So Danielle has been doing P90X and she looks amazing. Not a little amazing. A whole lot of fantastic. And I am a big fan of P90x. That said, it is in a box. Waiting to be unloaded. And, I currently don’t have a DVD player as I am living with my husband and two children in the house that I grew up in with my parents and about to move in with my brother and sister-in-law.

Then I remembered Amazon Instant Video and decided to download Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. And do it. On my parents two million degree garage. Who needs a swanky hot yoga studio when you can wham-bam-knock-it-out in twenty minutes? Not this gal. I am on day two.

She is driving me crazy. Already. Day two.

But that is ok. I am committing to thirty days of shred with running three days a week (because I agreed to running the New Orleans half in February Yippee!

Now I in no way shape of form think that the shred is like P90x. But I do like that it gets back to basics and forces me to do some strength, cardio and abs (which I can’t stand and need the most work there. My goal is to lose ten pounds in the thirty days. We will then be two weeks from moving into our new house (PTL) and I will probably just amp up my running for those two weeks.

Anyone know where you can get a digital version of P90x or Insanity? Would love to mix up my at home routine!

Gia is getting old.  Fast.  This video is from nine months ago. In some ways that seems so long ago.  We lived in another state, she didn’t know how to read and her biggest worry was figuring out how to be still during nap time.

Seriously, she is so teeny tiny. Her voice sounds different. Her hair is so short (and forever my favorite cut). Or how about this video?

We still sing this song and do this dance. But I am sure the moments for that are limited. Pretty soon it will not be cool. This girl brings me so much joy. Infuriating moments. And frustration beyond belief (I have met my tenacity match.). But delicious, delightful, wonderful, heart warming joy.

She is at that age where she goes in and out of personalities. One moment she could be mistaken for a teenager and the next it is very possible that Luke is acting older. I know this will pass. All to quickly. I cannot believe how grown up she is.

The great thing about Gia is that her heart is pure. She is kind beyond compare. A few weeks ago she had not been chosen yet to be the class celebrity. And it was a major point of concern. We have multiple celebrity posters in the alley just waiting to be chosen. She was explaining to me that Matthew S. was the celebrity. And I asked her (I also knew she was it the next week) if that made her sad. Her response? “No way! I am just so happy for Matthew S. It is so cool to be the celebrity.” Such a proud mom moment. I wish I could take credit for that, but I am pretty sure that is God given kindness right there. Blessed.

Gia is also loving life right now because Luke copies everything she does. On rare occasion, she pretends it bugs her. But she revels in the attention. The relationship these two have is such a special one. I love watching it evolve.

Those eyes. Are captivating and kind.

Happy, happy day! My little Luke is two.

Wait. How did that happen?

I was talking to Aunt Kari yesterday and told her the biggest injustice of parenthood is how fast it goes. And you too will understand when you grow up and become a dad- should you choose.

It is your special day (really I think of it as my special day too- because I met you on this day!) my little Luke the Duke. You are a ray of light. Each day your smile, buck teeth (which I completely take the blame for from the pacifier), side part and the fastest legs I have ever seen bring joy to my heart. Your legs move so fast that you pitter patter through our entire house. And the sound brings me happiness. I want to figure out a way to record it because I know one day you will be big and I will never hear your little feet and that makes me sad.

Everyone loves you. Seriously. God gave you your dad’s charisma. It is nuts. The people at the store, your teacher, your Aunt Jenna, everyone. To know you is to love you. Which is awesome and kind of funny. Because when you are tired, you are a little bit mean. Ok, a lot mean. But no one seems to notice. Your charm somehow makes it go unnoticed by others- with the exception of your sister and I.

You and Daddy sit on the couch and watch football. You yell “TOUCHDOWN” and ask to watch football at every hour of the day. I apologize to your future wife. But it is crazy cute. You love your daddy and want to be outside and work and always build intricate train tracks together. You are both so very suave that we go to dinner and waitresses can hardly stop beaming. Don’t worry, Gia and I make up for it with our wild cackling because we are having so much fun with the two of you.

Two besties

Speaking of Gia, she is soooo good to you. She includes you, hugs you, loves on you, delights in you. The one thing she does to intentionally aggravate you is placing her hands all over your car seat in the car. You two insist on sitting next to each other. And proceed to bicker the entire time. It is spectacular. Not sure that is something I need to record to re live. You are so kind to others (except when tired) but you can often be a little taunting when Gia is around. You know how to get her goat and you do. Frequently. You want to do everything she does. Every. Single. Thing. Gia does her homework and you have to be given an assignment as well. It is heartwarming. Your Uncle Eddie and I were not super close as kids but have become much closer as adults. I hope you and Gia have a super tight knit relationship your entire lives. It is such a special bond. You two are the most tremendous.

I just think this is the best picture. So you. NEVER without a paci.

You are a mommy’s boy. And I super love it. I have to say that hearing “Hode You” in intervals of ten million can really boost ones self-esteem. It is exhausting. But unfortunately this too will pass. Everyone told me boy’s were different. And boy, are they ever. I think a big part of it is because to grow into a successful adult boys have to create an independence from their parents (more specifically their mothers) and girls don’t. So the time when you are little is different.

Not better, just different. You truly think I am the best thing in the world. And my heart swells for you. You don’t challenge me in the same way Gia does (which brings an entirely different kind of pride and jubilation to my heart) and I love you each exactly the same amount in a totally different way. Thank you for teaching me how to grow a heart. It is a blessing that every way possible.

So please just slow down your aging.

Because two years went by in a split second. Before I know it you will be embarrassed by my hot dog dance instead of thinking that JLo has nothing on your mama’s moves.

I adore you. Thank you God for letting me be your mommy. Stay you sweet boy. Stay you.

Mr. Handsome.

Mr. Handsome

I am not typically a yeller. But sometimes my kindergartener pushes me to the brink. She is a lot like me. And I remember the same thing happening with my mom. I would push and push and push and finally she would break. Like a piece of glass. With shards everywhere.

I had already apologized. I had already said I was really sorry for yelling because it is not the right thing to do. I had already told her that as much as that was wrong not listening (six times to put on a coat) is not appropriate and to treat others the way you want to be treated (hypocrite yes. I see the irony.)

Tears started flowing.  Chills ran down my spine.  The breath from my lungs was not attainable.  Fear.  Anxiety.  The list goes on.

Suddenly my perspective was crystal clear.  How lucky I am to have a kindergartener with opinions, aggravations and laughter.  How yelling (a small act of violence) is not acceptable and how who we are creates what our children become.  And the violence that they are exposed to (via games, movies, home, reality) is what desynthesizes them and somehow makes acts like this seem like an ok idea to act upon.

Being a mom is the best gift I have ever been given.  Along with it comes the most intense love that I can ever feel.  Thus, great vulnerability.

My heart goes out and I am praying for the parents of those sweet babies.  Precious babies that may have been expecting a gingerbread man post card today.  I am praying that they each of those families had those blissful mornings.  And none of them are having remorse about any of their actions today.  Because tonight begins a nightmare that will not end for those poor parents.

May peace be with each of you today.  Your pain is pain that no human should ever experience.

And if you are like me- and blessed with happy, vivacious children.  Hold them tight.  And love them.  And be who you want them to become.  Because we are blessed to ask six times for them to put a coat on.  Blessed beyond words.


GiGi (which we apparently can no longer call you in front of your friends. And we have to stop calling you Jane- which we never did),

Yesterday you turned six. We did so many of the things that we have done to celebrate each year of your birth- the sign, the special breakfast, signing, candle blowing, gift opening, and all that jazz. We did a few things that we don’t normally do- church, breakfast with Aunt Jenna, Uncle Eddie, and Kate, lots of phone calls and Sonic eating (gross- I hope this was a one-time thing).

Your birthday party will be less extravagantly customized to your personality and a week late. I didn’t get my act together. I am truly sorry.  I think I still have some tricks up my sleeve to make the “off the shelf” McDonald’s party the six year old event of the year. We shall see.

I adore you. I am typing this and my eyes are welling with tears. Tears of pride, excitement, sadness, guilt, love, the list just doesn’t end. You won’t understand until you become a mom yourself. There is no way to articulate just how much I love you.

In so many ways you are a mirror of me. Good and bad. But the bad in me manifests itself as unique, spunky, and awesome in you.

I have never been more scared then the day I found out I was pregnant with you. So many emotions that you and I will one day discuss. And the day that you were sent to the NICU I have never been more devastated and hollow of the thought of the unknown. We spent nearly two years in this territory and every day my love for you grew (and continues too). As I told you yesterday- I love you 2,190 times more than I did on that warm November day in Thousand Oaks, California. And probably more because some days my love for you quadruples. That formula is one that your dad will have to craft on Excel or something. The vulnerability that comes with loving someone as much as I love you is inexplicable. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to love like this. Because everyone should have the chance. And I get to do it with you, your brother, and your dad but you started it. Your presence in my life showed me that it was possible and how to do it. Thank you.

Right now you don’t really like toys. You like to imagine. You are either loving on babies or screaming at students or creating a store for Christmas shopping. You are an innovator. Nothing is used as it is “should be”- and I adore that about you. I will let you in on a little secret- I want nothing more in life than to show you how to break the correct rules and obey the necessary ones. I am still trying to figure out how to do that. That is my goal. Your potential is ridiculous. Most people don’t have an inkling of how smart you are. That is such a secret weapon. My sweet girl, I smile inside when you get sent home with “purple” for hugging. Because who wants to get “gold” when it means going without a hug. Much less a hug for someone that has had a bad day? Not me or you.

As much as I miss that sweet, soft newborn, the vivacious one year old, the conversational two year old, the sassy three year old, the defiant four year old, and the outspoken five year old and what I wouldn’t give for just a few more moments with each of those Gia’s I can only imagine how fantastic six is going to be. Because it means I will love you at least 365 times more than I do today. We all know it will be more.

I love you. For you. Please don’t ever lose your dedication to being you. That would be a tragedy to the world. Happy Birthday my heart. Gia.

Love, Mommy (Which I love that you still call me and hope that you never stop.)


That is a paper head dress.  For the Thanksgiving Feast today at school.  It is supposed to have craft jewels, craft feathers, etc.  Instead it has twine and construction paper feathers.

Now Mrs. M will be shaking her head that Gia and I did not follow directions.  But who wants to have exactly what the other kids have?

Yep.  Not anyone with Z blood.  Plus.  Have you seen the prices on craft feathers?  It is criminal.  Criminal, I tell you.

And I am watching this election like the rest of the world. Awaiting the answer. Like so many Americans, (though I apparently don’t know any of them) I will not be super happy regardless of the outcome of the election. And this gives me a heavy heart.

For a long time I was a die hard Republican. Then a raging liberal. And now, I sit somewhere in between. And completely unrepresented.

Not sure how many people know, but I have a degree in politics. I love it. The process. The democracy. The checks. The balances. The rights. The passion. The freedom. LOVE IT.

That said, I feel totally alone and on an island from my acquaintances, friends, relatives, etc. I just don’t understand the hate and venom that is spewed from both sides. And I don’t understand how both sides think anything will be accomplished by fronting a bi- partisan view while really never budging on an issue.

So here I stand. Listening to words that I would never want to hear come from the mouth of out of the brain of someone I love and care from- from both sides and feeling disappointed. Not because someone won and someone didn’t but because my friends, you are better than the awful words you shout from behind your status updates.

And we all deserve real policies that bring good. And that involves movement and negotiation.

Which my five year old will tell you- takes dialogue, understanding and ability to compromise on both sides. Maybe she should run for President. I will let her master raising her hand on the learning rug first.

Here’s to America.

We went to the best petting zoo in McKinney.  Maybe the best petting zoo in the DFW Metroplex.  Why?  Because it is two minutes from our house.  And empty.  And awesome.

Yesterday after school, I took the kids to the pumpkin patch by our house. This month (year really) has been a little chaotic and we had not had the opportunity to get there and I really didn’t want to miss it. For being so close, it was quite impressive.

The best part on going on Tuesday afternoon at 5p? No one is there. It is as if it is your own private place. Awesome. We bounced in bounce houses- which Luke normally has to sit out, rode ponies, went through the hay maze and of course the petting zoo. So much fun.

Here is a video of Luke’s delight at the petting zoo. Ignore the obnoxious woman in the background. 1- I have a cold and 2- I am apparently freaked out by chickens.

And all done in an hour.

Efficiency, efficiency.


I am a big salad lover. And so are my kids. Romaine, arugula, bibb, you name it- we love it. There are so many great recipes out there and really nothing beats a meal that consists of a bowl of hot piping soup and a great salad.

The fact that my kids love vegetables is a huge source of pride for me. I just didn’t realize how much the salad thing has taken hold of their sweet brains. I recently bought this perfume for fall. Unfortunately, I left it at my moms and will have to wait a few weeks to have it. So when I was at Target last week I found this. Which has that same great comfy, fall smell.

I put lotion on Gia everyday. Telling her that I don’t want to cuggle and alligator. Well last night, after her bath she told Ralph she was going to use mommy’s new lotion. And he said which one. To which she promptly replied “The crouton smelling one.”

So here’s to loving salad so much that you want to smell like one. And Bodycology folks, you may be missing a new scent.



Gia is this weeks celebrity. She (we) have ached for this moment and it is finally here. Yesterday, we spent the day making the most awesome of posters with Kate and went to bed with the joyful anticipation of sharing the poster will bring.  I am so proud to be her mom.  I am so proud of her quirky nature that brings my life something I never knew was possible.  She has challenged me from the moment of her creation.  I have to dig deep to  be the type of mom that she deserves.  I am thankful every day because without this little spitfire I would be much less of a person.

Gia.  The best celebrity (who looks more like a JCrew model) ever.  And always.