam right up to where we were standing. It was so cool until one dolphin got too playful and splashed half our group.

The last part of the tour was to the sea turtles. Here the girls got to be close and even feed lettuce to the turtles.

After the tour we stopped for lunch and then met up again at the Shamu Show! Still as great as ever. Before the show started they explained that because of concerns by the public the killer whale show is going to change. It will focus more on natural behaviors. Even the stadium will look different.

After the show we walked with some friends to the ride 'Journey to Atlantis'. Joey told Phi that she had to get on. She freaked. She cried. She hadn't been feeling well all day. But in the end she got on. What a trooper!

The day was hot so after the ride we headed to the Arctic exhibit to cool down. The ice wall helped a lot.

Just hanging in a polar bear den.

We also checked out the dolphin show. This was a really spectacular show!

The seals were hard to miss. They were so loud!

The last show we caught was the seal and sea otter show. This show was SO FUNNY! Of course the otter was a river otter named OP and Louie loved him. She even bought herself a new stuffed otter from Sea World and named it OP. As you can see OP is a DJ.

As usually we closed the park down and still did not see everything. The penguins were one of the last animals we visited. The last thing we did was ride the tower 350 feet in the air. It was awesome!

What a great trip! And with our Fun Cards we will be going back soon!