Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Hardest Hug

Dear Daddy,

Tis the season. I usually end that saying with an exclamation point. But there are times, I just can't. Today is one of those times.

I was on a run and your hugs came to mind. How I miss those hugs. The meaning behind your hugs. You had given me countless hugs throughout my life, but there are 3 that stand out the most.

I was barely married, you came down for a visit. At the time, it seemed like any other visit. When it was time for you to leave we exchanged hugs, like we always had. It was different. Normally we let go at around the same time. But not that time. There was a linger. A hesitation. I was married now. No longer were you the primary person I would turn to for advice. No longer the person I would turn to when I was in a jam. No longer your responsibility. It was a bittersweet, uplifting hug. You had done your job. And I was the first to let go. Because in the end, you still knew what I needed. 

You were newly diagnosed. I was up for a visit. It was a hard visit. Life had changed. But you were still the stoic one. It was time to leave. And like always, we exchanged hugs. We drove away. I made David turn around just a couple of minutes later. I had to go back. Surprised you were to see me standing at the front door. I hugged you. I told you how sorry I was this had happened. How unfair it was. How much I loved you. You said, " I know. I know. It's okay." I hugged you like I was 5 years old again. And I was the first to let go. Because in the end, you still knew what I needed.

April 4th, 2013. The time was nearing. We held hands. We talked. We laughed. I cried. And like always, you told me it was okay. It was heartbreaking to say a final goodbye. I never wanted that moment. I never wanted to let go. But you were tired and ready. And you were the first to let go. Because in the end, you still knew what I needed.

I love you,

~ Your Little Girl

Monday, November 30, 2015

Six is Sweet!

Dear Kalista,

Absolutely no way has this happened! The fastest 6 years of my life just flew by me like I was standing still. 

Kalista, you are a true gem. Although you are only six, you have a great perspective on how life should be . . . carefree and FUN! Your nonchalant ways have me wanting to be more like you. I love how you are able to just move right along, regardless of the outcome. I know you will be someone who can truly forgive and move forward without hesitation. What a gift! I could learn a thing or two from you. 

Kalista, you have a smile that is so infectious. I admire your outgoing ways and ability to be personable with anyone. You are definitely not shy! hahaha You don't have a care in the world of what people think about you or what you are doing. That is so rare. Hang on to it!

There is no doubt in my mind that you will be happy all of your life. Whether you are 6 or 76, you will be at peace. And that makes me feel so good. If everyone could be like you, the world would be a wonderful place.

Happy birthday my sweets! I love you!

~ Mommy

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Building Confidence

Some people have that certain ability to always be confident no matter what the situation. Even if they know things may not pan out the way they want, they still exude confidence. And then there are some people who struggle to feel an ounce of self confidence even when there is a 99.9% chance things will be in their favor.

As a parent, aside from happiness, there is nothing more I want for my children than to have them be and feel confident. It is definitely something I lacked as a child. And if these things are inherited, well then, Sophia has me to blame. And she can also blame me for the early childhood shyness. If she gets anymore of my traits she is going to need a lot of therapy later. : )

I wish I had a magic spell to cast upon Sophia; a confidence/self-esteem spell. I wish there was more I could say or do to make her believe in herself. To my friends, family, and other parents Sophia seems to have it all together. She's smart, determined, beautiful, funny, athletic, and I could go on forever. But, there is just one piece that makes all of these things irrelevant to her. Confidence.

For those who know our family well, it's no breaking news that Sophia enjoys club swimming. We think she is pretty awesome, but as Sophia has pointed out to us time and time again (not just with swimming), "You are my parents. You are supposed to say that kind of stuff." Ouch! Well, she doesn't know her mom well enough in that department. I stopped handing out meaningless compliments a very long time ago. Any hoo. Club swimming has been a blessing and a curse. It has sparked a little bit of positive self-esteem. But because Type A people are never satisfied, it has produced a lot of tears because of unrealistic comparisons/goals (but realistic for an 8 year old) and the lack of confidence knowing it will happen some day.

So in comes social media. Yes, that's right. Social media is used for so many reasons. It's a way to share thoughts, milestones, gratitude, and every day life (or unicorn life - lol). I enjoy posting about my children's accomplishments, but not for the reasons some may think. Confidence. There's that word again. In general, I think kids tend to "hear" your words when other people say them. Just like most kids behave differently (hopefully better) for others than they do for their parents. So I am adding social media to my confidence teaching tool. And yes, it has been working. Slowly (like turtle slow - Sophia is a tough nut to crack), but surely.

So to all those who click on that "like" button (yes, I share these with Sophia) and give her props when you see her - THANK YOU! It warms my heart seeing Sophia smile from ear-to-ear when someone acknowledges her latest accomplishment. She is starting to sporadically feel good about herself. Confident. And that's all I want.

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Taste of Fall

Fall in Santa Barbara hasn't been been very fall-ish. In fact it's been down right HOT. 
Well hot for Santa Barbara. High 80's to low 90's isn't coastal. 
It's a sticky mess. So off we went . . .
Ah, so much better! Utah was the perfect remedy for getting a taste of fall.
 Hard to believe this will be covered in snow soon!
Trying out the acrobatics:

 It took her forever to flip over! Like forever.
Afternoon delight!
Gearing up for our 3 hour hike at Sundance
The views were just amazing!
Absolutely no filters needed.
Nothing but nature in all its' beauty.
 A little snack for the trail:
The turn point:
Sophia and I spotted a friendly creature:
And no trip to Utah is ever complete (at least for me) without a couple of noteworthy signs.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Dear Daddy,

Today is the 3rd year I am wishing you happy birthday from afar. I sit here thinking about what I would have written in your birthday card. Most likely it would have been, "Look who's GREAT at 78!" I would have called you this morning to wish you the best day.  I would have asked you what your day was going to entail and where dinner was going to be. But, instead I am just thinking about these things I would have done. I have really come to hate past tense.

I daydream a lot about you. When I run, I think about how extra special my life would be if you were still here. I have many life scenarios that will never come true. I often wake thinking you are not really gone. I also worry a lot. I worry Sophia & Kalista won't remember you someday. I miss all your worldly advice. I miss having you as my sounding board. I miss you.

I heard a revised version of a song the other day and I thought of you. The lyrics to this song in its' entirety have a different meaning. But I watched a young man sing a portion of this song, who's interpretation was of another. I was so touched by his rendition and found I truly related to his version/meaning:
I am jealous you are in a better place. I am so jealous of those elements of nature that still feel you. I am jealous Heaven has you. I am jealous I can't be with you. I am so jealous it hurts to breathe. 

I'm jealous of the rain
That falls upon your skin
It's closer than my hands have been
I'm jealous of the rain

I'm jealous of the wind
that ripples through your clothes
It's closer than your shadow
Oh, I'm jealous of the wind

Cause I wished you the best of
All this world could give
And I told you when you left me
There's nothing to forgive
But I always thought you'd come back, tell me all you found was
Heartbreak and misery
It's hard for me to say
I'm jealous of the way
You're happy without me

Happy Birthday Daddy

I love you,


Thursday, September 3, 2015

August Recap

School is back in session and I have been reminiscing about the few weeks preceding 
this annual event. I already long for summer 2016.

Sophia & Addy
I just love how these two pick-up right where they leave off.
Different schools...not a problem.
A precious moment of girl talk bonding.
Me and my munchkins!
Not so munchkins, I guess, huh?
While daddy was doing this:
We did this:
Shopping trip!
Cooling off at Menchies
Enjoying Dad's catch:
More beach time!
Why I love SB:
Glamping at El Capitan Canyon
 Pretty sure this "cute" livestock was the source of David's poison oak.
I won't share those photos. Your'e welcome.
 Just me and my shadow.
Makes me think of this old post.
Missing my Jeannine's breakfast buddy:
So cheers to summer 2015.
Now hurry up school and be done already!

Monday, August 31, 2015

And now the madness begins...

Oh the day finally arrived . . . School started. Ho hum.
My second grader took off without me giving her a proper hug and kiss.
My kindergartner was nervous, excited, and didn't stray far.
And of course, packing lunches had me back into creative mommy mode:
And now the obligatory first day of school family photo:
You would think I was going back to school with all the "stuff" in my hand. 
Back-to-school paperwork was no joke! 

So the madness of a crazy schedule begins. The duties? Here are just a few: Wife, mommy, chef, chauffeur (different pick-up times and different swim practice times), PTA Board member, school room parent coordinator, classroom volunteer, homework & Kumon sergeant. Is it June yet?! Oh and that other job of being a nurse. Huh? Didn't know I had a paying job? Well I do. My kids are always shocked when I tell them I have to work. Luckily it's from home because there is no other way it would work out. I know, a nurse from home sounds odd. In a very brief nutshell, I chart audit for the hospital. I have been doing this particular job for over 7 years now. Tidbit: I have been a nurse for 20 years of which 13 were spent in the operating room. But being a nurse is no longer a priority. The laundry list of duties listed above is why my heart beats. I will take the crazy busy of family life over a "career" any day.

Monday, August 24, 2015

"La, la, la, la, la. I can't hear you."

These. Three. Words.

I realize I fall within the minority for what I am about to proudly admit, but I am just going to be honest: I AM NOT READY FOR SCHOOL TO START.

There, I said it and I meant it. Summer break was too short. And no, it's not because I had my kids in a camp every week and therefore didn't see them. In fact, they were with me almost all summer (minus 3 camps for Sophia and 1 for Kalista). 

And before any judgement is passed: MY KIDS ARE NOT PERFECT NOR AM I. They are not angels. But they are not devils either. They are just kids who laugh, roll their eyes, play, give attitude, cuddle, bicker, and love. And I am just a mom who loves the dickens out of her kids but who also gets equally frustrated and is ready to pack a bag and run for the hills. Or maybe just a local bar. I'd even settle for hiding in the closet with a bottle of wine. Our family life is not made of rainbow unicorns. And with all that being said, I hate seeing this:

Every year I want them home longer. I think school days are too long (yes, too long) and the school year is too long as well. People think I am nuts, but I wish school let out at 2:00. That's right. Two o'clock for every grade. Wishful thinking on my part.

There may come a time when my kids don't want to hang out with me anymore. And that makes me sad. I hope I am wrong. My sister-in-law has 3 grown sons and I love how they love to hang out with their parents still. I have asked her for the magic potion, but she swears she didn't use one. So I am crossing my fingers the girls follow their lead.

And in case the thought of home schooling came to mind, let me give one main reason why it won't ever happen:

And to all my friends who don't have the same thoughts, I do understand! So this one is for you: