Happy Valentine’s Day – Old School Style

Four kids and only one room mom.
Room mom for one kid.
One classroom.
One.
That’s it.
And, that feels good.
It feels like enough.
I trust my room mom friends who take such good care of my other kids in their classrooms and I do my best with the one classroom I get to be mom in.
Valentines is one of my favorite “extra” holidays.
I love the colors.
Red. Pink.
I love the feelings of nostalgia that Valentine’s day brings.
When I was a kid, my mom used to make the biggest heart shaped valentine sugar cookies with pink icing.
She made them for my classroom.
She made them for kids in my grade who were no longer in my classroom.
She was known for these cookies.
She still makes them.
And, they are so good.
Because, they are good.  And, because she makes them with lots and lots of love.
I also remember really cute bags and boxes to put our class valentines in.
So, when we found out that we were going to have a classroom party for Valentine’s day…I knew I wanted the kids in Trinity’s first grade class to make Valentine Bags as their party craft.
The kids (pretty much) did everything for themselves.

They cut out hearts, glued on eyes, folded the accordion arms and legs. And, kept really busy and focused making their very own valentine bags.
And, I think, us parents, had a good time too.
Simple.
And kind of old school.
Just my style.
Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!
Love,
El Momma 

Oh the Momma Drama

I wrote this in December, just before Christmas. I’m sharing it now as the drama (always) continues. 
xoxo, El Momma

It’s been an interesting few weeks (months) around the El House. One up followed by a down followed by an up and on and on. You get the picture.

The biggest weight that we have been carrying is my dad’s health. He’s been in and out of the hospital for the last few months. It’s been hard. Thankfully, he seems to have turned a corner, he’s in a rehab facility and we are hopeful he will be strong enough to go home soon.

So, that brings me to my “Momma Drama” and breakdown of the day.

Let’s set the scene.

First, our school district sends out a district wide phone message notifying all the parents of a “threat of violence” (that appears to be uncredible) last night. Our school responds swiftly with closing the campus to all visitors. At this point, I feel sad that we’ve come to this, but I am okay.
We make it to school fine and all of our children are in the building safely. We decide to have breakfast nearby, just in case we are needed quickly. All is calm and well. My husband goes to work and I begin working from home. I decide I am going to exercise today “no matter what” and I pick out a power yoga class that I will absolutely attend. (I promise myself again!) I head to the back of my vehicle to put something in it and run a quick errand on my way to yoga. I see my kindergartner’s lunch box in the back and start driving to the school, since it’s already his lunchtime by then. (they have lunch super early in the day) I am about to turn on the road to our school when my phone rings and it is the school calling. I hear an automated recording which identifies itself as the “attendance office” and notifies me that “your student, Trinity…El…is absent today….” My heart sinks. “Don’t panic,” I tell myself. I end the call and find the school on my phone and call the front office. I calmly identify myself and tell them what happened. They ask me to hold as I pull up to the school. She returns to the phone to apologize and inform me that it was just an error. “Trinity is here.” The thoughts that ran through my head (in what was only a few seconds) were terrifying. All I wanted was to hold my sweet girl. To tell her I love her. To cherish her. I walked into the school and left Leeland’s lunch with a note. I got a quick hug from one of my babies’ teachers and I left to run the errand I still had to run, on my way to yoga.

So, I get to the monogram shop (the errand). I’m picking up our Christmas pajamas. They were being monogrammed and I had all of them ready, except for Moustapha’s (dad). I tried with him. I even ordered a pair of “men’s pajamas” from zulily to match the kids. And, the men’s pajamas I ordered were actually a child size medium. UGH! So, I finally resolve to just have a red tshirt monogrammed to match our pajamas. I had dropped off all of the other pajamas the week prior and I was given a firm timeline to return with Moustapha’s pjs or no monogram by Christmas. This was, of course, that final day. The sign on the door read “no more monogram orders before Christmas. All orders from this point forward will be ready after Christmas.” I totally ignored that and went in, picked up my 5 items and laid out Moustapha’s shirt and told the sweet lady behind the counter what I needed. She, very sweetly told me that it would be ready after Christmas. I replied with the information she gave me last week. She said she was sorry, but there was nothing she could do. That’s when I began to cry.

All the “stuff” that had been brewing and bubbling the last few weeks, came pouring out…all over the monogram lady. She stood there and listened to me…then she began to share her story and her “stuff” that had been brewing and bubbling began to come out. We were a sight. And, in the middle of it all, without talking about it, she filled out a new order form for me and promised me a monogrammed pajama top for my hubby before Christmas.

This is the stuff, people. This is real life. It’s sometimes messy and confusing and sad. And, sometimes it’s really really great.  PS. Yes, I made it to yoga. 

A year of Crazy Good El Life

Wow! 2015 flew by! It was fun. Some sad times. Some amazing times. We are very very grateful for another year! All in all -we have so much to be thankful for and much to look forward to- most of all : our families, another year of birthdays, good health, friends who are like family, our church home, jobs, vacation(s), surviving the “stranded somewhere in Alabama” adventure and so much more. 
Wishing you a happy and healthy 2016!
Much love,
El Momma 

When homework is a gift

Well, today’s kindergarten homework sure was a welcome surprise. Thanks, awesome Kindergarten team teachers!

It said “help mom sort the laundry or…” Something else. I didn’t read the rest. 
Not important.
Don’t get caught up on the fact that it said “help mom.” Obviously our child could help “dad” or a sibling or a grandparent or another caregiver. 
But, I’m just thanking these wonderful teachers for this unexpected gift. 
Me, supervising my five year old sorting laundry was truly a gift today. 
He’s happy and I’m happy. 
We took our instructions a little further and we started a load of “darks” together. Now he’s watching the machine. I think we will be here for a while. 

Don’t you just love it when we receive the gift of time?

Slow down.
Do a load of laundry with your child.
You might find, like I did, that it’s actually pretty relaxing and fun when you do it together. 

Our Baby Girl is Seven

Day one
Whale watching in Maui 
Standing in California 
Enjoying your brothers 🙂

Walking in Valencia 
Cutie pie dancer 
California Beach girl

Florida beach girl 

Turning six 

Turning seven 

Through the years, you’ve brought so much joy and love into our hearts and lives. We thank God every single day that we have you, our daughter, Trinity! We love you. Happy seventh birthday, sweetheart. 

#ELMOMMA31 31 Days of Blogging in July

El Momma, July 2015

We did it! This is my final post of my self-given challenge to blog every day for the month of July. We went on a few random thought trails, but for the most part it was a great experience. I enjoyed sharing a part of my life with you every day this month. If you missed a post or two, feel free to look around. Every post was tagged with the hashtag #elmomma31 , so that should help or you can just scroll back through time or start on July 1  and scroll up until you end on July 31.

Welcome to August. I’m sure you will hear from me again soon as we gear up to go BACK TO SCHOOL!

much love,
El Momma (Rebekah)

The beginning

Day 30 of blogging for 31 days in July is my birthday and I’d like to share a story.
My story begins a little something like this:
Once upon a time there was a family of four living in the outskirts of Houston, Texas in the late 70s. Momma, Dad, Michael (age 12) and Melinda (age 7). They were a happy little family of four. Michael played baseball and basketball. Melinda was an active runner, involved in the Glenn Doman method and attending the Institutes with her family as well as she was a poster child for the March of Dimes. Momma stayed home with Melinda and Dad worked two jobs.
It must have been just after Christmas one year when Mom found out she was expecting a baby.
What a surprise. Nearly eight years had gone by since Melinda’s birth. And, although they had hoped and prayed for more children, enough time passed to where they just didn’t think it would happen.
Momma saw many doctors. One story she told me stuck out in particular. This doctor, who did not know Momma well, but knew of her family situation and that she had one child with Down’s Syndrome gave her unsolicited advice. 
First of all, he told her that there was an increased likelihood that the baby she was carrying would have Down’s because she already had a child with Down’s and because she was older. He then proceeded to tell her that it would be too much to handle. 
She didn’t believe that. She believed that if she was given (blessed) with another child with special needs, it would be part of God’s plan for her as a mother. And, if God gave her another special needs child, He would give her the strength to handle it just fine.
The next few months were an exciting time for this soon-to-be-family of five as they anticipated the birth of their little baby boy, Matthew.
Yes, Matthew. A baby boy.  I’m not sure as to why they were so sure that the baby was a boy. But, they were. Matthew had blue clothes and even a beautiful baby blue handmade blanket. Matthew was due to be born on his dad’s birthday. Five days later, Matthew still hadn’t arrived and Michael needed school clothes. So, momma took him school clothes shopping at  Wieners Department Store. He was thirteen at the time and shopping for jeans. Probably not that exciting…until his Mom asked him to time her contractions. She was in labor! I’m not sure if they made a purchase or not. I will have to follow up on that part. But, I know they went to the hospital and baby Matthew was born that evening. Except, Baby Matthew was a girl and they named her “Rebekah Anne.” Surprise! It’s a Rebekah!
Thank the Lord they never thought for a second that I would be too much to handle. I’m sure I was too much to handle at times, but that’s called being a growing human. Happy birthday to me!
Melinda, Michael and Baby Rebekah
Rebekah and Momma

Why I buy myself flowers

When I was a little girl, my momma’s dear friend’s son bought me yellow roses. They were like family. He passed away when I was three years old in a tragic gun accident. For years, his mom sent me yellow roses on my birthday. Eventually, my parents picked up the tradition. And, every birthday since I can remember, I’ve had a dozen yellow roses. This year was no different. My momma even had them delivered a day early so I could enjoy them a day longer.
These particular flowers remind me of childhood, growing up, beauty, dreams, tradition and I am reminded just how much I am loved. 
When I grocery shop and stop to admire a 3 stem bunch of blue hydrangeas and decide to take them home…it’s because I love flowers. I love having fresh flowers nearby. I love a home with fresh flowers. I am reminded of the love in the home, the life in the home, the beauty in the home, tradition in the home and the beauty our creator has given us! Having fresh flowers in my home feels good, so I buy them. 

Family

I’ve realized my favorite part of summer.
Yes, there are vacations.
Yes, there is time off.
Yes, there is time to recharge (hopefully!)
But, my very favorite part is F A M I L Y time!
The last two summers we’ve vacationed with my brother, sister in law and their four kids. Last summer, my parents and sister joined us.

This summer we celebrated Moustapha ‘s dad’s 70th birthday with a family vacation to the hill country. All of his sisters, their spouses, kids and his parents. I know people often say they need a vacation from their vacation.
But, I love the relaxed vacations with our extended family. 
It’s a real, blessed treat. 
My hope is for a long lifetime of family time!

When You’re Happy…

I picked him up from day-camp early on Friday because he wasn’t feeling well.
He buckled in and looked up and asked me to please take him to the doctor.
I called on the way and we went straight to the pediatrician’s office.
Not much happened.
He had a fever of 102.
We were told he probably just had a stomach bug and to be prepared.
So, we got through the weekend.
Not feeling well and fighting off a fever. By Monday, it was still going strong, but he was fighting.
Here we are trying to enjoy a pool day. He’s laying in my arms.
How do we feel better?
We make matching silly faces and sick faces.

When you’re happy. 
I’m happy.
When you’re sad. 
I’m sad.
When you feel sick.
I worry until I’m sick too.
When you’re unsettled.
I am unsettled.
You are my little dream.
My love bug.
My silly boy.
I love you so and hope you feel better soon.
Until then, I will hold you until you smile! 
El Momma and Leebug