Fall To Do.

21 Sep

First of all, have you heard about Wunderlist?  I downloaded it to all of my devices recently and have really fallen in love.  I am a list person.  But the kind of list person that ends up with hundreds of thousands of systems and none of those actually work.  Wunderlist is kind of like Evernote but not nearly as robust.  Some might find this a downfall, but I find it a blessing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Evernote but it is too smart for me.

The short and sweet of it is this- Wunderlist allows you to make a “to do” list and file it.  So you have work, shopping, kids, education, or whatever.  There are tons of lists on the internet.  And I realized that I had been working on a fall to do list on my handy dandy app.

The T’s Fall To Do’s:



Host an outdoor dinner party.

I have had great visions of these for as long as I can remember.  A long table, rustic mis matched dishes, crisp air, good food, cheap wine, and loads of laughter.  We have been working hard on the patio section of our back yard and once the weather turns we have everything to make this happen with ease.  Along with a flat screen TV and some football?  Even the men will be thrilled.

RT, Papa, and Gia Gardening in Fresno.

RT, Papa, and Gia Gardening in Fresno.

Fall garden with the kids.

I have attempted to garden in the past.  And failed.  Miserably.  So when I say garden with the kids what you should read is get someone to set up a place with an irrigation system and throw things in the ground and then the kids and I can go look at it and watch it grow.  Because really, that is what I mean.  And maybe after watching that and feasting on its bounty I can grow a garden.

Seriously, some of my favorite moments happen during these walks.

Seriously, some of my favorite moments happen during these walks.

Walk to school with Gia and Luke a minimum of three times a week.

We started this in August and I am LOVING every minute of it.  We typically walk everyday.  I have it on the list because I want it to continue.  Rain, cold, shine, whatever.  We are going to pretend we are city slickers here in suburbia.  Funny thing is how people in suburbia look at you like you have three heads when you are walking around in a subdivision in “normal” clothes.  One sweet mom from Gia’s school texted me and asked if we were having car trouble.  Another one asked me how I could walk in non workout clothes.  But we are doing it.  One step at a time.

Fresh from the ground.

Fresh from the ground.

Get our veggies from the Farmer’s Market.

This is so simple and we don’t have early morning soccer games this fall (because they are all at 3:30- BOO!) so we should do this.

Great things happen around the family table.

Great things happen around the family table.

Family sit down dinner five times a week.

We have been doing this since the start of school and I am eating it up with a spoon.  I did this my entire life and somehow during our cross country move we had gotten away from the tradition.  I love the help from G setting the table with fabric napkins, glass plates, glass cups, water jugs and putting big pots of food to be passed around.  We start the meal with grace and end with conversation starting questions.  This is not a fall goal but a life mission.

Visit some local DFW farms.

Because there have to be some, right!?

Berry picking at P-6 Farms this summer.

Berry picking at P-6 Farms this summer.

Take a trip to my parents and visit the P-6 corn maze and pumpkin patch.

My kids think my parents live in Hawaii so I like to get them to Mimi and Popa’s whenever possible.  We went to the P-6 farm this summer and picked blackberries and they are just the most lovely souls and they make some mean pickled okra.  I am looking forward to adding this to our fall traditions as well.

Teach something.

I am thinking it will be Sunday School.  But honestly, I don’t know.  This is just a weird yearning in my heart that I have been ignoring for the past year and I want to stop it.  So I am going to teach something.

Paris: Notre Dame.

Go to Paris.

That is happening.  In less than a week.

Allen's Boots

Ride horses.

I live in Texas.  I grew up riding on and off.  There is a facility literally two miles from my home.  And by executing this goal, I a can fulfill one of my petty ones: using Pamela Euwing from the first season of Dallas as my fall style icon.  Yep.  Love me some Dallas and riding boots.  Yee Haw!

I think this is all achievable, while keeping us busy but calm.  What is on your list this Fall?

Simple happy things.

9 Sep

noname (4)

Luke was asked at preschool today what makes him happy- ” When I play at home with Mommy and Daddy and Gia upstairs”. Simple enough sweet boy. That makes me happy too.

The Lost Art of Walking to School.

3 Sep

Gia First Day

Gia started asking this summer if she could be a walker. We live roughly three miles from Gia’s school. Too far to walk, but too close to drive. (Not really. We did that for an entire year.)

In an effort to say, “yes”  I did some brainstorming. How to find a solution to this walking conundrum?  Not to mention, she is helping me solve my problem of wanting more time with her.

More time where we are  just in a space together. Where there are no distractions from the radio, screens, toys, what could we be doing. Just us (and us can certainly include other humans we love both family and friends). Where we can talk. Or not talk. Just be. If something crosses our mind- we discuss it. Or we may just hold hands.

First I started parking across the street from G’s school.  And it really wasn’t enough.  It was like walking into Target.  I wanted to cross streets.  Look both ways, see the sun, find rocks, feel the humidity, feel the cold (whenever that is coming GOOD GOSH).  Last Thursday, I found a place about a half a mile from Gia’s school and roughly half a mile from Luke’s school.

And we walk.

Well, we parked.  Got out. Put on Gia’s backpack.  Crossed the street. Luke and I walked Gia to those two big double doors and kissed her good bye.  Then Luke and I walked back towards the car, passed it and went straight to his school.  I walked back to the car and drove home.

I am in love with this. Sure, it adds some time on the morning routine.  But it is precious time.  You see, while we are not right- when- we- wake- up morning people; we are get- us- going- a- little -and- then- we- are morning people. It works.

Every time I turn around I am bombarded with the facts that this time with my children is fleeting. I am committing to doing this rain or shine a minimum of three days a week.  This way if we go to JKC Live!  we can park closer and if we are running late I won’t be backing off of my promise.

With three days a week I hope we can see a community form from walking into a school and not simply sitting in the carpool lane.  With three days a week I anticipate mornings (no matter how rushed or flustered they start) with conversations about aspirations and excitement.  With three  days a week I except to meet friends I would have never heard about around the dinner table.

And lets be honest, this extra two miles on my FitBit will certainly help me beat Popa on steps.

So here’s to a new routine, a few extra steps, and more moments that I can cherish with my sweet darlings.

Kids and color.

28 Aug


Every parenting book that I have ever read talks about pointing out details to toddlers during everyday event.

What color are the leaves?

Can you see that there are so many petals on the flower?

Look how big that house is?

As I do with many things in life I tend to take the first part and run with it.  So, my kids have gotten a lot of “What color is XYZ?”  in their days.

Last night on our Wagon Walk while Gia and Ralph were at soccer practice things were no different.

“Luke, What color is the tractor?”


“What color is the dump truck?”


“Duke, what color are your shoes?”

“YELLOW!!!!  My favorite.”

And then, I remembered Gia telling me one day that I was purple when she was Luke’s age.  I had on a long sleeve purple shirt.  I had also been partaking in a fair amount of NPR commentary on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”  speech.

Gia and a red furry guy

So I asked my tri racial (Hispanic, Caucasian- mutt, Japanese) two year old-

“Luke, what color are you?”

With great parenting and societal pride, my boy looked at me like I was crazy.  As if all people are the same.  People aren’t colors.  Things are colors.  Instead of leaving that perfect moment alone (as I should have.  I only realize that now as I am writing this) I prodded once more-

“Luke, what color is your skin?”

Still perplexed (but ever the pleaser) he looked down and said,

“Black?….no silver, silver.  No black?  I don’t know mommy.”

And all I could say is, “No sweet boy.  You are gold.  Just like your heart.  We are all full of gold and it shines through.”

No child is born thinking people are a color.  We create that.  It is our job to look for the gold on the inside in lieu of placing a judgement for anything that we see on the outside.

Duke and Brownie

Thank you for the changes that you have made America.  I am well aware there are still grave injustices in the world but I think that one person at a time, one heart at a time we can all judge not”… by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

I am proud to see first hand evidence that we are contributing to this dream Dr. Martin Luther King.

And just like that, the paci was gone.

20 Aug

For a boy who loved his paci so, its departure was somewhat anti climatic.

August 20, 2013 will go down in the history books for Luke. At 2 years 7 months 2 days (or 81561600 seconds) old he gave up his beloved pacifier.

For months, when at school he only had his paci at nap time. And for a few months, we kept telling him that if he gave his paci’s to Uncle Eddie he would get a bike. Then, we went on our ten day vacation and Luke fell asleep twice with out his pacifier. So we went with it.

We just stopped giving it to him. Told him we couldn’t find one. Didn’t have one. Etc. This is exactly how Gia (much less attached) gave up her paci and bottle.

When we returned home and Uncle Eddie was over for dinner- we gave them to him. I had big plans of becoming a YouTube sensation.  A chiminea, tears, a new bike unveiling.  None of that happened.  He had not had a paci for close to twelve days at that point- we were on a roll.  I didn’t have a bike (still don’t) but thought we should make it happen.

To be frank, I am not sure that I was ready. Not because I wanted him to still have his paci. Believe me, the orthodontic bills are already giving me nightmares. But it is a very real illustration that my baby is growing up. Getting bigger. More self reliant.

I melted on a puddle in the floor when we moved from California to Texas and all that was left in our bedroom were a pile of paci’s, newspapers and dust bunnies.


That is the last picture I have of Luke with his pac. It was pretty painless. I guess slow and steady is the best way to get rid of a pacifier. It was a six month (and two year) journey (love affair) and now we have to find a bike for this sweet boy.

The Last Day of Kinder

7 Jun


And just like that, Kindergarten was over.

She is well gifted.

10 May


As she should be.

Happy Mother’s Day Meezer!

I adore my mother. And I never could fully understand what she meant until I became a mother myself. She is right. She does love me more. But I love her so, so, so, much.Sometimes my heart could burst at how very thankful I am to have my Meezer. As MY mom. I am truly the envy of all (ok, a lot of)  my friends.


Seriously, where were these weight gain genes during my pregnancies? 17 pounds. Totally unfair. But how beautiful is she? So adoring. Of me. And Eddie. Thank you for loving us so completely and fully and teaching us that we are deserving of happiness.


Thank you mom for teaching me that Sun-In is ALWAYS a bad idea. But letting me figure it out on my own. Thank you for showing me that to cackle and enjoy life. It is far better to be having the fun than to listen to the naysayers. We may be a little loud and overwhelmed in laughter but we refuse to through life crying or just not experiencing that kind of joy at all. How I wish Gia could have had one card game with Sis and Grandma. That group of five cackling together would be a moment to go down in history.

My Meezer taught me that there is obnoxious; and there is border line obnoxious. Walk the line.


Gia has my mother’s genes. Lucky. Her lean frame and legs for days. Her big heart and emotions on her sleeve. Her willingness to give until the point of breaking. The relationship that these two have is so dear and special. Smelling roses. Doing crafts- that never come out right. But the memories are made. And cherished.



My mom has been there for every important moment of my life. The gut wrenching, I should be ashamed of myself moments, to the pride inducing ones. Supporting me every step of the way. She has not always been proud, but she has always been there. Which is such a testament to who she is. As a mother it is very hard to constantly support and never give up. But she didn’t. Not once. Even though I was mean. Often.


My moms friends and co-workers often say she is well gifted by my brother and I. And she is. And all the great JCrew gifts in the world can not even compare to the gift she has given us by being our mother.

Happy Mother’s Day. I love you, Mom.


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