Monday, July 14, 2014

Love Letters to the Dead

When I first read the description of this novel, I thought it may be too morbid for my liking. But then I realized that the best books (and apparently most of my favorites) involve some type of death. (I'll let the psychology majors go crazy on that one). So, I opened my heart and mind and jumped in. Like Aristotle and Dante, I am so glad that I did. 

The synopsis is that a girl writes letters to singers (and one pilot) who died young as a means of coping with the loss of her sister. A true novel of self discovery, I was moved by the writer's words, wit, and wisdom.  I actually stayed up until 3:30 am to finish this book. It was that good. I recommended the book to my husband (who is.not a reader) and to another musician friend because I think this would be a wonderful inspiration to pen a few majestic lyrics.Not a poet or musician by any means, I was able to pen a few myself. (In my private journal, that I will share with no one. Ever. Except maybe my children when I'm old and gray so that they may get a sneak peek into the world that was their mother's).

My favorite quote from the book, that literally made me stop pedaling on the exercise bike (my favorite place to read due to the lack of disruptions by young children asking for a snack):

"When we are in love, we are both completely in danger and completely saved."

Ponder the truth on that for a minute... then go download, check out, or buy this book.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

I'm sure that you've heard the phrase "don't judge a book by it's cover," but with my latest read, I've coined a new version: Don't judge a book by it's subject line.

I grabbed this book quickly when rushing my tired and cranky children out of the library. As usual, we spent all of our time in the kid's section, so by the time we browsed our way over to mom's section, they were completely over it. So, I grabbed the first few titles in the recommended and went on our way.

Two days ago, I cracked open the book and realized that the book was about two teenage boys falling in love. I put it down, thinking that it would hold no interest to me. I mean how could it, right? I am a heterosexual, thirty year-old female. How could I possibly like this book?

I have nothing against the gay community and as a matter of fact, would consider myself a pro choice, pro marriage, and pro gay rights. So, upon further thought and reading all of the praise and awards associated with the book, I figured why not.

And, boy am I glad that I did.

This book was not good because it was about two boys falling in love. It was amazing because it was about parents who love their children, the difficulties of family matters, the strong bond of friendship, the incredible journey of finding yourself, and battling your own inner demons.

I read the book within a 24 hour time period.

When I finally allowed myself to open up and read something new and outside of my comfort zone, I grew.

I suggest you to do the same.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Five things Friday

Back when I wanted to become a big and famous blogger, I used to do a 5 Things Friday post every Friday. Inspired by Lauren Conrad (fangirl alert), I wanted to document my favorite things at the moment. Well, as you can guessed with my ultimate boring intro, it's time again for me to do just that.

Since I no longer care if I become a big and famous blogger and because, well, this blog is mostly for me and my little family unit, I'll post what I actually like, rather than what I think other's may like.

1. Vlog Brother's

So, I'm a bit behind the curve here, but I am a total "nerd fighter"! I LOVE these dudes. Basically, they are two brother's who make videos about nothing, but absolutely everything at the same time. They're super smart and just a tad bit nerdy. It makes me wish I would have learned to embrace my inner nerd much sooner than my 30's. Plus, John Green has totally become one of my favorite author's. When I was busy not blogging, I was busy reading all of his other novels. Inspired by my absolute obsession for The Fault in Our Stars, I decided to read all of his novels. Best. Decision. Ever.

2. Breakfast smoothies

Somewhere, probably on Pinterest, I saw a recipe for an awesome breakfast smoothie. I made it and it's delicious. Try it.

  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup oatmeal
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (or cocoa powder, equally as delicious)
  • 1 banana (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 Tbsp honey (optional)
On a side note, Brody enjoys this smoothie, but Brin does not. She does, however, enjoy helping me make it.

You're welcome.

3. An awesome boss

I had a meeting with my editor this week and I couldn't help but feel thankful for having such an awesome person to work with/for. Having not-so-awesome bosses in the past (including one who wouldn't schedule me so that I could instead babysit her child), it makes me truly appreciate have someone such as her. She is super smart, creative and part-nerd just like me. Perfect combination.

4. This song.

Okay, so I didn't become obsessed with this song this week. But I did two weeks ago and I wasn't doing 5 Things Friday, and I still kinda love the song today. Okay, I love the song a lot. It's pure perfection. How could it not be? It's John Mayer and Beyoncé. Duh. Now, John Mayer, please ask Beyoncé for permission and get into the studio and record this song immediately so I don't have to keep listening to it on YouTube over and over and over again.

5. Mother's Day

Let's be honest, it's a total Hallmark holiday (ecard/Facebook post?), but I'm a sucker for it. I love my kids and the chance to relish in that love is just plain amazing. Plus, my kid's are the best. Just look at them :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Easter 2014

Can you guess what time this picture was taken? 6AM. Can you guess what time I went to bed? Not at a time that constituted us getting up at 6 AM. But do you see these faces? 

I am writing this two weeks post Easter. That little white bunny that you see in Brin's basket is now a not-so lovely shade of brown, has been named "Pinkie," and is taken everywhere she goes. 

Brody's basketball bunny is sitting pretty on his bed. He plays with him, but not nearly as much as his sister plays with hers. I probably should have bought him just a basketball, as it would have gotten much more use.

Anyways, after the basket opening, we had candy for breakfast. I know, Mom of the Year award goes to me, as if there were any question :) And really don't judge, I'm the one who had to "deal" with them afterwards. Which on that note, thank goodness for Pharrell and my husband's coffee delivery, or I do not think I would have made it through the morning. 


The day prior to Easter, I had the misfortune of promising my children a gift from the store that was not there. In it's replacement, I went to Target and bought them a "Wave Crasher." Which in laments terms is an overpriced inflatable piece of plastic that you attach a hose to, and children slide down into a pool of water. It's cool, but it's definitely no water park. 

Of course, after eating 223,972 jelly beans, this was all they wanted to do. Considering I wanted to keep my sanity, I let them do as they pleased.

It provided for a very adorable photo opp of these two sharing a chair. A perfect representation of their sibling-hood, these two are as close as a brother and sister can be. They call each other their best friend's and would much rather play with each other, than boring ol' mom and dad. Well, boring ol' mom at least, dad is pretty cool when it comes to the play factor. 

Afterwards, we went to Chase's mom's house, where we arrived early (which rarely never happens now that I have children), and took hundred's of selfie's to pass the time. Good thing, because I kinda sorta forgot to have somebody snap a photo or two of us in our Sunday best. 

Next, we went to Chase's sisters where the kids roamed a few acres of land and went on an Easter egg hunt. 

As Ice Cube would say, it was a good day. 
Even after I stayed up until midnight working. 

Oh, the glamorous life of a WAHM. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Brin's 3rd birthday

In celebration of my aunt's 54th birthday, I present to you the pictures from Brin's 3rd birthday. 

Celebrated last October, on the actual day of her birth, we choose a pink and gold theme to bring in her year of the big-girl 3. 

(Also, if you haven't noticed the theme here, I am catching up on old events. I want this blog to be something I can look back on, hence, the looking back).

I am not going to lie when I share the fact that Brin's birthday turned out a lot different than I had originally planned. In a short story that could be terribly too long, I ended up running last minute errands the entire morning. In a picture perfect world, we would have been off doing awesome things, but apparently I had a last minute case of OCD and had to have a perfect party. Which let me just tell you now is a waste. For one, she doesn't care. It's HER day, it should be HER day. She doesn't care if her party is perfect or if there is just the right amount of decorations, she just cares about presents and cake. And that's why I am vowing until the next "special" birthday, that's all we are going to do. 

Remind me of that next year. Please.

And although our morning was anything but "perfect", we did start the day with two of Brin's favorite things: a donut and a Dutch Brother's chocolate milk. (Like mother, like daughter). 

Once we were home and the decorations were out. I prettied up my party girl and then took 9,123,712,389 pictures. 

Chase and I were in absolute awe of this little girl's beauty. 
I know parents everywhere say it, but honestly, where did my baby go?

This little girl, who has blessed our lives in so many ways and brings pure joy with her smile, her laughter, and her wonder. I only pray that she sees the world as wonderfully everyday as she sees it today. 

And yes, if you are friends with me on Facebook or Instagram, you've read that before. It is what I felt in my heart that day in October and what I still feel today. Only probably a million times stronger, because as scientifically impossible as it probably is, I love my children more and mor
e everyday. So much that my heart just may burst into a million little pieces.

The cake.

Excuse the iPhone photos, I tend to forget that I have a "real" camera. A really nice one... thanks, dad!

The festivities

Note Brody cuddling up on his dad. The wild child was having a race with one of the kid attendee's and jammed his toe into the door frame. 
It isn't a party if there's not a party foul. Right? Or does that only apply to the college years?

I don't know why, but I absolutely LOVE the photos above. I think it's because she's so into it. She doesn't care that her undies are showing, she is working that crown and she is getting down on those presents.

And of course, how could I be half the mom I am without my "mom" friends. These two ladies, who are there through thick and thin, birthday parties, college graduations, weddings, the whole 9. It's so special, that you can grow old and raise your children with the help with other women. 

I have another mommy friend missing. It's excusable because she and the lady on the right both have October babies. We each planned our children and none of us took into consideration the birthday party planning :)

I don't have this hairstyle anymore, but these pictures make me kinda miss it. 
And those gold shorts? Totally from my college clubbing days! TG for yoga!

And the family shot... taken at the end of the day, when the sugar rush has passed and each member of the family is so dead tired we can barely stand, let alone smile. But here it is, in all of it's perfect imperfections. 

To Brin, thank you for being born. Thank you for being my only daughter, my little partner in crime, my mini, my know-it-all, and my sweet, precious little girl. 

You are so amazing and beautiful and I pray that you always know that. 
And if not, may I always be around to remind you :) 

Bonus: I sang this song to Brin every day when I was pregnant. It encompasses her personality so perfectly, I would think that this song was written just for her. Maybe in some magical way it was :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Disney on Ice 4.12.2014

A few weeks ago, I was shocked to find an email from my local library informing me that I had one two Disney on Ice tickets. I always fill out a chance to win stuff, whether it's online or at the store, but never win. Well, I should now say, have only won once. 

I was sad to hear that there were only two tickets, which meant that I would have to take only one child and not the other. Ironically, Brody and Chase already had a Suns game planned and scheduled, so my choice was Brin, since she had no plans. I suppose this is typical for a three-year old. We're pretty much the only ones she hangs out with, so her social calendar has a lot of openings. 

When I told her that we were going, she was stoked. She had never been before, so I pulled up some YouTube videos to show her what it's all about. This revved her up a bit. Okay, a lot. In fact, it got kind of annoying (honesty is the best policy) with her asking me 5 - 25 times a day when we were going. 

But all of those antics were easily brushed to the side, when this three year old girl had the time of her life. She honestly, no joke, clapped throughout the entire show. She was sooooo stoked. She screamed each character's name when they skated out onto the ice and she cheered vigorously at the end of each performance. I may be bias, but I do not think that there was a more enthusiastic child in the crowd. If there was an award, there is no doubt that Brin took home the prize. 

As did I, her mother who got to sit back and enjoy the show. Of course, I am not referring to Disney on Ice, but the magic in my only daughter's hazel eyes.

Thank you Goodyear Library, we had an excellent time.

And yes, mommy even bought her a pony. 
I admit it, I'm a sucker for her love.
And that face....

Monday, May 5, 2014

Look up

Right now, there is a video that has gone viral on Facebook about Social Media.

For a lot of people, this video hits home with them. It speaks to them, gives them a new perspective on their Social Media "friends", obsession, and daily "check ins". It makes us realize how much wasted time we spend on our phones.

But while I get it, I also do not.

There are many good things about Social Media. There is a network of mothers, there are old friends, and there are family members. There are people willing to give (un)solicited advice and to listen when we perhaps don't have anybody to tell in person. We can share proud pictures of our babies and we can share the news of a baby-to-be.

Sure, there is texting and email. But let me get on a rant for a minute, if you have a big family, your only option is to group text everybody that a baby is here, that you have a ceremony, or graduation, etc., etc., etc. And I don't know if you've ever been on a group text, but some people do not understand that everybody can see the conversation. I used to work at a company where a few "special" people would replay all to emails. Eventually, as more and more people got annoyed with all of the replies, somebody would say, "take me off this list" or "take me off of this email." Well, that's how I feel about group text. I eventually delete it because I get so gosh darn annoyed, then I forget about whatever it was that I was to attend (because I use my phone for everything, of course) and then I hear, "didn't you get my text?" Yeah, yours and everybody else's!

So, unless it's a text between three or more people meant to make plans or have a legit conversation with the group (as I have with my younger sisters), then don't group text. Honestly, just post it on Facebook. We'll like it to acknowledge that it's there and we can all move on.

Which side note, "likes." Let me tell you a little about myself, even if we don't talk, chat, or I literally know nothing about the present state of your life, I hold no bias in my likes. I like what I like. If you have a cute baby, I'm probably going to like it. Because cute babies deserve likes.

Back to the issue at hand, the other reason we use Social Media, is that it's an easy platform to share our photos. Yes, I agree, that I do not want to see every.single.picture that you take, or of your vacation, or of your pregnancy, or every.single.milestone of your baby, but if you have family across the country, it's very easy to post a picture or two for everybody to see. My grandparents actually prefer that I post to Facebook rather than to email, as they live in the country, are in their 70's, and don't have the luxury of high speed internet. Therefore, post as I will.

Also, I'm not going to lie, I post a lot of pictures to Instagram. Why? Because it provides a safekeeping for all of my favorite photos. If you didn't know, there is a site called Iconsquare that you can pull your images from. Therefore, if you're external hard drive crashes, or your Photobucket gets lost, or whatever, you can pull your images without a problem. They are certainly not the best quality, but it serves the purpose.

In addition, social media is a great way for entrepreneurs to build businesses. There are many a blogger, Etsy shop owner's, and more that have been able to genuinely build their business with the likes of Social Media. And in a day where our economy is far from perfect, that is awesome that because of a network of 300+ "fake" and real friends, people are able to find a way to support their families.

Furthermore, I am a lover of information. Google is my BFF. I am a master at finding out information and am constantly looking up different bits and pieces that I find relevant throughout my day. I love learning and I love reading and fortunately, my phone allows me to do just that.

So yes, while I certainly believe that we should put down the phone, it's also okay to use in moderation, but isn't everything? Junk food, shopping, exercise, smartphones, it's all okay, as long as it's not becoming a problem or that's your only clue to the outside world. I agree that we shouldn't spend all days on our phones and that we should learn to be more present for our families and most of all, our children. Since they are going to live in a world of technology, that is just going to keep advancing and getting better, we need to teach our children the boundaries; What to use it for and when to step away. And we need to start, by learning to "look up." Using our phones and our tablets and heck, even our laptops, in moderation is leading by true example.

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