Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Scoop

It seems like just yesterday Cassidy was a baby. She's so spunky. At church she is super vocal and makes friends with everyone, especially the older boys. The teachers tell me she often hugs them in passing between classes.

Last week one of her teachers said that she was teaching a lesson on missionary work. Cassidy was quick to chime in that she wouldn't be going on a mission. Her teacher expected that Cass might say it was because she was girl, to which she was prepared to respond that she herself had been on a mission. Cass said, "I can't go on a mission because I'm going to be an ice cream man." She has also recently said this career choice would mean she wouldn't be going to college either.

We all got a kick out of it. She cracks me up. Sometimes she even has nightmares about not being good at anything. Girls and self-esteem. Whoa. And then there's Boston who, in typically manly form, will often vocalize how good he is at things. And if I tell him he probably shouldn't do something, he explains how he'll try anyway and figure it out. Sneaky and persistent like dad.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Running: Por 'K'?

I'm in an GPT (group personal training) class. Basically it's 10 girls and one awesome trainer. Most of the girls keep food logs and submit exercise/food journals weekly (I find myself skipping that most of the time!).

Our trainer is a fabulous, pregnant freak of nature. I love her! She recently ran a marathon and, when her new socks got too irritating, she finally removed her socks and shoes and ran the last 3 miles barefoot. Whoa. She used to be a cardio junky, but now keeps it well-rounded with some hard core weight lifting.

I love weight lifting, I must say. I love the burn, the challenge, and the hilarious moans from classmates when Annie (awesome trainer) says to hold, do 10 more small lifts, then hold again. It's pretty classic.

I appreciate runners. To be honest, my opinion is that I find long-distance running much like natural childbirth. I have such respect for both, and I think I probably could if I worked hard and had the drive, but...nah.

The class wanted to do a local 5k because one of our Xtreme GPT girls was organizing one for her son's school. It was really fun to be part of the excitement, but both my mind and my bladder were further convinced it isn't my true passion in life (you can always count on me to keep it real aka provide too much information!).

Alas, it was fun and inspiring because we all ran back to meet up with one of our girls who has been working so hard to achieve major weight loss. She puts forth more than most of us each class and I'm in awe at her determination. Her transformation is already taking flight. Way to go, Julie!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Best Banana Oatmeal Cookies

I'm making these right now, and they are dddeeeelicious. The recipe is courtesy of one of my awesome neighbors. Love her. And I've never met a kid who didn't like these yummers.

They contain no sweeteners, butter, eggs, or wheat, so eat up, I say!
I use the dry blade to blend the oats and almonds, but a magic bullet or food processor can also do the trick. I pulverize the oats and almonds into dust!

2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3)
1/4 cup oil (I'm going to use coconut!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
optional 3/4 cup raisins, carob, or mini chocolate chips

Adjust baking racks evenly in oven. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets. Grind oats and almonds. Pour them into large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl (or in the blender/food processor) beat together bananas, oil, and vanilla until creamy. Add banana mixture and raisins or chips to oat mixture. Mix well.

Drop cookie dough by tablespoons on both cookie sheets. Bake both sheets at once, rotating halfway through baking. Bake 10-13 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I'm SO not pregnant, but nesting so badly. I think it's the culmination of our house being in upheaval for a while with the flood/remodel. It also must be that I'm mentally trying to feel settled and create an atmosphere at home that feels complete, polished, and my own personal retreat. Of course fighting through the clutter and debris of 3 little hurricanes offers a bit of challenge, but I'm excited about design for the first time in a long time. I'm always texting/calling Charlotte and Julyssa for advice on where to put stuff and what colors to channel.

Loving this pillow from West Elm...

I think it'll look great with the beautiful colors in the print I bought in Hawaii!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hella-Long Aloha, or Aloha Oi Vey

I had been considering a trip to LA by myself over the 24th of July and got a text from Nikki telling me she had that weekend off. We had debated possibly going somewhere new to change things up (not that going to SoCal ever gets old for me!). Apparently Oahu is Nikki's retreat, and I was so thrilled she wanted to share some of that paradise with me!

Naturally, I had one main hesitation. After high school, it finally dawned on me that Nikki is an introvert (duh, Chels) and I'm, well, pretty much the most extroverted person on the planet. Would I drive her nuts with my incessant conversation and probing to get to the inner workings of one my oldest and dearest buddies? I told her I'd try to not annoy her. I'm sure other moms can understand that--due to lack of adult interaction--sometimes we become chatterboxes and a little obnoxious when we have some 'time off' from bum-wiping, constant meal-preparation, and endless cleaning. My main goal was to relax and capture some of that aloha spirit.
{Are my snuggly poses one of the reasons someone asked if we were on a 'romantic' vacation?}
{The view from our room!}

Can I just say that this trip FAR-EXCEEDED my expectations?! Nikki was a true angel. She is methodical and determined (determined as in making sure we made the 3 mile roundtrip walk to Zippy's for fried chicken, shave ice and malasadas!), but more importantly accomodating and kind. She always made sure I had what I needed and took care of me, knowing I'm there a lot less often than she is! I loved doing crossword puzzles together (apparently my college degree did not help that part of my brain!) and visiting the hotel's VIP lounge at least 3 times daily for breakfasts, afternoon snacks (jars of cookies/trailmix), hors d'oevres (spears of veggies/hummus) and desserts (somewhat dry cake). The VIP lounge workers knew us well and by the second day, they would bring me my cocktail of choice before I even sat down (Sierra Mist and cranberry juice with a lime!).

The quirkiness factor that I can't stop smiling about can be seen in Nikki's urging for us to take the stairs instead of the elevator to our room (16th floor) and her cute perfectionism. Even in looking for a t-shirt for sister Jenny, she'd contemplate the colors, the sizes, and whether or not it was the best option.

I loved hiking Diamondhead where she glistened with sweat and I rained, though actually I love sweating...strange, I know. We rented a beach umbrella one day and just sat back and read and worked on our crosswords. So fun. The best thing, however, must've been when we paddle-surfed. I haven't gotten the water-proof camera pix developed, but man, I'm praying they turn out! It took a while for me to grasp the concept, but I loved being out on the water. I was just following the pro (Dr. Nikki!) and we soon realized there weren't many other surfers around us anymore. I was hopping back on my board and saw 3 dolphins dipping in and out of the calm surf. I started screaming and couldn't get back on my board because I was so excited. Well, let's just say, we were both so excited that we may have wet our pants on this excursion! There were dolphins everywhere. Some were flipping up in the air. It was so amazing, and magical, although at moments we were nervous, knowing we were basically helpless in the middle of the ocean. With bits of trepidation, we couldn't help but follow the small herds around. It was ridiculously cool. I couldn't stop saying, "Oh wow." "Oh my gosh." "Oh man." "Oh my goodness!" Nikki was making fun of me the whole trip for it. Suddenly every meal I ate and everything I did and saw received the same reaction. I told her to be grateful that I'm so easily pleased!

We both fell in love with a local artist, Heather Brown. I love the bright colors in her simple ocean paintings. And I love that even though Nikki's a stinkin' brainiac, she's also so artistic and went home to try her hand at some colorful canvas art. I bought a print to remember this fantastic trip.

{Our lounge buddies. We'd pretend we didn't know them, and they'd pretend they hadn't already seen us multiple times each day. They even packed a bag of Nikki's favorite cookies for our flight home.}
{side shot because blogger taking too long to re-upload. Nikki playing Scrabble and sorting her trail mix.}
{Mmmm. Local omelet (spam, chinese sausage, eggs, and rice) at Bogart's}
{Stairs heading up Diamondhead.}

Before departing for Hawaii, I had an entire day to spend with my beautiful mom in LA. So wonderful. And I even got to stop in and see Christy's new bundle of joy, Rhys. I'll post those pictures/details next. I'm sure I've already lost my 2 regular readers in this lengthy rambling!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Today I have been so blessed. In the quiet of the house (now that it's almost 11 p.m.) I am reflecting on a day that has been pretty spectacular.

Texting with Sarajane about our guilty pleasure: The Bachelorette
Receiving a letter from my dad
Talking on the phone with Charlotte in Switzerland and knowing the distance has only brought us closer
Boot camp with one amazing instructor
Delicious bbq chicken for dinner cooked by an adoring husband
Made zucchini bread for my kids (had white beans and squash, and they didn't notice!)
Park with the kids
Brought a surprise treat to my sister
Neighbor brought me food
Talked nice to the neighbor who's not my favorite in an effort to start fresh amd forgive
Got to see Beckett attempt some new signs (like 'please' and 'my turn', 'water' and 'thirsty') and say meow (sounding like a high-pitched shriek), cat, cracker, and shoes (probably only his mom could understand!)
Cleaned my floors and the basement, and two nasty toilets
Went to Ross (Ross is boss)
Kids had a friend over, then had a 'switchover' at his house

And then here I am listening to some of the music from Tangled while sorting recent pictures and I can't help but tear up over these little reminders:

*More about my last two weeks of travel soon!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday: No Thanks

I need a date night or a getaway with my hunk. Aspen, anyone?! That was one relaxing trip. Sometimes I harness that moment.

Also, some days I think my Cassidy is so grown-up. She's Daddy's special angel, a real helper, a good hugger, and so smart. And then some days she whines all morning, hits people, yells at them and is bossy, demanding a new snack every five minutes and I'm reminded of this wee dumpling she used to be (approx. 18 months). . .

She's always had a 'passionate' side. I love you, Dear Cass.

p.s. This morning she said, "Mom, if you stick your finger in your mouth and inside your cheek, then smell it, it smells like pistachios." (typically, she calls these her 'favorite nuts' or mustachios.

p.p.s. It'd be sweet if Beckett's teeth could pop through. This teething thing is really dragging on, and as bad as I feel for him, I'm feeling bad for myself as well lol.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dad Day

Charlotte posted a cute card she made for her dad for Father's Day, so, though I hesitated yesterday, I'll post this little poem I scripted for my daddy-o. It seems I was fairly organized this Father's Day, though that's not typical. And Mother's Day, well, forgetaboutit. Mom poem or song (sung grossly off-key) coming in 2012!

Unlimited Dadda-Plan

I sure love that Dadda of mine,
Vocab king and writer divine,
From breakfasts at Foxy’s, Griffith’s ponies, and feeding the ducks,
To pj dates, pop moves, and pool party potlucks,
I knew this guy cared about my tiny heart and soul,
With each hug, kiss, and somersault roll.

Yeah we’d Doug and Wendy whine as all kids tend to do,
But there were certain things we kiddos always knew,
That Dad would listen whenever we spoke,
And he’d feel deeply our joy or if our hearts broke.

But it’s not always what he said that meant the most to me,
It was watching him live and learning to be:
Silly with Bonnie and a wheelchair church race,
Saying you’re sorry, not trying to save face,
Looking people in the eyes and giving a smile,
Service and patriotism more than once in a while.

I see more of Dad even now that I’m grown,
When making a lunch, a mudslide that’s blown,
Reading to the kids, teaching them to write notes,
Tying their shoes and buttoning coats.

Harnessing navy language if someone does them wrong,
Off for a date, saying I won’t be gone long.
A-frame eyebrows and steering wheel drums,
Bored people are boring, stop twiddling your thumbs.
Be considerate, gracious and show that you care,
If you need a good vomit, I’ll hold back your hair.

The generations to come will surely follow suit,
Less tech-challenged and taller to boot,
They’ll learn to find love and have a family,
All from this little branch on the tree.
So when you think your gray days will leave you dust in the wind,
Remember that eternity is only about to begin.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Right now, my surfer boy:
Loves watching Signing Time and after a nap will grunt for his blankets, march into my room, and plop himself on a chair demanding that the show begin.
Sneaks into the bathroom for my makeup brush or a toilet brush/plunger to walk around with.
Still has only 2 teeth but has been grumpy because it appears about 9 are on their way.
Has an intensity in his personality and is pretty demanding, which wears him out because he has been taking glorious naps and wakes up and occasionally stays in bed until 10 am!
Enjoys carrying objects larger than himself (ie, empty laundry baskets, boxes, plastic chairs, toys).
Gets jealous when I love or snuggle the other kids, and goes in for big mouth kisses if I'm holding him when T kisses me goodbye.
Says mom, dad, dog, whoa, ball, woof (as well as 'whistles' for the dog--woo woo), and shoe).
Eats like a little garbage disposal (an Otter Pop, ham/cheese sandwich with mustard, meat, fruit).
Demonstrates fearless persistence at the park and will climb anywhere he can and tackle slides alone and with such excitement.
Is finally not swaddled at bedtime and signs milk when he's ready to snooze.

Love him!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hey Ladies!

I have some obligatory posts to catch up, but out of order is what I do best. Went on a fabulous girls' weekend with my sister, Bridget, and pseudo-sister, Jenny, mid-May. Jenny's a bit of a hotel snob (well, you are--and that's ok!). We stayed one night at the Sheraton downtown and then one night at the luxurious St. Regis in Park City. We munched at some fun places and hit up a bakery or two, as well as some casual snacking at the new Whole Foods downtown (love love it!). Of course I love that wherever we go, Jenny addresses waitresses, store attendants, our BUTLER, all by their first names. I love this about her. I also love when she talks sports because somehow, though Trav is a sport fiend, I must somehow tune out because it's all foreign most of the time.

Now, Bridget is awesome because she's go-with-the-flow and super hilarious when tired. She's so excited about organic foods and muscle-testing products right there in the store (ask me about this if you're going, 'huh?'). She's a super sleuth when it comes to figuring out allergies and bodily randomness.

What's amazing about the St. Regis is that every detail of the facility was so well-planned. The treadmills in the gym were equipped with little water bottles, as well as a mini-fridge in the gym containing chilled towels. There's a yoga room (I directed some sun salutations. Okay, one sun salutation) and a swimming pool with speakers underwater. Even the heater vents are monogrammed. And did I mention the television inside the bathroom mirror?! Super cool. The most memorable feature must have been the funicular we had to ride up the mountain to the ski-in/ski-out resort. We enjoyed discussing the definition of a funicular. Vehicular fun, but, more accurately, a mountainside railway operated with cables. You gotta feel bad for whomever was stuck in this enclosed funicular adventure with the 3 of us wild chickadees. There's not much we won't discuss despite our captive audience.

Even though we lived it up lounging, eating, shopping, and getting massages, we found it most necessary to catch a showing of Fast 5 before dropping Jenny off at the SL airport. At one point during an on-screen fight, Jenny leaned over and asked if I was rooting for The Rock or Vin Diesel. My immediate response was, "I'm rooting for fewer shirts." The musles made the movie.

After dropping Jenny off, Bridget and I were still not ready to call it quits on our weekend away. We went out for more shopping and then some In-n-Out.

Sweet Travis had done all the laundry and cleaned the house while I was away. He said he would have done more cleaning, but was exhausted. It's always nice to feel validated in the crazy clown show that motherhood sometimes is.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Patrick really is so cute with the kiddos. He gets off work early on Fridays and (weather-permitting) Bridget often comes up and we sit in the yard while the kids play the afternoon away.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

On the Brag

Lol. I'm laughing at myself. And glad I'm going to see Harmony and Michelle tonight because it's fun to be giddy with those hotties. Travis is on his way home from his boys' baseball weekend in Texas. It's always easy to let him go on these mini getaways because I know it means so much to him. He always has so much fun seeing baseball games, eating adventurous food (this trip it was fried frog leg salad), and relaxing boy-style. It's different than traveling with me. For instance, he wouldn't dare ask me to ride the bus across town to a different car rental place to save 100 bucks; but Ben had no problem with such a journey! I'm glad that Trav goes because I know that he'll also make it a priority for me to have some time away. Some people don't travel without their spouses, but I'm grateful we have learned that this is one of the best things we can do to strengthen our relationship.

This was a very typical Sunday morning at Casa Verde. Cassidy obviously didn't appreciate me trying to interrupt her boogie excavation. I'll save this to show her future boyfriend (if her Dad allows that...ever).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What's In Your Waffle?

I'm not perfect in nutrition with my kids, but I love me a good trick! I enjoy sneaking healthy stuff into their food. When Patrick lived here I'd offer him baked treats and he'd immediately ask, "Do I want to know what's in this?" I will never tell him unless he's already given it a try first, and he's usually splendidly surprised that I sneaked spinach in brownies or butternut squash in his cupcakes.

Shannon has been making sneaky substitutions for Cohen for awhile, as he's on a gluten-free diet and is pretty particular about what he'll eat. She uses applesauce and white beans often to avoid using oil or eggs.

My recent faves have been waffles and muffins. I figure waffles are often eaten with syrup, so how hard would it be to mask veggies inside?! Sometimes I make a base for a smoothie (frozen strawberries/blueberries etc.) in my Vitamix blender (love love this, but a Magic Bullet will also do fine) and then just add some pancake mix like Bisquick or Krusteaz.

Today I'm making banana muffins with pureed zucchini, bananas, great northern beans, and acorn squash. Some mini choco chips make them divine!

We've got a blending/juicing party in the works, so let me know if you want to come, or, if you're far away, I'd love to share some ideas we receive!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Love you, daughter. Grateful Grandma Cheryl could let you and your brothers have a sleepover last night so we could party like rockstars and enjoy a little needed quiet time after a long week.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Piano Men

Thanks, Dadda, for always being excited to come for a visit, a breakfast out, or to swoop in to the rescue when we need a casserole or other daddy/granddaddy-delights. Love you!

Even though I stink at piano-playing, while my mom, dad, and sister are truly gifted (not to mention Pat's a drum master!), I love to have this piece of my Grandma Ginny in my home. She was a spitfire; a gracious, giving, spunky entertainer who has left with us her legacy through books, this fabulous piano, and of course, daddy-o.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wee Walker

Yesterday, at the ripe age of 11-months, cute Beckett decided to take his first 5 steps to the couch. I wasn't expecting it, and was completely delighted to see him reach one of his first little milestones. Love you, adorable boy.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I've had the opportunity to watch Patrick and Emily's 2 cutie boys in the afternoons. The morning I was supposed to start my 'duties' as part-time helper, I woke up abruptly at 6 in the morning and wondered what I was thinking. But I am happy to say that things have gone so much smoother than I had anticipated. I love Ethan and Spencer and so do my kiddos. I enjoy knowing that they have become happy, instant cousins. They all play well together.

Ethan is smart. He knows what day of the week it is, what the weather forecast is, and his weekend plans. He, like Boston, loves Wii and always asks when we'll be playing it next. He enjoys playing outside no matter what the weather and riding scooters. He's a bird eater, but in true bird fashion, looooves fish (goldfish crackers, that is!).

Spencer, or wee little butterball (as Patrick sometimes calls him) is this adorable bundle of eye expressions, funny words, and awareness. He often comes to me with a disgusted look on his face, refusing to use the toilet because there's pee pee on the seat. He and Cassidy have funny conversations in the car. A few weeks ago Cassidy was telling Spencer that she wanted a gold tooth like her dad. Spencer agreed that that would be just wonderful. When the chatting gets to potty talk and I give them 'the eye' in the mirror, Spencer is quick to say that his mommy will spank his butt if he uses those words.

The other day, sweet Spencer was trying to take a little nap on the couch and as the energy and noise of the other kids moved from where we were in the kitchen, I found that some critters didn't think Spencer should be able to take a nap. So rude. Luckily, Spencer slept through the curiousity and sneakiness.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cool Cats

You'd think being a native Californian that I'd bundle up extra cozy in the frigid cold. I don't. I believe in t-shirts. I'm inside most of the day anyway and it gets toasty--all the kid chasing, stair-climbing and cleaning. My friend Ginny always laughs at me when I run out to do carpool and she's in Uggs and cute sweaters. Maybe next winter I'll rock some cute winter duds. As for right now, I'm holding my breath for spring and summer goodness.

*I do have 2 or 3 sweaters, though I realize--even the one I'm wearing in this pic is only 3/4 length.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I'm not sure if many of you know, but when Travis and I were dating I put him through a series of question sessions. When I told my dad about this recently, he said--with a bit of man fear in his eyes--"Wow, how'd he feel being interviewed?" I replied, "Most important interview of his life!" I realize not all suitors would be so willing, but I'm grateful for Trav's willingness to communicate with me (then and now).

I feel like if you can't talk openly about things with a prospective husband, what success can come of the relationship? Anyway, I came across one of my 'lists' so I'll share.

This is dated January 27, 2000.
Favorite movie star? Female?
Famous crush?
What sport do you hope your children will play? Musical instrument?
When have you felt out of control?
Your daughter has her first boyfriend. How do you treat him?
Your 9-year-old refuses to go to church. What do you do?
You find your wife locked in a room, crying. How do you lure her out?
Your wife is mad at you. You don't know why and become frustrated because she refuses to talk. What do you do?
Your brother has just discovered he can't have kids and asks you to 'donate'. What do you do?
Your best friend (according to your wife) has been hitting on your wife. What now?
One of your friends claims your wife flirts with him.
What is the one quality you hope for most in a wife?
If your wife could do one thing every day to make you content, what would it be?
What makes a good husband?
How do you deal with criticism?

Some of these now make me giggle, and I assure you there were multiple lists, but I gotta say, I feel it sure paid off! As an effective 'interviewer', I was not only listening to his answers, but observing his willingess to go the distance and his ability and desire to communicate!

Happy Valentine's Week!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Okay, so I have a lot to blog about: birthdays, Christmas, visits, etc. but that'll have to wait. I sent the kids off to one of their favorite sitters this morning (no school today in our district!) so I could make a few phone calls and cross a few items off the to-do list.

Mr. Beckett is now 9-months-old. He has captured my heart in a different way than my other two. Not sure how that is or if I'm just finally out of the sleepless funk, but he's just so squishable and delicious. The back of his head, oddly enough, is even so adorable--beautiful silvery blonde hair and a rolly neck.

He is the busiest little critter ever. He's always on the move. He's been crawling for a couple months and has been cruising for about a month. He pulls himself up and moves along with focused determination. Travis swears he heard him grab a toy from the dog the other day proclaiming, "No!" He's speedy in his crawl and no matter where I put him with a pile of toys to buy myself a little time, he'll find me, sit on his knees, flap his arms like a bird and make his presence known with his loud yells.

He rarely cries, but he 'talks' and yells almost incessantly. He's a snuggler (in 5-second increments), an eater (anything and all the time, but preferably food he can shove in his mouth by himself), and a little social butterfly. I love him like crazy. He's just so cute. Boston and Cassidy love him too. They love that he's less fragile now and they enjoy playing dead on the floor and letting Beckett tackle them.

20 pounds of yum.

Do you have the Bountiful Baskets co-op in your area?! Amazing. I got the organic basket this week.