Working Out, Feeling Good. Before and Now Photos.

I didn’t take any “before” photos when I returned to boot camp in September. I wanted my focus to be on getting healthy, not on the size of my body. I didn’t want to waste energy stressing about weight, instead, I wanted to use all of my energy to get stronger and faster and perhaps hate running a little bit less.

People have started making comments that they can see changes in my body, but I’ve not been able to tell much. What I have noticed is that I have more endurance, that I’m stronger, that I no longer feel like I’m going to die when I run. I can do more sit-ups, I no longer have to do the “modified” version of exercises. Those are the changes I notice. So, this morning, when my husband made yet another comment about how much fitter my body is looking, I asked him to take a few photos with my phone.

He took this one as I was about to leave for my workout.

I didn’t have anything to compare it to, but I thought “not loving the belly roll, but my face looks a bit thinner.”

When I returned home from the workout, I asked him to take a few more. This time without the long t-shirt.

Then, I searched my cell phone, looking for a photo taken before I started boot camp. I found one that was taken at the end of August. It wasn’t until I saw that photo that I thought “My hard work *is* starting to show.”

I’m still overweight, my body is far from perfect, but you guys, I feel so good. I don’t feel ashamed about anything I see there. I feel proud that I have worked so hard. I feel motivated to keep working hard to get stronger, faster, healthier. What is that thing that they say? Strong is the new sexy? Yeah, that.

Twenty year old me could have never imagined feeling this way about my body was ever possible. I love 41 year old me.

How I Plan to Save For Next Christmas.

This Christmas was the first Christmas in a long time that I didn’t make a single charge to a credit card for gifts or our Holiday party. Everything was paid for with cash and damn, it felt good waking up the day after Christmas knowing I wouldn’t be paying for it months down the road.

Yesterday I saw a photo being circulated on Facebook titled “52 week savings plan.”

I knew the minute I saw it that I was going to do this and title it “Christmas 2013 Fund.”

And I knew I had to share it here with you.

(photo credit: Rosa Chykur)

So simple, right?

You’re welcome.

I Love You All The Most

My Gabriella can be a stinker. Her attitude needs adjusting many times each day. But at her core, she is kind girl with a heart as big as her personality.

There’s one thing she makes very clear on a daily basis.

She loves her family with her entire being. Her family is everything to her.

While her brother was away at boot camp, she struggled with his absence. Each and every day, she’d talk about him, or cry about missing him. It was the sweetest, most heartbreaking thing to watch.

Yesterday, I saw a pink piece of paper with a note sitting on top of the next near the kitchen. I hadn’t seen the note before, so I asked Gabby about it. She said she wrote it a while ago, but forgot to give it to us.

“You can have it now. I’m sorry I forgot to give it to you when I wrote it.”

I couldn’t help but cry just a little bit.

She loves us all the most. How lucky are we?


Normally for after school pick up, I sit in my parked car in the rear entrance of the school and wait for my daughter.

On Friday, I couldn’t wait. I got out of my car when I heard the bell ring and ran up the stairs to wait for her. As I stood there in the middle of the field waiting for her, the cold wind blew my hair into my eyes. I pushed my hair back and I wiped the tears from my eyes.

I don’t want her to see my cry.

I spotted her walking with a friend. She was wearing her big, puffy jacket. She was laughing– pure joy, sweet, innocent childhood joy.

She doesn’t know. I thought to myself. Thank God, she doesn’t know.

As she got closer, I felt the urge to run to her, scoop her up in my arms, and squeeze her tightly. But I stood there just a bit longer, waiting for her to see me standing there.

She saw me. Her eyes lit up. The smile on her face grew ten times bigger and she ran towards me.

“Moooooommmmmyyyyyyyyyyyy!” She shouted as she ran.

I began running towards her.

When we met, I knelt down, she wrapped her arms around my neck. We hugged tightly.

“Why did you come here to meet me? I’m so happy to see you!”

“I was thinking about how much I love you and couldn’t wait to see your face.” I replied.

“Well, this is the best day ever!” She said as we began walking towards towards the car.


No, it’s not. It’s the worst day ever. The absolute worst day. But she didn’t need to know that. In that moment, she needed only to believe that it absolutely was the best day ever. She was safe, I could hold my baby’s hand, she could hold mine. Oh, I felt so very lucky, so very blessed. Because on the other side of the country, so many parents no longer had their babies with them. They couldn’t hold their hands. They would never again get out of their cars to meet their babies, or see their smiles again, or feel their babies arms around their necks.

Oh my God.

Oh my God.

Here’s information on you can help one of the precious victim’s family.

Because Embarrassing Bathroom Stories are Fun to Read!

From the archives, Originally posted September, 2003.

I was reading Joelles post about pooping in public restrooms and it reminded me of one of my most embarrassing moments in life.

When Tony and I first got married, he wanted to go to Tijuana to visit his grandparents. I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea. When I was a young girl, I had to go there with my parents are part of their church ministry and I know what the “bathroom situation” is like in most places. The idea of staying somewhere for more than a day where I might possibly have to take a dump in a box with a hole cut out didn’t appeal to me at all. (I have bathroom issues.) He swore to me that his grandparents lived in a modern house, with running water and an actual toilet. I fought the idea of going, but I realized I was acting like a spoiled rotten brat and agreed to go. However, I wasn’t thrilled about it.

We arrived and I was thrilled to see that yes, they had a toilet! However, the toilet was in the middle of the living room. There were four pieces of wood surrounding the toilet that went about halfway up to the ceiling. So, while you technically had “privacy”, there was really no barriers to keep the sounds/smells confined to the bathroom area. I was slightly mortified, but hey! it was a real toilet that I could flush! And besides, it was just us and his grandparents at the house. I could totally deal with that.

A few hours after we arrived, Tony’s grandmother began making chocolate milkshakes for us to drink. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by saying “no thank you.” So, I had a milkshake. But then, she made another one and then, another one and you guys! I kept drinking them so as not to offend her. Later that night, my stomach started to hurt really bad. Uh, oh. I thought to myself. I know what’s about to happen and it’s not going to be pretty.

I was laying in bed with severe stomach cramps when I heard people start coming through the front door. The started to file in, one, two, three at a time. Before you know it, the entire living room was filled with people. And these people were ALL MEN.

“What the hell is happening here?” I asked my husband. He went to talk to his grandma to find out.

Apparently, his grandfather was very active in Mexican politics and that night he was hosting A TOWN MEETING! In his living room! The same living room that had the only toilet in the house right in the middle of it! With only four boards around it so no one could see you, but everyone could hear and smell you!

Oh hell no. This was not happening. Except, it was happening! OH MY GOD IT WAS HAPPENING.

I tried to fight it, but I couldn’t. I ran to the living room. After making my way past two thousand Mexican men, I made it to the “bathroom.”


And then. It happened.

Sitting on a toilet, shitting out dozens of milkshakes in the middle of a mofo TOWN MEETING. It was loud in the room, so that helped to calm my anxiety about what was happening just a little bit. Until THE ROOM GOT QUIET. I sat there, crying, asking Jesus to JUST KILL ME NOW PLEASE because I had no idea how I was going to find the strength to exit that bathroom after what I had just done.

I sat there until I figured out an exit strategy. I was going to walk out of there with my head held high, like, YEAH, I JUST DID THAT… WHAT??! But that’s not what happened. I walked out of there, saw the line of people waiting to use the same toilet I had just tore the hell up, and ran out of there– tears streaming down my face– as fast as I could.

So there you have it. My Most Embarrassing Bathroom Story.

Care to share yours?

On second thought, DON’T! I don’t want to hear it!

A Post About Loading the Dishwasher. (Seriously.)

There is a very specific way in which I load my dishwasher. Not because I’m a control freak, but because this way works for getting the most dishes possible in the dishwasher so as not to waste precious water.

I’ve showed my husband countless times how to properly load our dishwashers and honestly? It’s super easy! Cups and glasses on side top rack. Bowls in the middle, plates at the bottom, DISHWASHER LOADING BASICS. And yet, every single time he loads the dishwasher, he puts everything in the wrong place. This wouldn’t be a big deal if he was able to fit most of the dishes, but the way he stacks it, he only can fit about 8 things. I end up having to go rearrange everything to make more room.

“Why don’t you load it the way I’ve showed you 500 times?”

His response is always something along the lines of “Well, if you don’t like it, why don’t you load it yourself?”

Which, give me a break. I DO the load the dishwasher myself most of the time. The few times you do load it, WHY CAN’T YOU DO IT THE RIGHT WAY? Or even the sort of right way?

Is he doing this on purpose? Is he just trying to annoy me? Is it possibly he has a Dish Washing Impairment? Or am I the one with the problem? Do I need to just let him stack that crap anyway he wants to and not worry about all of the water that will be wasted because of his refusal to DO IT RIGHT?

I don’t know man. I just don’t know.

This post has been brought to you by 22 years of marriage.

Blogging About Blogging on My Blog

In 2001, I started this blog.

By 2004, there were a lot of people reading this blog. At some point, it became what some may call “popular.” (You can punch me in the teeth for using that stupid word.) There were thousands of people stopping by to read what I was writing every single day. My posts would get a ton of comments (Super funny, smart, thoughtful comments.) I was actually proud of this blog and there aren’t many things in my life that I am proud of, believe me.

Then, something happened. Something I’ve never written about. I emailed privately with friends about it, but never addressed it here, publicly. This something that happened shook me up. It freaked me out. It made me question putting all of my business out here for all of the internet to read. I wasn’t mad about what happened, but I was sad about it. I learned that not everyone appreciated what I was writing and that people who didn’t even know me could hate me enough to be cruel to me publicly.

That Thing that happened definitely changed me, changed the way I approached blogging. I didn’t shut my blog down, or quit blogging, but I definitely was more guarded with what I put out there. The fear of people twisting my words into cruelly crafted posts or other type of assholery affected my ability to write my truth and put it out there for all to read.

Posting has been sporadic over the past couple of years and I’ve lost a lot of readers (justifiably so.) But, I’ve never been willing to fully let my blog go because of what it means to me. I’ve written my life in words for the past 11 years. I can go back and read what I wrote to my children on their birthday’s, there are things that my children said when they were little that are documented here forever. When my son graduated from high school, I printed out posts that I had written about him, put them in a book and gave them to him as a gift. He loved it and was grateful I had kept an account of his life as a kid. That alone is worth keeping this blog.

I recently agreed to do a series of sponsored posts in the hopes that it would inspire me to write more regularly. The topics would be something I have experienced through parenthood and it seemed like the perfect thing to get me through the funk and back into the habit of writing (while at the same time earning me much needed dolla bills to help cover some Child Related Expenses. Can you say Travel Ball/ Gymnastics?) It didn’t quite work out the way I had hoped. I found myself unable to get over the mental challenges that have pestered me over the past few years. However, over the past few days I’ve felt more inspired to write again and I like the way that it feels. I feel the urges that I used to feel to “write this down and hit publish.” I’m hoping this renewed desire to write will continue and that I will be able to put The Thing behind me once and for all and make this blog enjoyable/readable for an audience again.

Gabby and the Pink Princess Glasses.

At the beginning of this school year, Gabby’s teacher mentioned to us that she had to move Gabby to the front of the classroom because she was having trouble seeing the board. This was news to me as my daughter had never complained about having trouble seeing things. I asked Gabby about it and she told me that yes, she wasn’t able to see the board if she was sitting in the back of the classroom. We immediately made her an appointment to have her eyes examined.

Her appointment was on the day before Halloween. When she sat down in the chair, the doctor asked her to read the chart. The letters were large to start and she was able to correctly identify each one. But as the letter got smaller, it became painfully obvious that my daughter was kind of blind.

The letters on the chart:

x p l t z o

What my daughter would say:

k h t n p

I had no idea her eyesight was that bad! How did I miss that? What kind of a mother am I?

I leaned over to my husband and said “I think I’m going to cry. How did we not know she couldn’t see properly?”

She was diagnosed as near sighted, with 20/100 vision in both eyes. I have never felt like a bigger jerk of a parent in my entire life.

The idea of having to wear glasses during class to see the board was not something Gabby was happy about. “Glasses are ugly and they will make me look weird!” But once she saw that there were such things as pink princess glasses, she warmed up to the idea of having to wear them. “Fine. I’ll get these.” She said as she looked at herself in the mirror with the pink princess glasses.

We picked the glasses up last Friday and you guys? Seeing my daughter sitting on the sofa wearing her pink glasses is THE CUTEST, MOST PRECIOUS THING IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. I still feel like a jerk for not realizing my daughter couldn’t see correctly, but I feel somewhat better knowing we finally were able to help correct the problem.

This was her reaction when she watched TV with her glasses for the first time. “Everything looks so clear!” She said in amazement. Yes, I cried.

The! Cutest! Thing! In! My! Life!