Thursday, April 29, 2010


I’ve been wanting to blog for a long time. I just didn’t know it. In the midst of children, lupus, cancer, autism, frequent moves, etc. I just got a bit LOST. My once broad world of friends, career, and marriage, suddenly dwindled to the daily survival of feedings, diaper changes, and shuffling my children from one activity to another.

Can you relate?

In the hurricane of my life, I knew I was missing something; I just couldn’t express what it was. I constantly had a running list of daily life scenarios running through my head and ways in which to apply them as life lessons. They were always filled with a bit of humor (laughter from an audience of one-myself) in order to get me through the times when I felt overwhelmed. It was a choice to laugh or cry and I usually chose to laugh. (Although there were times of tears too-trust me).

Then I began reading a friend’s blogs ( and Her magical way with words and fluid storytelling was my “that’s it” moment. I’ve always loved writing… I just forgot that I did. She reminded me. I am GRATEFUL for Greta.

So with a sense of gusto (and insecurity), I began to sit at the computer and share my stories. I am GRATEFUL for the ability to overcome fear.

I am most GRATEFUL for you…

For building a community of moms (and dads) who understand the highs and lows of this journey called parenthood. It’s good to know we’re in this together!

For your openness in allowing me to share my most vulnerable and sometimes embarrassing thoughts and experiences.

For your words of encouragement. What a gift!

So as I wrap up my 1st month of blogging, I would like to express my true appreciation and gratitude to you. Please keep reading and sharing your thoughts with me. I love hearing from you! I would also encourage you to think about something you once were passionate about and have not done for a long time. Maybe it is time to reconnect. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Much love,

P.S. I’d love to grow a community of readers. Please feel free to become a follower on my blog page. All you have to do is click the “Follow” button on the right hand side of my blog page. You can also share my blogs with your friends. If you prefer to just get updates on Facebook, that’s okay too.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Daddy Day

Saturday was a day just for ME. I don’t get those too often. Come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I had one. I am talking about a WHOLE day for myself. This was no quick run to Target without kids (although I crave those too). I am talking about leaving the house at 9:00 a.m. and not returning until pajama time. It couldn’t have come at a better time as Kevin had been gone for quite a few days for business the week prior. You can imagine that after several days with my 3 busy boys, I was READY!

I left the house early in the morning and instead of my usual list of recommendations, I grabbed my purse, kissed each boy on the head, and said a cheerful, “good luck” to my hubby as I waved good-bye and blissfully drove away.

You see- I’ve learned that my boys sometimes just need a daddy day. Please don’t confuse this with a daddy substituting for mommy day. Nope, this is a day for daddy to do as he pleases and how he pleases. Not only does it reaffirm my confidence in Kevin’s ability to care for our precious kiddos, but it also gives my little guys a chance to see that when things are done differently, that it is okay.

This is why my guys love daddy days:

Doughnuts for breakfast (need I say more?)

Big time fort building (notice that Charlie is still in his pajamas)

Collecting nuts from a neighbor’s nut tree

Music time (Daddy has talents that Mommy certainly does not)

As I spent my day getting a pedicure with my mom and shopping with a dear friend, I didn’t have to worry about organic food or sufficient sleep. I knew my kids were having the time of their lives. And that’s what daddy days are all about.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thinking Outside of the Box

I have to confess that Fridays are the most dreaded day of the week for me. Unlike most, I embrace Mondays. I eagerly anticipate the beginning of a new week. On Sunday nights, I buzz around my house as I clean up the evidence of a fun and busy weekend. It is strangely satisfying to put away the laundry, stock my refrigerator, and lay out the clothes for the next morning.

Mondays give us the chance to get back to our weekday routine: taking Luke to school, play dates, walks, the gym, and working in the classroom. We are busy, but I love it. Well, except for Fridays.

By Friday, I’m tired. I don’t want to load and unload the kids in and out of the car another time or pack another snack bag for an outing. I’m ready for a day of rest. Unfortunately, my two little ones are not. They still want to PLAY. However, by Friday, we’ve made forts, painted, made play-doh creations, and gone on more nature hikes than you can imagine. I question, “What else is there left to play with in our house?”

This last Friday was unusual in that Kevin was home since we were having new appliances delivered. I had the boys outside to keep them out of the way. I took out the water table and that kept them occupied. But, I knew that would only last for so long. I silently wondered how I was going to keep them busy until lunch and naps.

Then Kevin came out with a box. He cut a hole for the door and a small square window. The boys gasped and jumped with excitement. What is it with kids and boxes? I love it.

I decided the box needed some aesthetic appeal and brought out the crayons.

Jack (2) set about the interior design.

Charlie (3) designed the exterior structures.

The day turned out quite well. I even had to end their playtime with the box in order to get them to eat lunch and take naps. All it took was a little thinking outside of the box.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Which “Friend” are You?

A few years back we had a group of couples over to our home. As we were sitting around the table playing a mean game of Taboo, I asked everyone which character from the show “Friends” they thought they were most like. Everyone went around the table and shared their thoughts. No one really debated each others' answers. We laughed and thought of funny stories to validate each others' choices.

Then it was my turn. I confidently shared with my friends that I was TOTALLY Rachel. Before I even finished the last syllable of Rachel, they all started shouting something along the lines of, “no way, you are SO not a Rachel!” What??? Of course I was a Rachel! I was stylish and funny like Rachel, right? I even had the “Rachel” haircut in high school! I certainly wasn’t nutty and OCD like Monica, right? I couldn’t possibly be as flighty as Phoebe, right? So in the middle of their, “you are SO not Rachel” assault, I asked them who I was.

A collective “Monica” was their response. Actually, I think it was more of a, “Katie, you are SOOO Monica.” Ouch.

That was hard for me to take in. Monica? But Monica was so controlling. Monica was such a neat freak. Monica was neurotic. How sad… but very, very true. You see, I REALLY want to be a Rachel. However, that’s just not how I’m made. I am type A+ (ask my poor hubby), I really do like things clean, and I really like most things done a certain way (okay, MY way). So I’m a Monica. I just need a lot of Chandlers, Rosses, Phoebes, Joeys, and of course Rachels in my life to keep me balanced.

So, which “Friend” are you?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mommy “Mad”ness

Last night was a rough night. Kevin is out of town for the week, which means I am more stressed than usual. I had a hunch it may be a bad day when it started out with me almost fainting at the gym (long story). For the rest of the day, I felt sick. That also usually means that I’m more stressed than usual. You know how tough it can be to be a nice mom when you feel rotten. It didn’t help that my kids were bickering a lot. Oh, and Jack has a sinus infection and he was screaming…a lot. These things made me more stressed than usual too.

By bedtime, I managed to get everyone fed, bathed and in pajamas. But then I hit the wall. I went into the bathroom and one of the boys had “forgotten” to tell me that he clogged the toilet. Now really, in the big scheme of things, not such a big deal, right? Except it was to me, on that kind of night. I immediately wished Kevin was there to take this on. But he wasn’t so I had to deal with it.

Instead of calmly going about fixing the problem, I got really upset with my son for not telling me. I was mad about the mess, I was mad at the toilet, and I was really mad that I wasn’t feeling well and was stuck to deal with this. My perspective was off and I had reached my limit.

I decided to quickly put all the kids in bed so I could deal with the toilet. This meant no songs, no stories, and no prayers. My oldest son was crushed because he didn’t get his extra playtime. My other son was reacting from the stress and started melting down. Our youngest was wiped out from the day and miraculously slept through the scene.

Once I cleaned everything up and had a moment to calm down and reflect-I suddenly felt it. The mom guilt. Part of me wanted to rationalize my behavior…bad day, not feeling well, blah, blah, blah. But I couldn’t. I knew. I knew in my heart that I had completely lost my temper and I needed to ask for forgiveness. I dread admitting that I’m wrong. Even more, I really dread saying I’m sorry. I know, some great example I am!

So I sheepishly went into each boy’s room, cuddled in bed with them, and told them that I made a mistake by getting so upset. Then I asked them to forgive me. We talked about the situation and how we could do it differently if we had a “do-over.” We ended the conversation with sweet hugs and kisses.

I am thankful for forgiveness and second chances.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Quick Reminder

Last Friday, Kevin and I had a chance to escape from the kids to attend a friend’s wedding. Kevin was the best man so I had to drive separately up to Newport Beach. I was feeling quite ecstatic to be out of the house for the night. It had been a REALLY long time since we’ve been out by ourselves. Woo hoo!!

So there I was cruising up to Newport Beach, alone in the car, listening to my station on the radio. I was feeling pretty cool for the moment as I pushed the pedal in high heels, caught glimpses of my dangling earrings in the rearview mirror and glanced at my clutch on the passenger seat. It felt indulgent to carry a bag that was only big enough for my stuff. I love that a clutch isn’t practical. There’s no room for an extra diaper or sippy cup. Oh, the small pleasure in my life.

But then my moment of coolness was brought back to reality. First, I drove my not so cool minivan (does it sort of add coolness by the fact that it’s black?), into the parking lot. There’s nothing quite like being all decked out and feeling hip and then realizing you’re pulling up in a minivan not a sports car. It just seemed plain ironic. I rolled down the window and asked the young twenty something attendant where to park. That was the second bubble buster. He looked really young. That seems to be happening to me a lot lately. At least he didn’t call me ma’am. As my coolness was slowly dripping away like a popsicle melting a hot summer day, I pulled into my space. I looked in the mirror for a final once over and noticed my three empty car seats in the back.

Oh, yeah, it was a quick reminder that I am no longer in my cool mode, but that’s okay because I am in mommy mode and nothing can top that.

So I got out my car and realized that I already missed my three little munchkins. I was looking forward to a night of dinner, drinks, and dancing, but I was more looking forward to going home, getting in my comfy jammies, and snuggling with my kiddos. Isn’t that what life as a mom is all about?

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Special Prayer and Pink Slippers

Today was one of THOSE mornings. I had insomnia last night and when Jack Jack (2) came into my room to wake me up, I barely recognized him. I didn’t know where I was or my own name. You know how those mornings go if you are a parent.

Reluctantly, I pulled my groggy self out of bed to begin the list of morning tasks before getting Luke (7) off to school.


Breakfast for kids-check

Read email-check

Wash dishes-check

Make Luke’s lunch- Oops!

How in the world did I forget to make his lunch? I quickly scrambled to get some things thrown in his lunch bag so we wouldn‘t be late. I’m a freak when we’re late.

Then I ran upstairs and threw on some clothes. As we buckled ourselves in our seats I said a silent prayer:

Dear God, PLEASE don’t let us get in an accident. I have to admit that I truly was not concerned for our safety. Rather, I was concerned about these:

In the mist of running out the door in our morning madness, I neglected to put on shoes. I imagined myself standing on the side of the road giving a police report in fuzzy, bright pink slippers.

Thankfully, we made it to school and back home without any mishaps. Who says God doesn’t answer our prayers?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Balboa Park

I always feel nostalgic when I visit Balboa Park. The 163 freeway narrows into two lanes as you approach the park. It is lined with tall, aging trees, which provide instant shaded beauty. I know they have stories to tell. Oh, what they have seen over the decades!

I vividly remember as a child eagerly anticipating this trip that I now take with my own children. I was and still am in awe of the magnificent Cabrillo Bridge, which creates a sense of architectural welcome. One moment you are driving on a 4 lane concrete slab encompassed by strip malls and the next moment you feel transported back in history.

Our objective for the day was to explore the Museum of Man. Luke chose to do his 1st grade book project on Ancient Egyptian pyramids. The topic for his book had to be factual and something they wanted to learn more about. I read to him some options listed on the assignment page: frogs, trains, snowboarding, etc.

He didn’t seem too thrilled with the suggestions. I was ready to throw some of my “mom” ideas out, but then he paused and excitedly proclaimed: pyramids! I love that kid. I am so proud of him for navigating his own curiosity. Ownership is such a critical component of the learning process (that’s the teacher in me-sorry!).

We did our research online and he created his book full of facts and detailed illustrations. However, I wanted to take the learning to a deeper level. That’s how we ended up at the Museum of Man. They have an amazing Ancient Egypt exhibit, including a section just for kids to explore hands-on.

After visiting the museum, we meandered through the park. Our “nature boys” loved the botanical gardens. Here they are examining the lily pads and koi fish.

Chasing Monarch butterflies was a blast.

Climbing the giant tree roots was a first.

Family photos were taken, but definitely not one of their favorites.

Who says that family days have to be perfect? They just have to be fun. That’s how memories are made.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Homemade Meals

I am no chef. It is a sad fact, but it is true. Despite my lack of culinary skills, I occasionally pull off a yummy homemade meal from scratch. My friend Melissa gave me this chili recipe at my bridal shower. I like that it is with ground turkey instead of beef. I buy organic meat, but you don’t have to. It will still taste just as good.

Melissa’s Yummy, Easy Chili
2 lb ground turkey
¾ c. chopped onion
2 cans-cream of tomato soup (or just tomato soup)
1 (14 ½ oz) can of ready-cut tomatoes
¼ tsp. Minced garlic
2 ½ tsp. chili powder (more if you like spicy chili)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 (1 lb) cans of red beans

Brown ground turkey and onion. Add garlic. Add seasonings. Combine soup and beans with the above ingredients in a pot. Stir to a boil and then simmer slowly for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Garnish with your choice of shredded cheese, sour cream, and chives.

Of course you can’t have chili without corn bread. I usually cheat and use the mix from Trader Joe’s or the “Just add water” version made by Marie Calendars. However, I forgot to buy a mix at the store so I found this recipe online. Yes, I actually Googled, “Easy Corn Bread Recipes.”

Easy Corn Bread

1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
¾ c. cornmeal
¼ c. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 c. skim milk
¼ c. vegetable oil
1 egg beaten

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 8 or 9 inch square pan. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil, and egg until moistened. Pour into pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Try it before it actually feels like spring again. Enjoy!

Give Me a Break!

It was one of THOSE weeks for me. It was spring break and I had our calendar full of daily play dates and fun outings. We were all set. Most of my friends cheer when spring break approaches. Not me.

I like our routine, my kids like our routine, and when we don’t have our routine, we kind of fall apart. For those of you moms who have the “hang at home and relax” thing down with your kids, I salute you.

When we stay home, I find myself fighting the evil forces of TV, Wii, sibling rivalry, and “I’m hungry” whines all day. When we are out and about with friends, at the zoo, or at the park, my kids stay busy and happy. And when we get home they are worn out. It is then that we are able to really enjoy ourselves in our home. We read, create art, construct Lincoln Logs, and ride bikes and scooters out front. When their energy is out, they are quite pleasant to have at home!

Okay, back to spring break. Like I mentioned, we had something planned for each day. Then my kids got sick. One by one, like tumbling dominos, they developed a fever and cough. I was dreading staying home with sick kiddos and imagined myself desperately grabbing onto Kevin’s ankles on his way to work in the morning.

Despite my worries, we made it through the week with the help of a few visits to Blockbuster. I really hate to admit this, but one positive to having sick kids is that they are super mellow. Consequently, having ALL of us home ALL day for 6 days in row wasn’t as bad as I imagined. Whew!

Thankfully, I had a girl’s night out with a friend to look forward to on Sunday. There is truly something to be said for sipping a Cosmopolitan, eating delicious food (that you didn’t have to cook), and conversing without any filters. As my friend and I candidly chatted about all the latest ups and downs, I felt my tension from the prior week dissolve. Why don’t I ever realize how much I need a break until I actually take one?

We all need a break once in awhile. It gives us a new perspective and allows us to refresh in order to be the best moms we can be. If you have not had a break lately, I encourage you to call, email, text, Facebook (you get the idea) a special friend today and set a date on your calendars for some kid-free gal pal time.

Go for it…you deserve it, Mama!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

April Showers

April showers bring May flowers AND a reason to wear cute rain boots. After yearning to buy a pair for the last few years, I finally let loose the bonds of practicality and bought a pair. Before, I could never justify buying a pair when I live in sunny southern California where it rarely rains. More so, when it does rain, we treat it as a natural disaster and stay hunkered inside, waiting for the “flood waters” to subside.

However, this year I am focusing on simple pleasures and I knew rain boots would qualify as such. So I bought them. Of course they are black and gray like everything else in my closet. But, I did push out of comfort zone a bit. Notice the red bird?

They make me feel joyful when I wear them and it gives me something to look forward to on rainy days.

I’m enjoying the warm weather today, but I heard it is going to rain soon. We’ve had a lot of rain this year and I’m a little rain fatigued. However, I’m looking forward to wearing my boots…and to the May flowers, too.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Inspired by Johnny Cash

I wear a lot of black. A lot. I am the Woman in Black. My family jokes about it, my oldest son notices it, my mom buys me clothes in bright colors to deter it, and when my husband is brave enough to buy me clothes on his own, he knows: go black or I’ll take it back.

Now I could have a few acceptable excuses for this habit. But I don’t. Fashionistas in Manhattan wear black because it is chic. For teens, it is their way of expressing their teenage angst and rebellion. In my life, it is just another example of me keeping it simple in a house filled with chaos as I raise my boys.

When I roll out of bed and have to think about getting all 3 kids dressed and fed before running out the door by 7:40 a.m., I don’t want to think about what looks good on me. I don’t want to stand in front of my closet and debate which shirt looks best with which pants. I want to grab, dress, and run. Plus, I am not a risk taker and nothing is safer than basic black. May I also add that it has the benefit of disguising any remaining baby belly? Yes, it is practical, but it makes me happy.

With that said, I recently bought a vibrant blue dress. I’m liking the color. It just may be the new black.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I LOVE traditions. Love, love, love them! There is something comforting and exciting about traditions. The anticipation never decreases even as you do them year after year because they are so special and fun. It is how we build memories in our family.

There’s just one slight issue. I think I LOVE traditions more than the other members of my household. I spend weeks (okay, sometimes months) planning our annual Halloween party, Christmas cookie party, Christmas Gingerbread house party (yes, that’s two separate parties), and Easter Party. I also occasionally throw in a Flag Day party when I’m feeling particularly festive. Okay, that's not true, but I wouldn't put it past me!

So this year as Easter approached, I started thinking about our annual party. I started running a list of people, food, and craft centers. However, this year the planning never led to an event. Life just got busy. Between house projects, volunteering, my moms group, and helping to plan the Easter egg hunt at Luke’s school, I quite honestly burned out. Oh… the mom guilt was intense and I considered throwing something together last minute, but I realized I had to let it go. So I did.

In place of a fun-filled, sugar crazed party, I decided we were going to make the most spectacular dyed eggs this year. I didn’t just get the same old-same old solid colored box of dye this year. Instead, I picked the marbled egg dye. Listen to how glamorous that sounds when you say it…marbled.

Now those of you that know me well, know that I really achieve to be crafty, but for some reason I was not granted that ability. I am the equivalent to Martha Stewart’s half sister. The desire is there, but the talent is not!

Carefully following the directions, I added the tablets, water, lemon juice (to add extra brightness) and vegetable oil (for the marbled effect). This is what they were supposed to look like:

This is what our eggs looked like:

Feeling a bit defeated and determined to get it right, we dumped out the egg dye and started over. By this point, Jack (2) was crying, Charlie (3) was examining the pictures on the refrigerator, and Luke (7) was jumping on the cushions that he removed from the couch. This was not quite what I had in mind when we set out to do our egg dying tradition.

But that’s my life. Those are my kids. We are stuck together. I love them for their craziness and all.

By the way, after adding some vinegar to the second batch, we revived the eggs and they turned out like this:

You have to love traditions…no matter how big or small they are.

Happy Easter!!!