Happy Easter

This year was Marina's second Easter and the one she got to enjoy the most.

Happy Birthday Sophie

No matter how old she gets, she will always be my baby.

My Babygirl is Growing up

It seems like it was just yesterday that she was born and I am getting sentimental.

Blisswood Ranch, Texas

his place was amazing! I knew it from the first day we got there when we saw a rainbow that we would have a wonderful time..

Thankful for My Family

My babygirl’s Christmas photos have never looked more beautiful and I never more proud.

April 4, 2014

Do You Have a Favorite Child?

Apparently we do.  It seems it is hardwired for parents to have a favorite child whether we like to admit it or not.  Usually we don't. It's human nature and some other animals do it too but are a bit more extreme. For example, mom penguins will kick hers smallest eggs off the nest and Back Eagles watch as her bigger chicks rips her smallest chick to pieces.  But it seems other animals are not as cruel and tend to favor the weakest child. An example being coot birds who prefer to feed their weakest chicks and tend to feel them more. So where do humans lie in all of this? it turns out we are somewhere right in the middle.

So who gets this prestigious "Favorite Child" award?  Research shows that the first born are usually the favorite.  See what happens is that usually with your first child you are so excited to be a parent, you prepare and plan and when they are born you spend time with them as much as you can and you give it your very best. It seems 65% of moms and 78% of dads have a preference for the older one. First born are usually taller and stronger as they don't have to share food and have a 3 point IQ advantage because of their parent's initial focus.  So if our first child gets the top of the barrel of our parenting attention, then does it all goes downhill from there?

Apparently not.  There is still hope for the next children!  It seems, we parents have this thing called "Reproductive Narcissism":  If kids don't look like you, then can at least act like you. Personality, it seems plays an even more important role to becoming the favorite child, not just the first born we have so much invested in.  This rings true to many other kinds of relationships, like a spouse or a friend for example.  The more you have in common with someone, the better you get along and this has nothing to do with birth order.

Ok so, so what about if you have five girls and only one boy, I bet your bottoms this one boy will be special. An only boy or an only girl are different so this child will get extra attention.  This is also true for a beautiful child or one with a special talent, whom many times are treated better.  We all remember "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" right? Humans have a bias for the lovely over the less so, which can mean bonus points with parents.  So what if you're not the cutest thing ever born, is there still hope?

Of course there's always hope. It also seems moms and dads have a tendency to be suckas for the opposite sex child.  It seems that most likely the favorite child are the first born son for a mom and the  last born daughter for a dad.  It is the coveted "Mommy's Prince" or "Daddy's Princess" place.

Ok, so let's say you're less than the prettiest thing, born somewhere in the middle and there's more of you, now what? Are we doomed? Not so fast, there's still hope if your parents have this thing called compassion. 

It seems it's not always narcissism or the little Princess in the family that gests the attention.  We humans, seem to be moved by this little thing called compassion.  Coot birds prefer to feed their weakest chicks so as to give all their chicks an equal chance of survival.  Many humans may treat their weakest child not only equally but favoring them since they are the ones who need the help.  This may ring true with a learning disability or physical disabeled child as a parent will do all we can for all our children to help them thrive.

So as it seems like the "favorite child" would have it made right?  All the glamour of the attention and affection of their parents?  The undenied devotion and constant nagging of their parents for perfection?  As it turns out, being the favorite child is not always the best place to grow up in. Favorites feel so much pressure that turns into a big burden to carry and although being the favorite may boost self esteem and confidence, It may also leave kids with a sense of arrogance and entitlements which turns out is not so good as adults.

What about the "UnFavorite" Children?  I bet they don't have it any better.  It seems as even thought they may grow up wondering if they're unworthy, they do tend to grow up having better relationships as adults. But the bottom line is kids who feel less loved develop anxiety, low self esteem and depression.  As it turns out parents, If you must have a favorite, you need to keep it to yourself.
As a general rule, studies show , the family "Favorite Child" tends to be your first born, the child you have the most in common with, the weakest child who needs more of your assistance, the opposite gender of the parent and also the only son or only daughter.  To be the favorite child is not all fun and games for the one who is or isn't.  Most times the favorite child know their status and keeps quiet about it so it keeps siblings off their backs.   No matter where you are on the "favorite" side of the seesaw, It's hard for favorites with so much expectations from their parents and hard for those who are denied of it.

Can this really be?  In my personal life I have seen it.  I wasn't born last and have five sisters and I didn't have much in common with my mother as a child so we grew up distant.  I have a million times more in common with my mother now as an adult and our relationship is amazing.  With five sisters and one brother you can see our situations were a bit complicated.  I can only imagine how my mother kept up with all of us to even bother with favorites. That was parenting back them.

When I hear the word "Favorite Child", it immediately seems that we may love one child more.  While this is exactly true for some parents, I could not imagine myself feeling this way.  I know, I have seem some mothers proclaim their complete and total love for one child and brush off the other in complete contempt.  I don't know, it's just that some parents are assholes I guess and may have gown up with parents who did this to them too.  You know the chain continues.  Other parents learn from their parents behavior and try to avoid the very things their parents did that hurt them.

I have three daughters so the "uniqueness" rule and "mommy's prince " rule go out the window.  My first born daughter did in fact get a lot of our attention as she was the only child for about six years.  There was no toy she didn't get nor free time of ours she didn't have, she won our hearts and had our attention for a very long time.   Then came our second daughter, a sweetheart from the very beginning.  She won our hearts and is the most daddy girl there ever has been.  From the very beginning we showed our first daughter to share but also that she was still very special as we didn't want her to feel less because of the new baby.  Then comes our third and  is the little one of the family and a bit spoiled I might add.  She is a mommy girl right now no matter how much the daddy wishes she leaned more his way.  Bribes don't work at this age, she only cares for mama .  I like to cry victory over this baby but I know it might not last.  At some point all baby girls will turn into "daddy girls" or at least in my home.  Our children are the biggest blessings we have received and each one is special in their own way.  We have taught them to be fair and  to treat each other as equal.  They have different needs as they are of different age and for that reason they are treated differently but only for that reason.  Responsibilities are different, needs are different but never is anyone better.  This is a very important lesson every child must learn.

My favorite child?… Well, I have Three!  I do have to confess though,  I am kind of a bit of a sucka for the only "Man Boy" of the family but like I should, I will keep this to myself. :)

March 31, 2014

Healthy Benefits of Juicing

No doubt you've heard so many people do this.  Adding juicing into your nutrition program can provide lasting benefits that will help you get on a healthful eating track.
  1. Absorbing healthy benefits is easy and immediate.  Juicing allows pre-digestion of fruits and vegetables meaning you can fully absorb vital nutrients much more rapidly and completely than through solid foods.
  2. The advantages of plant food are maximized. Fruits and vegetables support your immune system and provide antioxidants and nutritions that helps address toxicity and lack of nutrients which help fight diseases such as heart disease, cancer, chronic pain and fatigue, arthritis and fibromyalgia. 
  3. Your intake and variety of fresh produce increases. Juicing not only makes it easier to up your consumption, but it can also allow you to benefit from fruits and vegetables you might not enjoy eating whole.  
Juicing is a great way to energize and heal yourself, flush away toxins, and implement a program for optimal health.  Here's a couple of great juicing recipes for you.

1 handful of parsley Directions:
1 dark green lettuce leaf 1. Cut produce to fit your juicer’s feed tube
2. Wrap the parsley int he lettuce leaf and push through the juicer slowly.
1 Apple Juice all remaining ingredients.
2 inch ginger root 4. Stir and pour into a glass. Drink as soon as possible.

1/2 Apple Directions:
4 Carrots 1. Cut produce to fit your juicer’s feed tube
3 Fennel stalks with leaves and flowers 2. Wrap the parsley int he lettuce leaf and push through the juicer slowly.
1/2 Cucumber, peeled if not organic 3. Juice all remaining ingredients.
1 Handful of Spinach 4. Stir and pour into a glass. Drink as soon as possible.
1 inch chunk ginger root

March 28, 2014

The Oscars 2014

These were my four favorites and until I had seen them all I could make up my mind about them. I love movies, I just don't go to the theatre much now that I have a big family so I prefer to watch them at home. Redbox is my best friend you know. Well you see after accumulating hundreds of DVDs I never watch again, I figured this was the obvious best choice for me. We now only buy movies we really like, would watch again and actually want to collect as is the case for Movie of the Year. 

Movie of the Year should be a given, it's a movie we would want to own so usually as soon as it's announced at the Oscars, we get in Amazon and click Buy Now. It should be the Best Movie of the year so naturally it should as expected, be awesome but the Oscar voters get it wrong sometimes. Need I remind you the year Avatar lost Movie of the Year? Hmmm? I still want to pull their hairs for that monstrosity. Naturally we bought the movie that won and it was a Borefest!! 

Yes, the Oscar voters get it wrong often times and this year was no different on a few. Sure, I'm no expert but somethings are just easy to see. 

12 Years a Slave. Movie of the Year. Best Supporting Actress.
I think they got one right and one wrong or maybe both wrong? Yes, another slave movie, not my favorite topic I must say. Reliving that painful, horrible time of history is not one of my favorite things to do while I sit down in my PJs and eat popcorn. We clicked Buy Now remember so now we had to watch it. 

The Best movie was possibly right but still not outstanding. It was a good movie to watch once and probably never again. The acting was good, if anything the slave owners got me more stirred up than anything. When an actor makes you feel any kind of emotion, like hate, that's good acting to me. Just because it's not my favorite topic movie, this is a 3 STAR. 

The Best Supporting Actress was absolutely and without a doubt wrong. Lupita Nyong'o role was not something that would come out of an Oscar winner. My opinion is she had some ok acting scenes and one good scene, a sad part at the end, and that's it. To me, they got this so wrong but then again there wasn't much better to choose from.
American Hustle. No wins. 
I think they go this right. I watched it but wasn't impressed. Remember I don't impress easily. Avatar and Titanic are about the only 5 Star movie I've ever seen so a 4 is about as good as it gets for most movies. This one is a 3 STARS.

This movie had actually tied with Gravity with nominations --10, but was completely shut out at the award ceremony winning absolutely nothing at all. I guess now they know what it feels like to be Leobardo DiCaprio at an Oscar ceremony. 

I enjoyed watching it but wasn't "Buy" worthy or "Rewarch" worthy. Actors were decent but definitely not Oscar worthy. Moving on...

Dallas Buyers Club. Best Actor. Best Supporting Actor. 
Wow, wow, wow. They got this SO right! I give this 4 STARS for sure.  First off Mathew McConoughey was outstanding in acting, not to mention his physical appearance was crazy as he lost so much weight just for this role. The story was a bit different, I actually had no idea what the movie was about when I began watching it. Sometimes it good to go totally blind into a movie so you end up pretty surprised by it or totally bummed out. This time I was pleasantly surprised. 

I knew Jared Leto had won Best Supporting Actor but I didn't know what role or movie he played in. Even after watching the movie Dallas Buyers club I still didn't know it was him who played the transvestite with AIDS. We didn't know who was playing this role he but definitely knew he deserved some kind of award and were blown away after knowing it was Jared. I think it's great acting when you absolutely have no idea who the actor is. I feel it was well deserved on this one too. 
Gravity. Best Director. 
Finally saw it and I although I was very excited to see it, I was a little underwhelmed. Well it was a movie based on floating in space and surviving in finding a way to get back to earth. It does make you appreciate being here rather than out there, the most hostile and scary place in the Universe. I got a little teary eyed at the end when she finally makes it to earth... Spoiler Alert too late! Aww Earth Sweet Earth! I'm assuming you already saw this movie of course so sorry about that if you didn't. 

I can see why Sandra Bullock didn't win Best Actress or why this movie didn't win best movie, there just wasn't enough content to the movie other than two big actors, a great band and a big ass green screen. Yeah, I'm sure there was more to it but to me that's what it seemed. It was pretty awesome to watch once and the acting with Bullock and Clooney was the best. Director Alfonso Cuaron did an amazing job at this movie, well deserved. 

So, to me, I think they got most of the awards right, other than the Best Supporting Actress that is. "Let it Go" from Frozen win Best Song and Best Animated Feature. I bought it as soon as it came out and my girls were not disappointed and have been watching it ever since.  I may be a grouch but I think it's not the best movie Walt Disney has made, so. I have enjoyed the best of last year and can't wait to see what other amazing movie they come up with this year. 

The Oscars did more that show some great movies but also some funny stuff. Their host Ellen DeGeneres set a new social media record with her celebrity filled selfie that was retweeted more times than any photograph in Twitter history. President Barack Obama had the previous record. 

I've always a movie lover and still waiting on my one and only true love, Avatar 2. I've looked forward to it for so long, I fear after waiting for so long I will be disappointed at the very end. I still don't see what could be taking so long with part 2... It's been years, come on!!! How big could their new Green screen need to be? 

Oh well, as I try to live with my frustration over Avatar, I look forward to some less that 5 Star movies for now. Until then, Chio! :)

March 24, 2014

Spring Break 2014

It's not fair the water is so cold at the ocean at this time of the year but my girls did what they could and went in. For the first time we made our way into Florida to meet their beach but it just wasn't South enough to really enjoy it.  We got a fun time, delicious food and some wonderful memories... and let's not forget the amazing sunset.  You know how I live for the sunsets!
Thanks to our new Toyota Highlander, our trip was so much more comfortable.  There was room for everything and everyone and I looked forward to my turn to drive.  Our first stop was visiting Gary's mother and eating her breakfast is something we look forward to. It was so great to see family and spend some time together.  
A day at the beach!  Finally we met the Florida coast and even though the water was cold, my girls didn't miss this opportunity to jump in.  I've looked forward to sinking my toes in the sand for months, it's been a long and cold winter and I finally got a turn to.  Although this was great, I look forward to the Summer and finally enjoying several days by the ocean.  That will be awesome and can't wait, it's just around the corner.
A day in the Country. Our last day was spent enjoying the beautiful country side at my girl's grand daddy's ranch.  The first day Spring became a beautiful day enjoying the outdoors and everything beautiful nature has to offer.  I couldn't think of a better way to spend this day and my girls, like always, love spending time with their grand parents.  They are always so wonderful and sweet to us.  We can't wait to visit them again.

Oh Spring Break 2014, you were so fun and filled with wonderful memories!  I can't believe it all went by so fast but good thing so many more wonderful memories are coming up in a few months.  The Summer vacation is right around the corner and we can't wait.

One regret, I wish I had used my Mark 5D at least once but my iPhone did a good enough of a job. :)  I enjoyed each and every moment.

March 21, 2014

Don’t Shake My Tree

This dates back to my tree hugging days, like last week.  Being that I love nature what better way than to have nature help me with my parenting.

A tree will stop bullying.  A few months ago I wanted to explain the devastating effect being mean to someone can have on the rest of their lives.  How, just one single moment of rudeness, could scar a small child into growing up sad, confused and depressed.  Well, bent.

I came up with the idea that we are all like trees.  
When we are in our mom’s tummy, we are all seeds then we are born into a sprout.  As we grow and age do does our branches and leaves.  Our parents gives us love and protection same way mother nature gives rain and sunshine to a small tree to help it grow.  As small trees we are very vulnerable to nature and our surrounding and anything that happens around us can have devastating consequences in our shape and future.  If someone comes and shakes our tree, what happens?  We may lose many leaves or maybe even end up with a broken limb somewhere.  Not a biggie, we have more.  But what happens when it happens again, or the damage is much stronger and your small tree who is barely growing up tiny branches get broken off?  That young tree might never be able to grow that one branch again.  Can you imagine the devastating effect on that young tree if it keeps getting shaken and branches breaking off?  What could happen then? The effects or scars will be for life.  As an adult tree he will be missing many branches, limbs and may be without much leaves.  What do we do to a tree that is bent one way because his branches are gone on one side, we usually cut it down because it’s leaning so much it could fall and injure someone.  This tree is not a healthy tree. That tree is a danger… a danger to cause damage on someone else. This is a child that has been bullied his whole childhood.

Turning a very important topic into something easy for children to understand is key.  I almost had their eyes watering down for this poor tree who was scared by being bullied only to end up doing the same thing to someone else. 

“Your little sister is a sprout and we have to protect her tiny branches and leaves .  We can't or allow anyone else to shake her tree and cause her to grow up bent.  Every one of her leaves  and tiny branches are precious as she is shaping up to become a big, lush and beautiful round tree that will bear fruit one day and make her own seeds. This is what I want my girls to grow up to be one day.”

They got it.  Then I finished off by asking them: “What kind of tree are you?” or “What kind of fruit tree do you want to become?”  They were shouting off many idea out, “Apple tree! Orange tree!”  I wanted to teach my girls that any kind of bullying is unacceptable and the consequences are for life that may never be repaired. I know it begins with me at home but at the end of the day, if they don’t value themselves they can allow others at school to be the bullies on them.  

Remember: Don’t Shake My Tree!

Yes maybe it’s corny, but they got it. :)

March 17, 2014

Reasons We Procrastinate

While we all procrastinate, some of us do it more than others. I mean really, why do something today when you can do it tomorrow? This has been my motto. Sometimes a bit scatterbrained has left me wishing and completely regretting I didn’t get my project done sooner. I dread the running around trying to get it all done at the last minutes. You know, we’ve all been there. “Ugh, if I could only turn back time.” The sad truth is time cannot go back and when you’re a procrastinator, time is never on our side.
To try to cut back on procrastinating, first I had to find out the why I did it. It’s not because I’m weak or slightly stupid but that I would rather be doing something else that is more fun. It’s been my experience, I have gone through these several types of procrastination . The key to beating them all is of course to understand why we procrastinate in the first place.

Here’s a quick guide to three different types of procrastinations. Because once you know who they are, you will be able to spot and beat them.

Anxious Procrastination.
Sometimes we put too much in our plate, or daily activities, which cause us to begin dreading all the things we have to do or accomplish. When there is no time for fun or things we like to do, we end up feeling the anxiety and stress begin to procrastinate. In turn this stress leads to more procrastination and the cycle continues. See, the result is more of what causes your stress. Ugh, a cynical roller coaster and round it goes. I know this too well.

Well, what can we do about it? This is quite simple really. Unschedule your life. Make time in your schedule for fun activities you enjoy during the day or in between the work day. If it’s something you enjoy doing, do it. Schedule it in your agenda as well. Work, work, fun, fun. The fun becomes the reward for your work and this way everything gets done, and in time which is very important. This scheduled fun or downtime will give you the chance to relax and prevent you from over scheduling. Sometimes it’s best to start your fun task first, you’ve made the dreaded task a lower priority which (in theory) will make you dread it a lot less, and in the meantime, you’re still being productive. It’s a win-win. Get it? Yay! :) It’s all about tricking your brain here.

“Plenty of time” Procrastination. 
Phew, boy am I guilty of this one. “Ugh, I have all day to do it, I’ll do it later.” Then all of a sudden later is already gone and past. See it’s true when they say, Time flies when you’re having fun If you think you have plenty of time, you will procrastinate.

The key to this one here is to create deadlines. If you have to-do you’ve been putting off for months, changes are they don’t have deadlines set on them. They don’t have priority. You might as well call it your “procrastination list.” Start by setting yourself deadlines on your lists and tell your friends or family about them if possible, you will be not only be able to get your work done, but you’ll do a good job of it. See this public announcements should keep bring you the motivation to meet those deadlines because nothing works better than nagging from a family member.

Perfectionist Procrastination 
Oh I know this one, I live with one. Gonna start to work out? Well, first he has to buy every single work-out book that’s ever been published. Gonna cook a meal, but first he has to buy every single cooking book ever published. And on it goes, you get it. Then there’s a hundred cooking books and no meal was ever prepared.

Perfectionists are always striving for the best and, as such, are constantly criticizing their own work. For some perfectionists, they will not cook a meal unless they went through a cooking study course. This fear of failing, or producing work to a low standard, can be so overwhelming they never actually get around to starting anything.

Just get it done already! Over planning or over thinking something ends up being your only reason to procrastinate and nothing else. Sometimes just doing an adequate job is good enough. A meal would’ve be nice. Like I always say, Something is always better than nothing Perfectionists procrastinators give themselves a hard time being happy with what is and focus too much or fantasize on perfection. Stop being hard on yourself and just let it be. Do what you can do now because rushing at the last minute will actually make you do a worse job anyways.
There is surely a procrastinator in all of us. For whatever reason it may be, it’s important to understand there are things we can do to fight it. I find scheduling in my “fun” times in are just as important and scheduling the important task. It brings balance to my life which otherwise can get a bit chaotic. With three kids, a business to run, a husband, a home to tend to and four cats, it can get easy to forget some things. But I manage. Some things I just cannot procrastinate no matter what. Family is always first.