I am a Traditional Wife

I am still reacting to a podcast I listened to recently. I was one of the targeted women he spoke about; traditional wives. He said that it was considered by some, a “dangerous trend” “Trad wivesDe repente it’s becoming popular? This dialogue pulled up that long squished question which I sometimes still struggle with in my life, “What do you do Rosie?” My answer? “Well, I’m, ummm, I’m a homemaker” (a nervous laugh usually followed) “I take care of Ben and the kids” and the response was “Oh, ummm, well that’s good…” From there, I would descend into looking for and sharing things that they might consider “worthy” Hijole! More than 3 decades have passed and the question can still rankle me. Y porque sera?

Those long repressed feelings of vergüenza rose up to laugh at me. I went to college but never got my degree. Wanting accreditation is one of my biggest hurdles, asi es, pay attention, see what I’ve done! And what have I “done?” I’ve been a  traditional wife, a woman who takes care of the affairs of her home and watches over the needs of her children. I’ve been doing this now  for 34 years of my life. Where are my degrees? Where’s my accumulated wealth? It has definitely kept me humble. 

I respect a woman who has worked hard, been disciplined and focused and completes her educational goals, I may even be a little celosa. Jealous, because it’s something I didn’t do. Heavy sigh… but also, Shout out to that woman who puts away that degree for her family. 

My story falls somewhere in the crevices of those scenarios. I am a Christian woman. Jesus is the love and Lord of my life. Every crossroads I come to in my life, He has been with me. At 19, when I chose to drop out of school midway through my 2nd year of university, it was hard. My apa was disappointed. I was so sorry, I yearned for his approval, I was supposed to be a lawyer he could be proud of, but instead I let him down. My future looked bleak to me. How in the world would I survive? God helped me. As I was moving on, young and hopeful with my whole life ahead of me, I came to another crossroads of life, Marriage. It wasn’t in my plans, well at least not until I was old. God was with me and I made the right choice to marry my Benjamin. Very soon after that I was the mother of his children. I couldn’t decide on how to describe this last bit of my history. Doesn’t it sound a bit dramatico? “The mother of his children” y pues, I am, they are his, and it pleases me to say it, declare it on the roof tops of my blog and to anyone that will hear me tell of my life as a traditional wife.

I wish I could sit here at my desk and tell you how glorious it always was. It wasn’t. I wanted financial independence, it humbled me so much to depend completely on my Benjamin, but I knew it was what he needed and what I needed and then what our kids needed. I wish I could tell you that living on a tight budget was “no big deal” Hijole! It was, and it was harder still when our kids were growing up and seeing what other kids wore and did. It was hard to tell them, “no we can’t do that this week” I wasn’t purposely boycotting McDonalds, es que, it made more sense to serve lunch at home, picnics with homemade food were a must. There were plenty of mistakes we made and many things we left out of our lives, to a certain degree I wish I would have always had the financial liberty to buy our kids those name brands and fun things. Living on one income kept the door open for me to take care of our children. It was a sacrifice for all of us. In fact, I actually went out into the workforce on a few occasions to alleviate the financial burden. Pero, making more money never really helped. I spent more money, the house was neglected, I worried constantly, wondering if the babysitter would take care of mis hijos like I would. The kids missed me and worst of all it separated me from my beloved y no crees, the whole family could feel that shift in our home.

Being home put me into a good watchful position. A place where I could see my children when the possible dangers, the bad choices and the hurting moments arrived. Gracias a Dios for this position, how did I use it? I prayed, it was a burden I couldn’t carry alone or at all sometimes. There were times I intervened, when my child was in danger physically, verbally, emotionally and mentally. There were times that I had to let them work out their dilemma and definitely their salvation, I couldn’t force my faith on them, as much I wanted to. I didn’t catch everything, I’m shocked at the things my kids uncover now and I wonder how it passed by me?! and por supuesto there were things that I didn’t handle perfectly or even correctly. Many mothers suffer from condemnation,” if only I would have done…” I have fallen into that pit plenty of times, gracias a Dios that he pulls me out everytime. Sabes que? The children are gone now, but not too far away. I’m still a traditional wife, very dependent on my Cold Blooded Englishman. I’m still taking care of my Benjamin,and when I miss the opportunity to serve him, I feel ripped off. 

Daniella suggested that I write a nice job description of a tradwife? I don’t know if I could. It’s hard work, long hours, it’s messy most of the time and very few breaks. Why in the world did I do it?  I tried to say “because I wanted to” pero honestamente, when I was young I always thought and said I don’t ever “just” want to be a wife and mother; a homemaker, like mi ama

Pero pues the woman, the nurturer that I was created to be, rose to the occasion when that life choice presented itself and God made a way. I’ve experienced the benefits of love, peace and joy as we have worked on our marriage relationship. I feel such pleasure to see our children grow into good people in the community, happy to give back. I have felt incredible relief as I watch them still putting their faith in Christ, like we taught them at home. I hold on to a treasure of cards my children have given me over the years, telling me how grateful they are that I have been their mother. And what can I say about being able to maintain my home and receive my growing family, gracias a Dios, may I never forget all His benefits.

En Conclusíon

One dilemma I always faced was answering the question “Rosie what do you do?”  and sometimes it made me wonder. What do I do? Pero, mira nomas, now when people ask me “What do you do?” I’ll have the trendy right answer.

Ama To The Rescue

El otro dia, my friend who is also an abuela, was wearing a t-shirt that said “Never Fear! Nonna is here” I loved it! Probably because it resonated with me. Somehow we abuelas always make a way to help our kids when we are able to. Pero ni se diga! For our grandkids we jump, run and maybe even speed up to help them, porque sera? 

Tuesday morning I received a text from my son. A text from my children first thing in the morning usually puts me on red alert. He needed help, mi nieta needed help. Por supuesto that I was available to help.

I left my cozy empty nest and went to help my daughter in law in her very full nest. It has been 20 years since I’ve had the daily life of raising little children and when I’m called to “mothering” like this, I’m shocked at the hard work it is. 

Here’s what my Tuesday To The Rescue looked like:

Denise walked out with Mari and closed the door behind her. Twilight Zone music is needed as we walk through this day.

Uriah, my 1 year old  nietecito had been awake for some time and he was hungry. In my opinion, mothers have a supernatural gift of interpretation. Denise, his mama deciphered through his grunts and cries. She not only discovered that he was hungry, but he did not want a cold breakfast, his gibberish screamed clearly “I want a hot meal!” Before she left Denise suggested that I make him a “huevito con wieny” She was sure that he was asking for a scrambled eggs mixed with a fried cut up hotdog. By this point his littlest big sister Rachel was up, gracias a Dios! Pero, she was too concerned about her loose tooth to pay attention to Uriah. He was demanding and protesting by throwing the dry cereal and drink off his high chair table. The mess had only just begun. 

I managed to cook up the hot meal, without too much damage to my nerves. Adevina what he did with “his ordered breakfast”…. Asi es. I needed to stop and take a deep breath. Rachel managed to eat her serving of breakfast despite her hanging bottom tooth. Y ahora, enter Nevaeh, aka Ve, pronounced Vey. Are you still tracking? Because the morning had only just begun. Ve also had a loose tooth and a worried face. I served her breakfast, but she wasn’t quite ready for it.

Uriah was done, or maybe he was undone?  I couldn’t tell if he had actually eaten, since most of his breakfast was on the floor, but he was moving to the next thing. And wanted off his high chair. De repente it was school time. Homeschoolers don’t necessarily have to get dressed right away. It does avoid at least one morning calamity, especialmente with 3 girls trying to get dressed for school each morning. In homeschooling, they can work at their desk in piyamas. Except that Ve said she preferred to wear a dress while school was in session because she noticed, (I peered into the screen) that some of the other little girls were wearing dresses, she had to hurry. I wasn’t prepared, pero gracias a Dios that Ve was on it. She came out in her dress ready for school. I guess it didn’t matter that her hair was messy. She quickly helped Rachel log on to her bible lesson, it was the first order of business for her. y luego I had the privilege of hearing Nevaeh recite the pledge of allegiance to the United States of America. It was music to my ears. 

With their headsets on, they had settled into their routine, Uriah’s clatter and clamor didn’t bother or distract them too much. He seemed to be listening to their recitals and interaction, going back and forth between the girls. Three year old Jeremiah rose from his slumber groggy and wet. Since he’s still in potty training mode his overnight diaper needed to come off and he was handling it, “very nice Jejo go through it in the trash” Then he stuck both legs into the same leg opening of his chonies, “D’ma, Dma can you help me? He was stuck in his underwear. Rachel needed help with her worksheet and Uriah wanted something, it sounded like he wanted breakfast again?! 

I did it! I got Jeremiah’s underpants on him, helped Rachel, quieted Uriah, caught my breath and then…. Everyone was hungry again. Back to the kitchen. Round and round we went. We played outside. Nevaeh coordinated a nice quesadilla and orange wedges lunch which I served. I cleaned up the kitchen, worked on more school work, worked on my blog, asi es, I managed to squeeze in some writing.  Did I mention that the puppy, Darius? Pues, he believes he’s the real baby of the family and was seeking my attention too! Y pues he got it. He got in trouble with me for interrupting my game with Jeremiah; “Iron Man and his lady friends.” Pobrecito, he didn’t know you don’t interrupt ama with a wet nose to the face, especially when she’s focused on her role play. 

En Conclusion:

 Y ahora, now that I’ve recovered, le doy gracias a Dios for my life. Technically I would write my gratitude list in my gratitude dairy but I think it fits right on this page.

Primero, gracias a Dios that everyone was well, that the urgent doctor visit wasn’t so urgent after all.

Luego, I realize that I’m still living that “stay at home and raise my kids life” only now I’m available for my nietos. Thanks to my covering; Benjamin Greene, who has taken good care of us, his family for 34 years.

Tambien, gracias a Dios for my daughter in law, God bless her and give her wisdom and strength to teach, influence and pray my grandchildren into God’s Kingdom.

Y finalmente, I am grateful for my grandchildren, they add so much sugar and spice to my life. Nevaeh was a wonderful little helper, and all the others were little angels of course. My son Jonathan says that they’ve got me whupped!” Hijole!

You know you’re a grandparent when you laugh when your grandkids do the same things that made you so angry when your kids did them.” – author unknown

Celebrating 33 Years of Motherhood

Let The Redeemed of The Lord Say So

Tomorrow is my firstborn’s birthday and I want to shout it on the mountain tops that Jonathan Esteban Greene es mi hijo. I labored very hard on March 5th, 33 years ago and out of me, imaginate, came this beautiful baby boy who captured my heart. In my really loud voice, I want the world to know that I love him so much. That handsome young man is a product of our marriage covenant, he is our blessing and I love to tell anyone that will listen who my children are. My pastor always quotes “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” 

For 33 years I’ve watched and prayed for this son of mine, he is a man that doesn’t share his heart too much, too many words are just that, too many words. Acuerdense, he is Benjamin Greene’s son, my Cold blooded Englishman, man of few words. Pero as his mother, sometimes I just know when I must pray and pray.  I’ve held my breath as the pages of his life have turned. 

  • His adolescent years were angry ones as he was fighting God. He wanted God in his world sometimes, only when necessary, and it ticked him off when God convicted him of his sin. Why was everything he liked a sin? God was boring, God’s ways were boring and God obviously didn’t care for him. 
  • As a teenager, when he got out of that gawky weird stage and he turned into a fine young stud, the girls were looking his way and he tried to hide his “god” into a nice “Sunday only” religion. In high school he was considered a “nerdy white boy” He was determined that things were going to change.They did. He had to figure out adulthood, more schooling? Working? Girls? He went back and forth too afraid to go all the way into the dark alleys of the world but sick of “religion.” How uncomfortable it is to know the scripture in Mat 28:20 “…I am with you always, even unto the ends of the earth” when you crave things outside of God’s path.
  • When sweet Denise captured his heart, he gave in to God for just a little while, maybe just maybe there was something good in God’s plan after all. He didn’t pay too much attention to God as he recited his marriage vows and made her his wife. Gracias a Dios that He was with them, marriage can be wearisome to put it nicely, pero sin Cristo? Hijole! 
  • When he became a father and he didn’t know what to do with this fragile little bundle, he remembered God again and then again as the children came, pero aun asi, Jesus needed to be Lord of his life, all of it.
  • Then came that life changing encounter with God that propelled him into his true destiny, the road to salvation, the road to peace and to his calling. 

In this manner, my first born has battled through a few things, tripping and falling on his face at times, but he is clinging to Jesus, he remembers what he’s been pulled out of, and with that knowledge I rest. This weekend I will celebrate his birthday with such pleasure. Mi hijo es, como dice el dichoun hombre hecho y derecho” He is a man’ s man! A hardworking tradesman by day; go ahead and call the plumber. Mas importante, he’s God’s man. He has responded to his calling to preach the Gospel of Jesus and is a pioneer pastor, he’s out in the fields gathering the crops and then gleaning for the Lord of the Harvest. 

“Mi hijo, is a good man!” Feliz cumpleaños a mi Primogénito! I love its intensity in español. To my first born I say “Que Dios te Bendiga Jonathan Esteban” and your Tata would say “Echale ganas!” 

How To Management When Your Empty Nest Fills Up

Deja, te platico about my Empty Nest experience, in case I haven’t already. Wikipedia describes it as “a feeling of grief and loneliness” When my first born was “muy hombrecito” and it was time for him to move at 19 years old, my heart felt like something was torn out of it.  Que feo! That brick in my heart was heavy. I cried silently and wore death on my countenance, hijole! It hurt so much. Then just as soon as I had recovered, que pasa? Both of my young adult children choose to get married, one right after the other, a week apart.  I still had two more boys at home, shouldn’t I have been too busy to feel that Empty Nest Syndrome so intensely? It was muy dramatico, In a very latina fashion. Now another son is married and moved out and the youngest is grown and spreading his wings. Pero gracias a Dios,  I have overcome and adjusted.

Those things I dreaded have been conquered!

Benefits of and Empty Nest

  • A quiet house- it took a minute to get used to it, the chatter at the dinner table I do miss at times, but a quiet house can be so restful. 
  • No worries about a babysitter- We come and go, not a bit anxious about how the kids are doing. Well maybe a little bit for Thomas still, but he doesn’t need a babysitter anymore.
  • Housework is cut in half! Or less, it’s easier to keep it up.
  • Going out on a date is so much easier-now. just about finding a free night or making a slot in our busy schedule. I do wonder how it is that we continue to be so busy with no kids filling our schedule? 
  • And last but definitely not least is that after 34 years of marriage and 4 raising kids, we want to be friends and enjoy one another’s company. We are relearning each other and enjoying this phase while at same time totally enjoying our adult kids and our grandkids. 

We, Ama and Apa have embraced the Empty Nesters life. Kids and grandkids visit then go home. Every few days we gear up because our Empty Nest gets full of adult children and grandchildren and sometimes Ben and I feel like we’ve gone through the “drain & spin” cycle of our washer. During those visits, I’ve got 3 hats on; mom, ama and hostess! It gets crazy to maneuver through the chatter and make sense of all that’s going on. When we recover with a moment of silence, sometimes lasting up to four days, we wonder where everyone is at why haven’t they come over?

Yesterday the grandkids visited us. It was very exciting. Each one of my nietas came loaded with a backpack and large drinking water bottle. Mari, the oldest, was also carrying a grocery bag full of goodies. While they were diligently distributing their hugs, first Ama then Apa, I asked “Wow! Are you moving in?” Nope! They were just visiting, but they came prepared because at amas house there are no toys anymore and they weren’t sure if I was gonna have enough food for their little army. A disclaimer is needed, I am always prepared or quickly get prepared when it comes to offering food, I wouldn’t be a true latina otherwise!  As for their backpack full of things to do, asi es!  I got rid of the toybox! Although they constantly leave some of their toy accessories behind. Our quiet house exploded in noise and activity. “Ama what are we going to eat? Ama look what I can do! Ama what are we going to do? Let me tell you the funny thing that happened to us.” Uriah the baby woke up cranky and hungry. Ama and Apa had barely fastened on seatbelts! We’d been out of town for a couple weeks, so it was a whirlwind evening. I missed them and the good conversation I get with my daughter in law. Thomas, our last one still at home, who is not too adjusted to our quiet house, was loving the chaos. 

Apa making popcorn with our nietos

En Conclusion:

Gracias a Dios that I have the best of both worlds. I love being Ama and I love quiet days, with some conversation and alone time with my flaco. 

Jeremiah Loves To Share

Mi nieto Jeremiah loves to share. Ya se, I’m gonna sound like that abuela that thinks her grandchildren are the nicest, cutest and smartest en todo el mundo. Y pues, asi es 😀

Jeremiah Joseph is 3, going on 15!  This mind is constantly working out ways to get the best and the most in any situation. He is a funny little guy. Since he hasn’t quite figured out how to hide his face, or he hasn’t discovered the poker face, we all can see his  carita thinking and scheming on ways to get “that” thing into his hands. So sweet and sneaky are his ways, that he’s turning me into an abuela alcahueta! I’ll have to define what I mean, porque when I googled it, I found too many “other” meanings. This term is used when a grandmother gives her grandchild what he or  she wants. Sometimes she will turn blind a eye to his sneakiness, as long as they are not in danger. Mira.

El otro dia, he left the booster chair he was playing on for a moment and when he returned his sister Rachel had taken over. Oh what indignation! He worked at pushing her off but being the only person in the house that Rachel can bully, she pushed him back and the drama escalated. I couldn’t enjoy my platica with their mom. So again, trying to not be an alcahueta, I said “Sorry Jeremiah, you left it and now you have to wait until Rachel is done.” Rachel gloated, because she won. I said, “In 5 minutes Rachel will get off” His eyes shifted as he studied what he heard, then he said, “Toe- K. Letmesee.” After the translation, I said “See what Jeremiah?” He pointed to my wrist watch and pulled my hand down. He knew it measured time and having no concept of time, he was bound and determined to wait those eternal 5 minutes.

Another time, JeJo asked his dad for soda and the answer he got was no. His mind worked on how to get a yes. No problem, first he comes to me whining for a drink and of course I stop and listen. How is it that his need for a drink hasn’t been met? Can’t they see his distress? I get him water, and he whines that I didn’t give him soda. I make a stand, I will not be an alcahueta! And I get really tough and say, “stop whining, change your voice.” Then I ask him, “What did daddy say?” His mind is processing, I can see it in his shifting eyes. He carefully, with a big boy voice says “Daddy said no, but D’ma I need a drink. Of this one. Please.” 

That soda incident landed him in a 5 minute time out. I fought off that temptation to ignore his dads command and say, “tenga mi amor” Daddy didn’t mean it. His push back was too much, I sent him to my room for a “5 minute” time out. A strong latina woman, with a “chancla hypothesis” in her roots, resorted to a time out. Hijole! That smells alcahueta-ish. Time outs were not in my parenting handbook so I definitely used that tool wrong that day. Mira lo que paso.

Jeremiah went to the room, after his several attempts to tell me how sorry he was for crying, ves how he used his words. He wasn’t crying, he had been whining and getting louder to the point of a temper tantrum. I simply rescued him before that mess and sent him on a time out.  While he was in the room, I was busy, I didn’t notice how quiet he was, eventually, more than 5 minutes later I said “oh! Jeremiah you can come out now” He comes out sheepishly saying. “D’ma I want to share” After translation (I have a better  tool than google translators; I have his big sisters or mom), Jeremiah had discovered his D’pas candy stash and was quietly enjoying his time out. I said, “that candy is D’pas, you need to ask him for it.” His eyes again were calculating. He went to his apa, who was relaxing on the floor and handed him the candy. He sat on his legs and declared to his apa that he wanted to share. He asked everyone to raise their hands if they wanted to share. Everyone did, except D’pa. Case closed.  D’pa must share like everyone else, especially he should share with him. Jeremiah got a portion of the candy and then he decided D’pa had not shared the right way and asked for the bigger piece.

En conclusion:

When Jeremiah finds a treasure for his use or consumption. He just wants to see it, touch, share it, then keep it and honestly now that I’m in abuelahood, I totally think that it’s ok for him to be cute.

A Lesson On Nicknames

Latinos love nicknames. They are second nature to us, a quick assessment of a person or situation y de repente a nickname is formed. They roll out almost as soon contact is made, whether it’s a friendly connection or not. My apas favorite show, El Chavo del Ocho, every character is nicknamed and they aren’t necessarily cute or appealing nicknames. La Bruja del 71 the “Witch in Apt. 71” earned her nickname because she was a scary old maid.

Nicknames are muy especial but they can sound goofy. A nickname is birthed from an emotion that comes from within. I allow myself to give way to this with sweet little babies. That feeling will roll around in my head, simmering, de repente, I’ve given that little baby a nickname, and most times it comes out for all the world to hear. 

I remember  my ama with her grandchildren. In her arms as she stared at the baby the nicknames were forming. It started in her eyes, her heart bursting with love. Murmurings and noises mixed with words came from deep within her and out of her mouth. I was six (feeling very grown up) when my first nephew arrived. Once in a while she would pull us in and love on us and talk in “that ” way to my little brother and me. It was mushy gibberish and though I really really enjoyed it, I couldn’t let her go on too long, after all I was a big girl now. Even at that age, I too felt the need to call my sobrinito those sweet names. I loved my amas baby talk, “Hay que Cosafina. Que Chulo esta el” If I translate it, I’ll kill it. 

Phrases that make no sense, and yet, they make total sense. My sister Patty and I came up with our own cuddling words for the baby or our perrito Chapo, it didn’t matter. We got as close as we were allowed to get, then we changed our tone to “baby gurgles” and said sweet little murmurings like “Kernitos” it was silly gibberish, to the “non baby gurglers” speaker. Kernitos meant sweet, desirable, squeezable, cuddly little thing. It was the official name me and Patty used for all the cuddly babies that we adored. Comprendes? 

Many of the people I know have nicknames. Some of them try really hard to shake them off, erase them off the face of the planet but after a while they become part of a person’s DNA, ni modo, those “sweet nothings” have stuck, sometimes you’ll hear a grown man addressed as “Papas” Hijole!


Nicknames come in different sizes and sounds. A nickname will roll off a tongue easily, musically, with words flowing together like “Chiki Chiki Boom Boom” That was the nickname my SIL used for her sweet baby. Thankfully he graduated to a more acceptable nickname, although sometimes she likes to remind him of that nickname. 

Nicknames that Point to Physical traits:

Asi es, when a trait stands out, we call it, if it’s safe to do 🤨 Mi familia:

  • Flaco, that’s one of the names I call my Benjamin. Porque? Well because he’s thin, and I’m not.
  • Flaca is what I call my friend Lucy, she’s always kept her slim figure after three kids. She never had to work at weight loss. I shake my head at the unfairness of it all!
  • Guero is what my sister in law calls my son Thomas Walter because he has light skin compared to me and my brothers. 
  • Chaparro is what my apa called my brother Fernando because he was the little guy of the first 3 sons. It means short in stature.
  • Chapo was our dog. A short loyal little mutt. This nickname was a short version of Chaparro.
  • Pelos: that was my apas nickname as a kid. Porque? He had a wild mane of hair.

Shortened names 

  • Cita my niece by marriage, was probably once called Sierracita.
  • Meño, Cita’s husband, is Emmanuel. He used to be Chiki Chiki Boom Boom!
  • Cassi is short for Cassandra… 
  • Mari is Maricella. She started off as Mari Munga (Moonga). I saw my first granddaughter looking like she had a mean mug on a sweet face. It just rolled out. Thankfully that didn’t last..
  • Lala is not the yogurt, but mi hija Daniella with an extra La.
  • Yaya is also Daniella. My nietecito Jeremiah calls her “tia Yaya” 
  • Vey is short for Nevaeh, my second granddaughter.
  • Jejo is my grandson Jeremiah Joseph
  • Mas is my nephew Tomas.
  • Turi is also my nephew, Arturito
  • Mundo is my tio Reymundo.
  • Lupe is my big sister, she was Maria Guadalupe.

Classic Mexican Nicknames In My Familia:

  • Chuy was my mothers nickname for Maria de Jesus. It was also my tio Jesus, my apas brother. 
  • Cuca was my tia Refugia
  • Chuyito was my cousin Jesus
  •  Chepina is my tia Josefina. This is the female version of Jose who is sometimes called Chepe. 

The Nickname That Would Not Be Left Behind:

Sometimes nicknames are born because a small child pronounced it with a twist.

My ama loved telling the story of my youngest brother’s nickname.

I used to be the baby of the family, until I wasn’t.  There I was,1 year and 13 days into my babyhood, when my ama came home with another baby!  I had to face the hard reality of being bumped off the “baby throne.” Me imagino, that I wasn’t taking it too well sine my ama had to convince me that he,the new infant was the baby now, such a hard blow. She would tell me “Mira el chichì”  (Chichì is a nickname for a baby.) She said Chichì and I repeated “Chicha.” One day when our oldest brother Angèl heard  it, he laughed and liked it so much that he christened the baby Chicha. That’s what he gets for bumping me into big sisterhood way too soon. We all called him Chicha. The tios, tias and primos, the neighborhood kids and the little league coaches. It’s well over 50 years and my sweet little brother, Hector Manuel can’t shake off that apodo

En Conclusíon:

Not everyone gets a nickname, sori. My nickname is Rosie, but in highschool it was also Shorty, the physical trait nickname. Gracias a Dios that I wasn’t Cejas, because I can have bushy eyebrows, or Gordita, I’ve got enough complejos! More hang ups about my weight are unnecessary. 

How about you? Did you get a nickname? 

How To Survive Christmas Cookie Baking With Your Grandchildren

Baking with grandchildren sounds like a Pinterest worthy, picturesque, memory to make. Aqui, I need to be honest. I will not sugar coat my experiences. Brace yourself as I share some pretty gruesome realidades of my cookie baking experiences with my grandkids and the things I learned. It will shatter that beautiful image of sweet grandmas patiently and lovingly flouring the counter top and guiding their quiet and content grandchild as he cuts his gingerbread man with cookie cutters. Primero, I need to be very clear that I am not a sweet grandma. I am a strong latina abuela and while I do not reach for the chancla, they know I still am flexible enough to do so. 

 I had avoided making cookies with my nietas almost completely and I was feeling rested. I did have a real close call that first weekend of December when I was thinking about my flaco and decided to make him some gingersnap cookies. Fijate, not just any recipe, but his grammys recipe. My granddaughters happened to be visiting and Nevaeh, the middle nieta says she “loves” to watch me cooking or in this case baking. Oh oh! I pushed away that little hint. Pero, Rachel, my youngest granddaughter loves to help and is quick to offer. Hijole! I made my corazon duro and said no to her when she sweetly asked if she could help. Por supuesto that I had a good reason. Apa would be home soon and he would be tired and I needed to hurry up, not waste time so that I could fill the cookie jar. Yikes, I feel the indignation still, “waste time?” Really Rosalba? I caved and Rachel was ready. I allowed her and Jeremiah, my 3 year old grandson to cut one cookie, mission accomplished. I sent them away to play while I finished making cookies, and of course shared some of apas cookies with my grandkids. Come on! I’m not that cruel. That should have taken the weight of “Cookies with Ama” off my back. Pero no! It was still heavy. I had to be strong and ignore it. 

I was so close to the closing of the season and I was finding quiet time in my days at home. I was finished with my own baking, the shopping and wrapping was complete. Heavy cooking wouldn’t start for 2 days. Stillness is a rare phenomenon in our home, I was finding that at Christmas time the house shouldn’t be tan calladita, it needed to be bursting with activity, like baking cookies with ama.  Pero, with flu season in full force I hadn’t seen my grandkids very much. They needed to rest and I really didn’t need the chaos. It was too late anyway, o no? There were still five days to go. Did I really want that much chaos?  I called my daughter in law Denise. In an instant, we had a date, and before I knew what I was doing I texted my daughter Daniella to invite my grandsons. HIJOLE!! The whole brood was coming over to make cookies with ama. Immediatamente my heart rate increased.

I had to prepare.I knew what was ahead.  I had to avoid certain ‘impatience’ triggers. I was already hearing the girls planning. 

Mari: D’ma can I break the eggs into the bowl?

Ama: come on Mari, the shell isn’t that hard to break.

Nevaeh: Yes, and I’ll go second D’ma

Ama: Ok Nevaeh, you don’t have to be that slow, just be careful not to spill the sugar

Rachel: Nevaeh, why do I have to be last? I need to do something too D’ma

Ama: I know Rachel. You’ll add the flour. Hurry Nevaeh!

I know this is going to sound bien dramatica, but I didn’t want the cookie ghosts of Christmas past to ruin our day. I’m believing God for the wisdom that he offers so that I can demonstrate honest patience. I believe that’s a calm voice and a slow reaction to mishaps when sharing experiences with my grandchildren. 

I shook that conversation out of my head and asked God to help me and give me wisdom. I’m believing in God to be able to demonstrate honest patience. A calm voice, hay si! and a slow reaction to mishaps when sharing experiences with my grandchildren is a good start. 

Nope. I made all the dough the night before. 

Christmas Cookies With Ama

The boys were early and the girls were late. Like primos do, they played hard outside while I grabbed the cookie cutters and my whits together and adjusted my hearing to ‘appreciate’ the clamor of my inheritance. When I was ready we called them all in to wash their hands. From underneath their nails all the way up to their elbows they were supposed to wash. After inspection and some rewashings we got to work. I distributed little round balls of dough and they attempted to roll it out and cut cookies. Here’s how it sounded.

Braye: How many will we get to make?

Ama: You can make a few, but you must share your cookies with someone.

Rachel: I need some dough D’ma

Ama: here Rachel, add a pinch of flour to the surface so it won’t stick.

Nevaeh: I’m ready to cut D’ma

Braye: Me and Jeremiah are going to share this cutting board. How are we going to roll it out?

Jeremiah: It’s mine.

Braye: No, were sharing.

Ama: Jeremiah you better be nice!

Daniella: I’m getting some plastic cups for you to use Braye.

Rachel: Look D’ma! I made a hand!

Ama: good job Rachel.

Nevaeh: Can you put my cookie on the cookie sheet D’ma

Ama: Braye, you’re rolling it too thin, that’s why it keeps falling apart.

Rachel: Look D’ma I made a glove!

Ama: Good Job Rachel 

Judah: I’m done.

Daniella: Do you want more dough to cut another cookie.

Mari: Ok, I’m ready (did I mention that they have a new puppy who needed her undivided attention first?) Can I make cookies tia Lala?

Daniella: Yes, mom, did you turn on the oven?

Judah: I’m done.

I was done too, but that was the first hurdle. Then they proceeded to decorate their cookies before baking. I had some simple instructions: Use your finger and dab butter on your cookie so that the sprinkles can stick. One rule:  Do not use too much sprinkles on your cookie. In one ear and out the other as fast as it came in. 

Daniella: Aaaahhh! The noise! I can’t hear! (she was shaking her head)

Ama: What did I get myself into again?!

Denise: I know! That’s why I don’t do this.

Ama: I think I’ll be done. No more making cookies with my grandchildren. This is crazy!

Emery:  (who happened to be there for something else) What?! You can’t stop ma, you’ve got more grandchildren coming. 

That entire cookie cutting, decorating and baking session lasted all of 30 minutes. Like a whirlwind, it happened and all was calm again. The kids went out to play while they waited for their cookies and I had survived Christmas cookies with my grandkids. 

Like I said, I’m not gonna lie, it was rough! Cookies with the kids for me, is a terrible and wonderful experience and every year is the last year. I always say that I’ll never make them again,  until Christmas comes around again.

Through the years I’ve grown quite fond of Christmas. Le doy Gracias a Dios for the years he’s given me and the beautiful experiences, even the cookies with my grandkids.

God bless you all and remember on this Noche Buena, that Jesus is why we celebrate, CHRISTmas, I’m so grateful for his daily reminders of his love and especially thankful that I do have Jesus in my life long after Christmas has passed and through the year. 

Our Multicultural Christmas Memories

The other day, while we were working on Christmas projects, I asked my younger sons when people ask you what ethnicity you are, what do you say? I wanted to know. After a quick glance at me, like I was confused or forgetful, they both responded, almost simultaneously “White and Mexican.” Y pues I smiled because it’s exactly what our American family is and they embraced it! 

My cold blooded Englishman and I, his strong Latina woman, have accepted God’s gift of hope and salvation; Jesus. We use the tools he’s provided. We have worked hard at building our life, home and family and with time, our differences; race, culture, economic status and traditions have blended well together. It has helped that our similarities; Born Again Christians and American have kept us united. We’ve pulled into our own family the traditions from our childhood and created some of our own and our kids gobbled up the moments. They rejoiced, especially during the Christmas season.

I have to admit, at first it was awkward to hear about Ben’s Christmas fun. Hijole, I don’t want to sound like “que pobrecita” but it’s just that it was foreign to me. How was a mom able to give so much time to a project with the kids? I would immediately chalk it up to something “los gringos ricos” did. See, I had never seen my apa or brothers get involved with Christmas details, it had to be something that only the rich white people did. Ben talks about things I only saw en la tele. Somehow, instead of telling me about his Christmas traditions, he practiced them with me. 

Our first year of marriage, we weren’t sure how Christmas should be handled so we bought a little mini fake tree and put it on our coffee table. Por supuesto que, the traditional tamales and champurrado meal would be our first Christmas experience, I was sure of that much at least. Then, the following year Ben announced that we must have a real Christmas tree. Como? Could our tight budget be so extravagant? We didn’t pull out our mini tree so for much of the season we didn’t have a tree up, they were just too expensive. Then one day very close to the end of Christmas he passed a lot that was closing up. To his delight he got a medium size tree for a clearance price and his Christmas tradition was fulfilled. Decorations were scant, as I look back now, it was like Little House On The Prairie and their humble Christmases. A real live Christmas tree! beautiful! I was comforted and hooked on this tradition.

This opened the door for him to introduce other sweet traditions at Christmas,most of them I have enjoyed and continued, like decorating the house, filling Christmas stockings and sourdough pancakes on Christmas morning. Pero, one that was too much for my uncreative mind was the gingerbread houses. Hijole! I felt the pressure, so I attempted to make a gingerbread house with my kids. Pero, I kept it real, like the other side of the tracks real! Graham crackers, candy canes, marshmallows and frosting, after tons of frosting to hold the casita together, I called it a day when it was barely standing. Ben’s gingerbread house recollection was quite different. His eyes lit up when I asked him to tell me about his casita. 

First they designed their house on paper, like their architect father would have. Their Gingerbread house was elaborately laid out on a cookie sheet covered with powdered sugar icing for snow. They made walls from rolled out gingerbread cookie dough, glued together with melted caramel candy. The house had windows covered with shutters made also of gingerbread cookie dough, as well as a chimney.The roof had Hershey’s M&Ms for shingles. The trimming of the house was lined with gum drops. Luego, out in the yard, asi es, they erected a nice 3-dimensional tree, cut out with a tree shaped cookie cutter, painted with the powdered sugar icing and glued with the melted caramel. Green gum drop bushes in the yard and the Gingerbread boy standing tall. After all that work and beautiful architecture, the end of the holiday season came and then, Ben and his brothers were allowed to rip pieces off the house and eat them. Chunks of cookies, caramel and chocolate candy was their demolition delight! Y ahora si, they opened gifts and then traveled to grandma’s house on Christmas day. All I can say is that I’m glad my kids were happy with their gingerbread sugar shack!

As much as I grumble about the constant activity and work, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The rush to order Christmas cards, Thomas and Cita’s baking marathon, my bread baking, decorations, tamales with my cuñada, the Ornament Exchange party, our Scrooge Dinner, Grammys cookies and of course los regalitos that do not go under the tree until Christmas morning. Es Navidad, and I love it!  At the end of every year, in December, I like to look back and see all that God has done for us and I love the whole reason for this season; Christ was born!

Feliz Navidad, y que Dios los bendiga.

Update On Rachel Greene

Rachel Greene, my youngest granddaughter, has been reminding me since September that her birthday was coming up soon. Por su puesto que, her other siblings needed to be acknowledged first. Her big sis Neveah had her birthday in September, check. Then Uriah had his first birthday in November, check. Y ahora si,she hugged me on Monday night and reminded me one more time.

Rachel:  “D’ma my birthday is in two days. I’m going to have two parties” 

Me: “Wow! Two parties?! Will I be invited to them? 

Rachel: One is for me with my friends and the other is for family. 

She said that to explain that since I am part of her family I could attend the family shindig. 

God Still Does Miracles!

Aqui mero, I’m going to be one of those abuelas culecas that pounce on any opportunity to show off.  Rachel is now three days into her sixth year, she’s a sweet and shy little girl when there are too many people, pobrecita, that’s rough, because we, her family is a growing crowd. I’m not showing Rachel off so much as I am my God’s omnipotent power and bountiful grace. Jesus still does miracles today!

 Es que, Rachel at three months was healed from an excruciatingly painful condition of a hemangioma and a possible life threatening condition called PHACE. “PHACE Syndrome is the uncommon association between large infantile hemangiomas, usually of the face, and birth defects of the brain, heart, eyes, skin and/or arteries. It is an acronym that stands for the medical names of the parts of the body it often impacts:”

 Mi nietecita is completely healed, Rachel Greene is without pain! The lingering scar shows up occasionally, usually to uncover her emotions. When she’s mad her bottom lip turns a shade darker and when she’s frightened and crying it goes into the purple shade. 

As she’s getting older she has noticed it, mostly because others have pointed it out. It makes her uncomfortable and self conscious. Last year, I got wind of another little girl pointing it out and saying something like “too bad you’re not pretty like Mari” Que! Por supuesto que my first granddaughter Maricella is absolutely beautiful, but so is Rachel.  I wanted to jump on my helicopter, you know the ones that moms use and hover over their kids with. I wanted to hover over her life to intercept the stupid things kids and adults say! And protect my lil guerita. Needless to say that Rachel now sees the pink little spot and dots on her beautiful face, and doesn’t like it. Pero pues, God is faithful and he didn’t heal her so that her mind and eyes could get caught up on this as she’s growing up. Life can be tricky sometimes, and this healing miracle will be a source of comfort to her as she continues to grow. We see that scar as beautiful, a mark of God’s hand covering her.

 I’m confident that when she sees all that God has done, she will embrace her heritage and open the door of her heart when Jesus knocks to sup with her. Then, she’ll be truly amazed at his beauty through her.

Mientras, I rejoice in her, our little gift before Christmas. I’m grateful that God healed her and is giving her a solid platform to stand on. 

My Emotional Ties With Thanksgiving Food

I was awake muy muy temprano all week. It’s always like that with all the hustle and bustle of the Thanksgiving and Christmas season and all the birthday celebrations between. Today la familia will be celebrating mi mas chiquito grandson; Uriah Benjamin, 1 year old. What a wonderful way to end a Thanksgiving and enter into Christmas verdad?  

With that thought, as I was waking up today, I considered the wonderful Thanksgiving feast we’ve shared every year for the past 34 years. Rich in carbs, calories and fats. It’s not anything extraordinary really, pero this morning, the years of tradition in these simple foods overwhelmed me with appreciation. I went down my list:

Yams for Patty and me, nobody else appreciates them in my home. Yams, brown sugar and marshmallows. These remind me a bit of the camote my ama used to buy every morning when we were visiting Tia Angela in Guadalajara. The vendor would roll down the street on his three wheel bike equipped with a huge basket of delicious sweet camotes, yelling in a deep voice “camote” and we’d eat them drenched in leche. Today, I make a very small casserole dish of yams, since I alone partake of them now. I thank God every Thanksgiving for those years Patty and I shared the “gringo camotes” 🙂

Green beans with almonds for Ben and Rosie since our kids avoid veggies like the plague.

I’m gonna choose to avoid the ‘bad mom’ stares. Ben doesn’t have a stomach for green bean casserole and he stated that very clearly from the beginning of our voyage. I was glad because what was just the word ‘casserole’ intimidated me. Instead we enjoy fresh green beans stir fried in butter, diced garlic, sliced onions and almonds. Just for my flaco and I. It almost makes it our romantic thanksgiving side dish.

Stuffing for everyone! It’s the only time of the year I can get my sons to eat veggies. Finely diced onion,carrot and celery. Extremely disguised into the stuffing with the sausage and breading. I was pretty sure of myself, until I wasn’t. This year, My daughter in-law Denise asked me to share my stuffing recipe, because she was making some at home. Y pues, my shoulders straightened as I proudly began to share my recipe. When I said make sure to dice bien chiquito the celery and carrots, she interrupted me. “Actually, Jon asked me to leave out the celery this time.” Que! All these years despite loving my stuffing, he was so quick to alter it as soon as it was out of my hands. Luego, the worst thing that you can imagine happened! Asi es, a Thanksgiving tragedia.  my stuffing was…not good! my traditional stuffing was off and I hated it, and my sons didn’t fight for it.. I threw my hands up in total defeat, what else would change this Thanksgiving? I love feeding my family and others, and even as I write I feel the weight of that stuffing fumble, pues, I can’t have my sons not fighting over who gets more stuffing, verdad? Ok, think good thoughts, all my children and grandchildren were thanking God with me.

Desserts in our house. Classic San Diego Greene style. Cookies and Pumpkin pie are not traditions in danger of being removed. Until they don’t appear. Not one cookie, ni uno! And pumpkin pie? Daniella came filled with a desire for pumpkin pie. I prepared with the cool whip and proceeded to assign someone else the task of pumpkin pie. I can’t even say it, my brain isn’t wrapping around the fact that there was NO PUMPKIN PIE!  My newest daughter in-law Monique Greene introduced a pumpkin roll, y pues, it was delicious, we barely had enough of it. I’m impressed at her ease en la cocina. I can already tell that my lil Flaco, her flaco is putting on some weight. …but tradition took another hit. 

This year Thomas, our baker, made delicious cheese cakes, recipes he learned from the bakery he works at. Muy dalishious! Another change for my “anchored in tradition” heart to endure. We have always made Philadelphia’s classic 3 step cheesecake. It was right up my budget and my “teaching the kids” ability.

The Peanut butter, chocolate and cool whip pie that Emery has made for years, the “Terni Pie” because the recipe was shared by our dear friend Ternisha, remained in its traditional place. He always remembers it almost too late to share with anyone.

Gracias a Dios, I was worried that he was too much in the honeymoon clouds to worry about a silly pie. 

Ya se que change is inevitable, I’m learning to unlatch myself from the old ways when I must, and embrace the new things.

My pastor preached last Wednesday that everyday could be a day of Thanksgiving, “Gracias te damos Senor” everyday? Amen! good preaching indeed.  If we choose to practice Philippians 4:6 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything (not even the changes).Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. (Jesus, you’ve done so much for me, I cannot tell it all!) Then you will experience the peace of God, which exceeds anything we can understand.

At times it takes focus and grit to not go down the lonely path of losses and “what ifs.” Even the losses, like no pumpkin pie or mediocre stuffing can be made into a beautiful thankful moment. I hope you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving.

Have a beautiful Christmas season, y que Dios los bendiga

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