Friday Open Thread

Happy Friday!

So, I’m “running” the Disneyland Tinkerbell Half-Marathon this Sunday…

I haven’t trained and will probably require emergency medical attention on the course…

I plan to complete it, even if I have to crawl to the finish line…

Work on Monday is going to be hell. I wonder if I can type like this?

I’m running with some experienced runners – like Erika…

And Elisa…

I’d like to think that I look like this while running…

But I’ll probably look like this…

The good news is that I will be sharing this experience with my love sister (Erika’s mom), Guille. This will be her first half-marathon!

So, wish us (me!) luck! Because the only thing that’s going to get me through this race is imagining running into his arms…

But I’ll probably be running into her arms…

And getting one of these to call my very own…

What are you up to today?


Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Update on Target: Here is the number to call if you are so inclined: (612) 304-6073. Press 1 and connect with “customer relations.” Stay on the line for instructions. I am calling now to complain. -Elisa

Update #2: I got through to a spokesperson for the executive team. I think the conversation went well. I told her the truth, that I love Target, could spend the day there, and just spent a lot of money there yesterday. I gave her my name and zip code. I then told her that I am concerned about the political contributions of Target, most recently the $150,000 to Tom Emmer of Minnesota. “He has said some outlandish things. As a Hispanic consumer, I am especially offended at his anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric. He has also come out against gay people and workers. I think you are alienating your shoppers donating to candidates like these.

“I want to support your current workers, but this guy stands for everything against that.”

The woman thanked me for my time and told me she would send along my message to the executive team.

I thanked her for her time. It felt good — my civic good deed for the day. (Okay, I just freaking want to be able to shop at Target!)

Okay, here is my mami confession for the day. I had a lot of ambivalence about having a daughter since I have a boy I adore, and my sisters and I were pains in the butt to our parents. (Occasionally, we still are.)

But I am loving having a daughter especially since we share so many interests. We are girly girls, and we love painting each other’s finger nails, putting on makeup — for Eli, this is a cheap lip gloss I picked up at Target — dressing up, and shopping. Yesterday, she told me she wanted black boots “como mami.” So we went over to our favorite store, Target, and had a blast. As you can see, aside from Eli’s black boots, we also picked up purses and hats. Squee!

Please Note: I just learned about Target’s revolting $150,000 donation to a gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota who is anti-immigrant, anti-gay, and anti-worker. Here is the AP story on it.

I will not be returning to Target until it stops giving to extremist candidates. I was glad to see take action on the matter. This describes my mood right now:

Ari, by the way, is a mini-Markos. They both play beautiful piano, love science and sci-fi shows, and all things fish and sea life. For now, Eli and I have been curling up to So You Think You Can Dance, which by the way, the season finale is this week. Squee!

How are you spending your last days of summer?

In other news: Teacher Ken wrote a diary at Daily Kos defending teacher unions.

In other political news: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants congressional hearings examining whether the US Constitution automatically grants citizenship to every person born in the United States, according to Talking Points Memo. As the daughter of a Latino immigrant and a Puerto Rican — who is well-assimiliated, thank you very much — I say blech.

The Boulder County American Civil Liberties Union has sent a letter to officials with the Boulder Valley School District arguing that the Boy Scouts should not meet at public schools at a discounted rate because they have openly discriminated against gay men, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.

Hearst’s and JCPenny teamed up to let teens “try on” back-to-school clothes with this virtual fitting room application, according to min online.

Check out this Washington Post profile about a family that spent seven years out at sea — during the three children’s teen years. Wow.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I have unpacked, gone food shopping, done four loads of laundry and finally settled at home since our trip to Central America. Overall, it was a restful, drama-free and fun trip.

We arrived to San Salvador Christmas Eve early in the morning. DH and I were so fried from the red-eye with our 2-year-old and 6-year-old that we napped as soon as we arrived to my mother-in-law’s house. The kids were excited at seeing dear MIL and the Christmas decorations that they kept going. What would I do for this endless amount of energy?

At night, we ate a typical Salvadoran meal of rice, beans, tortilla and fried plantains. Then we went outside where Ari and his Papi lit fire crackers in the street. If I had to name the highlight of my trip it was the pride and joy I felt in seeing my son so grown up and fitting in El Salvador. By the end of the trip, he was so adept at launching those firecrackers — and they were big and loud! — he would borrow someone’s lit cigarette, bend down to light the bomba and take off running. He looked like any other Salvadoran boy in the street or on the beach launching them.

Again, he is fluent in Spanish so he had no problem taking off with his cousins — or the children of my husband’s cousins — to go play with the Wii or go out to eat pupusas. (Pupusas are cheese or meat-stuffed corn tortillas, a staple of Salvadoran food.) He never once complained about the heat — it was so hot that we all got sun tans even though we were wearing sun block with SPF 50! — and he thoroughly enjoyed the water, including our first foray jet-skiing.

The day before we returned to the United States, Ari burst into tears. He said he wanted to stay in El Salvador with Abuelita and his primos. I felt wistful for him. As a kid, I cried every single time I left my maternal family in Puerto Rico that, very briefly, I considered going to college there. The large extended family, the beach, the sunshine, the tropical fruits and foods — I always felt in my element there. I can see Ari living in El Salvador some day. He fit in so well.  

Markos does not want to travel during the holiday for at least the next five years — trust me, I don’t blame him — but if there are two people who could convince us otherwise, it is our kids. El Salvador with its late-night festivities that included both young and old people alike, and fireworks, made for a magical Christmas. The fact that most Salvadorans do not put Christmas lights outside their home due to shortages in electricity and almost no Salvadoran puts up a real Christmas tree — even my mother-in-law had a fake one — did not dawn on us. I will always associate Christmas in El Salvador with late-night sounds of firecrackers and children whooping and hollering as they run down the street in anticipation of Santi Clos’s visit.


Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Hello fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here is what we recently discussed here at MotherTalkers:

Parents magazine ran a comprehensive list of homemade Halloween costumes. Only a few were mentioned online, but there were many in the mag that I dug like the “crayons.” Three kids were wearing pointy party hats with matching colored outfits that simply said the word “CRAYON.” Cute.

Unfortunately, I already purchased my kids’ costumes even though I entertained the idea of making them. Because I am lazy, Eli will go as Dorothy from Wizard of Oz courtesy of Target. Ari will be Bumblebee of the Transformers thanks to a sale at Toys R’ Us some months ago. What will your children be for Halloween?

The New York Times ran a column about how the decline of UC-Berkeley, easily one of the nation’s top three universities, is bad for public colleges — and the country.

More than 32,000 members of signed a petition urging the CEO of Kraft Foods to eliminate Yellow No. 5 from its mac and cheese products. The European Union does not allow it to distribute products with Yellow No. 5 there. The company responded to U.S. moms by sending a form letter, which I published here. Some of us felt that Kraft’s response was not good enough while some of you said no one could pry non-organic Kraft mac and cheese from your dead, cold hands. Either way, thanks for the mac and cheese recipes!

Here is a funny story by Anne Fitten Glenn over at the Mountain Xpress newspaper of North Carolina about how beer actually makes your bones stronger. Yes, folks, there is an actual study on this. Cheers!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos. Please recommend so people get directions to the Hard Rock Cafe this Thursday! Thanks, Elisa

Hello fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here are some topics we recently discussed here at MotherTalkers:

Girl Scouts and their moms are rightfully upset to learn that Wal-Mart was at the BlogHer conference last week giving away samples of its own version of Thin Mints and Tagalongs. You can read about it here and here.

Parenting magazine ran an article about the difficult decision facing couples who have conceived through IVF: What to do about the leftover embryos? Some parents, including a mother quoted in the article, shared their stories here at MotherTalkers.  

P.E. injuries are on the rise, according to an article by the Associated Press. The injuries are not due to rigorous exercise, but a lack of adult supervision as staff like nurses are laid off and class sizes grow.

Here is one last important news story I want to highlight: Drinking and driving is up among women, according to an Associated Press report. Even more disturbing, drunk women are more likely than inebriated men to drive with children in the backseat. This story was covered in light of the tragedy that occurred in one of New York’s highways, in which an intoxicated mother caused a one-way crash that claimed 8 lives, including her own.

I hate to end on that note, but I am off to the east coast to visit my parents in New Hampshire and attend Netroots Nation in Pittsburgh. In the meantime, I want to alert you of some important dates so please pull out your calendars:

I am helping pass important legislation in California that would ban the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from baby and toddler products like bottles and sippy cups. The chemical and canned goods industry, including the formula companies, are fighting this bill. We are holding two important rallies to let the state Assembly know that families in our state support this bill.

The first one is in Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 19. Check out the Facebook page on it and pass along to all your family and friends in SoCal!

The second one is in front of the state capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday, August 26. Again, please see the Facebook page here and forward to all your family and friends in northern California.

It is important that Assemblymembers see a lot of us at these rallies as they will be heavily lobbied by the chemical industry.

Now onto other fun events: I will be hosting the Netroots Nation Parents Caucus at the Hard Rock Cafe this year on Thursday, August 13 at 1:30 p.m.. A group of us will meet in front of the convention center between 1 and 1:15 to share cabs or take public transportation. Here are directions to get to the Hard Rock Cafe via the “T” public transit station: Exit the convention center and walk up 10th Street away from the river. Walk 3 blocks and take a right on Liberty Avenue. Walk 2 long blocks up Liberty — the cross-streets will be 9th and 8th streets — and on your left will be the Wood Street Galleries at the intersection of Wood Street and Liberty Avenue. The T station is down the escalator.

You will take the “outbound” train. The train numbers are 42S or 47L, but the sign should say “to Square Station” or “to South Hills.” It is easy in that the T has only one line in town. The train comes every 8 minutes and it is a 5-minute trip to Station Square. Expect to travel like 3 stops. Once you get to the Station Square stop, cross the street (Carson Street) and head towards the river where you will see the Hard Rock Cafe. You will walk about a block to get there.

I will make sure to re-post these directions before the event on Thursday. Hope to see you there! Remember, the first 20 people to arrive will receive swag bags.

One last event I want to highlight: DH will be signing books at our Katie’s bookstore. Come out to meet the snark queen herself! Here are the details:

When: Monday, August 24
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: Gibson’s Bookstore, 27 S. Main Street, Concord, NH

The whole family will be there, including the kiddos. Please do come and bring your families!

What’s up with you?


Elisa Taking a Break

What’s up?

I will be taking a break starting tomorrow, Monday, April 27 until Tuesday, May 5 and will only be online periodically. Gloria and Erika will be updating the site with a daily open thread and occasional posts, including pushing out some stories I have already written.

I just wanted to let you know so you would not think I was being rude and not responding to your comments in my posts. :) “See” you next Wednesday!



So our son says tonight, while being put to bed, “why can’t the baby sleep at [the neighbor’s] house?”

“Because she’s our daughter, your sister.”

A second pause, then “I want another baby.”


“Because I’ll like the other baby better.”

No one ever said a new baby was easy on the older child…


Kos/Elisa/Ari/Elisandra starring in: SPY KIDS 4-D!

(Cross-posted from Daily You-Know-Where)

    (Courtesy of Varietease)

    Now that Robert Rodriguez is not doing well at the box office with Grindhouse/Planet Terror, he has decided to recoup his losses and make the latest Spy Kids film, but with the Kos family!
    And in “4-D”, for “4 Democrats”!!

    Here is part of the leaked script:

Kos: I have to go save the world from the Republicans again. Boy this is getting tiresome.

Elisa: At least we have a fantastic four people in our family now! (Boy am I glad labor is over…)

Ari: Cool!

Elisandra: Goo!

(more 4-D below)

Kos: Life as a super secret spy undercover as a blogger has its benefits, I guess. I’m just not sure what they are.

Elisa: That’s right dear. Now please hand me the machine gun, I need to go to target practice.

Ari: Rock on dude! I mean, Mom!!

Elisandra: Gaa!

Kos: Little Ari, you have to train your baby sister in all this deadly spy stuff. Mommy and I are getting older, you know, so we have to hand the 00-Kos empire over to you at some point.
    Remember, you can always phone our friend Valerie Plame for help!

Elisa: I need to spend more time on Mother Talkers anyway so that it gets as many viewers as Markos’ blog. That could take a while…

Ari: Can I blow up stuff? Me and baby sis? –MAJOR DESTRUCTION! This is better than video games!

Elisandra: Goo gaa!

    Coming soon to a theater near you! (We can only hope…)

    Happy Easter!