Saturday, October 1, 2011


It's been 3 months since I last blogged. Quite pathetic! But...with 2 little ones and a husband who has been working like's been difficult to do I dont know...relax!

We've visited family that came over from Illinois (my brother and his family), spent time in Monterey, celebrated my dad's 70th birthday, celebrated Emily's 4th birthday and my...errr...30-something. Spent time at the fair (where I won 1st and 2nd place for my cupcakes). We've hung out with family and friends and have been busy creating memories!

I'm on my phone blogging so I'm just going to add pics from the last three months. Lazy blogging, yes...but blogging nonetheless! :-)

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's Because I Can...

The past weekend was the Relay for Life. It was the first time I had been able to participate. It was such an amazing experience. It was emotional as I missed my Grandma, my dear friend Tina, and thought about a special 3 year old, Rylie. They all lost their fight to this disease. I was inspired that my Uncle is in remission and my friend is a survivor! I thought about my husband and my girls and prayed they never ever have to fight this disease. I laughed and cried and feel like this was a very personal life changing event.

I was humbled that SO many people donated to me. 49 people donated online. Many more donated in person. Words could never express my gratitude to each and every donor. I was brought to tears many times over my donations.

The day started bright and early.  I picked up balloons that I was able to get Safeway to donate and headed to the track to wait for the opening ceremony to begin.  Little did I know that I would be called to the front in front of every single person there to receive flowers for being the second highest fundraiser for the entire event!  After the opening ceremony commenced, all the survivors took the first lap, followed by caregivers. 

So we walked.  We walked and we walked.  We stopped at booths.  We learned.  We visited.  We had fun.  After a few hours I had to head home to put my girls down to bed.  I was able to put my feet up and relax a bit before we all packed up and headed down again.  This time my girls and Mother-in-law joined me in the walk - where we walked and we walked and we walked.  We stopped and got beads for each lap we completed.  I had bought purple spray for our hair so we stopped and got our hair sprayed.  We bought cookies.  We walked.  We held hands.  We had fun.

Right before I had to leave to get the girls dinner, bathed and to sleep, they started setting out the luminaria bags.  Those little bags made me tear up right away.  I found my friend Tina's first, and then my Grandmother's bag.  The bags are set out to remember those that have passed, those that are currently fighting the disease, and those who are survivors. Once the sun goes down they light the bags.  It's an emotional event to see those bags lit, to share in the personal emotions with every single person there.  They played a slide show which had every person I was walking for in it.  I had the ugly cry.  I missed my grandma so very much.  I was so heartbroken for Rylie and her family.  I thought about how she never got to do the things my girls get to.  Three is such a young age.  I missed my friend Tina tremendously and thought about the last words she shared with me.  I thought about my Uncle and knew that the battle he went through was probably a lot harder emotionally and physically than he let on.  I thought about my friend Trina and how scary it must have been to have been pregnant with her first born and going through chemo.  I thought about the new friend I had just met who was wearing her husband's sweatshirt that passed away.  My heart broke for the little girls who sat in front of me bawling their eyes out because their daddy was in heaven.  I thought about my husband and how I'd never want to be sitting there wearing his sweatshirt because he had passed.  I thought about how I'd never want my girls to be feeling the raw pain that those girls were feeling and crying as hard as they were.  I thought about my girls and prayed and prayed they never fall victim to this disease.

I am honored that I stood with over 200 men and women that want to see a cure.  I am honored that I was among survivors.  I am honored that others donated to support me in this event.  If I could have walked all night, I would have.  But with a husband on shift and a mother in law watching my girls, I had to leave around 1030.  Next year, I hope I can stay the night. 

Between my girls and myself we walked about 8.5 miles.  They originally said every 4 beads equaled a mile.  Then some other people that worked the bead booth later on said every 6 beads equaled a mile.  Then right before the luminary ceremony, I was told every 8 beads equaled a mile.  Whether we walked 8.5, 11, or almost 17 miles, I wish I could have walked more. 

I don't think that unless you experience the Relay first hand and you are doing it for personal reasons that someone can truly *get* how life changing this event can be.

I am leaving you with these words that were very fitting.  They were in the bulletin from last year:

I am tired. I smell. My feet hurt. My eyes feel like grit, and my head is pounding from lack of sleep...but I am grateful.

I have all of my body parts with which I was born. I have all of my hair. I didn't lose my breakfast in a bucket. I can hold my loved ones.

I will collapse in my bed tonight and pray for all the people we raised money for through Relay For Life, and I will cry for the people we were too late to help. I will pray for all the people who helped make Relay a success. I will give thanks for every minute of my life and all the blessings in it.

I will NEVER ask myself why I wear myself out raising money for a fight against cancer because I know why.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cuteness Overload

Okay okay okay.  I KNOW.  I know I've been slacking on blogging.  I have been busy.  You know...same ol' song and dance!  I guess what it takes to get me to blog these days is a whole lotta buggin.  :)  At any rate...I'm attaching some much requested photos of the girls.  These are all cell phone pics because I am too lazy to pull them out of the video camera, upload and photoshop.  Deal with it.  At least be happy I am blogging, right?  :) 

We've been busy lately just playing.  The weather has been warm.  Okay no.  That's a lie.  The weather WAS warm for about 2 days.  Warm enough to run through sprinklers!  It now appears that October is here with rain and cold.  I'm not complaining though - I LOVE the rain but some sunshine is a wonderful thing! We've also been trying to get to the park everyday - now that the best one for both girls is re-open!  And of course...Emily has been able to play with her BFF...something she absolutely LOVES!  :)

So...the right side of the pic has been cut off some...if you want to see the full picture - you have to click on it.

We also visited Children's Fairyland in Oakland.  The girls had a lot of fun!  They were able to slide, crawl, explore and go on rides!  As you can see, Allison is already a rule breaker by standing up in the ferris-wheel while it was going.  Sigh.  But they had a lot of fun!  I had fun watching them explore!

To see the full pic - you have to click on it.  Not missing much - just looks better when it's the full pic.

We also spent the day down at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  We went down there to see all the fish - and to see the husband.  The husband has had to take a few classes down there and since we missed him so much - we headed down to check out the sights!  I was SO impressed that Emily wasn't afraid to touch all the stuff in the water this time!  If you look at the picture of her holding up the green seaweed- she is yelling "LOOK MOM!  IT'S LETTUCE!!!"  It was adorable!  Allison also was able to touch some stuff as well.  As you can see - the day tired Allison out and she pretty much passed out back at Erik's hotel room where we bathed and put pjs on for the ride home. on to see full picture.  Not missing much on this one - just it looks better if you click.

So we've been busy. Yay.  Busy is good - but it's also exhausting!  :)  So the past few days we have just hung out and took it easy.  Tonight Emily has a graduation performance at school.  Keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that she doesn't get too scared and not perform.  She isn't graduating but will be promoting to a new class this fall.  The girls are just growing SO fast - it's just amazing! 

So there you have it.  I blogged!  YAY!  I should now get a gold star for my efforts...right?  Eh.  Instead I'm off to "reward" myself by doing laundry.  :-|   

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Do's and Dont's

In thinking about my role as a parent lately, I ponder all the things I've been told and warned about versus what this gig really offers. New parents are faced with a lot of truth and fiction and I have learned over the past 3.5 years that what works for one parent, won't work for another.

Since of course I'm an expert on parenting (please note the sarcasm there) I'll give you my list of Dos and Don'ts I've learned during my time as a mom.

DO know that when your baby is brand new, it will be the easiest part of parenthood. Although that baby cries and wakes up all night long, it will be the easiest part. No back-talk. No time-outs. No tantrums. Just a squishy cute baby that actually sleeps more than you realize!

DON'T hesitate to ask for help. We all need help. It's the hardest thing for me to do. But it's important. The absolute BEST present my husband and I got when we brought home our baby for the first time was several hours of sleep while our baby was watched. It was heaven-sent.

DO back up your videos...OFTEN. As much as a pain in the ass it is to back up all your videos (especially when it is a HD camera and your computer doesn't support it) it's SO important. It's absolutely gut-wrenching to have most of your child's "firsts" stolen from you when your house is broken into. In fact the only item you will care about recovering is that video camera. Years later it will still bring tears to your eyes thinking about all the footage you lost. BACK UP OFTEN. Even when it's a pain in the ass.

DON'T listen to experts or friends or family that tell you your child should be doing this or that by a certain age. Sure, some things should be checked out if significantly delayed but your child will coo, smile, sit, crawl, stand, walk and talk on their own time. Take in each moment and actually be ok if they aren't crawling or walking right away. You will like that more than you know.

DO take a step back and realize this time, no matter how difficult, will fly by. Before you know it, that child you brought into this world, the one you taught about life, will be out of your arms as you offer the world back to them.

DON'T worry, Supermoms and Superdads don't really exist. Laundry will pile up, dusting will be put off, crap will accumulate throughout the house. If you, your spouse and your kids are clean, fed, smiling, laughing and are doing a damn good job.

DO believe the pediatrician when they tell you the average number of illnesses the first year of preschool is a minimum of 30. No matter how clean your house is, how many vitamins you give and how often you wash hands...your kid will get sick from the germ-infested breeding ground known as preschool or daycare. Believe it or not, your kid won't be the only sick one although it will feel like it. Those germs will also get your other children, your spouse and yourself sick. Be thankful if it's only sniffles and flus. Strep, lice and even pinworms (ack!!!) are also common.

DO know that having two children is insane. It's doubly hard. More than double. But also know that it's a wonderful wonderful thing and so worth it!

DON'T listen to others. Don't listen to the mom that offers condescending advice. It's ok to formula feed, use store-bought baby food and disposable diapers. Don't listen to the mom who thinks they can discipline or calm your child better than you. Don't feel like a bad mom if your child rolls off the couch onto their head in front of said moms.

DO know that when you go to bed later than usual...your kids will wake up WAY earlier than usual. Every. Single. Time.

DO love. DO laugh...all the time. DO hug and kiss and then hug and kiss some more. DO teach. DO bend the rules. DO allow ice cream. And DO back up your videos!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day.  For whatever reason I am sitting here wondering what exactly MAKES a good mom.  I know you don't even have to give birth to a child to be a "good mom" but what if I don't even measure up under the definition of "decent mom" let alone a "good mom"?  I guess perhaps there is a difference between a "good mom" and a "super mom".  "Super moms" don't really exist I suppose - but for some reason - society makes us think there a million of them running around out there and we are failing at our jobs.  At least it does for me.   It's a RARE RARE thing where I am told by someone that I am a "good mom".  As a matter of fact...minus my husband...I don't think ANYONE has told me that.  My husband gets compliments about being a great father all the time - but me?  Not so much.

As a mom to two girls, and the wife of a firefighter whose schedule does not give me a partner that is home every single night (and lately - has not been home for a couple weeks), I find myself feeling like a failure as a parent.  I yell.  I put in time out.  I make my kids cry.  I cry.  I feel like a bully.  I crave alone time.  I have been known to have the kids watch some tv so I can take a break and decompress as best as a stay-at-home-mom can.  I have checked out a time or two.  I am not a good play-partner.  I don't spend as much time as I should with them.  I can't quite figure out how to give both of them all the attention they both need at the same time.  I can't seem to keep the house clean.  I can't seem to please everyone.

Hmmm.  Maybe that's the problem?  I spend so much time pleasing everyone else (or at least trying to) - I forget about me.  But does a "good mom" just do that - forget about themselves and put everyone else first?

I love.  I laugh.  I tickle and make them snort when laughing.  I've even been known to make them laugh so hard they snort and fart at the same time.  I hug.  I kiss.  I scratch backs to relax.  I wipe butts.  I sing.  I rock.  I read books and play with puzzles.  I take them places.  I TRY to teach the ABCs and 123s.  I TRY to teach how to spell C-A-T or D-O-G.  I give them a sense of family by having grandparents and aunts over (to me it's so important to have a good family bond with extended family).  I bake (although I know they only help so they can eat the batter or the dough).  I bring them to the park when I can't stand going to the park.  I allow them to learn on their own (as hard as that is).  I feed, clothe, bathe and fix boo-boos.  I dry tears.  I love. 

I don't know what makes a great mom.  I'm sure my mom wondered if she was a good mom herself.  I am sure most moms wonder the same thing.  I guess the one thing I DO know is in my heart I love those little girls more than I could ever find the words for.  My actions may not always show that - but it's true.  I just really hope I don't screw them up to where they need therapy later in life.  I make mistakes.  I am human.  I am a mom.         


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Could NEVER Begin to Imagine

I cannot get the Cruz Family out of my mind.  I cannot begin to even understand what they are going through.  I cannot stop thinking of Rylie

Rylie is such a beautiful little girl who has been suffering through Neuroblastoma.  A seriously horrible form of cancer.  She is Emily's age. 

She is now in her final hours on this Earth.  My heart is broken for this family.  I'm praying so hard that the next few days are filled with love and smiles and Rylie is kept as comfortable as possible.  I wish I could wrap my arms around this little girl, her sisters, and her parents.  I'm praying so hard for peace in that family.  I could NEVER begin to imagine that heartache.

I'm asking all of you to take a few moments out of your day to pray for the Cruz family.  They need all the prayers they can get as they go through the next few days and hours. 

Now take the time to hold your children close.  Really close.  Rylie went from a normal 2 year old to being diagnosed with this horrible disease and starting her journey down this difficult road.  No matter how crazy your children drive them.  Hold them.  Let them know you care.  Be their friend.  Be their mentor.  Be their parent.  Love.  Laugh.  Build a solid future.  You NEVER know what life has in store for you.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bad Case of the Mondays

Having a SERIOUS case of the Mondays today. It just seems so wrong to have so many things happening after such a great Easter. Wish I could wiggle my nose or cross my arms and nod my head to make things better. Today these two creatures are the only thing getting me through...

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I'm sick. It's not fun, especially with two little ones. I'm so sick, I actually made the husband leave his shift and come home. I felt it was safer for the kids because if one of them needed me...more than usual...I wouldn't be useful and that's not so good. Stay at home moms aren't allotted sick days like your average employee...but this time I actually lowered my pride and requested help.

The hubby is here although he's about to get up and go to work leaving me to fend for myself. He's been great while I've been miserable.

At 4am, since I'm already awake with a sore throat that is about to have me reach in and pull my tonsils out myself (yes I still have mine). A nose that won't allow air in, and a cough I'm positive is giving me some wonderful ab muscles. I'm miserable. I hear the youngest coughing and I hear the husband stumble in there to try and soothe her. (The husband has been sleeping on the couch. I'm sure it's because he doesn't want my cooties but I tell myself it's so I can sleep soundly. Ha!) She's still coughing. I get up to take motrin to lower my fever and make my throat stop hurting and sudafed to open up my nose. I grab her water and stumble in there to see if he wants me to give it a try. We switch shifts.

I rock and sing (as well as anyone can with half a voice) and as she's finally dozing off...I'm reminded.

I'm reminded how small she use to be. How with both girls I remembered rocking them as newborns in their chairs, so tiny they only filled up my arms. I remember always thinking that one day they will be as long as the width of the chair. The thought at the time seemed crazy but I knew it was going to happen. Today, I realized the youngest is not only the width of the chair, but longer. Where did all that time go?

I'm reminded as I rock her again (after she wakes up crying after I try to lay her down...classic) that before I know it, this baby will be her sister's age and may not be so cuddly. I'm reminded that if I just blink long enough, this little baby will be a teenager with attitude, annoyed by her parents.

I always wondered how the girls would look as they got older. At three, five, ten, teenager, adult. I never imagined those ages would come so quickly. My oldest is already 3.5. I'm reminded how quickly time really does fly.

I'm reminded, as I rock and cuddle my daughter, of a little girl named Rylie that is Emily's age and fighting for her life. She has cancer and I can't even begin to understand how that family has the strength it does. I can' begin to imagine the strength of that girl. She has more strength than I think I will ever have. As annoyed as I can get with my girls, they are healthy. My heart breaks for Rylie and her family. I cannot for one second understand the pain inside that mother seeing her precious daughter so sick. I am scared for my own children. Rylie was just diagnosed last year.

Life. We seem to take so much for granted. We seem to move so fast and fail to take the time to really enjoy all the things this world has to offer. When's the last time I actually took the time to really see life? I get so caught up with the kids not listening, doing things they shouldn't, whining and having temper tantrums. But I fail, often, to smile in those times and remember these are little humans just learning about life. Something that I am responsible for teaching them. But the funniest part of that a parent we spend all our time teaching our kids about life, but they are actually the ones teaching us what life is all about.

Reminders are good. It helps to get back on track. I just wish I wasn't one of those that NEEDED reminders...I just wish I lived like that all the time.

But it's now time to get out of bed and move on with this day without the help of my husband. And although I don't feel good at all...I think today will be a good day!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


My house is infested with germs.  I'm about to sport this new outfit in hopes of getting out alive:

It seems like every time I turn around someone is sick.  I'm praying it doesn't hit me this time.

Poor Emily is miserable!  Fever, cough, snot.  Miserable.  Allison is experiencing hives off and on for whatever reason.  The doctor thinks she has what Emily does but the symptoms present themelves differently.  Why yes they do. 

At any rate sick kids = tired mommy. 

Hoping this sick little girl heals breaks my heart to see her like this!

Monday, March 28, 2011

It just HAS to stop!


This June I will be participating in the Relay for Life here in town.  There are so many reasons why this is important and why I am doing it.

I am walking for my dear Grandmother that I lost in 2008. I'm walking for my Uncle who is currently battling the disease. I am walking for someone who was very special to me - a mentor to me who lost her battle in 2007. I am walking for one of my dear friends who is a survivor.

I am walking for these four.

I am also walking for every single child that has been diagnosed and battled this horrible disease. I am walking for my countless uncles, aunts, cousins and friends who have lost this fight, braved this fight and those that are survivng. I am walking for every single person who is going through it now. I am walking for the future. I NEVER want my children to have to battle this disease. I don't want any of your children to battle it either.

Can you PLEASE help? If you know me - you know it's EXTREMELY hard for me to ask for help - but this is something so important to me, I'm letting my guard down and doing so.

I know times are tough. I know this recession has hurt all of us. I know that sometimes just thinking of giving to a cause is overwhelming because funds are tight. But EVERY tiny tiny bit helps. Every dollar. A cup of coffee. A fast food meal. A gossip magazine. All those can be traded in - for only ONE day - to help fight this disease. Just one day. Just $5.

Can you help me??

I have set a personal goal of $1,000 and I'm on my way but need your help to get me there!

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life® is a life-changing event that gives people a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. Relay For Life® helps raise much-needed funds and awareness to help the American Cancer Society save lives from cancer.

Please support my efforts by visiting my personal web page to make a secure, tax-deductible online donation.

Every donation really does make a difference, and helps the American Cancer Society save lives every day by helping people stay well and get well, finding cures, and fighting back.

Thank you so very very much!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Long Day Today

I'm so exhausted! The little one had to have surgery today. It was a simple procedure to open obstructed tear ducts.

She did GREAT! She amazed us how well she did with no food! She was a trooper and a cute one at that!

I'm so exhausted I can't even bring myself to write much more. I'm on my phone rocking her to sleep.

And big sister Emily got to have her very first sleepover! She was SUPER excited!! She did great!

It turned out to be a good day! But I'm off to bed! Night all!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Things My Momma Didn't Teach Me

My mom has taught me many things in my life. Some I've listened to. Some I haven't. Most I should have.

But there are things she didn't teach me that I wish she could have.

I wish she could tell me how she stayed so calm when I would dilly-dally and we were already 10 minutes late leaving. How did she not show her frustrations when I just didn't listen or just wanted to do my own thing at the moment.

I wish she could give me her secret of taking care of two little ones who get into everything and make the house look like a tornado has run through it...repeatedly.

I wish she could give me the recipe on mending a broken heart when you've yelled at your child unnecessarily and there are lots of tears...of your own. Tears of guilt, tears of disappointment in yourself, tears of being a huge failure.

I wish my mom could have explained to me exactly how to raise children. Why didn't she give me her manual?

I wish my mom would have taught me how hard this whole wife and mother thing is. She made it look so easy. She still makes it look so easy.

Through all her trials and tribulations, she's always stood tall even if she probably felt like crumbling to the floor and dying. She's laughed and smiled and has been so lighthearted through the most stressful situations. She's outgoing. She's fun. She's beautiful...inside and out.

She's taught me so much. In those instances where I'm stressed and wanting to just run away from life...I think of her and and remember how I've seen her handle the hardest of times with what appeared to be a gentle ease.

She's taught me to always have on clean underwear, to keep gas in the car and that sometimes in life we have to do things we don't want to. But why didn't she share her manual or even give me her manual on child-rearing. She must have had one, right?

All I know is I'm honored and I'm blessed she is my mom. I can only hope to be even half as good a mother as she has been to me.

Now click on over to Mama Kat's and play along with her pretty much world famous Writer's Workshop!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Same Thing...Different Day

I'm sitting here watching the rain outside right now. Oh how I love the rain! Emily is sleeping, Allison is getting into everything and the husband is paying bills.

There really hasn't been too much going on lately. Same ol' same ol' in our neck of the woods.

We've had some sisterly love going on...

And some playing...

We've had lots of bubbles (I blow bubbles when someone is grumpy to help lighten their mood...or I blow them just to bring smiles!)

I've notice how much the girls are growing up...and so quickly..

Allison has started using best as she can...

And we've just been doing what we normally do...



And just be...

Really not much to complain about right now! Life is good!