Tuesday, March 8, 2016

International Women's Day

Today is ‪#‎InternationalWomensDay‬ . As a woman raising two daughters, I have many hopes and many more fears about the world these girls will bloom into. I hope they will be respected as equals, and their lives will be free of the struggle that women have had to do to get everything we have today, that everything we currently lack as far as simple human rights will be given freely. I hope they will build up their fellow women, and not tear them down to feel better about themselves. I hope they will not bow down to anyone, and will respectfully refuse to be told what to do (in certain situations, I don't want to raise children with an unfounded sense of entitlement). I hope they will never stop reaching for something better, never stop trying to be the best they can be. I hope they support each other and others, and are willing to be a strong female example for the generations that come after. I hope they are strong, I hope they are brave and I hope they never lose their excitement for life. I hope they never let others tear down their love for all that's pink, sparkly, and colorful, and that when someone rips apart their adoration for princesses and fairy tales they refuse to let go, knowing a love for princesses doesn't automatically equal being weak and wanting someone to take care of you. I hope they realize that being a strong and independent woman doesn't mean they have to stop being silly and put childhood fun behind them.

With these hopes, I fear the world will not change for their generation. I fear that not only will the world not be easier for girls and women to grow up unfettered, but that it will be harder for them to grow into what they want to be. I fear that the world is degenerating and becoming even scarier for our children, boys and girls. I worry for their lives lead online with so many people out there trying to weaken them. I fear that while one of my daughters is strong-willed and won't be taken down easily, I fear for her sister, because she is so soft-hearted and easily gives all that she has. I fear for her because while I don't want her to lose the beauty that is the core of her soul, that it will make her a victim and easily preyed upon. I worry and hate that I even have to think about that. I fear that all the stories and lessons and boosting of confidence won't be enough, and she will still be easily broken.
But what I DO know for a fact is that these girls are bright, they are kind and they are loved. I KNOW we can build them up and teach them that they may have to work and fight and never let go of their dreams, and that we have to be okay knowing we are doing all we can to raise strong and powerful girls. I KNOW we are trying to be the best parents we can be, and that with the support of the family and friends, and with the foundation of school and church, that we can make the best young women we can.

Last thing I know, these girls are special. They will always be special. And they are ours, and we are so proud. Someday, they will be women, and we will have to be confident we have done our job as parents.

Friday, March 4, 2016


When we moved, we moved within minutes of a HomeGoods. A place where I hadn't really spent much time, since the closest one we had to us was pretty far away and not worth the trek. Anyway, the one we have here is two stories, and the bottom one is a TJ Maxx! It's pretty awesome. Since we went to one (the one that was a trek which is now do-able after our move, but then we moved seconds away from this double-decker HG so we STILL won't go to that one often) and picked up some Calico Critters for Piper, this is THE PLACE to go for her.

We went last weekend, the whole family. The girls and I took the cart downstairs to TJ Maxx to check out the toys while Paul perused the stainless steel pans (his recent obsession as we transition from non-stick to stainless bit by bit). Piper saw no Calico Critters but fixated on some Play-Doh, while Ellie had her sights set on a Melissa and Doug bug bucket. Yeah. A bucket that looks like a bug. Whatever, she has a thing for buckets. We grabbed the Play-Doh (it was a pack of the kind you use for "details", softer and brighter colors), and the bucket and got out of there. When we got home, Ellie and Piper separated the colors, Ellie got a few and Piper got a few. Then Tornado Ellie appeared and mashed all her colors together. Poor orderly Piper nearly had a fit, "MAMA! SHE'S MIXING ALL OF THEM!" Her poor soul was crushed, and I got it. Your fresh new Play-Doh, recently dumped out of the container for the inaugural molding, only to find your little sister threw all caution to the wind and decided to see what happens when you mix four colors together. Chaos ensued. Piper then quickly realized that saying that goes, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em", and the smushing began.

Quickly, the once vibrant colors of magenta, neon pink, blue and yellow melded with the white and now we have a pile of purplish grey Play-Doh. Literally. Eight containers full of grey Play-Doh. And with this color, the girls have gotten inventive. "Mama! Make an elephant!" I have made many elephants now, with the girls' additions of ... rocks. "Here rock!", Ellie shouts. "MORE ROCK!" Ellie chants. "ELEPHAAAAAAAAAAAAANTS!" are what she wants.  Luckily I'm stocked with grey dough, right? So I sit, every day, making elephants. Elephant heads. Tails. Ears. We're coming up with new ways to make elephants. Ears down. Ears out. No ears. Giant tails. Trunk up, trunk down. Elephant on rocks. Elephant on rocks with clouds. Elephant with a big rock. Rock ON elephant.

Maybe next time I'll rethink that idea of letting them have access to ALL the colors of Play-Doh at once.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Welcome to the Chaos

I used to be a blogger. Not one who made money, or got "pageviews", or is really even missed on the internet, but I used to do it. I blogged about my wedding to my awesome husband back in 2007 for a wedding website, then I blogged (bitterly) while trying to conceive our first child, then moved along to a new blog when I got pregnant with our daughter, Piper. I blogged continuously afterward, mostly the hazards of being a working mom with your daughter in the office with you. After that, the posts got less humorous and got darker and depressing as we dealt with a few miscarriages while we tried to conceive our second and last child. Eventually, our daughter Ellie came along and... well, I don't know what happened. I stopped feeling the need to write anymore, and just kind of moseyed on with our life as a family of four. Then I realized recently that I really miss writing. Sure, I could easily just keep a journal, but I hate hand-writing, and well, I'm a sucker for attention and praise. Okay, not really on the last part, but maybe someday I'll have something to say that might help someone else? Who knows. Either way, I'm here now, ready to share my life with you. For starters, here we are.

That's me in the back left- I'm Amber. I'm 36 and work as a bookkeeper for a small company in LA. To the right is Paul, my fantastic husband. He teaches at a Catholic school. On his lap is our daughter Piper, she's six and goes to school with Paul. She's one of the sweetest kids you will ever meet. She has the heart of a Disney princess, the sense of humor of a... six year old girl? Piper is a twirler, a dancer and a giggle machine. She's an absolute love. On my lap is our daughter Noelle, who we call Ellie (aka "The Tornado" aka "Tornado Ellie"). She's two and a bucket of laughter. She keeps us on our toes with her antics, and she's fantastic with her mischief.

We recently moved from a two bedroom apartment to a detached house, and we have no idea what we're doing. We had a lovely garden that gradually started getting overgrown while we waited for Winter to come and kill everything. Silly us. We should have known Los Angeles doesn't actually have a "Winter". If anything it was WARMER this winter than it had been this summer! With a few recent rains (the so-called El Nino has yet to make the fearsome appearance we had been warned about), our greenery got out of control! Thanks to my dad and his trusty green thumb, he came over a few weekends and we tore shit UP. Well, out. We planted some seeds, tore out the horrid trumpet vines and loads of bushy flowers the previous owners left, and it's starting to look like we aren't hillbillies, whew. Little by little we're learning about this life in a house. With an actual garage! We don't keep our cars in there because so much space to store crap! Got a tub of old clothes that Ellie outgrew? WHO CARES if we're done having kids! Just store it in the garage! Found an old couch on the street? GARAGE IT. We may need it someday to start a colony of bed bugs! We moved from a commute of maaaybe 10 miutes to a commute of 30, and it took some getting used to, but we really seemed to have found our groove in this new home. We don't GO anywhere because who wants to drive 30 minutes to get to their old stomping groung? Instead we just kind of loiter outside our house, enjoying the sun and hoping neighbors don't judge us for our newfound freedom. Hopefully we'll put some pictures up on our walls someday, but hey, no need to get ahead of ourselves. We MAY still have a Thanksgiving harvest sign in our front yard. We move slowly, what can I say?

 Life is exciting with our two girls. They love each other so much, it's the best.

Their favorite thing to do in our house is chase each other. Literally, just chasing. Back and forth. ALL day long. It burns energy so I'm all for it, until someone runs into a corner or door, that is. Which kind of happens a lot. Oh! I forgot to mention we also have a dog.

Yes, the typical American family here. Two kids, a dog, crap shoved into closets so visitors don't notice how hectic our lives are. It's not pretty, but it's our life. Welcome to the chaos.