Punk Rock Parents

Friday, June 01, 2018

Happy 8th Louie!

My otter loving, funny face making, Elwood feeding, wimpy kid reading, uncle Rico posing, Netflix 'bitch' watching, weird sauce making, never jean wearing, always legging wearing, beautiful, silly smart girl Louie.

Happy Birthday! I love you so very much. You make our world sunny and bright! Can't wait for the big birthday trip! 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Bucket List 2018- Salvation Mountain

For Mother's Day we went out to cross off an item from our 2018 Family Bucket List. I have always wanted to see the amazingness that is Salvation Mountain.

This giant man-made tribute to God is the work of the late Leonard Knight. He spent years creating this art masterpiece.

This place was more magnificent than I imagined.

What I love most about these adventures is that my kids always complain about going and then they get there and I see their eyes light up.

And you best believe we climbed to the top! There is a yellow pathway that you can walk. But with the layers and layers of paint take good shoes because its slippery.

Can you spot me and the girls?

Salvation Mountain is in Niland, Ca and about 30 minutes from the Salton Sea. It's in the middle of almost nothing. We picked a good time to go, this area gets mega hot in the summer time.

Yes that is Phi dabbing on the top of Salvation Mountain.

Look at those faces....

The view from the top...

Me and my Louie....

The section to the right you can walk through. It is the closest I have even been to being in a Dr. Seuss book.

Every where you look there is a new little detail to see.

It's liking walking through a magical unicorn forest.

Me and my main man.

Even around the mountain there were vehicles that had been turned into art.

How is the youngest the most bad-ass of the family?

Salvation Mountain was a very cool thing to see. I am so happy this is where we spent Mother's Day! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

To My Daughter On Her 13th Birthday

My Phi,

Happy 13th Birthday My Lovey.

I know how excited you are to be turning 13 and becoming a real life teenager. And you should be excited. It's a really big deal. I remember how different 13 feels. It's such an exciting, confusing and scary time. I remember thinking how no one could possibly understand what my life was like or how it felt to be me. I am going to admit it here, being you at 13 is a lot different than being me at 13. There are things that are a reality for you that I never even thought about as a 13 year old. My biggest worry when it came to school was embarrassing myself by tripping with my cafeteria tray. Your biggest worry is school shootings. As a parent it is so hard to drop you guys off some days, I can't even begin to image what it's like to be a student. Even with such big things to worry about I know that the usual 13 year old fears are there too because some things never change.

It's hard to believe that I am the parent of a teenager. As our oldest kid everything we go through with you is our first time around. You have been such an easy first child. You have always been smart, funny, creative, and kind. You make your Dad and I look like amazing parents, but really a big part of it is just you. As your life starts to get a little more complicated I pray that your continue to be easy to raise. Just know that I am always here for you. I always want to know what is going on in your life and in your mind. I will always want to know what music you are into. I will always want to read what you have written or see what you have drawn. But what I really want you to always remember is that I love you unconditionally. That means that there is nothing you can do that will make me stop loving you. Absolutely nothing. I hope that if you know this, you will always be willing to come to me with any issue that may come up in your life.

And don't forget that your Tia's, Nina's and Nana are always there for you too. We are here if you need advice, or just someone to listen.

I love you so much Phi. You are still my Super Duper Kiddo and I am very proud of the person you are becoming.



Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Salton Sea Road Side Pit Stop

My initial Mother's Day plan was to do as little as humanly possible. But then after eating a delicious breakfast made by my insanely handsome husband he asked me if I wanted to head out adventuring and cross off something from our 2018 bucket list. I couldn't resist and adventure with my 3 people. So we grabbed waters, snacks and jumped in the Land Cruiser.

On our way to our ultimate destination we made a stop at the Salton Sea Visitors Center. We have been to the Salton Sea before but never to this part.

So some fun facts....

  • The Salton Sea is not a sea despite its mega saltiness. It is legit 25% salty than the ocean 
  • It is actually the largest lake in California at 375 square miles. 
  • Water can't run out of the Salton Sea so it just kinda sits there hence the algae and smell issues.
  • A lot of the "sand" on the shore is really barnacles. 

  • Despite the fact that the Salton Sea was completely empty of people on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, you can fish and boat there. 
  • Because of the mega saltiness and the low altitude (it's over 200 feet BELOW sea level) boats can go faster than normal. 

  • There is a fantastic documentary about the Salton Sea called Plagues and Pleasures of the Salton Sea and it is narrated by none other than John Waters. Yes that little mustache dude!

  • Dead fish are super common to see on the shores. 

It's such a shame that the water is just not suitable for swimming and quite frankly it doesn't smell to pleasant out there. This was once a great water sport destination and would be awesome to see if resurrect itself .

But Joey, the girls and I had a great time exploring.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

11 years

The years just keep flying by. As I get older there are some memories that become hazy, and there are others that remain crystal clear. The day you left us is one of those clear memories.

For the last few days I have had Lili and Felix here with us. As much I love to have them here, Phi and Louie love it more. When I was growing up I got to be with my cousins all the time and I thought that was what kept us close. But then we grew up and moved away from each other. We don't see each other very often. And Phi, Louie, Lili and Felix don't get to see each other too often, but that doesn't seem to matter. When they are together they laugh and play and talk and genuinely love being around each other.

It's the same with my cousins now. Even though  I don't see them often, I think about my cousins everyday. I find myself every morning as I am driving to work wondering what you are all doing. I wonder if Cassie is up with Benji, I wonder if Erika is just coming home from work, I wonder if Eric is driving to work too. I wonder if Monique has school that day. If Patty is kissing the boys good-bye as they head out for school. I wonder if Mikey has already taught a spin class. I wonder if Leo is out driving a truck, or if Emilo let Manual get enough sleep. And I always wonder what you are doing. I wonder what you think about how we are all doing. If you wake up and check on each and everyone of us.

I don't get to see everyone every weekend like I did when I was a kid, but we stay connected and when we do see each other we pick up where we left off. I pray that when we meet again, we get to pick up right where we left off. Even with all the years between visits.

I love you and I miss you.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Why Don't We? So We Did

Now if anyone understands the love for a boy band, it's me. I spent the late 80's and early 90's listening to every New Kids on the Block cassette on repeat. Watching the Hanging Tough Live VHS constantly. Begging my parents to buy me every issue of every teen magazine. (Shout out to my Nina Josie for those years of Bop Magazine subscriptions!!!) And plastering my walls with every NKOTB poster I could find. I spent my spare time writing notes to my BFF all about why Joey McIntyre was gods gift to the world. And when I wasn't doing that I was making fake wedding invitations to mine and Joey's wedding. (Whoa! I ended up with a real wedding invitation to Elissa and Joey's wedding!)

So when the girls suddenly could only talk about the boy band Why Don't We, I get it. And even though I get it, it has been super annoying. Jack this..... Zach that.......Corbin this..........those are the only three names that I can remember. There are 5 because well, that is the boy band formula that sells.

Why Don't We are currently on their "Invitation Tour" and while lunching one day Joey and I found tickets to their Anaheim show for $13 each. We couldn't pass them up. So we got 4 and surprised the girls after school.

They cried.

The big day was last Tuesday. We stood in line for almost 2 hours to get in. Then they hit the stage...

And the girls flipped out.

And I got a little teary eyed because my kids were oh so very happy! Like super super happy.

Could be any boy band!
 It was the first concert I have every been to where I did not know one song. But live music is always fun. I love standing in a venue with my back against Joey and his arms around me. It is the best. Even when it's a boy band that you don't know.

The girls had been hoarding their money to buy some merch. And they spent it all (and some of ours) for a sweatshirt and t-shirt.

Look how happy they are!

Joey and I felt like this was a parenting rite of passage. Suffering though 2 hours of high pitched screaming pre-teens and 2 hours of mega-pop music. We know it's a night the girls will never forget.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Our Lady of Guadalupe- 3 years later

Our Lady of Guadalupe church has been standing tall on Oak Street in Santa Paula since 1929. This was my church growing up. I have been there hundreds of times. My parents were married here. I was baptized here with my Ninos the Blackshears by my side. My Nana and Tata had a 25th wedding anniversary ceremony here. I made my first communion here, where I was so proud to have my Tia Josie walk with me and become my Godmother. I went to 9 years of weekly catechism here. I was flower girl in a few of my Tia's weddings in this church. I remember the Christmas play in the hall where my parents were Mary and Joseph and my little sister was just 3 months old and got to be the Baby Jesus. There was the weekly Sunday mass where the Nuns would use a old school overhead projector with a clean film with the words to all the hymns written down. It made it easier to follow along and I can still sing the songs. Even the Spanish ones. I have celebrated cousin's sacraments and weddings here. I have come here on Dec 12th to bring flowers to La Virgen.

Hundreds of times, so many events but now every time I walk in here I can only remember one thing. I can only remember my Tata's funeral. We went to mass last Sunday and all I could think about was his casket in front of the altar. The giant photo of him on a stand. All the flowers. As I looked around to see a lot of my family there last Sunday, all I could think about was that day that we all sat, dressed in black, holding each others hand and passing tissues as my Tia Mary gave a beautiful eulogy. I see my handsome cousins as pall bearers, and the babies Seli and Bubbs passing out the program that Patricia and I worked so hard on.

All I could see was his casket. The dark wood with the white flowers. After all the times I had been inside this church, that day has had the most impact. I feel like it left me scarred and it was so traumatic it's hard to go back. Because even though last Sunday was just a mass, it still felt so heavy on my heart.

3 years ago today our Tata died. And it still sometimes doesn't feel real. And reality hits at odd times and it crashes all around and I can't do anything but let the sadness of that reality take over. It's hard to believe that we have lived 3 years without him. In those 3 years my family has held tight to each other. We have cheered each other on. We have had some really amazingly happy things happen. Marriage proposals, new beautiful babies and high school and university graduations. My goodness my Tata would have loved all these new babies. I have no idea how he did it. There are a lot of us. And every time a new baby was born he adored them. So much that it was impossible to think that he could have more love to give. And then another baby would be born and he would love that one just as much. I never saw more pride in his eyes as when he got to hold a new baby. Like he knew that we were his legacy and he poured his heart and soul into each and everyone of us.

And now it's been 3 years since we have had him look at each and every one of us with that pride. And we now have to remember what that felt like and know that he gave each of us all he had. And it's time for us to honor that and make him proud of the people we have become, in how we treat others, and how we love each other. But days like today are really hard to get through. To have someone so loving, so smart, so magnetic taken from us will always hurt our hearts. I am not sure how the rest of my family deals with today but I am thinking about them and holding the tight in my heart. I know for me today will be a lot of tears but I just don't have the strength yet to do anything else. I don't know if I ever will that have that kind of strength on February 13th. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

School Choice Week

Every year the girls school has a "school choice" week. All week long the kids have different dress up days like college day and school spirit day. The week ends with free lunch Friday, where the parents came come and have lunch with their kids. 

The whole purpose of the school choice week is to celebrate charter schools and the fact that they provide parents with a choice when it comes to their kids education. So on Friday I went and had lunch with the girls and spent some time with them and their friends. 

It reminded me how lucky we are to have found this school when we did. Growing up I was lucky to go to Briggs School. A small school with about 300 kids from Kinder to 8th grade. I went all 9 years at the same school with the same kids. I still have my best friend from kindergarten. I truly believe that going to such a small school and growing up with the same friends for so long had a significant impact on who I am today. The small environment allowed me to stay a kid longer than most. When all the parents know each other and the parents know the teachers you have a family vibe. And like family you know that the teachers and administrators love you and genuinely want you to succeed.

I have found this same vibe at my kids charter school. We have been a part of this school since day 1. We enrolled Phi by going to the principals house before they even had a location confirmed. We took a chance on the school as much as they took a chance on us and over the last 5 years we have been so happy. I love that I am friendly with the teachers, because they are not just passionate about teaching, they are intelligent and creative people who I admire.

When I can start emails to the principal with DUDE! I know we are at the right place for us.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Their faces make it all worth it.

Every year the holiday stress is real. The lists, the shopping, the crowds, those last minute gifts I ALWAYS forget. Add to that all the travel and packing. Every year I wonder if it's all worth it and I think "next year we just stay home". 

And then every single year Christmas morning comes and we all eat breakfast and sit around the living room and open gifts and we get to see these 6 faces light up. 

And it's all totally worth it and I would do it over and over again to be with these 6 kiddos. I mean even Felix smiles!

And to have us all together with our bonus McClendon family is just perfection.