Camp Tough Love: Where Showering is Optional

Not sure which is dirtier, my hair or my car.

(yes, my son is very dirty too…)

 Probably should wash both STAT.  But the logistics of this happening anytime in my near future are looking pretty slim.

  In fact, the last shower I had where I actually got to wash my hair (a rare occurence that happens maybe once a week if I’m lucky), resulted in no hot water (I forgot I had the shower running while getting my brood ready for school…oops and dang it!), and a screaming baby pressed against the outside of the shower glass for the entirety of my shower.  Good times. 

I was so agitated that I sliced my leg open with my razor and forgot to rinse the conditioner out of my hair.  I was one big bloody gooey mess, but hey, Baby J got what she wanted.  Back on her mama’s hip (AT ALL TIMES…*sigh*). 

And my car?  I am pretty sure the CDC is on their way to confiscate it.  Think hazardous waste dump.  And I wonder why my kids have been sick.  I cannot even stand to get in it anymore.  You know it’s bad when your four-year old nephew who is prone to be a bit on the messy side, tells you your car is really dirty and why don’t you clean it Aunt Marnie?  Sure Ryan, let me get right on that.

I’ve done several “drive bys” (girls, remember the drive by days? )…yes, my friends, I have hit a new low. I am now stalking car washes.  This is a sad state of affairs.  I drive by every car wash in Tulsa county to see if there is a line.  Because you know what is worse than a dirty car?  Waiting in line with four kids to get it washed.  Believe you me…I’d rather get a root canal. 

Since the blizzard, I am pretty sure every car in the state of Oklahoma has gone to get washed.  Because the lines are RIDICULOUS.   Not gonna do it.

So I will go on my merry way with dirty hair and a dirty car.  And while we are at it – a dirty house, dirty dogs, dirty laundry…and the list goes on…

Whoever said “a clean house is a sign of a wasted life”…also must have had four kids.   With all the dirt going on my life…I  must have a pretty damn fulfilling one. 

P.S.  Oh yeah!  Wallowing in my self pity I almost forgot to mention – yes, I have new site (thank you to my dear friend JJ)!  Same crazy stories…just a different address.   As soon as I can get my hair washed,  I’ll be working more on expanding my blog.  In the meantime – you can subscribe to my blog – just click on the “subscribe” button on the right.  And my misadventures will come straight to your inbox…aren’t you excited?

Fifteen Minutes of Fame (or the Fox23 Fiasco)

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. So maybe I’ll just drink. And yes, it is before noon, but after my morning – I really don’t care.

Today was the first day of my morning show segment on Fox 23. Michelle Linn, the morning anchor has been a fan of my blog for the past several months and asked me to come on air to talk about my crazy life. Talk about some reality television…

Anyway, we go back and forth about whether or not to bring the kiddos on the show with me. My gut said not only no but HELL NO….my four kids on live tv? Seriously??? But at the same time – they are kinda the stars of the blog. So I reluctantly agree. My stomach is in knots.

The morning arrives. Not only do I have to get all four kids ready, but I have to get myself ready as well! Holy Cow, I have to take a shower and put on makeup. This is huge, people. And find an outfit that doesn’t consist of sweats, tennis shoes or lycra.

Of course there is the usual morning drama – Tristan is in tears trying to convince me that there is no school today (“but our teacher said so!”) Nice try buddy. Jade is also trying to convince me that it is warm enough to wear shorts (it’s 32 degrees outside, but pick your battles), Nicholas plunges headfirst down the stairs before we even get in the studio and screams bloody murder and Josie decides she is also going to scream bloody murder unless I hold her at all times.

We are off to a great start. I am so concerned about getting us to the station with all our clothes on, that I haven’t even begun to decide what I am going to talk about. Hmmm, kinda an important detail. Crap.


What was I thinking??

Everyone at Fox23 was so sweet to our family; in spite of the fact that they were behaving like wild banshees who had never been out in public before. Even Baby J started crawling out of the green room and tried to go snooping around the studio before I could say boo.


I wrangle the kids and take them to the set. I have bribed them with donuts if they will behave on camera.


They obviously did not give a hoot about the donuts.


As I tried to talk to Michelle on air – I could barely focus on her questions because out of the corner of my eye, I catch the boys doing dance moves and making faces behind me. My mind is racing – do I scold them on live tv? Do I just ignore them and move on? What did Michelle just ask me? Is it just me or is it getting really, really hot in here? How long is this segment again?

In the midst of the chaos, I look down and Baby J is eating my microphone. AT this point I have lost all control. I have absolutely no idea what is going on. Thank goodness Michelle is such a pro (and also a mom of four!) or I think I would have just walked away…

I walked off the set pretty sure we would never be allowed back on the set (or even in the building for that matter). Boys did not get their donuts.

Our fifteen minutes of fame was over.

When I got home, you can imagine my AMAZEMENT to find a message waiting for me…they loved the segment and want us back next month. I truly am shocked. Like beyond shocked.

I guess I better go get the boys their donuts now…

ANd for those of you who missed it this morning…never fear. The beauty of technology…click below.

The Sick Gods Must Be Laughing

I need a do-over on this week. Wait, I take it back. I’d like a do-over on the month of February…and while we are at it – maybe a do-over for the year…can someone please make that happen?

So we survived (barely) the Fernandez Flu Outbreak and Snowmaggedon. Surely things would begin to look up…one would think anyway.

This was the week that Shane’s dad was coming to visit. He lives in Manila. That would be Manila, PHILIPPINES…so let’s just say we don’t get to see him often. He gets to come about once a year and stays for about a week.

We were so excited for him to meet his sweet, adorable fun loving granddaughter Baby J. I couldn’t wait for her to squeal with delight and amuse him with her funny antics.

Well, squeal she did. Our sweet baby daughter decided on the DAY of his arrival to begin cutting teeth. Like ALL of her teeth at once. Holy Cow, our baby was possessed. Wouldn’t even let “Lolo” (what the kids call him) get NEAR her. Screamed, yelled, squealed, you name it. And to top it off, she would not go to sleep. For almost 36 hours Baby J was wide awake (so guess who else was wide awake too). It was brutal.


(our possessed baby)

Poor Lolo. He’s been here three days and still hasn’t gotten to hold her. I don’t think he believes us when we tell him she is really a sweet loving child…

Oh, and it gets better. I go to pick up Jade and Tristan’s from their mom’s house on Monday. Tristan looks like he’s been watching too many chick-flicks and tells me he has “boogers” in his eye. And they were bright pink. You’ve got to be kidding – pink eye?…we JUST got rid of the freaking flu.

So Tristan barely got to say hi to Lolo before I whisked him off to the Urgent Care…again. I feel like Norm in Cheers – everyone at the UC knows our name. One of my friends joked that we need a punch card…(haha…NOT).

Tristan was beside himself…for some reason he had it in his head that the pink-eye was going to turn him into a zombie (?!?!). He screamed and cried like I’ve never seen him do – it was horrible. And we missed the special home-cooked dinner in honor of Shane’s dad (no, I didn’t cook it, but still).

Came home to another screaming child, quarantined Tristan, and disinfected the entire house, while trying to make polite conversation with our house guest. It was not my most stellar moment.

In the meantime, my car which is already held together with duct tape, still smells like death and looks like a hazardous material waste dump gets another lovely addition. One of my darling children has kicked in the rear speaker and drew on the leather seats with a Sharpie. Yeah!

Did I also mention that I have also had a migraine for the past three days? And our dog ran off? And I missed a deadline for an article? AND had to reschedule my hair appointment?!?!?! (If you’ve seen my hair lately, you would understand my distress).

I came home last night from a long day of schlepping kids, meetings and parent teacher conferences (another blog altogether) to find that Shane’s dad was going to stay at Shane’s brother’s house that evening.

Great, we ran him off.

And of course, Murphy’s Law…Baby J slept all through the night. Go freaking figure.

On The Brink…


Of a breakdown.

Day seven of Snowmageddon. Feels like day seventy-seven. I’ve had two kids with the flu, baby with a stomach bug and a hubby with a combo of both. I have left the house twice in one week and am starting to hallucinate about palm trees and pina coladas.

Seriously people…I am so over this. And I know I’m not the only one…I’ve been commiserating with my mom friends (via email since I can never leave…). I know there are people far worse off…so I feel like I shouldn’t complain.

But I will anyway.

And for whatever reason, our misadventures in the blizzard have seemed to attract media attention. Shane’s rescuing his neighbor on the side of the highway made the Tulsa World – our running out of toilet paper and being trapped in the house made an AP story that is still being circulated – and last but not least – our first outing out of the house resulted in a news crew following our family around the zoo. (it was like filming the release of caged animals…).


(our one and only outing…at the zoo)

Regardless of the media attention – this has gotten really really old. And we are expecting another 6-10 inches of snow tomorrow. At this rate, our kids will be in school until the fourth of July…or as one of my friends so eloquently put it, “our kids will become uneducated simpletons…” Well said Shelley Heckenkemper.

I guess this is when homeschooling has its advantages. (except for the teaching at home part…).

So this morning my six year old had school. The other two did not. This did not go over so well with Nicholas. This morning was rough – trying to get everyone ready (Shane is still sick in bed DANG IT). Nicholas did NOT want to go – and of course, we can’t find his hat/gloves anywhere. And something seemed to have died in my car. The smell was ATROCIOUS. We are of course running late, so I did not have time to investigate and I still have to pick up my nephew and take him as well. So of course, what do I do? Race out of the garage and smash my rearview mirror to smithereens. Shane heard the crash, walks outside, sees the mirror, turns around and walks back in the house. That is not a good sign.

Thirty minutes late – we roll up to the school and I try to unload three kids onto the snow and ice. Nicholas takes a nasty fall on the ice – screams bloody murder – glasses fly – I throw Josie to my friend Liz who also starts screaming bloody murder (Josie, not Liz)…as I try to console and peel my son off the sheet of ice. Totally forgot that I also have my nephew who has wandered off somewhere. With the help of my friends (thank you guys!), I got all three of them inside the school – Nicholas and Josie still crying and my nephew was totally bewildered. I am looking for my flask.

As I drive home with what’s left of my rearview mirror flapping in the wind and the acrid smell of death or a dirty diaper in the car…Baby J starts to cry again.. So what else do I do, but pull off the side of the road and join her.

Snowmageddon has won. I cry uncle.

P.S. Later the same day…I see my dear friend Nancy. She said it looked like I was wearing the same outfit that I had on yesterday on the news…Why yes, Nancy. I have not changed clothes or showered in over 48 hours. Tomorrow’s not looking good either.


(our backyard…)

Ramblings of A Snowbound Mama

So here we are on day two of being stranded at home during the epic blizzard of 2011. Or Snowapocalypse, snowmagedon, snowpooloza, slizzard, or whatever name you want to call it. My personal favorite is slizzard (cross between sleet and blizzard). Don’t ask me why – it’s just kinda fun to say.

Honestly, I was secretly hoping it would be as bad as they said…stranded at home with the family…lots of together time, playing games, cooking, sledding, etc.

Be careful what you wish for.

I adore my family. I really really do.

BUT (you knew that was coming)…six people and two dogs cooped up in a house with nowhere to go, too doggone cold for the kids to play outside*, two with the flu, a mobile baby who is into everything, running out of alcohol…and a restless hubby. You get the picture.

*Sidebar: After INCESSANT nagging from Nic to go outside in sub zero weather and blowing snow, I finally acquiesced and let him learn the hard way. I made him wear Jade’s snowboots because we couldn’t find his… in hindsight –not a very smart move on mommy’s part. In less than five minutes he face-planted into a snowdrift twice his size and his boots came off. We couldn’t hear him screaming until he was almost to the house limping BAREFOOT in two feet of snow. He was beside himself and so was mommy. Nic was frozen solid and will probably never ever go outside again. Oops.*

(Nicholas before the face-plant)

And I thought the snow days would make me extra productive…I mean what else do I have to do but clean out closets, organize my spice drawers, cook gourmet meals (ha! just making sure you were paying attention) and write my best-selling novel? (Didn’t the Pioneer Woman write her book on a snow day? Or in between herding cows and churning butter…I forgot.)

And yet, here I sit on the couch – still in PJs. From two days ago. (Mom, I did at least change my underwear, promise.).

On the other end of the spectrum there is my husband. Since the blizzard began, he has rescued our neighbor who was stranded on the side of the highway (yes, his near death experience will be in tomorrow’s Tulsa World), shoveled our patio, porch AND driveway (and people, we live on a pecan orchard – it is a VERY long driveway – oh yeah, and our neighbor’s driveway too), hung a wall of pictures, reorganized his office, designed a couple houses, cooked dinner, built a fire, played with the kids, worked out and did our taxes. (not really on the taxes, but it sounded impressive).

I am a slug.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Guess the bestselling novel is going to have to wait. Maybe I’ll just have the hubby write it. Much better odds of it getting finished

Life with My Wife…Or the Modern Day I Love Lucy (guest blog by my hubby)

…….modified from Wikipedia

I LOVE LUCY. Originally set in New York City (TULSA), I Love Lucy centers on Lucy Ricardo (MARNIE FERNANDEZ), and her singer/bandleader (ARCHITECT) husband Ricky Ricardo (SHANE FERNANDEZ). Lucy is naïve and ambitious, with an overactive imagination and a knack for getting herself into trouble. Known for her fiery red (BLONDE) hair, Lucy (MARNIE) appears as a scatter-brained homemaker with the matchless ability to turn an ordinary household chore into a complete and unprecedented disaster. Lucy’s (MARNIE’s) husband, Ricky Ricardo (SHANE), is an up-and-coming Cuban American (DANISH FILIPINO)singer (ARCHITECT)and bandleader (JANITOR) with an excitable personality. His patience is frequently tested by his wife’s antics. When exasperated, he often reverts to speaking rapidly in Spanish (JIBBERISH reminiscent of the father in A CHRISTMAS STORY).

Madison 006.jpg

I have been meaning to do this for months. Between my crazy work schedule, business, 4 children, board meetings, and the fact that I am married to Marnie; I really have very little free time these days. Marnie’s blog is always a welcome break for me in the midst of my stressful weekly grind. Seeing her email pop up on my computer with her latest entry is somewhat therapeutic. She has the amazing ability to take something that 90% of the time wasn’t funny at all at that moment and then turn it into something we can look back on and laugh.

That might explain why I have the blank expression I do when I stand in the background as her friends run up to her and say, ‘Oh my gosh! I read your blog and it was so funny! I can’t believe this stuff happens to you. Is your life really that crazy?” I can assure you that my lovely bubbly wife is a complete walking disaster. Yes, it’s all true. Yes, she has managed to live as long as she has. And, yes, I love her death and I accept that I was destined to be with Marnie…..I need to elaborate on this last statement a bit more.

Marnie and I had completely different life-paths. She is from Shawnee, Oklahoma and had your stereotypical all-American pie upbringing. I, on the other hand, now flashback to being 17 years old on the island of Luzon, Philippines. I was undergoing the first 30 days of my Scout/Sniper training with a Special Forces Unit at Fort Bonifacio. I was lying in a rice paddy for 5 hours in a fixed position with a 15 pound weapon. It was at least 100 degrees with 95% humidity. I had to ignore the blades of grass that were beginning to cut into my skin every time a breeze came whipping through the valley. I had to turn off the natural instinct to flick away the ants that were crawling down my collar and up my pant legs. I didn’t fire a single round out of my rifle the first 4 weeks of my training. They were teaching me discipline, patience, focus and perseverance.

Little did I know that God had no intention for me in the big picture of my life to be a symbol of National Security. I would use these skills not to be the ethnic version of James Bond or Jason Bourne. Nope, I would use my tactical prowess to make it through the minefield of day to day events my bouncing blonde of a wife tends to throw my way. Fate works in mysterious ways.

I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma now and have the most amazing family. Gone are my days of globe-hopping on various adventures. I go to work, I hit a community function here and there, I go to Sunday School when I can, I fit in a workout but I put my family first and foremost on my priority list. My life is great and I share it with an amazing woman that inspires me and, we will just say, keeps me on my toes.

If you know Marnie, she is adventurous. This is a good thing in our relationship as I have a ‘Life-to do’ list that my daughter calls, simply put, ‘stupid.’ In one instance Marnie wanted me to teach her self-defense. Now, every good husband knows that a one-on-one session with wifey in any sport related activity is a big ‘negatory’. One must bring your significant other to a class where you can let an instructor take the blame for all the insensitive things you are bound to say. When I was 10 years old I was one of the top 3 Tae Kwon Do fighters in the country and the California State Champion. I also have been trained in Muay Thai, edged weapons and arnis sticks. Completely capable of teaching my wife anything she wants to know……completely willing? No, sir. (Men, for further guidance in man-law, I will often reference the wisdom found in Ask a Navy Seal or Ask a Ninja).

So into the fighting ring we go. We are not more than 10 minutes into the class. Marnie and I are facing one another as the instructor is explaining the proper delivery of the jab, cross, hook combo. As I turn back to see if my ADD prone wife is listening to the Instructor and not checking out what the other girls are wearing….BLAM, BLAM, BLAM! Apparently, Marnie is a dirty street fighter. She sucker punches me on both sides of my face and square in the nose. The class is quiet and the instructor proceeds to tell Marnie that she is supposed to wait for the green light and that we ‘pull’ our punches….meaning that you are not supposed to really hit your partner. She wasn’t listening. She was bouncing around on her toes like a blonde cross-eyed version of Manny Pacquiao focused on taking my head completely off. At that moment I realize that I will not be taking my life partner to any weapons classes….ever.

I can promise you that I have a story for every week spent with my wife. Consider that I have guided Marnie up and down 14,000 foot mountains, taken her to the shooting range, taught her to ride a motorcycle, traveled with her to exotic places, battled white water rapids in a raft, engaged in swinger salsa lessons, and sat with her in the labor and delivery room while she hallucinated. Oh, and have I mentioned that she has insomnia?…that’s another story entirely. I AM the Tulsa version of Bear Grylls in Man vs Wild except that my survival situation is the daily on-goings of life with my wife Marnie (LUCY). When you combine the history of our upbringings and our life as husband and wife, I could seriously write a book on the ‘behind the scenes’ stories of this somewhat dysfunctional coordination of happenings.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. My skill set, ironically enough, tends to balance out the valleys in my wife’s arsenal of common sense and street smarts. Looking back, I now understand her father when I first told him that I planned to marry his daughter and he immediately put one straightened hand into the palm of his other hand and said, “Timeout! Timeout! You really need to live with her for a while before you make that decision.”

I apologize for the length of this entry. As many of you may well know, this blog couldn’t be anything close to short, simple, or easy. That is no longer in the cards for me as I am early into this new adventure with my soul mate.

I am focused to tackle this one day at a time. It starts the minute I come home from work, open the door from the garage, and say out loud, “Marnie (LUCY), I’m home!”