Monday, July 20, 2009

Please Pray for Jacob

I read about Jacob in the news paper at my parent's neighbors house. I held back tears, but couldn't help but feel for him and his family. The only connection I could make is that he was a student at the high school I graduated from. Later that evening, when my brother, and EMT, got home from a 12 hour shift I told him about it:

A group of teenagers were hanging out at the beach, they heard a loud sound and figured, it was *6/28/09, that it was a fire cracker. When a small fire broke out two of the boys went to put it out. Turns out, they were downed power lines and one of the boys was electricuted.

I'll never forget what happened next, I said "yeah, some kid named Jacob Kirkendall". He turned white, covered his face and said "no, no, no". I held my baby brother, his 6'2" frame dwarfing me by a foot. Even as a strong, full grown man, he'll always be my baby brother.
The connection to this boy was deeper, way deeper- he's also a Freeline kid. Freeline is a surf shop in Santa Cruz, family run and operated for the past 40 years. My parents worked there, I worked there, my brother worked there and so did Jacob. Freeline is more than a work place- it's family- Jacob is Family!

So, please- say prayers for Jacob's recovery, for his family and for his friends. Let's support them and keep positive energy flowing to Jacob!

thank you.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Redwood and a Poppy

Ethnicity: Californian

*redwood tree, california poppy- my parent's front yard, dad's garden

A woman, who seemed a little- ok a lot off, walked into the bakery the kids, my aunt and I were in and commented on how beautiful my boys are. I thanked her, but before I could finish saying Thank You, she said "What nationality are they?" Huh? Um- a mix of a lot of great stuff and a quarter Austrian. She then skipped over to the next table and asked two teenaged boys the same question, but before she exited the building to do some interpretive dancing on the sidewalk I said, they're Californian. I feel more like a Californian than "white" or a "mutt". I think I'm going to start checking other on forms and if I'm given room to write in my ethnicity I'm going to write Californian!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Project Left Unfinished

Poor Neglected Blog

I was so excited when I sat down to write my first blog post. I had big plans- an entry a day, watching my writing skills soar, bringing to light things I didn't know and to share that which I already do know. And then- LIFE. It always seems to get in the way. I have a bunch of little half finished projects- mostly crafting, some home improvement, but I had the vision, I started and then.... LIFE.
So, here I go again: I'm taking on this blog and I'm going to use it as a tool to prove to myself that I CAN and WILL finish a project! I'll get into the rhythm of blogging and then maybe I'll be motivated to finish re-doing the stairs and maybe after that I'll finish that little hat I'm crocheting.

*a hat I actually did finish (7/4/08)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

They Need Us

Life has been crazy. I put two over-time weeks in at work. I haven't worked full time since before I was put on bed rest when I went into labor @ 26 weeks with my first baby. It was hard to leave the kids, even though they were with daddy. I feel I have to be there 24/7 to nurture, comfort, shelter, protect. It was a learning experience though. I learned I can leave them and they learned they are okay without me. But the best reward was coming home, knowing they missed me and that I am needed.

We went to the duck pond on one of my days off and had a picnic. I stopped to take a few pictures on our way out of the park and I paused to watch this momma duck gather her young underneath her. I felt connected to her, I know how it feels to just want to protect your children from the world, to fold my babies up in my wings and hold them close. She'll eventually teach them to fly and perhaps they'll live in a different pond, but for now- she is needed.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Favorite Photo of Me

A Game of Tag - Put You're Best Face Forward

Telle from Fat Mum Slim tagged StepfordDreams with this fun photo post.

It's really simple. I love how every photo tells a story. Some short stories, some long tales. I want to know what is your favourite photo of yourself. Everyone has one. The photo they look at and smile. It reminds them of something, some time, some place. A moment in time.So share the photo, share the story and then tag three other people. I want to see photos and stories all around the blogosphere.

I knew right away which photo I would use.  It's one from my second pregnancy taken at Venice Beach, CA.  I'm standing on the beach near the breakwater with Santa Monica in the distant background.  A light breeze is lifting pieces of my hair into the air. I'm holding my big, round belly and looking down in deep thought.

At that moment I felt so connected to my baby.  Overwhelmed with joy, excited to meet him and at peace with the world.  At this moment the only two people who mattered in the world were the two of us- mother and child.  A bond that started and will never be broken.  I feel so beautiful and feminine in this photo.  Healthy and full of life.  Yes, this is my favorite photo of me.

tag lovers- you're it:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Best Friend's Birthday

Happy Trisha Day Everyone

october 8, 2005 st. monica catholic church
santa monica, california
dress one of two

Today is my best friend Trisha's birthday!!!  Exactly 3 month after I was born, my BFF was born- 7 years later we were met while preparing for our First Holy Communions.  We went to separate elementary schools, and except for a birthday party or two, I didn't see much of her after our Communion.
Fast forward to 8th grade- poor girl changes schools, lucky me- we're reunited!!!  Reunited and it feels so good.... (you know you just sang along!)

SO... Basically we've been BFF since then- You obviously don't need a whole "yearbook signing" of a post so here goes:

Trisha- you have been a great friend all of these years.  We laugh, we cry, we dance, we sing, but mostly we just laugh.  Let's become little old ladies together!!!  Heck, I'll buy you your first purple jogging suit!!!  Here's to everything we've been through, everything we're going through and all that is to come.  I'll always be here for you, open arms, open ears, open heart.  I love you!

october 8, 2005 marina del rey, california
dress two of two

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Just Us

Love my sweet guy!

Asher chose my head wear!!! Speed?  I am Speed!!!

sleep, sweet sleep!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Summer Fun

So, I'm not one to post all the giveaways offered through other blogs, but this one is too cool to pass up!!!  I know that most of the people who read my little blog have children who would really like the Outdoor Toys offered in this giveaway.  Toys and Games Online is giving 1 of 3 great prizes away to one lucky reader over @ What's That Smell another fun mommy blog!!!  So check it out, enter and hopefully one of us is the winner!  We're gonna win the Step2- Extreme Coaster Rollercoaster and when we do you can all come play with us!!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Off The Hinges

A New Front Door Sheds Light on Love

My husband had put an old front door in our backyard.  I figured it would just sit there like many other projects.  But, it only sat for a week or two before he began the 3 day process that would become my fabulous new door.  

I know you may be thinking- woopty doo a new door- BORING.  But it was the thought and care he took in making the door not only fit into the old, un-squared frame, but that he took the time to make it a door I would love.  He primed and painted it a nice clean white on the exterior.  The white is great, it's fresh and crisp against the blue color.  We chose a blue  that's reminiscent of the deep water off the California coast.  I'm a huge fan of Catalina Island and love the different colors of water I've encountered during my many trips there.

I'm loving the window.  The glass is a little dated, but it lets in so much light that I don't even care.  Before the entrance was just a dark corner that wasn't very inviting.  I smile every time I leave the house.  I also like how the light shines through the window at night helping to light the front of the house even more which is nice when we come home after dark.

But my absolute favorite part of the door is the faux finish on the interior of the door!  My dear sweet husband used a distressing technique to give the door a very shabby chic appearance.  If I had time to actually sit down and decorate our house to my taste it would be Shabby Chic Beach Cottage.  The fact that he took the time to paint the door in a style that I like made me feel so special.  He could've just slapped some white on it and called it a day.  But he kept in mind my taste and design goals and painted that door for ME!!!  I am loved.

So, I got a new door, more light, and a "love note" written in faux finished paint.
Thanks honey- we love you!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This Is How I Roll

Is it extreme to say I love my stroller?  I mean, I know that material possessions shouldn't define our lives, but I don't know what I'd do without this stroller.  The benefit of living in the beautiful , temperate city of Santa Monica is that everything is in walking distance and the weather is usually perfect for walking.  I don't have a car of my own, which is probably a good thing- I couldn't imagine driving the 405 with my children in the car- so I walk a lot.  Having a double stroller was a must!  

There are so many brands out there that first I had to decide between the tandem (inline) or the side by side strollers.  Tandems just weren't for me- way too long and I feel like one kid gets jipped on their view. Next came function.  The stroller had to be comfortable for a toddler and safe for a newborn.  I needed a car seat attachment (preferably one that wasn't an extra $80 on top of the stroller price).  I had to have a big storage basket so that I could tote all the diapers, wipes, toys and changes of clothing along with my purse and sometimes groceries.  It also had to be easy for me to push as well as my husband.  There is about a foot difference in our heights, so an adjustable handle was key.  The most neccessary thing for me though- it fits through standard doors- I really can go anywhere with this stroller!!! 

And then came fashion.  OK, I felt a little vain wanting a "pretty" stroller- but if you read my post All Wrapped Up you will see my need for my world to be aesthetically pleasing.  Basically, all my choices were big, clunky, ugly strollers that would just be a joke to maneuver through town or sleek, futuristic NASA moon unit type strollers- so not me!  After months and months of searching (I found out I was pregnant @ 5 weeks, so I pretty much had a full 9 months to figure this out) I found my now most prized possession:

The canopies zip open in the back to pivot even further forward.  Asher loves this because he can reach his little arms out and give mommy high fives and hold my hand- such a lover.  I love it because no matter which angle the sun comes at us, the canopy can be moved to block the sun.  There are also large pockets on the back of the canopies that I can put my wallet and phone in for easy accessibility.  If I need more room in the storage basket I can put diaper bag stuff in the pockets as well- diapers, wipes and a change of clothes for both boys will fit.  If the seats are not fully reclined I can stuff a sweatshirt or jacket under the hood too. 

Gavan loves his stroller because he gets a front row seat to all of the action.  He can comfortably sleep when he's away from home.  He likes the padded lap and shoulder straps and the padded head rest.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Home Town Tourists

 I'm back- I promise.  I took a small, unintentional break from blogging due to life interfering with my new and most favorite hobby.  We had colds that lingered (I spent over 2 weeks covered in snot) and I've been busy getting back on track at work. So, if you can forgive me, please read on and look for updates!

The Santa Monica Pier

You never think to stop and do the things the tourists do when you're in your own home town.  I would never go out to Hollywood just to check out the Walk of Fame or photograph the Hollywood sign.  But, I love going to the Santa Monica Pier!  It's definitely on the tourist list of things to do.  The weekend is crazy out there!  I like to go mid-week and off season.  We recently went and rode the vintage 1922 Carousel.  It is so beautiful and the boys enjoy the ride.  It costs $1 for adults to ride and because of their ages the boys ride free. I think it's under 12 is $0.50.  It's a great deal compared to the $5 Ferris Wheel price we've paid.

They have a great arcade for older kids and $0.50 rides for the younger kids on the north and south sides of the arcade.  Asher likes the race car and Tonka Truck the best, but for about $3 we kept him entertained and happy.  Definitely don't eat on the pier- over priced pre-made frozen burger patty kind of fare! Not my thing!  Instead, check out Big Deans at the base of the pier.  Great burgers!  Secret tip- if you're a fan of grilled onions they'll gladly do it.  So yummy with their secret sauce.

Asher picked out a new hat last time we were there.  The child has eagle eyes.  All of a sudden he starting saying "Lightning McQueen Hat" my aunt and I looked at each other like "what"?  Sure enough, on one of the vending carts was a Lightning McQueen* hat, which we bought him- have you seen his face?  We're suckers!!

We had a great lazy afternoon in the sunshine and sea air.  It's a calming adventure close to home.  The kids have fun, the atmosphere is pretty stress free and we didn't spend a lot of money.  All in all, I enjoyed being a tourist in my own town!

*(for anyone who doesn't know= Lightning McQueen is a race car and main character in Disney's Cars movie.  If you haven't seen it- do!  We love Paul Newman as Doc Hudson and Asher quotes the tow truck named Mater- voiced by Larry the Cable Guy)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Helping out the Me and Three Challenge

Always willing to help friends and family out- please check out the email below and take the 'Me and Three' networking challenge.
much love- B

Michael Madden here. My company was just awarded a
$5000 small business grant by Intuit for my true
story on networking and its importance in business.
My entry was one of 50 finalists selected out of
over 2000 entries, so I'm pleased they saw value for
small business owners in what was submitted.
As a finalist, I have decided to ‘practice what I
preach' and network with those whom I know - and may
not know - to earn ratings for my grand prize
submission, which is a $25,000 small business grant.
I have named this my "Me and Three" networking
challenge, which is to ask the receiver of this
email (me) to evaluate and rate my networking
submission, and pass this same email along to 
 or family members to do the same.
With your cooperation, I believe small and large
businesses will benefit by discovering the power of
tapping into their own networks network.
If you are willing to take part in this networking
challenge, here is all you'll need to do, which will
take less than 2 minutes:
Click this link:
You will then see a video of my networking story to
watch, or you can scroll down and read it if you're
in a hurry.
To the right the video, you will see the words "Rate
this video" with little buttons next to the words
‘Inspiring' Useful' ‘Funny'. You can click all 3 of
those, which serve as rating points.
You will then be taken to a screen to sign in to
your Intuit account. If you don't have one, you will
see the box that says: 
New? Create Account...which
will ask for your e-mail address, 
to prevent against
voter fraud.
NOTE:Intuit will allow you to unsubscribe
immediately after casting your vote, and they 
 spam you or sell your email.
If you would like, you can then leave a comment
under the video, or simply click submit. It's that
painless and quick.
After that, please forward this e-mail to three
friends or family members
, and include a little note
at the top asking for their participation, much like
you received from the sender of this e-mail.
I will be writing a case study on this challenge
when voting has concluded May 29th. If you would be
interested in receiving a report, please send me an
e-mail to the following:
Thank you, in advance, for taking time out of your
busy day and participating in my "Me and Three"
Networking challenge.
All the best,

Friday, May 1, 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Vitamin C

Gavan and a big dose of vitamin C

Today I took the boys to the pediatrician because they are just miserable.  They have really bad colds.  I mean, WE have really bad colds!!!  It's like the Universe hates me.  I can handle sick children, but being sick with sick children- I'm going out of my mind!  It was ok when I only had one.  Then I could just sleep the whole time he slept and we felt better in a day or two!  But, the two boys won't nap at the same time! ugh! I think the whole reason that I am sick now is that I haven't slept in days and my immune system just can't handle it.  I liked that my parting conversation with the pediatrician was:
me: "Well hopefully the boys feel better soon"
doctor: "Hopefully YOU'LL feel better soon"
I love that he gets it!  

So for now, lots of fluids and vitamin C!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Santa Monica Sunset

here's to a peaceful second half of the week, full of healthy babies and happy friends and family.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sick Day

My 2.5 year old, *Asher woke up to a beautiful sunny day and said "Wake up mommy, it's a lovely day!" and "Wake up baby *Gavan, it's a lovely day!"  Daddy thought he'd get into the conversation and said "Yeah Asher, it's a SICK day"  Sick is a slang for really awesome?  Cue the tears "No I don't want it to be a sick day."  I could've killed my husband, right then and there!!!  I had a happy, lovey dovey baby and he ruined it by using the English language incorrectly!!!  
With that said, it truly was a "sick day" in that the boys and I have colds!  Go figure!!!  

* I plan on doing posts to introduce my little men, but just haven't found enough time to do it yet!  soon though!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Face Paint Regrets

When we left the Treehouse Social Club this weekend, my 2.5 year old said "oh no, I didn't get face paint."  Thinking it was just a way to try to get us to take him back I said "it's ok baby, mommy will paint your face when we get home."  His baby brother had a little spider painted on his arm, we asked him over and over, but he didn't want to stop playing while we were at the party.  The next day we were playing in the backyard and again he told me he didn't get his face painted.  Huh?  Do 2.5 year olds feel regret?  I think he feels better today though!  I set up his watercolors and much to dad's dismay, he painted his face.  So sweet!  It made him happy and all it took was a little soap, water and a Nemo wash cloth to get it off.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

All Wrapped Up

Pretty Party Packages
This weekend was Baby Sarah's 1st Birthday party.  We got her a sweet little dress with leggings, a fairy princess photo album (theme of the party), and a beautiful tea set.  I wanted to get really beautiful wrapping that coordinated with the party and our gifts.  What I wanted and what is actually available is totally on different levels.  
To say I like things that are aesthetically pleasing is an understatement.  I ended up getting some scrapbook paper and gluing it the back of plain wrapping.  The large box (center, top) I used different sized pieces of paper to make a patch-work effect.  I tied brown ruffled ribbon around it and topped it with three fabric daisies wired together.  I used floral tape for extra strength and to hide and sharp edges.
I made a pouch with a paper grocery bag and one full sheet of scrapbook paper (left)  I cut butterflies in the same color palette out and made them dimensional by attaching them with foam stickies.  Hot green ruffle ribbon finishes it off. 
I used the back side of plain wrapping paper and cut 12" x 12" scrap paper in half to make a 6" band to wrap around the center of this package (right) Two hot pink ruffle ribbons unify the 3 packages.
The envelope (center,bottom) has a thin wood plaque with a rose stencil and green lettering hand painted and glued on to it. The card, (top of package right) is a piece of floral vellum glued to folded card stock, stenciled with same stencil as the envelope.
OK- so, a lot just for a one year old's birthday- but it was  fun project for me and I know her mommy appreciated the attention to detail and time I spent.  It's the thought that counts right?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Party Party Party

The Tree House Social Club
Beverly Hills, California

Happy 1st Birthday Fairy Princess Sarah

Friday, April 24, 2009

I think there's a florist on the corner....

We were on our way to visit my great uncle, to wish him a very happy 80th birthday.  My aunt forgot to stop to get flowers where she had planned so we continued towards my uncle's house in hopes of finding a florist.  I then remembered seeing a florist on the corner. I said "I think there's one on the corner, it's a girl's name".
Heather's Flowers
101 washington blvd. marina del rey, CA 90292
(310) 822-0541

She picked up the most amazing arrangement.  Green and fuschia orchids set in bright orange moss inserted in little glass bud tubes of water glued to two thick pieces of dark brown bamboo!!!  It's probably the most masculine flower arrangement I've ever seen!  Price was $50, but it lasts up to 4 weeks!!!  Great buy, beautiful design!!! 

Dear Brain- Go to Sleep It's Bed Time!

Thoughts for The Day....

A.M.   Coffee is coffee, but I want the good stuff - my mother, who lives about 365 miles away, and I both had to use random coffee this a.m. instead of our regular stuff! I will redeem todays cup tomorrow by treating myself to Amelia's on Main St. 

 I need a coffee fairy in my life!

I know fog is just part of living by the coast- but come on!!! I was way too cold when I woke up! Note to self.... where a shirt to bed!

Do cupcakes count as breakfast?

AFTERNOON     Blog addiction is setting in! But what shall I write about, hmmmm?  I was happy that the baby napped and my big guy watched some cartoons on Noggin so that I got to do my Survival Skills entry.  

We were lazy.  Caffeine lunch for mommy, "spot" dog for big guy (hot dog with ketchup polka dots), and some cuddly nursing for little man.

P.M.   The baby and I went into work for part of a closing shift.  Didn't get much done with the baby attached to my hip, but feel I made some progress.  Daddy and my big guy went to check out the construction being done on the skate park @ the beach.  I'll have to wait until Monday, when daddy takes the kids, so that I can actually get some stuff done @ work!  If only I had a 25th hour in my day :) 

Hating my hair cut!  I cut 3 inches off, but it needs layers!  It feels really good and looks healthier though, I needed to get rid of those scraggly hairs, but feel the bottom is too heavy.  I'll give it a few days and style it a few ways before I do anything else.  Self control= put the scissors down!

I got to see my sister, she was asleep on my bed when I got home from work.  Poor thing hasn't slept much in the past week.  18 hour days as a production coordinator.  I think they wrap the shoot tomorrow.  She was so happy to see the boys!  They love their auntie!  I miss my sister- memo to momma: schedule sister time STAT!

WEE SMALL HOURS  Caffeine is great, but it's probably half the reason my brain will not turn off.  I've always been a night owl, I'm more creative this time of night.  But, I know I'll be exhausted come my early morning wake up call!  

Goodnight, sweet dreams and happy dreams! 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's a Jungle Out There....

It's a jungle out there so let's get prepared! 
Survival Skills

Rhino Momma- Tough skin.  People are going to say what they want to say and you can't let it bother you (even though we all do)!  Our first Easter with our older son was spent in a very hot, over crowded church, so to keep him comfortable I stripped him down to his onesie and he was happy.  Upon leaving a woman on the street approached me and said "He's gonna get cold, you need to put some clothes on that baby."  Um....? Excuse me! With a rude smirk on my face I said "Actually he's really warm thank you."  Looking back, I probably should have just smiled and said "OK" and let her go on her way and not given it a second thought.  My mother always says "Don't give 'em free rent in your head".  If we let these people get to us we waste our energy on negative thoughts, energy better spent loving our children.  So next time one of these "parenting coaches" lol, gives you their unwanted advice smile and hug your child and let them know you're doing just fine!

Tiger Momma- Move 'em out.  There are some situations you'll encounter where it's just best to get up and leave.  Momma tigers will pick there young up by the scruff of their necks and move them out of harms way.  There are a lot of reasons you might do this, most recently I did this while waiting for my aunt at an open air mall.  I had the baby in the stroller and my big boy was playing with two new toy cars.  An older boy approached and took one, threw it to the ground and started describing the accident as a bloody death.  It totally caught me off guard.  He told my 2.5 year old that he was 10 and bigger and that his fists say the didn't like him.  I didn't know what to do, I didn't see this obviously disturbed child's mother, so I just packed the boys up and left.  I wasn't comfortable in the situation so I took us out of it.   I probably would've said a little more to this boy and his mother if they were regular acquaintances, but didn't feel like a confrontation, that day at least!

Meerkat Momma- It's all Relative.  Meerkat's have a system set up with babysitters!!!  Usually older siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins :)  It's okay to ask for help.  One of my biggest God sends is my aunt.  She's wonderful with my boys and we have a great time out and about together.  Doing life's mundane little tasks like going to the pharmacy and paying bills, become a nice outing to chat and spend time with someone I love.

Lion Momma- Growl Power.  There is a time when confrontation is necessary.  If someone's going to get hurt or something is making you uncomfortable- speak up!!!  This can be anything from asking another kid to politely not throw sand or rocks to telling a creepy man to leave the park!  Most of the parks in our area have signs posted that adults that aren't with children are not allowed to be there.  If you feel your child is in danger you have my permission to go all crazy intense psycho woman!!!

Koala Momma- Cuddles and Hugs.  Oh the Koala (a marsupial not a bear), eat sleep and be merry.  If you're out and about with the kids chances are someone's gonna get cranky, things will get stressful and tears may ensue.  If you can, make sure the kids are well rested, if you're exhausted try to wait for re-enforcements so you're not starting your outing stressed, bring snacks or plan to eat @ a certain time and stick with it.  Stay on top of the hunger and exhaustion!!!  Nothings worse than a tired, hungry kid.  When in doubt- go home and nap!

I'm sure there are more- I will think about it and let you know....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today.... I Blog

If you had asked me this morning the last time I had brushed my hair, I wouldn't have been able to tell you.  SO, bottle of de-tangler and paddle brush in hand I sorted through my seemingly untamable mane.  I threw a ton of conditioner in it and braided it.  I let the conditioner do it's thing while I made breakfast for my family.  I fed my boys and decided to take advantage of my husband being home and hopped in the shower.  Oh the shower- my oasis.  My dump truck filled, Wall-E basketball hoop, pink and blue tub crayon covered oasis.  And then it dawned on me.... How did I get here?  How did I get to a place where I didn't brush my hair for days?  Where showering by myself was a luxury? and where every day is filled with love and wonderment?  Ahhh.... MOTHERHOOD!!!

So, in that wonderful, hot shower this morning, I decided to chronicle my experiences.  An outlet to see where I've been, where I am, and where I'm going as a wife, woman and mother.