Thursday, April 19, 2018

HUGE News for Lyndzi...

I've known that Lyndzi was an artist, since she was three years old.  YES, three!!  She sat down with some crayons and drew the bee that was on  the Honey Nut Cheerios box, and I knew right then and there that she had a gift.  Being a mom who blogs, I frequently write about my kids;  so I took a look back to see what I had previously shared  about Lyndzi's artwork and I came across a post from 2010 called  "What A Mom's Gotta Do",  where I wrote "Lyndzi is an absolutely BRILLIANT artist; and yes, I know that most moms think that their kids are great at one thing or another; but trust me when I tell you, my girl's got TALENT!! Lyndzi is a multi-faceted artist - not only can she draw; she also sculpts and paints.  Lyndzi pays exceptional attention to detail and her vision is way beyond her years.   She's won prizes for her artwork and been featured in our school district art show; and at the tender age of 8 she PRIDES herself on being an artist.While it's hard for me to believe that I wrote that over 7 years ago, those words still hold true.  Lyndzi's become an extraordinary artist.  She's won several contests, has done commissioned work and she continues to sell hand drawn sneakers.Now, if you read my last blog "Cinnamon",  then you know that "as much as I love surprises, I often have a hard time keeping the secret and waiting to reveal the surprise."  Well, the universe has surely been challenging me; because (thankfully), the surprises keep coming and I've been keeping a secret (from most of you) for a few weeks now.  It wasn't that I didn't want to tell EVERYONE, believe me, I DID; but when I received the call from the PUSD Public Relations Department, notifying me that Lyndzi had won the district Anti-Bullying Art Contest (for the third time), they asked me not to say anything publicly until after the awards were presented at the Peoria Cultural Arts  Festival. Lyndzi was so excited to find out that she had won; but like me, she's a rule follower so she didn't say anything to anyone.  Well, the next day when Lyndzi came home from school, she said to me "You didn't fracture your ankle in vain." (And side note, if you're totally confused by that comment, stop here.  Read "Oops I Did It Again, And Again", and then come back.  Everyone else KEEP READING...)

So,  I asked her what she was talking about, and with tears welling up in her eyes, she told me that when she had walked into her art class, her teacher said "Don't you have something to tell us."  Assuming that he was talking about the Anti-Bullying art contest, she shared the news of her win.  He then said "And?" to which she replied "And?" And he said "You also won a bus?"  Lyndzi was taken aback and she asked what he was talking about.  He then explained, that the Principal had come in to see him earlier, with some people from the Valley Metro bus and they said that she had won the Transit Wrap Contest!!!!   I was stunned when I heard her news, and I'm not sure how many times I said "You won?"  Not because I couldn't believe that she'd done it, but because it was such a HUGE contest, and such a fantastic prize and I was just ecstatic for her.  Now I don't know about you, but because I heard it from Lyndzi, who heard it from her Art teacher, and I hadn't heard a peep from Valley Metro, I didn't want to say anything publicly, in case there was some type of misunderstanding.  When I saw the Art teacher at the Cultural Arts Festival, I asked him to tell me about what happened when the bus people came in to see him and he said that Lyndzi had definitely won, but he got the impression that they wanted to surprise her.  OK, I can understand that part, but I wondered why they hadn't contacted me.  (Maybe they heard that I wasn't great at keeping secrets, lol.) Well, hallelujah, we got the official call on Monday, and I can now say with all certainty that Lyndzi has won the Valley Metro Transit Wrap contest!!!  She'll be getting a bus and a light rail wrapped with her design for a year, in addition to a cash prize!!  They'll be unveiling her bus at her school on May 16th AND they'll let us know when the lightrail and bus are being wrapped so that we can go down with family and friends to watch and take photos.  So, if you're in the area and you'd like to see Lyndzi's bus, consider yourself invited!! 

Since this ride may have been a lil bumpier than usual, here's Lyndzi's Anti-Bullying Award winning piece...  The theme this year was "All Different All Equal".

What more can I say?  I'm grateful for the surprises that we've been receiving.  Not only because of  the joy that they're bringing but because it seems that as long as I have surprises to share, I have subject matter for my blog!

Till next time,

Friday, March 23, 2018


After I posted  my last blog, I shared the link on my Facebook, with the status "I live to surprise people! Just posted my second blog this month - I even surprised myself!"  Welllllll, as much as I love surprises, I often have a hard time keeping the secret and waiting to reveal the surprise.  Sooo, I am extra pleased with myself tonight, because in addition to keeping a secret for almost a week; I'm actually writing a my third blog of the month!

And here we go...  We got our beloved Chihuahua, Hershey from my brother-in-law in Puerto Vallarta when she was just three months old, and she's now nine.  (At this point you may want to check out The Tale of the Dog and then come back...) My kids and I are ridiculous when it comes to Hershey, and some may say (ok, have said) that we are obsessed, lol but we don't care; we just adore her.  We think that she's so cute, and so smart and she makes us so happy; but one of us has never felt as loved by Hershey and has been asking for quite some time to get a dog of her own. Typically when Kelsie would broach the subject, we'd remind her that Hershey doesn't think that she's a dog and doesn't like to be around other dogs; and although she knew this all to be true, she's still just 14 and she wanted a dog that would appreciate her. A dog like Copper...   A couple of years ago we met our friend April's rescue Chihuahua, Copper.  His temperament couldn't have been more opposite of Hershey's. He was friendly to everyone and snuggly, he was tiny and just a mush. And honestly when each of us held him, we were overcome with a sense of calm and happiness.  While Hershey emotes the same feelings from us, she's still really unpredictable and only lets you pet and love on her when she's in the mood, so experiencing a dog that was so sweet and lovable all the time, added to Kelsie's desire for a new dog.

Despite our love and affection for Hershey, Lyndzi, Kelsie and I would frequently talk about how great it would be to have a dog like Copper.  I don't know if it's because Hershey's getting older and every time she sighs, or makes an uncustomary sound, they think that something's wrong with her, and Google what these "symptoms" mean, or if they are just ready for some unconditional puppy love.

I suppose it didn't help that Luis (who has never been on board with getting another dog), recently started regaling us with tales of the cute dogs that he'd see when he was out at work.  To add insult to injury, he started taking videos of stray dogs and then he'd show them to us at dinner; which of course prompted the girls to ask him to bring home the next cute, small, girl dog that he found.  Surprisingly enough, Luis humored their request, and told us that he'd be on the look out.  I discussed this new development with Luis, because the girls were taking him seriously, and I kinda feared that he may accidentally kidnap someone's dog.  We were concerned that he could bring home a pooch that was sick and then of course there was the cost of shots etc; so last Saturday, when the girls and I saw what could possibly have been an Adopt A Dog sign outside Pet Co. we had to go check it out.
As it turned out the sign was for vaccinations; so I told the girls that we could go down the street and swing by PetSmart.  On our drive there, Kelsie asked if we got a black Chihuahua if we could name her Pepper.  I wasn't opposed to that name, but Lyndzi wasn't digging it.  I asked her to Google some dog names and as she read from the list, the one that I liked best was Minnie.  No one shot it down, so I figured this name could be a contender for our fictional dog.  We arrived at PetSmart and as luck would have it, America's Freedom Paws Rescue was stationed outside the store.  They only had two dogs with them, and they were bigger, so we weren't interested; but just as we'd arrived, a lady walked up with a Chihuahua.  Kelsie said "what about that one?"  But I was under the impression that the dog she was referring to was a pet and not part of the adoption.  We went into the store and when we came out, we had the pleasure of meeting Cinnamon, who was in fact a rescued Chihuahua.

When the ladies described her, they said she loved to snuggle, sit on your lap and sleep with you; and the girls (all 3 of us) melted.  We couldn't help but think that she was EXACTLY what we'd been dreaming of.  She's two years old, but she's small.  She weighs about four lbs, and she's super affectionate.  Could you say no to this???Well I couldn't!  I asked the ladies what we would need to do to adopt Cinnamon, and it really couldn't have been easier.  I just had to fill out a short application, pay $125 (which I thought was a steal since she had all of her vaccinations and had been spayed)  and they'd give us her collar, harness, leash, food and water bowls and a brand new bag of food. They also said that we could have a three day trial period, so if we needed to return her because Hershey couldn't adapt, then at least we could get our money back.  I called Luis, to tell him about Cinnamon and see what he thought about us adopting her and thankfully, he had no objections to us bringing her home.   To say that we fell in love with Cinnamon instantly would be an understatement.  I don't think that any of us could have left PetSmart without her; so I told the ladies that we had to take her.  The ladies were delighted and while I was completing the paper work, they mentioned that we should feel free to change her name if we wanted to.

Now I'm a big believer in signs from the universe.  Some people may just find things to be coincidental; and I get that, but other times, when things align perfectly and in more than one way, I can't help but feel that it's cosmic intervention and I enjoy that.  The girls and I couldn't get over our luck. (After all, it was St. Patrick's day!) We felt as if we had found the dog that we custom ordered.  She was small, and affectionate, and snuggly and mushy and oh so sweet; not to mention her name.  We had just talked about naming a dog Minnie, and here was Cinnamon (Cinn-a-min)  Minnie for short?  Or as it turns out "Cinnie" and/or  Cinna-minnie.

We were concerned about introducing Cinnie to Hershey, but we took the advice of  America's Freedom Paws and took the dogs for a walk. The girls slowly let them get close to each other and then brought them both into the house without incident.  Hershey didn't seem to mind Cinnamon being in the house, until she saw her being affectionate with Kelsie; but we've been doing a lot of Googling, and trying to do what's best for both dogs and suffice it to say, so far so good.  We've been able to leave the fur babies home alone together, and  they've gotten along fine. And even at this moment as I'm typing, I have both pups on either side of me, they're fast asleep and I'm in heaven.

Kelsie and Cinnie immediately bonded and it's so great to see Kelsie's wish fulfilled.

Cinnamon is just precious!  She's pure love!
She's such a great addition to our family, and it's truly amazing how much kids can learn from having pets.  I remember, shortly before Lyndzi was born, I thought to myself (while she was created in love, and I can't wait to have her here, I also can't imagine loving someone as much as I love Nicky.}  It wasn't that I doubted that I would love her, it was just difficult to comprehend the capacity that I had for love.  Of course the moment she was in my arms, I learned that my capacity for love doubled, and then tripled with Kelsie; but my girls already knew that, because Kelsie explained to Hershey that we wouldn't love her any less because Cinnamon was here; we would just love them both. How fantastic and true is that?

I had planned to share the news of Cinnamon's arrival, once the three day trial had passed, (even though I never had any doubt that she'd be staying with us permanently); but as circumstance would have it, my story was delayed.  Nonetheless, I think it worked out perfectly because now I get to share this story with you on National Puppy Day, (which I actually didn't even know it was, until I saw it this morning on Facebook) - Thank you universe!

Enjoy the pics of our little treasure.

Till next time,


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

This Is What You Raised Them For...

Saying time flies is a frequently used idiom; but there's a reason for that - it truly does!  In fact, the older my kids get the quicker time seems to pass; which is why those Riders who I don't know personally, may be surprised to hear that my son, Nicky is now almost 19 years old and a Freshman in college.  For those who are my Facebook friends, this should be less surprising, though probably not less believable.  As his Momma, it feels like just yesterday that he was born.  For years I both dreamed about. yet dreaded the day that I would move him to college; but I'm here to tell ya, it's a fulfilling experience and one that gave me great satisfaction and joy.  If I cried at all, they were happy tears, FOR my son; and not tears of sadness for me.

Nicky and I have always been very close, so the expectation (both mine and my clan's) was that I would fall apart upon his departure; but amazingly enough, the opposite was true.  
We moved Nicky down to the University of Arizona on a Saturday, because he was going to participate in Bear Down Camp a week before the other students arrived.  Since UA is only two hours from our home, our plan was to move him in and come home; and then go back with our girls the next day, since we had to attend a brunch with Nicky as part of the camp. 
I thought that I'd be very emotional when I left him that first night; but I think that knowing I'd see him the next day, made it easier to leave without incident.  We went back Sunday morning and although I got teary a few times during the brunch, I can honestly say that it wasn't because I thought it would be difficult to be apart; but because I was so happy to see what Nicky was going to be a part of.  I was so proud of all that he had accomplished to get him to this point and I was very excited for him.  Don't get me wrong, I must have hugged him a million times, (and not little short hugs) because part of me didn't think I could let go; but I managed to say goodbye without crying, and as much as I miss having him home, I haven't shed a tear.

My close friends were good to check on me often during Nicky's first few days at school.  They asked how I was doing, and while I'm not sure that my response surprised them, it pleasantly surprised me. You see, Nicky was able to text me while he was at camp (in Prescott), but I didn't talk to him until 4 days later, when he was back on campus.  The first time that we spoke on the phone, it was if my son had come alive.  He was talkative and animated.  I could hear the smile on his face in the way that he spoke.  He asked me questions and told me about his experiences, and I felt incredibly gratified.  As the week went on, and he participated in welcome activities and went to his first classes, it was obvious that he was exactly where he was meant to be and that he was doing all that we had raised him to do.  So how could I be sad about that? 

It's so hard to believe that Nicky will be done with his first year of college in just two months.  He had a fantastic first semester, earning a 4.0 at the College of Engineering.  He's taking his first computer programming class this semester and will be declaring his major as Electrical / Computer Engineering, with a concentration in Computer Engineering.  He DJ's a weekly radio show, and he attends shabbat services at Hillel.  He's made some good friends and he's actively looking for additional clubs to join; so what more could a Momma want?

I couldn't be more thrilled for Nicky.  I enjoy hearing from him daily. I always look forward to the next time that I'm going to see him; and I guarantee that all of you Momma's who will be sending kids off to college soon, will feel the same.  Just remember my words "THIS is what you raised them for."   You raised them to go out into the world and make it a better place.  You raised them to go out into the world and make their dreams come true. To go out into the world and learn who they are, apart from you; and then one day they'll come back and while they'll still be your baby, they'll be their own person.

Till next time,