The theme for this week friends is SINK or SWIM…both literally and figuratively… Written in tandem with remnants of notions conjured by an interview on npr (Monday) in remembrance of Comedian George Carlin who died on Sunday, June 22, 2008

SWIM CLASS has started! Yesterday was the first day for Tafi and Zen to take actual swimming classes! I had enrolled Zen once before when she was about two and SHE HATED IT! Her dad took her to one class and she never went back. Things have definitely changed…now she’s practically a mermaid…one that needs to brush up on technique…but a mermaid nonetheless, especially when compared to her majesty Lady Tafara who on the first day made it clear to her instructor that there was to be no face wetting involved in her lesson…At any rate, we made it through yesterday swimmingly! The swim instructor however, warned that hey both needed to work on getting deeper into the water and that today she was being nice, but that things would get serious tomorrow and that I might want to invest in goggles for Tafara if water in her eyes was her issue. So of course, like a good mother I sojourned to WALMART at 11:30PM after working MY NEW AND IMPROVED MODIFIED (THOUGH TEMPORARY) SCHEDULE and visiting a dear friend in the hospital; to get the GOGGLES!!!

After our usual morning hustle (too painful for details) we get to the pool, Tafi gets her goggles, enters the pool, begins her lesson, even gets dunked by the teacher…recovers gracefully…things are going so well that I take my eyes off of her for one minute to begin applying my sunblock… next thing I know my daughter, is dripping (not sure if tears or chlorine) all over me, crying “she told me to get out of the pool…sob…sob...and go home”… sob …sob…

IM THINKIN’ : Oh boy, here we go…GLUB, GLUB, GLUB…I’m sinking…

Needless to say I spent the next 15 min engaged in warfare! Trying to convince the QUEEN of the-most-stubborn-children-in-AMERICA: 1.That she needed to get back into the pool & 2.That there was nothing to be afraid of…I lost the first part of the battle and after the slight mention of a potential bribe…I won’t know about the latter until tomorrow (I’ll keep ya posted).

After talking to my friend last night, Tafara & the newest Mrs. Fuller today about fear of death, sinking/getting your face wet, and entrepreneurship (respectively)…I have decided to yet again take “the plunge” into entrepreneurship…I’m not quite sure which of my 50 million ventures I plan to pursue just yet, but I am (starting tonight) going to actively pursue SOMETHING…we get one life (at a time) and it is foolish to spend most of it CONSUMED by fear…WE MUST COMMITT TO SINK OR SWIM



So, my sister-in-law came to visit as I mentioned before…and a large part of the time is usually spent shopping for essential items that are difficult, non-existent, or ridiculously expensive back home. Can I just say that I was APPALLED at the lack of customer service received this weekend.

WALMART would have been number one on my list…until I went to Barnes and Noble in Aventura!!!! APALLING!!!!

We have all been somewhere and had the silence broken by a inconsolable child or have seen children "rippin' and runnin'" through a store...PLease note: This mama dont play that! I will leave the store before I'm embarassed by one of my children!!! So imagine my surprise when while juggling an arm full of merchandise and trying to carry Lion, I am approached by a man claiming to be the store manager to be told that other customers were complaining about my son's screaming...hmm...the rage swelled instantaneously...there's nothing like being wrongly accused to send me into a tailspin! I immediately put everything down, instructed my family to do the same and left the store. After I explained the scenario to Simon, got them settled in Burger King, I marched back across the street and demanded to see the manager. A very nice and clearly apologetic cashier explained that "it must have been Walter" because "he's always rude". She quicly called Jason the actual store manager, who clearly had received other complaints about "Walter" (who by the way was really a merchandiser, not the store manager), I promptly requested contact informationn for the corporate office, advised Jason that he had easily lost a sale of $300 (big whoop I'm sure...eventhough I was exaggerating). I also asked him to explain the store/company's policy on crying children...he shook his head in embarassment and said, "WE DONT HAVE ONE, I MEAN WE HAVE A CHILDREN'S SECTION, THIS ISNT A LIBRARY, I WILL DEFINITELY TALK TO HIM".

Did I mention that the store was full of children and while Lion did make three outbursts "Walter, nor anyone else in his area could hear him over the humm of the ambient sound...also clarified by the cashier.

One of my local neighborhood Walmarts also PISSED me off during our shop-a-thon! When my sister-in-law's boyfriend asked an associate in the electronic department to test a flatscreen tv, since it was their last one and the box it was in was clearly damaged, he was made to wait for at least 20 minutes only to be told that they "didnt know if they could do that" AND that he should just "buy the TV and if it dosent work, to bring it back"...HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO RETURN ANYTHING AT WALMART? Yes, they take anything back, but you will wait forever in a line a mile long!!!

Naturally, this was unacceptable to me and so being the Americanized one in the group, I begin to cause a scene and DEMAND service!!! Finally, the tv specialist shows up only to mumble under his breath...I aint got time for that...his colleague, obviously as shocked as I was begged him pardon only to be told "I said I aint got time for that" and if that wasnt bad enough, he added, "you should just buy it and bring it back if something is wrong with it", that's when I lost it..."What?! You dont have time, but I should waste my time taking a possible broken TV home and then bring it back?! I was steamin' Needless to say, I spoke to three managers who made Allen do his job and then we went to another Walmart, and bought the TV there instead...TAKE THAT ALLEN.

Within all of this, there is a tail of redemption, ironically coming from Walmart where the TV was ultimately purchased. I was searching for swim caps for the girls to no avail...I finally gave up and as I was being checked out, I asked the cashier about swim caps...after I explained what they were...he suggested Health and Beauty Aids, doubtfully, I challenged him, instead of brushing me off, he rang for the most helpful assistant manager, who not only came over to help but went and looked in two possible locations, a third associate came over and suggested that I look in sporting goods (DUH). Rob, the cashier, called sporting goods instructed the cashier in that department to find the caps, hold two swim caps for me and cash out my other items there...NOW THAT'S CUSTOMER SERVICE... Thanks Rob, I had almost forgotten what it looked like!



Time to Really Clean out Your Closets

Closet Rules of Order

What’s behind your closet door? Orderly rows of shoes, stacks of folded t-shirts and hanging clothes arranged by color and season? Or do you have a situation that could be declared a national disaster? If the latter, you might ask the President for federal disaster relief funds—or you could just get organized.

Here are simple steps to find calm in all that chaos. By the way, these same principles for organizing a clothes closet apply to linen or utility closets, too.

Step One: Remove everything. This lets you see exactly the space you have to work with. Prepare to be shocked by the pile of stuff that came out of that closet.

Step Two: Now that you can see the light of day, give that closet a good cleaning from top to bottom. Follow with a fresh coat of white paint.

Step Three: Separate the items you removed. Most people hate this step because it means getting rid of everything you do not use or wear. But there’s no way you could get all of this back into the closet, so buck up and let’s get this job done. Label three containers:

Keep: Put only items into this bin that you have worn or used at least twice in the past year. Be brutally harsh. If it doesn’t fit today, it’s not likely to fit any time soon. Get rid of it. If in doubt, do not put it into this bin.

Sell or Donate: Clothes and other items that are not right for you (as evidenced by the fact that you never wear them), but still have a useful life for someone else should go into this bin. What you consider ugly may be perfect to someone else. Take them to a consignment store or arrange soon to hold a yard sale. Consider donating your good used items to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. You may get a tax break, but more than that, you will feel good. Put all of these items in the garage or back of the car.

Throw Away: Clothes and shoes that are worn out, hopelessly stained, broken or in some other state of calamity go into this bin. Work quickly to ease the pain. Empty this bin often to keep the process moving.

Step Four: Divide the “Keep bin” by season, type and use. If possible, store out-of-season items in another place in your home. Next, separate your work or professional clothes from your casual attire. Now divide each pile into common-wear and infrequent-wear, arranging them so the items you wear most often are the handiest.

Step Five: Use closet organizers. At the minimum you need a sturdy shoe rack, good hangers and shelves in addition to your standard hanging rod. Investing in a few good organizational pieces will make organizing your closet—and keeping it organized—a snap!



On Saturday my sister-in-law Katharine (my husband’s younger sister) flew in from Barbados. I was so excited to see her because we haven’t seen each other in a few years. Since her last visit she has become an entrepreneur, going into private veterinary practice and opening an animal clinic! This was her first time seeing Lion in the flesh and seeing Tafara out of diapers! After hours of delayed and cancelled flight plans she and her boyfriend Kyle arrived in Miami a little after 8pm.

Though they were exhausted we took them over to my brother’s house where they visited w/my family and joined our festivities (yes we were still celebrating Lion’s birthday and Father’s Day) already in progress.

We’ve been having a BALL. I get to spend time with Katharine which is always a FAVE and I get to help her SHOP…yet another FAVE!!!

Things all seemed to come together it just so happened that this week was the first week of me working my new modified schedule, I’m off until 1:00, then I work until 9:00 pm. This way we don’t have to worry about the outrageous cost of enrolling the girls in camp (which I am SO against MOST camps), I get to spend quality time with them in the mornings, do some academic enrichment activities, exercise and still take Lion to day care (at a less frantic pace).

While I have tons of things scheduled for the next seven weeks of leisurely summer mornings, this week was left wide open…the higher power must have known that I would need the time to play catch up with my sister in law!


BIRTHDAYS (continued)

The cool thing about being the mother of more than one child is the opportunity to refine your parenting practices, whereas if you only have one child some bridges will be crossed only once…so you better “walk good” the first time! But parenting more than one child—“do overs” are not only likely, but they are also inevitable!!!

Like I mentioned before, I LOVE birthdays!!! As is the case with most of my “loves” the tendency to go overboard is inherent. I should also mention at this point that I LOVE event planning and CRAFT MAKING…I’m sure you can see where this is going!

Case in point, Zenzele (my guinea pig) has had more “formal” birthday parties than Tafara and Lion have had and may ever have. Simply because, when the newness of the birthday party thing came up at age 1 (she was asleep before she could even open her presents) and 2 (she wouldn’t even play with her friends/guests) and 5 (I was pregnant and burned myself out throwing her a LUAU!!! BUT she had a great time), I became more enthralled in the planning of the party, the theme, the party favors, the food, etc. etc. but after having BABY #2 and now #3 my focus has since shifted from creating a BANG to getting the most bang for my BUCK (with the least amount of clean up involved)!

I’ve learned to have more fun with the celebration and as the children get older they are more vocal about their likes and desires. Tafara loves animals and was clear in telling us that she wanted to go to LION COUNTRY SAFARI…she didn’t care about anything else as long as animals were involved, so we did that and I threw her a class party complete with gift boxes (with stuffed animals, granola, and gummies in it and each child’s name on it in leopard printed stickers…see what I mean about going “overboard”). This year she wanted a safari party and I did that (with animal print goodie bags and animal themed grab bag gifts and masks…but we didn’t have cake…instead we had donuts…pink ones… with sprinkles)!

Today…Lion will quietly munch donuts with his classmates, drink a little apple juice and call it a day (but I did stay up last night decorating Cheerios boxes with customized stickers…after all what’s a party without favors?)…until Saturday when is Uncle Myki and Auntie Pamela, throw him a party! The $26.00 spent on today’s party and the piece of mind that accompanies it is a definite sign of my growth and understanding that I can express my love in ways that will not deplete my energy or my limited finances!

Gotta love those Lion-O's!Lion's classroom bday party

Lion's 2nd birthday shirt...yet another tradition ....



Birthdays are ABSOLUTELY my favorite event of the year... an appreciation which has been exacerbated by motherhood.

The most exhilarating part of the whole thing is the energy of everyone in the house during the days preceding the celebration. Everyone is excited and waiting anxiously for the festivities to begin. Zen is usually the first one to start the countdown...Mommy, there are 12 more days until so and so's birthday,she announces giddy with anticipation. Then Tafara chimes in and eventually the entire household is worked into a birthday induced frenzy!

I’m a proud mama when my children are genuinely excited for each other on those days leading up to their birthday…I feel like I’ve accomplished something major!

I remember growing up my birthdays were always special. We would start the day by opening a present (usually a doll, which suited my just fine even if it was the same one from the year before...you know the ones with the pony tails and open/shut eyes) I would have a party at school with refreshments and presents…

Last year Zenzele and I came up with “birthday eve”, a sort of kick-off to the celebration of one’s birthday…just another excuse to extend the festivities (I celebrate my birthday for whole month). On birthday-eve, you get to do cool things like open one present (usually new pajamas) then you take a bath (to wash off last year’s dirt) and go to bed early (to make the next day come faster).

Then while they're sleeping...mommy runs around like a crazy person, making preparations for the celebration 9no matter how small)....Hey, Lion's 2nd birthday is tomorrow betta get my creative juices flowing!

Zen's 5th birthday luau...complete with picture on the cake...this party was the deal breaker...no more BIG birthday parties at home...too much work and money!

Lion's 1st birthday with Pooh ears in lieu of bday hats!

Tafara's 5th birthday-SAFARI at school...see, I finally figured out the formula!


ON MY WAY TO WORK: Mo' Bloggin

On my way to work I realized that I can blog from my cell phone! All the teens say (in unison): DUH!

By the way I wasn't as early arriving to work as I had hoped. After a few sit ups (emphasis on few), planning activities for Zen and Tafi and reading a quick morning story to Lion before taking him to school...you get the idea...but having said that, it was such a better way to start the day!


Oh The Joys of Summer!

Three Cheers!!! Summer is here!
Well, not really for me but for my kids and my husband (who is a high school math teacher, yeah I know he deserves a vacation...).
So tomorrow morning when my alarm clock goes off... I will rise energized by the fact that there will be two less people to get ready...No fighting with my 5 year old to put on her shoes... No waiting for my 7 year old to decide what she's taking for lunch! Instead my almost two year old and I will shower, breakfast, dress, and jump in the car with ease! Leaving daddy and the girls to contend with the "summery" things like reading lists and swimming classes, picnics, summer homework assignments from mommy and whatever other fun things they come up with!!!
True, it may seem as if we are the ones getting a RAW deal, but that is just because you have NO IDEA what school day mornings are like around here!!!
Please note: This state of elation will probably be VERY short-lived!


At Last!!!

For years I have promised myself and a few of my close friends that I would one day commit to the dauntingly liberating task of creating a blog/newsletter dedicated to the journey that is parenthood.
For just as long, I have mused at the thought of giving advice and providing resources to the millions of mothers (both new and "seasoned") just clammoring for my two cents of advice (uhuh). I've dreamed of coordinating playgroups and making referrals to everything kid-friendly and awesomely enriching! I've even dreamed of responding to the occassional irate email with tactful quips that would ultimately cause the writer to see the error of their ways and join me on the soapbox of the day!
Alas the day has come where I feel like I have a drop more energy than usual and I have become tired of those taunting musings and the nagging curiosity of what one more blog (authored by me) would or could do in the cybersphere.
I foresee this blog serving as not only as my electronic journal but also as an opportunity to hash out those things that continue to perplex me i.e. the lackluster public education system in SoFl., the continuing downward spiral of the economy, the ebb and flow of this election year and of course marriage/parenthood/family life/pop culture, etc, etc.
I hope at minimum that these ramblings will in some way convey that as parents we will never have all of the answers, never have enough time, money or any of the other things we crave...until we begin to act instead of waiting in isolation for something to happen.
I'm getting off my butt...join me!