Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Today I just HAD to write a few words about my mom. If you're anything like me, the second you start thinking about everything your mom's done for you and all she means to you (yes, even as an adult!), you can't help but feel a bit emotional. Having my own kids now, I see her in the way I parent my own kids, and I find humor in the payback she always mentioned would come (haha). It's like finally grasping a sense of the depth of love she has for me, the selflessness, the ultimate service and sacrifice, and the joy and exhaustion all rolled into this fabulous little eternal miracle.

I don't remember everything about my childhood, but one strong memory I have is knowing that if I got a skinned knee, or got hurt feelings, I could come crying to her and bury myself in one of her mom-hugs, and everything always just felt...better. On hard days, she reminded me that everything was harder at night, and in the morning, things would feel better. I still know that to be true. Something happens with sunshine and rest.

Being raised by this super mom—who was often found nibbling a straw and doodling in her month-at-a-glance planner (likely planning a big party or PTA event)—always seemed normal, because it was all I knew. If I played a soccer game, she was there. If I had issues at school, I knew my teachers knew her, and I definitely didn't turn down that notoriety (lol). I also knew that she meant business. She wouldn't tolerate me lying, and she always reminded me of the importance of integrity and being kind and human, especially to the underdogs. With her omni-presence in my every care, I knew that if I didn't belong anywhere, I'd always belong to her and I was important in my family. It is only now that I realize there are many kids who feel like outcasts in their own homes. There are moms who aren't invested, who make selfish choices, and who are just not equipped for the demands of motherhood.

My mom is fearless, direct, compassionate, and giving. She has a can-do spirit, and will find a way no matter how difficult or imppossible the circumstances seem. This is especially true in regards to her children. We learned early on that this momma means business, and yet wherever she is, people gravitate toward her energetic, fun-loving, spirited personality. And if being all this wasn't enough, she provided a comfortable home where my friends could come. She accepted and loved my friends, and became a second mom to many of them.

The greatest gift she has given me is that she taught me the importance of motherhood. She and my dad always validated that being an at-home mom was an important job. She always emphasized getting an education, and she helped me understand why college would be a blessing to me and my family, even (especially!) if my employment was in the home and not a corporate position. She helped me understand that, while life holds no guarantees, there is an easy way and a hard way. I'm grateful that she shared her opinions with me and never left questions in my mind. To this day, there is no question off-limits, and I can depend on her word.

Thank you, Moodums, for teaching me how to earn my self-esteem, and for always helping me understand my value as a human and a daughter of God. I always wanted to be a mom because I knew it was and is one of your truest joys. Love you!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Terror-licious 2's

I can't believe you're almost 2. You've been rough, my friend. You didn't sleep more than three or four hours a stretch for your first six months of life. I prayed you'd do more than act irritable and cry.

You are stubborn and feisty, but as you near these terrible twos, all I'm thinking is how much I love you. You (knock on wood!) give me the sweetest smile as I lay you down for your nap and stroke your forehead. Your blonde hair melts my heart, and while you say only a few words, you tackle some hard ones with glory: shadow, color, green, purple.

You stopped saying 'Dad' and now squeal at Dad with delight, "Mom!" I just figure mom is your word for love (hee hee). You scream almost every time I put you in your carseat, and you flip flop like a fish at almost every diaper-change, but every time I look at you, or you squeeze my neck tightly, or pat the spot next to you on the bed so I'll sit by you, it's somehow worth all the craziness. You are such a joy to me.

p.s. And don't think I'll forget that you terrorize the house with your permanent marker art! Thanks for drawing pink swirlies aaaalllll over the dining room while we went to our cooking class date night last weekend!

p.p.s. This post was written during naptime.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Happy Hawaii

I have the most generous, giving friends. How fortunate I am, as well, for a husband who supports and expects me to nurture my friendships. This last trip to Hawaii with Bridget, Nikki, and Jenny was so beautiful and relaxing.
Even when Nikki and Jenny's Uncle Leslie (we've always called him our uncle too!)was taking us to the airport, he was getting nostalgic about the four of us growing up together. He even had a picture of us all sitting on Nikki's porch swing (I think we were only 8 and 10 or so at the time. We grew up as sisters. I get emotional to even imagine not having in my life.

Some of the new memories we made, well, let's face it, occured around a table doing the eating we do best. Some num nums included Argentinian donuts called malasadas, shave ice, huge pancakes with nut butter and mango syrup from Cinnamon's, omelettes, baked goods from a random market, shave ice, cream puffs from Liliha bakery, Jenny's 55 cookie purchase (Nikki did the math so she had to buy the most economical quantity!), and poolside nachos. I'm amazed at our ability to eat and then eat some more.

***In the pic above, we had just opened our malasadas, which are donut-y. In line, Bridget said to Nikki, "These things are basically donut holes, right? Nikki sort of shrugged, so when B opened the box and saw that they were each the size of a large dinner roll, she was laughing about buying 4. Deception! Good times!)

We also had fun sitting in the fabulous infinity pool overlooking the ocean, floating on these foam beanbag floaties (while often gawking at people making out who must have forgotten they were not alone!). I delighted the crew with some hula dances, incorporating some sign language imported from Beckett's favorite tv show, Signing Time. While at the mall there, we saw Leland from Dog the Bounty Hunter. Bridget and I followed him a while before deciding we should give him his space because he was with his family.

The first day we got there, we were sitting on the beach near a woman who advertises this catamaran ride. Her voice was so rhythmic and hypnotic as she'd call out, "Catamaran ride? Sail today?" She'd also speak in Japanese to some tourists. Eventually, Bridget and I were sold and took the hour ride. There were only a few people on the catamaran ride, and in true 'me' fashion, I made friends with a sweet gay couple from Canada (who had a waterproof camera!). We saw a couple turtles, but no dolphins this time. There was a pretty attractive guy sailing the catamaran, and I noticed one of the pictures our new buddy took had him subtly in the background (okay, I'm only assuming here!). Turns out the 'sailor' is the son of a sailing legend, Woodbridge Brown (there was a movie made about him called Of Wind and Waves).
**I'm assuming our new buddy wasn't intending on taking a nice picture of the older couple on the catamaran ride (hee hee). I think Nikki should date Mr. Sailor!.

When Uncle Leslie picked us up, he was so excited to hear every detail of the trip. "Yes, what else? And what else? And what else?!" We apologized for getting him up so early to pick us up from our red eye flight, but he reminded us that he's a morning person and has a whole cer-E-mony as a part of getting ready for the day. Love that guy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Swiss Miss

Excited for the bff to have a baby! It seems not long ago that our moms were pregnant together with us. I had intended to try to re-create this scenario, but let's just say that my toddler has made the idea of a new baby sooooo haunting, daunting, and ripe for the crazy-making. He's lucky he's so cute. I took the kids to the aerospace museum at the air force base today. He loved the aircraft, but his favorite part was trying to eat dirt and sneak a lick of some rusty airplane nail. It's funny how, when I was first a mom, I'd be mortified to be dragging out a screaming child. Now, instead of feeling bad for onlookers' ears, I look at them as if to remind them that my ears are under assault all day. As America's Super Nanny would say, "Back to the calm down corner." He did give me two adorable smooches yesterday at Shannon's. Makes it worth the feistiness (where does he get such strong-willed personality? Haha).
Anyway, congrats Char. I was so blessed to be a part of her baby shower in L.A. I'm still dreaming about the delicious food. S'more bars, cookies, cupcakes, brunch delights like egg yumminess and fresh fruit. Dang you, s'more bars.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Will you judge me for saying Modern Family is one of my most favorite tv shows right now? When we were in Cali last month, my dad happened to be filling in at Fox for a month, so he was able to get us on the set while they were filming tonight's episode. Sadly, I only got to admire Ty Burrell from across the room. Love that Phil Dunphy. It was a great experience. Thanks, Dadda!

Jay and Gloria's house

Mitch and Cam's fireplace (you can tell we'd been running outside in the rain!)

p.s. Thanks to our Jenny for taking the kiddos to Jump-n-Jammin' while we braved the crazy rain and traffic to get to the studio!


Halloween was so laid back this year. It was unseasonably warm, which really made my day/night. It almost seemed to be a California-esque trick-or-treat evening. The kids had great energy throughout the night and we just walked a lot and filled our bags with candy. We always enjoy the adjacent neighborhood because they do a lot of fabulous decorating and give out amazing treats and glow toys

Seven Heaven

It's hard to believe my Boston is 7 years old! I'm just so crazy about him. It seems like yesterday that I was washing all his new clothes from my generous baby showers and setting up his little nursery in our apartment in Newport Beach. I had such an amazing pregnancy with him, going to the beach and on long sea-air walks along the beautiful ocean-view Castaways neighborhood. I used to look in the windows of the amazing homes, imagining no other place I'd rather raise my sweet boy. Soon after I held him for the first time (a week past his due date, despite jogging and bouncing on my exercise ball!), I realized it didn't matter where I lived, as long as I was with him. When he was just 10 months old, we got a job offer in Utah and, somewhat begrudgingly, we made the move back. It was almost within the week we moved to our new house that he started sleeping through the night (solid 12-hour stretches!). I knew he liked the open space and seeing Daddy more often. They've always had an easy bond. "Special boy" and Dad love sports and hanging out together.

Today, Boston is still shy with adults, but a true extrovert. He asks for friends every single day and is growing like a weed. He's got an amazing appetite and is persistent, curious, and kind. His teacher said that he's ahead in school and that she's never heard him say an unkind word to anyone. He climbs like a monkey and will hang on anything he can, including Dad, as well as jump-attacking Mom (it starts as a hug, then he wraps and attaches at the legs!).

He likes to provoke his siblings, but if someone really loses it, he's the first to jump in and smooth things over. If I'm having a bad day or I yell at Beckett, he swoops in with sweetness to try to create peace. At night if I lay down with him before bedtime, he will just look at me and smile with this special mom/son connection, and I literally think my heart will explode.

We love you, Boston! Glad you had fun at your party with a ton of kids, Dad's homemade pirate pinata and scavenger hunt, and a garage corn dog meal with cake, ice cream, and presents.