To my sweet girl- you are Seven.

18 Nov

SONY DSC

G,
I can’t believe you are seven. And I am well aware that I say this every year. I remember the day that you were born like it was yesterday. You were here. My heart grew that day. And it grows each day that I am blessed to be on this earth with you.
Like many things in life I planned certain pieces to the tee (which typically don’t go that way) and I just went with most of it. So I really have no room for frustration when you live your life in the same capacity.
Each day you are evolving. First grade is treating you well with all the scholastic elements coming together into the wealth of knowledge that you possess (Mom, I just used my schema….um ok.). Structured learning is something you are very good at, but you excel in areas that have no grade and can’t be put into a box for grading. Just the other day, I got an email (in response to a logistical question for room parent stuff) from your counselor:
Hi Mrs. Talamantez,

I have seen you coming and going in the office but have not had a chance to just say Hi and tell you how much we love Gia!
She is a doll. I love going to her class for guidance or to drop stuff off, or say hi to the kiddos…. Gia always has something fun to share 

You are one blessed Momma!

Have a great weekend,

And this is not a one case incident. You have teachers that follow your life, invite you to their children’s events, come visit you in far away places. You have doctors that focus on tummies and visit after ear surgery. You have camp counselors that ask about you.

You are magical.

You are captivating.

You are overwhelmingly awesome.

And I get to see every step. The ups and the downs. That tongue and heart that bring so much joy to the world can be equally as sharp and pointed at times. We are working together to hone this skill and be the best people we can be.

How many seven year olds are that self-aware? Not many.

I am so proud to be your mother. I am so proud when you come home to tell me that one little girl (that you so wish would be your friend) said something mean to another little girl (who is one of your genuine friends) and you just had to tell the mean girl that it is not appropriate to make others feel bad about themselves because we all have good and bad.

I am proud. I am blessed. I am the one that got the best gift.

From the moment I found out about you I had no idea why I was handed you. And I still don’t. Every day I know I am experiencing greatness unfold. From the moments that make me cry tears of joy to the moments that make me scream in frustration you are a force.

A force that will change the world. Thank you Gia. Thank you for taking me on the ride. And loving me for all of my good and all of my bad.

I can’t wait to see who you become. I know from experience that every day you somehow become more spectacular.

Happy birthday my sweet girl. Happy Birthday.

Love, Mommy

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Different.

7 Nov

Appreciating the differences in your kids

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Luke and Gia are different. Much like Ralph and I are different, or Eddie and I are different, or any two people on this earth are different.

Different on the exterior: the way we look, talk, act, but more so in the way we think, feel and from a scientific level the neurons fire between our brain cells. We are not the same.

Luke loves to take things with him to school. And he is all boy. So, everything is a monster truck, airplane, motorcycle, whatever thing I could care less about but now have grown semi obsessed with because of the deep, consuming love that I have for my son. (My love affair with sparkles and make up has long been cultivated and it wasn’t necessary to grow with Gia’s. But my love for her is overwhelming too.)

This morning in the car he had a push airplane toy with a man inside.

He wanted to name said man.

My first reaction was YAY! What is he going to come up with? Gia and I have created some fabulous names over the years-

Sofia Stocking, Cromley the Crab, Fiona Glitter Sparkles Princess, the list goes on.

A tiny voice (that sounds exactly like his sisters did at that age), “Airplane man- no wait! Airplane Man Luke.”

Direct. To the point. Descriptive. And perfect from his mouth. So logical that I truly don’t understand it. But I love it. Just the same as I love Stainless Barbie Pinky Perfect.

They are so different, but the fill my cup the same- to a state of overflow.

I love different. On every level. From precise and analytic to over the top and ridiculous. Different is what makes the world go round and I appreciate seeing it so clearly each and every day.

Luke decides he really likes to dance.

10 Oct

Gia LOVED all things Sesame Street. We have not really had a lot of Elmo with Luke. Mainly because Gia is way to cool for that nonsense. We still have the dancing Elmo. Kate had it- and loved it.

Gia had it and loved it.

And just a few days ago, Luke brought him downstairs to dance.

I love how you can tell from these two videos just how alike and different these two best buds are.

Fall To Do.

21 Sep

First of all, have you heard about Wunderlist?  I downloaded it to all of my devices recently and have really fallen in love.  I am a list person.  But the kind of list person that ends up with hundreds of thousands of systems and none of those actually work.  Wunderlist is kind of like Evernote but not nearly as robust.  Some might find this a downfall, but I find it a blessing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Evernote but it is too smart for me.

The short and sweet of it is this- Wunderlist allows you to make a “to do” list and file it.  So you have work, shopping, kids, education, or whatever.  There are tons of lists on the internet.  And I realized that I had been working on a fall to do list on my handy dandy app.

The T’s Fall To Do’s:

 

 

Host an outdoor dinner party.

I have had great visions of these for as long as I can remember.  A long table, rustic mis matched dishes, crisp air, good food, cheap wine, and loads of laughter.  We have been working hard on the patio section of our back yard and once the weather turns we have everything to make this happen with ease.  Along with a flat screen TV and some football?  Even the men will be thrilled.

RT, Papa, and Gia Gardening in Fresno.

RT, Papa, and Gia Gardening in Fresno.

Fall garden with the kids.

I have attempted to garden in the past.  And failed.  Miserably.  So when I say garden with the kids what you should read is get someone to set up a place with an irrigation system and throw things in the ground and then the kids and I can go look at it and watch it grow.  Because really, that is what I mean.  And maybe after watching that and feasting on its bounty I can grow a garden.

Seriously, some of my favorite moments happen during these walks.

Seriously, some of my favorite moments happen during these walks.

Walk to school with Gia and Luke a minimum of three times a week.

We started this in August and I am LOVING every minute of it.  We typically walk everyday.  I have it on the list because I want it to continue.  Rain, cold, shine, whatever.  We are going to pretend we are city slickers here in suburbia.  Funny thing is how people in suburbia look at you like you have three heads when you are walking around in a subdivision in “normal” clothes.  One sweet mom from Gia’s school texted me and asked if we were having car trouble.  Another one asked me how I could walk in non workout clothes.  But we are doing it.  One step at a time.

Fresh from the ground.

Fresh from the ground.

Get our veggies from the Farmer’s Market.

This is so simple and we don’t have early morning soccer games this fall (because they are all at 3:30- BOO!) so we should do this.

Great things happen around the family table.

Great things happen around the family table.

Family sit down dinner five times a week.

We have been doing this since the start of school and I am eating it up with a spoon.  I did this my entire life and somehow during our cross country move we had gotten away from the tradition.  I love the help from G setting the table with fabric napkins, glass plates, glass cups, water jugs and putting big pots of food to be passed around.  We start the meal with grace and end with conversation starting questions.  This is not a fall goal but a life mission.

Visit some local DFW farms.

Because there have to be some, right!?

Berry picking at P-6 Farms this summer.

Berry picking at P-6 Farms this summer.

Take a trip to my parents and visit the P-6 corn maze and pumpkin patch.

My kids think my parents live in Hawaii so I like to get them to Mimi and Popa’s whenever possible.  We went to the P-6 farm this summer and picked blackberries and they are just the most lovely souls and they make some mean pickled okra.  I am looking forward to adding this to our fall traditions as well.

Teach something.

I am thinking it will be Sunday School.  But honestly, I don’t know.  This is just a weird yearning in my heart that I have been ignoring for the past year and I want to stop it.  So I am going to teach something.

Paris: Notre Dame.

Go to Paris.

That is happening.  In less than a week.

Allen's Boots

Ride horses.

I live in Texas.  I grew up riding on and off.  There is a facility literally two miles from my home.  And by executing this goal, I a can fulfill one of my petty ones: using Pamela Euwing from the first season of Dallas as my fall style icon.  Yep.  Love me some Dallas and riding boots.  Yee Haw!

I think this is all achievable, while keeping us busy but calm.  What is on your list this Fall?

Simple happy things.

9 Sep

noname (4)

Luke was asked at preschool today what makes him happy- ” When I play at home with Mommy and Daddy and Gia upstairs”. Simple enough sweet boy. That makes me happy too.

The Lost Art of Walking to School.

3 Sep

Gia First Day

Gia started asking this summer if she could be a walker. We live roughly three miles from Gia’s school. Too far to walk, but too close to drive. (Not really. We did that for an entire year.)

In an effort to say, “yes”  I did some brainstorming. How to find a solution to this walking conundrum?  Not to mention, she is helping me solve my problem of wanting more time with her.

More time where we are  just in a space together. Where there are no distractions from the radio, screens, toys, what could we be doing. Just us (and us can certainly include other humans we love both family and friends). Where we can talk. Or not talk. Just be. If something crosses our mind- we discuss it. Or we may just hold hands.

First I started parking across the street from G’s school.  And it really wasn’t enough.  It was like walking into Target.  I wanted to cross streets.  Look both ways, see the sun, find rocks, feel the humidity, feel the cold (whenever that is coming GOOD GOSH).  Last Thursday, I found a place about a half a mile from Gia’s school and roughly half a mile from Luke’s school.

And we walk.

Well, we parked.  Got out. Put on Gia’s backpack.  Crossed the street. Luke and I walked Gia to those two big double doors and kissed her good bye.  Then Luke and I walked back towards the car, passed it and went straight to his school.  I walked back to the car and drove home.

I am in love with this. Sure, it adds some time on the morning routine.  But it is precious time.  You see, while we are not right- when- we- wake- up morning people; we are get- us- going- a- little -and- then- we- are morning people. It works.

Every time I turn around I am bombarded with the facts that this time with my children is fleeting. I am committing to doing this rain or shine a minimum of three days a week.  This way if we go to JKC Live!  we can park closer and if we are running late I won’t be backing off of my promise.

With three days a week I hope we can see a community form from walking into a school and not simply sitting in the carpool lane.  With three days a week I anticipate mornings (no matter how rushed or flustered they start) with conversations about aspirations and excitement.  With three  days a week I except to meet friends I would have never heard about around the dinner table.

And lets be honest, this extra two miles on my FitBit will certainly help me beat Popa on steps.

So here’s to a new routine, a few extra steps, and more moments that I can cherish with my sweet darlings.

Kids and color.

28 Aug

BiRacialHands

Every parenting book that I have ever read talks about pointing out details to toddlers during everyday event.

What color are the leaves?

Can you see that there are so many petals on the flower?

Look how big that house is?

As I do with many things in life I tend to take the first part and run with it.  So, my kids have gotten a lot of “What color is XYZ?”  in their days.

Last night on our Wagon Walk while Gia and Ralph were at soccer practice things were no different.

“Luke, What color is the tractor?”

“Blue.”

“What color is the dump truck?”

“Red.”

“Duke, what color are your shoes?”

“YELLOW!!!!  My favorite.”

And then, I remembered Gia telling me one day that I was purple when she was Luke’s age.  I had on a long sleeve purple shirt.  I had also been partaking in a fair amount of NPR commentary on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”  speech.

Gia and a red furry guy

So I asked my tri racial (Hispanic, Caucasian- mutt, Japanese) two year old-

“Luke, what color are you?”

With great parenting and societal pride, my boy looked at me like I was crazy.  As if all people are the same.  People aren’t colors.  Things are colors.  Instead of leaving that perfect moment alone (as I should have.  I only realize that now as I am writing this) I prodded once more-

“Luke, what color is your skin?”

Still perplexed (but ever the pleaser) he looked down and said,

“Black?….no silver, silver.  No black?  I don’t know mommy.”

And all I could say is, “No sweet boy.  You are gold.  Just like your heart.  We are all full of gold and it shines through.”

No child is born thinking people are a color.  We create that.  It is our job to look for the gold on the inside in lieu of placing a judgement for anything that we see on the outside.

Duke and Brownie

Thank you for the changes that you have made America.  I am well aware there are still grave injustices in the world but I think that one person at a time, one heart at a time we can all judge not”… by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

I am proud to see first hand evidence that we are contributing to this dream Dr. Martin Luther King.