Christmas 30 Years Ago

First, I can’t believe I’m about to write about a Christmas memory from 30 years ago.  When did I age?  How did I get to this place?  Wow.

I think I was 8 or 9 the last time I saw my biological father at Christmas.  I remember it was awkward and uncomfortable, but his gift that day planted a seed that has flourished into quite a passion of mine.

It was a 110 Camera, brand forgotten (it’s that age thing).  I couldn’t wait to take pictures.  I snapped shots of my cat and my dog.  Of my mom and whoever else would sit for one.  The quality wasn’t fantastic, but I didn’t know any different.  I loved that camera.

From then on I’ve always had a camera close by.  It was always a pain dropping off the film and waiting a week for the pictures to come back.  Only to find that some were out of focus, or you forgot to take the lens cap off.  I remember when 1-Hour Photo was the newest thing and how cool it was to get your pictures back the same day you dropped them off.  Now I can just look at the screen, decide if it’s good and act from there.  If it needs editing, I can do it with ease.  If I want to share it with my out-of-state family it’s as simple as sending a text message.

Side note: I had no idea when I was my son’s age that technology would have taken off as it has.  It’s exciting, but a little scary.  My son is in 3rd grade and is already learning code.  Say what?!

Is there a gift you’ve received that you have fond memories of?  I’d love to hear about them if you do.

Be blessed.



Morning News Anchors

I watch the local news every morning.  Even on the weekends.  I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, though probably not by choice back then.  I’ve grown to know the faces on my screen and as the years go by I’ve watched them get married, have children, and like we all do – age.  I’ve grown up with these people.

The channel I watch has a diverse team – some young, some old.  They are from all walks of life and most of them grew up in the Bay Area.  They know the people and places.  They have a reputation for being professional while at the same time you can see they enjoy one another.

They are also very engaging with their fans – both in person and online.  They post videos and share personal stories.  It gives you a little glimpse into who they are when the “cameras” aren’t on.  They are role models to our youth and remind us adults that they are human too.

There is one anchor who is always talking about her appearance.  It’s innocent saying things like “I don’t have my lip gloss on yet” and “I look awful” when someone unexpectedly turns the camera on her.  But here’s the thing.  This woman is absolutely GORGEOUS.  I means she is stunning.  The reason I comment at all is this:

I think instead of drawing attention to her “flaws” she should embrace them.  No, it’s not easy, but she’s a public figure and has an incredible opportunity to show young girls how to embrace their beauty, flaws and all.  How to be comfortable in your own skin and secure in who you are.  I’m almost 40 and for most of my life I struggled with this.  I would pick myself apart for no reason at all.  Someone would compliment me and I would respond with something negative about myself.  It’s not healthy and it only kept me down.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned to be more secure with who I am.  Not just my appearance, but who I am at the core.  I had to stop apologizing for being myself and start living as me.  It was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever experienced.  It’s been three years since that shift.  Now I’m a better mom, girlfriend, employee, friend, daughter, etc.  I bring something special to the table, and I know that just because someone may disagree, that doesn’t change.

Why do we have to pick ourselves apart?  Doesn’t it take the same amount of energy to find something good than it does to find the bad?   I bet if you do you’ll walk away feeling just a little bit better about yourself.

To the ladies on my local morning news – Pam, Gasia, Claudine, Rosemary, Janine, (and anyone else I’ve forgotten) – you are all beautiful women.  Keep up the awesome work and keep those men in check.


What Type of Mom Are You?

Me?  I’m probably somewhere in the middle.  I hover when I need to and let him be when it’s right.  I give my son his space, but he’s very attached to me so he’s never far.  He has his own room, with toys galore, but would rather be downstairs within earshot of me.  In fact, if he hasn’t seen me in a while he will yell out “mommy” until I respond.  He’s an only child and though he’s extremely social and has a lot of friends, when he’s home it seems he doesn’t really want to be alone.  That’s fine, for now.  It doesn’t give me a lot of personal time, but one of the luxuries I have is a break pretty regularly when he visits his dad.  And I know soon enough it won’t be cool to hang out with your mom and step-dad.

There is such a fine balance for us.  When do I push and when do I back off because I can see he’s having a sensitive moment?  When do I get involved when he tells me he’s having an issue with a child at school and when do I try to coach him through it without involving the school?  When do I get on my ex-husband for not being the dad I think he should be, but know he’s being the best dad he can be?  When do I coddle him and make a big deal about an injury and when do I teach him to brush it off and pick himself back up?

The questions come at me daily.  Lots of times I follow my gut, knowing what works for us, and act accordingly.  But I have learned in the last 8 1/2 years that it’s ok to fail.  It’s ok to question and worry.  It’s ok to be vulnerable and cry.  This is our journey and while it may not be textbook or what the latest and greatest trend is, it is what’s right for us.  I celebrate our successes and learn from the mistakes.




Being Happy

I was clicking through the photos on my computer, looking for something for so long that I forgot what I was looking for, when I came across this quote:


Such a simple statement, but it really is that simple.  At every difficult moment in my life I had to decide – stress about it and let it take over my world or chill out, love the life I have and ride out whatever it was.

Over the summer, I had some concerns about my job.  I wasn’t sure of anything.  I was coming home in tears daily and I didn’t want to go to work because the stress was too much.  I had two job offers on the table and I was faced with a really big decision.  I knew the grass wouldn’t be greener somewhere else and I was desperate to find a way to make my current situation work.

That’s when my guy wrote the following and taped it to the shower wall.

When I wake up in the morning I consciously create my day the way I want it to happen.  Now sometimes because my mind is busy examining all the things that I need to get done, it takes me a little bit to settle down and get to the point to where I am actually intentionally creating my day.

But, here’s the thing.  When I create my day and out of no where little things start to happen that I know are the process or the result of my creator.  And I know the more I do this the more I build a neutral net in my brain.  That I accept that it’s possible which gives me the power and incentive to do it the next day.

The world is what you want it to be.  Always remember/Never forget.

Every morning, I would read this (it takes seconds).  Sometimes several times.  Eventually I memorized it and now I catch myself reciting it whenever I’m worried about something.  It has made a huge difference in how I operate.  I was able to take two steps back, reassess, and act.  I was able to maintain control of my emotions and in turn received the results I was seeking.

I make a choice every day to be happy.  Am I worried about things?  Of course, but I know worrying isn’t going to solve my problems.  In fact, all worry does is age me.  I have enough gray hair already, I’m not interested in speeding the process along.

(The quote authors are unknown.  The one my guy wrote he said was from a movie.)



This morning I woke up in a total funk.  I wanted to stay home for the holidays so why was I sad now that I was alone (my family lives out-of-state)?  This is what I wanted.  But still, I was emotional.  Being sick didn’t help.  My love had to leave for work at 7:30, was gone for 12 hours and my son is with his dad for Thanksgiving this year.

Earlier, the thought of getting a bowl of cereal seemed like a feat, but I knew if I didn’t snap out of this funk I was going to regret it.  Eventually I decided I needed pumpkin pie and proceeded to get dressed (if you want to call if that) and took my sick self to Safeway.  As I walked out of the store I noticed my mood had dramatically changed.  I guess I just needed to be around people for a little bit.

Thanksgiving DinnerWhen I got home I knew I had all day to cook and took my time.  I made a turkey, gravy from the drippings, cranberry sauce, crispy turkey skin, candied walnuts and frozen pumpkin & cherry pies.  It was a simple, but delicious dinner.  My guy was so happy to come home to a warm, home cooked meal.  He devoured everything and now sits here with his feet up and a fully belly.

Though my day started out with me crying for no reason (thank you hormones) I’m thankful it’s turned around to be a pretty nice evening.  It’s a lot easier to get through the lows when I’m aware of what’s going on and push myself to do something to fix it.

I hope, whatever you did today, you were with the ones you love making memories to tell to generations to come.  Though my day could have been a complete waste, instead I tried a new recipe, took time to write and get to spend quality time with my man.



Music (and Fall), Is There Anything Better?

No matter what type of music you listen to, I’m pretty sure it has a strong affect on your emotions.  I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up with a family that has a love for good tunes, though I didn’t appreciate it at the time.  My parents had a cool stereo that was always on and my mom’s version of a “babysitter” was to plug in the headphones and let me rock out.  I still have the stereo and original speakers and turn it on almost daily.

As young as 3, I loved the melody and the words.  I remembered them quickly and could easily sing along after hearing a new song just a few times.  My mom had that gift too.  When we would shop she would sing along with the PA system – I was always horrified, wondering who was going to see my mom singing to herself in the women’s section of Macy’s or meat dept. at Safeway.  The torch has been passed as I now catch myself doing it too. The difference – my son sings with me.  Sometimes he even breaks out with a little dance. He embraces my quirks in a way I never did with my mom.  I really have an awesome kid!

Yesterday on my way to work I was thinking about the day ahead.  I had my favorite top 40 satellite station on – @SiriusXMHits1 – but it was low and I was thinking.  I was starting to feel the anxiety creep up.  It was Monday.  I was out sick three days the week prior.  What was I walking into and how long was this day going to drag?

It’s music that pulled me off of the inevitable dark path and turned my mood around.  It only took a second.  The first few bars of the song played and I was already smiling.  I could feel myself swaying with the music and before I knew it I was singing at the top of my lungs.  The anxiety was gone!

So THANK YOU @andygrammer for the words of your song are true, it is “Good to be Alive” right about now.

The best part of yesterday – I was finally able to snap some pictures that capture the beauty of the trees in our small town.  I love this time of year.

I only have two more days this week so I keep telling myself today is Thursday instead of Tuesday. Call it my own Jedi mind trick.

Whatever day of the week it is to you, make it a great one.

What is a #boymom?

I’m sure the definition is different for everyone.  That’s what makes us special and honestly, while there may be similarities, I’m glad we don’t all do things the same way.  Life would be pretty boring.

This is small sample of what being a boy mom is to me:

It’s messes and sticky hands. It’s sports – lots and lots of sports. It’s cuts and scrapes. It’s jammed fingers and stitches. It’s understanding how little boys think and learn how to respond in a way that is so foreign to you that some days you don’t know how you both survived. It’s looking to other positive men in your life to guide you through the difficult conversations. It’s realizing boys are sensitive too and allow them to embrace their emotions in a healthy way. You are ready for anything and not much surprises you. You take the bull by the horns, but remind him your love will never waiver, even when you are so angry you can’t see straight. You learn it’s good to cry in front of him, especially when he’s disappointed you. It’s teaching him how to be a man, without knowing yourself. It’s reminding him that being vulnerable is ok and fear is only temporary. It’s love and laughter. Tears and keep out signs. Video games and Legos.

The list could go on forever, but you get it. Being a #boymom is hard.  Not to take away from moms to little girls – trust me, I do not want that job. I was a terrible teenager and wouldn’t want to relive those hormones for all the money in the world.

I’m ready for what’s next. It’s like reading a new book, every chapter brings something exciting and while you can’t wait to get to the next one, you realize slowing down and appreciating the story is always more enjoyable.

Be blessed friends.

#boymom #parenthood #parenting


Grandma’s Zucchini Soup

There is just something so special about this soup to me. It’s probably one of the first memories of knowingly eating a vegetable and LOVING it. When my grandma would cook, I would sit at the bar that spanned her kitchen and watch. And talk. And ask questions. Sometimes she would invite me in to help, but usually she was a one woman show.

This soup is super simple to make and is just soothes the soul. There is an actual recipe which I have attached a photo of, but I have tweaked it and made it my own which is what I’m sharing with you. They aren’t much different and in my opinion it tastes exactly as I remember (grandma didn’t use the cream). One of the beautiful things about cooking to me is the flexibility. You can be creative and play with flavors as you go. With baking you have to be too precise with measurements and temperatures and that’s not me.

I used:
5 medium/large zucchini, washed, but not peeled, and cut into chunks
1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 box chicken broth
Seasoned salt
Garlic salt
Black pepper
Tabasco sauce

First melt a tablespoon or two of butter in a large pot. Sautee the onions with the two salts until translucent. Add the remaining ingredients. Let this cook until the veggies are soft enough to puree with a blender, about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the veggies. In this instance I used the immersion blender since it is less mess. I top my serving with a lot of black pepper which always results in the hiccups – you’ve been warned.

Side note – season this to your liking. I’m liberal with all of them. My boys like food salty and spicy and while I don’t go overboard, you know it’s there.

This is just one of my childhood favorites. I feel very fortunate to have copies of so many of my childhood favorites that I now recreate for my own little family. I have a love for cooking because of my grandma and I know she would be proud of the cook I have become.

I am reminded with Thanksgiving around the corner that we need to slow down and take time to love and appreciate one another. Be tolerant of the world around you. This is what we get so make the best of it and appreciate how good we truly do have it.

New Norm

A few times a year, we as a family have to adjust to a new normal.  The reasons why vary – schedule changes, school, summer break, etc. – but they all fall in the “adjustment” category.

October was a doozy.  Changes were coming at us from every direction.  The month started with a bang with Mercury in Retrograde.  Add to it work schedules, school schedules, weekend schedules with JJ’s dad, time changes.  It goes on and on.  By the end I was done.  I could see it was starting to get to all of us.

Thankfully the excitement of Halloween allowed us to forget our troubles for a few hours and it seems we’ve all reset.  I see it as God’s little nudge.  The holidays are coming and this is a time to be thankful and appreciate the world around us.  I love the crisp air and fall leaves.  The way the air smells after it rains – I almost forgot, but it finally rained here yesterday – like real rain!  The colors and all of the delicious food – and reasons to eat a little more than normal.

So while there is a natural element of stress that can come with change, roll with it and see what happens before resisting.  Change isn’t always bad.

This is my Day 2 post of #NaBloPoMo #BlogHer

Boys And Their Toys

So I probably mentioned in an earlier post that my boyfriend is building a motorcycle.  Earlier in the year he sold his second car (an Acura something) and bought his very first bike.  He has had nothing but trouble since day one  – finding more damage than first thought, an undisclosed broken motor mount, missing bolts that turned out to be a challenge to find and no space to work on it.

Slowly over the last few weeks things have started to come together.  He found the size of the bolts, he decided that being able to ride it is more important than how it looks at first, and now he has a place to work on it.

A few weeks ago he mentioned enclosing an area of unused space on the side of the house.  I asked our landlord if we could and she agreed without hesitation.  A couple of days later, and before we even thought about starting the work, she told us she would do the build and one week later the project was started.  It’s nothing special and it isn’t finished yet, but I have one happy man in my life right now.

His baby has a home.  He has a place to pine over it.  And I don’t have to see the motorcycle on my patio any longer.  Everyone wins!

This is his recent YouTube video on the project.  If you’re interested in his project, please follow his channel.