November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013


We had a wonderful time last night!  Who wouldn’t have fun with Strawberry Shortcake and feel super de-duperty safe with the Red Megaforce Ranger?!?!  Shoooooooot…..

We’ve made some fun new friends through Quint’s soccer team, and as luck would have it – they live in our neighborhood (whoop!).  For the first time in ten years of living here, we met lots new peeps, had delicious food at a block-style BBQ (maybe ate too much of the amazing pulled pork - ahem), and Trick-or-Treated until we dropped.  (Maybe Mama and Daddy dropped, more than the kids so much).  

October 18, 2013

5 Reasons Why It’s OK Not To Homeschool

Well, first let me just say this: I am not about to hate on the homeschooling mothers of America.  No, I am certainly not.  Indeed, I have many dear friends who home-school and love it!  This is not an attack or a post about home-school vs. public school, or the families who choose one over the other.  Homeschooling is a fantastic concept.  Do you home-school?  Yes?  I’m a fan of you.  I am.  But sadly and most definitely in this lifetime, you will not catch me at the modern day home blackboard waxing any kind of “this plus this equals such and such”.  No, you will not.  So those who are able and have my respect!

Still...I seem to be coming across many mothers from all different walks of life who share an ever increasing guilt about the growing popularity of home-schooling and their reluctance to take part in it.  If you’re like me, home-school is just not happening en su casa.  And we all have our own set of reasons, don’t we?  Though admittedly – and increasingly – unpopular to admit or say in mixed mama company, I feel it's important  to be my own voice for mothers like me.  So I present...

5 reasons why it’s OK not to home-school


1. You work full or part-time.  A lot of mothers work outside the home.  Some inside.  All day.  Like all freaking day.  And you come home (or step away from the home-office) and you're exhausted, and there’s laundry and cooking and bills and dishes and laundry and bath-time and….

I don’t mean this in a snarky way – but please Type A’s refrain from the “it only takes an hour a day” business.  It may.  For you.  But for me and my house?  It’s a miracle we even wear clothes in public, eat off of clean dishes ever, or sleep lying down.  We have ZERO time.  We just do not.  And the time I do have with my babies?  I seriously don’t want to spend working out how a fraction breaks down.  Please and no.

September 26, 2013

Housekeeping & Motherhood Don’t Mix


This is my living room/office/dining room/main living area.  I know…hush.

I will not lie and say that it usually never looks like this.  Actually, I won’t insult either of our highly intelligent minds by saying anything other than:  it looks like this most days.  Truth.  In fact, I’ll go so far as to add that when my home is clean and tidy, we almost don’t know what to do or where to sit.  For real.  As in “don’t you dare sit there, I just fluffed all those couch pillows” or “don’t even think about taking crackers out of this kitchen!”  Look, keeping it super real over here - I don’t have a very good gauge for how to have a happy-medium in all this.  I just know that my house runs two temps and two temps only: Company Ready or Hazmat Zone.  Ok?  Ok.

I keep reading a lot of blogs and articles about this very topic.  Lately I’ve seen a lot of people gently massaging various ideas into our heads about homemaker/motherhood stuff.  The clean house vs. spending time with your kids vs. free play vs. organized structured life living.  It’s all very sweet.  Nice thoughts about how the motherhood struggles are “holy ground” or that it's a holy experience raising kids and keeping house and all that.  How “chores can wait because blink and your children will be gone”.  I’ve read posts meant to placate your guilty mothers hearts out of the kitchen and onto the floor for a game of Twister.  Want to bond with your kids?  Garden together.  Bake together.  Pinterest 5,000 ideas to make you feel inferior and then do none of them and feel even worse.  I’ve read articles claiming that if I would just organize a chart into four even sections and assign duties accordingly, reward judiciously, and praise abundantly – then I would find my home tidy, my children obedient, and my heart happier.

September 14, 2013


I'm still alive and currently WITH my gallbladder.  I've steadily gained back my "feel goods" and for the most part I'm feeling normal again.  See, that's the thing with Mr. Gallbladder though.  He strikes when you least expect it.  Usually at 2am.  So we're just waiting....a little bit...and waiting some more...

In the meantime, my little Keira has had a rough day!  She was tired.  She was whiny.  She was cranky.  We were like "what's your prob, kiddo!?"  Maybe in a snarky annoyed kind of way.  Ahem.  Because we were like, she's FOUR.  So, yeah...

Well, turns out: she's got a fever, and has the blahs and let's just say - for a kid who is so incredibly healthy all the time - it sent this mama into a tailspin.


September 4, 2013

Over it

I know you thought you lost me there.  Came back to post only to disappear again.  Oh no, you didn’t.  I was just sitting in my own little purgatory for the past few days.

My goal was precise: get Quint settled in Kinder, get my house back in order, catch up and organize my workload, settle back into a routine with my little gal at home and start prepping for a packed school year in the forecast for Anton AND Quint.  That was my plan.  I LIKE plans, friends.  They make me happy and feel like I have my arms around things.  Plans and lists are like my happy place.  And I had both.  Little lists and little plans all over my desk.  To boot, we even had a three-day weekend to extend all of that organizing/preparing goodness. 

It started great!  The house was coming together (don’t ask what the Summer months do to my house…it’s just a filthy shame).  The workload was right on track.  Keira and I were getting a rhythm.  Friday arrived like a blink and suddenly it was sweet family time.  We were all exhausted and cocooned in, hunkered down eating AB’s yummy food and watching movies together.  Saturday, we worked all day on the house and those sort of chores you put off for months.  I was in heaven!  Sunday was the same.

And then.  Oh sweet mother…

August 26, 2013

Kindergarten Blues

I shuffled around, half-asleep, grumbling about the ungodly hour of darkness and how we would need to be getting to bed much earlier to make sure that mama didn’t feel quite like a collapsed soufflé every morning, add infinity or the rest of the school year or whatever. My son, with his big smile. Excitedly chattering about his lunch, his snack bag, his backpack, his shoes (“the new ones? do I get to wear the new ones?”). Putting on cologne and his Daddy’s deodorant. He was proud of himself. He was excited.

He was up at 5:30am.  Up and ready to meet his newest adventure: Kindergarten.  Had it not been for the multiple times I had to reign him back in, he would have been dressed, packed up, breakfast down, and ready to walk out the door at 6am.  He might have even tried waiting for me on the front porch, if I hadn’t warned him to keep his little self “put” at the breakfast table.

And I was in motion.  Mom motion.  Writing his name on his backpack (how did I forget to do that weeks ago?), filling up his drink holder, packing his lunch, waking up his sister, details and more details and the sort of last minute things that Moms the world over would be tending to on a day like today. 

August 25, 2013


No, I totally get it.  It's ok, let's just say it together:  I've become a pitiful blogger.  If I told you that it was for a good reason, would you still be annoyed at my "come here" and "go away" frequency?  Yes?  Ok...then skip it.

Let's go to the part where I just say that I've been waiting for a lot of stuff to burn off in my life.  Guess what?  It never does.  I mean, it does.  Sort of.  But it just gets replaced by new crap.  I mean "stuff".  So why bother waiting for all of my life fires to die down - they aren't going to.

Meanwhile, I updated the blog look with a fresh "September/I'm still here/cute-cartoony-version-of-me/I'm still here" feel.   I did it for you!  Ok, I did it for me AND for you.  And, let's be honest - the cartoon is cuter than me.  She has absolutely no life wear and tear on her.  This is likely why I enjoy having her up there. And she's perky and has rosey cheeks.  Maybe a little too much rosey and pink gloss isn't really my color...but I digress.

I have a billion and one things to tell you.  About me, about AB, about the kids...

July 18, 2013

Laundry Room Make-over

It was an episode…a brief, laundry episode.

One that should have taken thirty seconds.  I was just putting socks away, that’s all people.  Nothing to see here.  Only, the next thing I remember, I was cleaning out my entire sock drawer.  Finding all kind of hither-and-to and dress socks that I stopped wearing when loafers when out of style.  (They did, didn’t they?  Go out of style?  Or are they coming back again? Shoot me.)  I came across something that I had pushed to the back of that drawer for ten years.  A little plastic bag that in my ideal world would hold three or four perfectly folded socks and keep them from getting wet…for all the backpacking and hiking I never do, on the rainy days I don’t venture out of the all.  Don’t even ask me why I kept saving that little “treasure”.  It’s total nonsense.  I have no earthly idea.

The good news of this story is that it was finally in the way. In the way of all the uh…socks…or whatever.  But still.  I had had enough of moving it around.  Don’t make me do the math on ten years.

So I pulled it out and said out loud, to no-one in particular “I’m throwing this stupid little plastic bag away!”  And so I did.  And with that small gesture, I wondered how many piles, small things, pieces of paper, odds and ends I was actually hoarding keeping for a rainy day....

June 15, 2013

The Princess Turns 4

I know…you’re choking, right?  First, because my absence on this blog is abysmal and second because somehow while you and I weren’t looking – this amazing, wonderful, full of sunshine little girl went on ahead and grew up.  And I could NOT let today pass without wishing a Happiest of Birthdays to my sweetheart, Keira Joy!  (who is every bit a JOY and a LOVE!)

We’re off to celebrate with a Princess Pool Party and I know a certain FOUR year old who is beside herself with glee and excitement! 

IMG_3011 IMG_3012 IMG_3016
IMG_3014 IMG_3015 IMG_3013
Seriously friends…do you recall those anxious post-China posts I wrote??  If you don’t, go read them…they’re all linked below.  This little pumpkin wanted nothing to do with us.  Now, we’re inseparable…and she is the GLUE.  Love, love, love her…she is pure sunshine.

I cannot believe my baby is four….{insert alternately sad/weepy and happy/smiley emoticon here}

April 26, 2013


Keira Flying
Keira said to me today “Mommy, when I grow up I’d like to still live with you and Daddy. Is that ok?”

I laughed and stroked her hair and looked lovingly at her beautiful face and said “no honey…it’s not”. Because people, at some point I’m going to require eight hours of sleep again in a stretch, can I get an amen?

At some point I’d like to pee without having to discuss all hither and heretofore of My Little Pony.

But actually…if I’m honest…(ish)…I can hardly stand how quickly my kids are growing up. What a strange place to sit – wanting nothing more than to have them healthy, happy, and growing strong and yet all the while trying to stop the clock and freeze time and remember each little moment in sweet detail.

Alas, the crux of parenting – they’re not ours. Not for long anyway. We’re just training them how to be the people they were always meant to be. We’re just “growing” them. Little flowers that push through each phase of new life under our tender and watchful care, until suddenly opening full to show the beauty that God made them into. To grow and to leave. To fly.

When I listen to the them whisper and watch them play…or stare as they run and laugh and fall together in a heap of giggles…I can’t help but feel the heavy sadness that it won’t last nearly long enough for my mamas heart, and yet filled with the joy of being chosen to watch their journey unfold. How lucky are we, I remind myself. How lucky to have front-row seats to these two glorious lives. Where but for the grace of God, we would never have known them at all. Their paths would have been vastly different all the way across the world.

But instead, somehow in the mystery of God’s design and plan – and all the way on this side of my world – here they are; part of my own story and I, a part of theirs. The crying, the laughter, the bumps and bruises, the story-time and playtime, the meals and the prayers and the kisses and hugs. The reassurances, the encouragement, the messes and the clean up.

The day to day living.

And all things My Little Pony and Avengers.

And then suddenly…the flying…

Cherish every moment. Love your babies well…

April 2, 2013

Kindergarten Round-Up

How can this be?  Friends…tell me!  You were here, right?!?  You read the posts.  He was six months old yesterday.  I swear it!  You’re my witness!

How then is it at all possible that we have received an invitation to Kindergarten Round-Up?  As in, school?  Like REAL school?  As in, blink and he’ll be a Senior in High-School kind of school?

I’m not ready for this.  (as she blows her nose into her hankie)  I mean it.  This is not exactly what I would call “easing a mother in”.  For crying out loud.  I’ve only had five measly years to prep.  {sniffle} That’s like…{cough}….nothing!  Hardly anything.  What the heck?  What, for once can we not go by dog years or something? 

Where was the memo:  “hey, you…mother over there pouring your very soul into your kids…working from sun up to sun down to make sure all is well in their little world?!  Yeah, you!  Go ahead and let those reigns go…we’ve got him from here”.  (sob….sniffle….blows nose again)  "That’s right, Mama…just pack a lunch and send him over.  We’ve got it!  See you at Graduation.“  (Wails into hands….)

{sniffle} I’m just not ready friends…how can he be five?

Don’t blink, mamas out there…

I love you, Quinty!  Don’t grow up too fast, my sweetheart.  Mama’s heart can’t take it.
Quint - Kinder

March 29, 2013

Raising Daughters

I don’t know about you.  I don’t know how you do it over in your corner of life.  I only know that raising a daughter has taught me EXPONENTIALLY about myself.  Good and bad, beautiful and ugly.  Like a mirror reflected back at me over and over and over.  And it’s good.  It’s all good.

I don’t think I ever realized that having a daughter would alter my view of the world, my view of others, my self-worth, my life perspective, my ability to love and be loved.  No, see…..I didn’t get the memo that there was a sharp personal learning curve ahead with raising a daughter. 

Because now, when I tell my daughter “you can be anything you want to be” I have to ask myself if I believe that is true for me also.  Don’t I believe that for myself – even now – even in middle age?  Don’t I still believe that dreaming those big dreams can still bring great rewards to my life?  Have I let myself believe the “this is it for me” myth?

When I tell her “you are beautiful inside and out” and she turns those gorgeous brown eyes that bore into the fabric of my soul on me and says “you are too, Mommy” – I have to pause and ask myself…do I see myself that way?  Or am I constantly caught up in a self-deprecating trap of low self-worth?  How often do I let her see me content in my own skin?

When I teach her that life is full of adventures and journeys and that her gift will be in uncovering all of them…I hear that whisper in the back of my mind…”when is your next adventure and when did you stop uncovering those gifts?”

I remind her that some people are wonderfully good and yet, some people are not.  That she must learn over time to how to protect herself, create boundaries for herself – all the while loving as openly as she can.  But then I have to ask myself: do I love openly?  Or do I judge first and hope I’m wrong later?  Am I overtly guarded and have I built a fortress so strong around myself in the name “protection” that no one – not even those wonderfully good people – can venture past?

I see the way she loves others, and I am moved beyond explanation.  This little girl, so full of life, heart, and soul.  She oozes love out of her pores and it is such a privilege to be witness to her journey.  Sometimes when the good stuff comes rushing out, I look around to see if anyone else is watching…can anyone see all this beautiful stuff that she just IS?!?  Occasionally, AB will nudge me and say “she gets that from you”.  I instantly rebuff…nah…she’s just goodness inside and out.  She was born that way.  Surely.

But when I see her stubborn streak or she sets about to have a Texas-sized tantrum or she gets a bee in her bonnet to be right about something…then I can’t help but feel guilty.  Oh I recognize that girl.  That’s me.  That’s my temper and my flare for the dramatic and that right there is the bee that I’m always batting at.  She gets that from me

The reality is, she is her own person.  Imperfect and flawed and human and delightful and proud and smart and beautiful and all those things.  And she is loved immensely by a God so much bigger than our broken sense of self-worth often allows us to recognize. And yes, she reflects and mimics some of the good and some of the bad behaviors that I display.  I need to make sure I’m giving her the best things to mimic more often.  No doubt about that.

The more important question I have to ask myself is this: do I believe that what I’m teaching Keira is only valid and good and true for her…or it is truth for me too?  I am her first and most important role model.  The single most influential woman in her life.  Do I live that out in all its glory and full color for her to see? Do I show her what it means to be strong, loving, confident, and humble?  Do I exude the confidence of a  Princess of the King?

Because that’s where the real raising of a daughter begins. And it's so much harder to put in motion than just spurring her on to be all that she can be.

It has to start with me.

It just has to.

March 25, 2013

China Sisters

I hate to say it, but let’s face it – I’m so far behind on posting life type updates, that I could honestly go back two years and we still wouldn’t have covered all the haps.  So forget all that. Ain't nobody got time for that nonsense.  Meanwhile...

We took advantage of our holiday time off (and by holiday, of course, I’m referencing four score and seven years ago…or December) and decided to “road-trip” it.  First stop: off to see one of Keira’s China sisters, Miss R.  They’re from the same orphanage, and we haven’t had the opportunity to see R or her family since our China travels.  I’m sorry.  They’re ridiculously cute.  They just are.


We only got to stay with them for a couple of days, but what a wonderful time we had together.  The girls got along so well!  In no time, they were huddled together playing, hugging, and laughing.  My personal fav – hearing the girls refer to each other as their sister.  Melted my mama heart!  That and seeing them play.  That about did me in…I got all misty-eyed and fogged up my camera trying to snap off some shots of them together.  


What a lovely family they are and such GREAT hosts.  I’m still day-dreaming about the cheesy chicken.  Don’t ask me, I don’t cook. All I can tell you is that Dena had to make two pans of the stuff.  And I can neither confirm nor deny that there was any left.  That’s all I’m saying. Dreamy sigh.

They were just as fun and easy going as the 17 days we spent together all over China.  It was so good to reminisce, catch up, and even compare adventures and experiences.  Thank you for hosting us, dear friends!



I have said this many times, but we feel intimately bonded to the families we traveled with – both in China and Ethiopia.  When we see each other or talk or email, it’s as if no time has passed.  We pick up right where we left off and there is an ease and comfort that’s just unexplainable.  There is just something about sharing such a life changing adventure together, and if you let it, the experience and the bonds you make can last a lifetime.  That’s my hope anyway…

and not just for me…


March 22, 2013

Flash Back Friday - just because

I don't recycle much.  I mean, I doWe do.  We have the blue bin and we fill it every week.  Ish.  (cough)

But on the blog - I don't rely on recycling posts too often.  And that's likely because I haven't posted in for-freaking-ever.  But who's counting.  Or maybe you are.  (but don't...because I'm like the wind or...I'm windy...or...cold...whatever...nevermind.  This analogy is going absolutely no where really a car...that goes fas.....)  I blame this on too much coffee in the morning. 

I came across a post I wrote two years ago this month, and it resonated with me deeply (again) and so I'm sharing it (again).  In case you missed it.  

And in case you, like me, needed a gentle reminder...

Because I did.  I really did...

Smooches and Happy Friday!

(click this link to enjoy Flash Back Friday!)


March 20, 2013

A little outing

Well, it’s like I said yesterday…to all four of you…do I just pick up and start talking about what I did last week?  And you might recall…all three of you that are still reading today…that I answered myself and said “why not?”

Incidentally – last week was Spring Break for us – and while around this time last year we were gallivanting around Disneyland (sob, sniffle) having the time of our lives – this year we were mellow yellow.  Hanging around.  Not doing much.  Well, “much fun” anyway.  We did “much” if you’re counting cleaning, purging, catching up on day to day.  Yes.  We did all sorts of that.  Sigh.

But for one day, we committed to having a little fun and taking our kids out of town.  The only place we could think of that would even come close to being fun, easy, and an experience on a tiny budget, with only a handful of hours and two little ones in tow was Sleepy Sheep Ranch.  You’ll remember that because it’s where Anton and I took ourselves last November and where I got the proper motivation to post all about Trust.  One of the few posts from 2012 that had any depth, admittedly....

March 19, 2013

Hide your shock, if you can...

I know you just gasped, right?!  A post?  What in the world....who does she think she is, you say to yourself.  Disappearing for like a year and then throwing tidbits here and there and then posting some lame "I'm back" post every three months...

Well, before you go running to your window to see if the pigs are flying, just rest on your laurels for a sec.

I've got several posts brewing (could she be back?!?) and I keep thinking "what do I do - just jump in and start talking about what I did last week"?

Well, why not?  (I answered to no one in particular)

Why not.

So here we go...I've got some goodies up my sleeve.

To me anyway.

(taps mic) this thing on?

Here we go.


February 15, 2013

My Funny Valentines

Feb 2013 Keira Heart - border

Feb 2013 Kids Heart - Valentines

Feb 2013 Quint 2 - Border

Happy belated Valentines Day!  We had lots of fun with this holiday over the past couple weeks.  We made cards, I created hand-print canvases for the kids (love capturing those little hands!), made felt owls in fun colors, ate way too much candy (well, we might have been doing that longer than the past two weeks), had our pictures taken, and decorated our house with hearts and little love reminders.

You people know me.  I’m a  total sucker for holidays.  And as Wal-Mart so graciously reminded me last night – Easter is “batter up”!  My gosh…at 9pm, they were pulling it all down and shoving up Easter as fast as the two disinterested staff could manage.  Heh.

Anton treated me to a lovely date night – complete with Sushi and my very favorite frozen yogurt.  Despite having a really relaxing time, we realized mid-date that having regular date nights took a lot of pressure off of V-Day for us.  Yes, we loved it – and we did special things for each other that were above.  That part was extra and fun!  But each Thursday, as it has stood for the last couple years, we have made time for ourselves together.  We have a standing sitter, and we head out for a few hours.  Even if it’s just to Starbucks with laptops to catch up on our work – we do it!  But mostly it’s a meal together (from burger joints to sushi) and some time for us to decompress and recharge.  Sometimes we stop by the grocery store to wander isles uninterrupted, and sometimes we squeeze a movie in.  Sometimes we have an agenda and sometimes we pull out of the driveway and say “where are we going?”  It’s the act of making the time that has been so meaningful, rather than the actual places we end up.  And let’s be honest – not every single time has been a big WIN!  Life is full of pressures and stress – sometimes, those creep into Date Night. But that has never kept us from venturing out and enjoying the respite that the night invariably brings.

What did you do for Valentine’s Day?  I’d love to hear!

BTW – Feeling MIGHTY miserable for all those people who were still trying to get off that Carnival Cruise last night at 9pm.  What a horrible way to spend Valentine’s – I guess they won’t be forgetting that anytime soon!  (A friend’s mom was on the ship….I cannot IMAGINE!)


January 8, 2013


It’s been a year.  Not a year since anything in particular…not like counting down.  No, not that kind of year.  I mean, it’s been a year.  You know how you come home and say “wow, it’s been a day!”.  Yeah.  That kind of year.

I call it blue.  2012 was blue.  I was blue.  Life was blue.  My heart was blue.  My mind was blue. 

Do you ever have a year like that?  Maybe just a day or two?  Well, let me tell you how having a whole year of blue can put you in the strangest of places.

If you have been through that, then maybe you’re shaking your head right now.  Agreeing.  Yes, you know…you have been there.  You get what I mean.

You can’t put your finger on how it happened.  You can’t organize in your mind exactly how you got there.  You can’t even quite shake it off as easily as you hoped.  But it made everything in your life harder.  And it made what might have been a minor distraction any other year, a major upset.

Blue w. frame


Lots of things happened this past year to shape me differently than I thought I would be.  Highs and lows.  We took the kids to Disneyland = high.  We got in a car accident and Anton almost died = low.  Sometimes life does that.  Throws curve balls in our general direction.  Problem is, if you’re not prepped for ducking, you get hit.  And when you get hit?  You tend to at first buckle…from the knees up.  Then you go down.  Generally rather quickly.

I did. 

Life happened and I buckled.  And that, my friends, is why I’ve been gone so much from this place that I love.  My little corner of the web.

Sure, my kids are in one piece and AB and I still have date night on Thursdays.  Some things faithfully remain and for that, I’m thankful and undeserving.

Yes, look around…the sun still rises and sets each day and life goes on.

But I buckled.  And I fell down.  Hard.  Not like the kind where you just brush yourself off.  Not like that at all. 

The ugly kind where you’re a bit bloodied and worse for the wear.  That kind.  Dirty and messy.

Here’s what you do when that happens; you either get up and find a will to move forward or you just don’t. 

I got up.

I’m moving forward. 

I’m hoping for a new shade in 2013.  Anything but blue…

“If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.” – Psalm 34:18

January 1, 2013


We're celebrating the New Year from the peace and quiet of the at La Cabin!

I have posts brewing and brewing...but as you can see, I only managed this one.  Pitiful, I tell you! 

The good news is - maybe with all this P & Q, and I can get a few thoughts down...or at least some pictures that convey the beauty we are presently surrounded by.

Until are my New Year's Resolutions in no particular order:

Blog More.

The end.


Big wishes for a wonderful fresh start for all of us!