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Milk Life, Milk, leche, breakfast, family

Disclosure: This moment of nostalgia sponsored by Milk Life Lo Que Nos Hace Fuertes. All memories and opinions of my grandfather/ abuelito are my own.

Growing up in a Latino family, you learn 2 things very early on; 1) family is everything and 2) food and drink are the ways you show love to your family. I love milk. My girls do too. It’s nutritious and delicious and something I feel good about serving them. We go through at least 3 gallons a week at my house. It’s sad to think that many kids don’t even get the recommended servings of milk especially since milk is such an integral part of a balanced nutritious meal plan to help children grow up strong. The taste of milk reminds me of home but my love of milk originates back to my childhood and fond memories of my abuelito (grandpa) Manuel in Mexico.

My abuelito, known fondly in his village as Don Manuel, was a humble, quiet man with a wisdom and kindness that exuded from his smile and his eyes. He was a hard worker all of his life. He ran our family ranch until he was in his 80’s when he was thrown from a wild stallion and broke his hip. That was my abuelito.

READ ALSO: My Father the Immigrant

He was someone you looked up to because he always did the right thing, even if the right thing was reading and taking time out of your busy day to respond to your young granddaughter’s letters. Even if those letters were her practicing her terrible Spanglish on you by hand writing you the most heinously, grammatically incorrect letters ever. He had patience and always made time to write me back, even when free-time was non-existent in his day.

I remember spending our summers in Etucuaro, the small village in Mexico that my father is from. My abuelito would be up and off to work the ranch and milk the cows before any of us were even awake. He’d be home with a jug full of fresh milk and eating his breakfast by the time I’d stumble into the kitchen and see him hunched over exhausted quietly eating his leche con pan.

Milk Life, Milk, leche, breakfast, family

What is leche con pan, you ask? It’s exactly what it sounds like bread with milk. It was a foreign concept to me. I was raised in Chicago, not on a farm. I was a kid, he was a very old man, even the first time I met him. Our worlds were very different. He had actually lived in Chicago and spoke English in the 1920’s. Our frames of reference were 60 years apart, but I knew if he liked it, it must have been good.

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” -Cesar Chavez

As a kid, I was all about milk and I loved pan dulce but what he was eating looked like bread rolls and milk. I wasn’t exactly begging him for a bite of his breakfast. Every morning, that I ever saw him, he would eat the same thing. No cereal. No oatmeal. No eggs and sausage. No breakfast burritos. Just kidding, I never saw a breakfast burrito ever in Mexico, unless you count chorizo and eggs on tortillas but no one calls them breakfast burritos. My point is that I thought maybe it was some kind of “old person” thing. I was a kid.

He’d offer me a bite and every day, I’d politely decline; walking away thinking he was really cheating himself and I knew better. Then one day, almost as a dare to myself, I said yes. His eyes lit up and he smiled at me approvingly. He took his spoon and lovingly scooped me out a bite of his breakfast.

READ ALSO: A Girl and her Grandpa

I opened my little kid mouth and happily accepted. I was expecting to be underwhelmed or maybe even want to spit it out. I mean, it was just bread and milk. But it wasn’t. It was a delicately, sweet warm roll (torn up into pieces) covered in sweet, thick fresh milk and it tasted like a hug from my abuelito. If the warmth of his eyes when he smiled at me had a flavor, it would have been leche con pan and ever since milk has been my most favorite thing to drink.

“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” -Alan D. Wolfelt

Sadly, my abuelito passed away when I was in college but all I need to do is close my eyes and I’m a little girl again; right back at his kitchen table in Mexico and he’s smiling at me with those gentle, kind eyes of his (the same ones my father has). Sharing his breakfast with me. He’s tanned from years of working the ranch in the hot sun. He’s smaller than he once was and he’s tired from decades of early mornings of milking cows to care for his family. But his heart is full of love for his little granddaughter who writes him those silly letters and he gives her the last bite if she wants it. This is love, this is family and, for me, this is milk.

Milk Life, Milk, leche, breakfast, family

I don’t make leche con pan for my girls because that was ours, his and mine. Honestly, I’ve never tried to replicate it but my girls are known to enjoy their own version of leche con pan with their own Grandpa Manny (my dad). I’ve loved watching them sit at the kitchen table where I grew up, drinking homemade champurrado (Mexican hot chocolate) and eating pan dulce with my own dad. Yes, sometimes, they even dunk their pan dulce in their champurrado. Seeing them there with my father always reminds me of those mornings in Mexico with my abuelito.


For more content and recipes with milk visit https://fuertesconleche.com/nutricion/dales-mas-leche and follow Siempre Leche on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

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alone, loss, life perspective

It’s been a week of life perspective and reevaluation; loss does that to you. My Aunt Erma died a week ago today. I haven’t been able to escape the name this week, it’s all over the news and every time I hear it, it’s like a cruel reminder that she’s gone. Like some cosmic joke, as if the universe thinks we’d forget.

Losing someone is never easy. Even if you prepared for it and expected it, the abrupt force of letting go hits you like a mac truck. We weren’t prepared or expecting it, to be clear. It knocks the wind out of you and leaves you feeling like a shell of a person with nothing to fill you up but more pain. In all honesty, the moments of emptiness are preferable to feeling anything at all, especially in those first hours.

We’d lost touch over the years as a by product of growing up and moving away; starting our own families. But she was still my aunt and even when we hadn’t spoken in years, she showed up when it mattered, my bridal shower, wedding and baby shower. She’s been there since my first birthday.

Even when years passed that I hadn’t seen her face, I’d cling to the memories of my childhood. I was the lone niece in a sea of nephews. I was the little girl in the family and we shared special moments, my aunt Erma and I. She was my aunt I loved her, no amount of time can change that.

I was a child, even as an adult, in our relationship. I would always be her first niece. She never intruded or forced her way in, but she was always there and now she’s not. I guess we take for granted that people won’t always be there. There won’t always be time for reconciliation and homecomings. Sometimes people die and things go unsaid. We have to live with that.

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around what my uncle, cousins, and her grandchildren are going through. She was a true matriarch and loved her boys beyond anything else and it was reciprocated fully. She is gone and they remain, broken shells of who they were the day before. Fragile and empty, with pain filling up every nook and cranny of space of where she once resided.

My heart breaks for them. I know the look of loss. I’ve tasted it myself. I wanted to crawl into my own body and curl up and die. The world went on around me and it was unfathomable how people could continue to carry on with their lives when the unthinkable had just happened. But that is the way it goes. Loss is personal and profound and no two people feel it the same way.

I watched helplessly this past week as my family had to let go too soon. I saw the blank stares and confusion on the faces of those who loved her as the realization that she is no longer here, swept over them. I saw the wind almost knock them to their knees with that realization.

I learned another valuable lesson this week, funerals and mourning are for the living. When I was a child, funerals scared me to death. I hated them. The loss of a loved one, seeing those I love in such excruciating pain, seeing my relative dead in a casket but now, I know, it’s part of the letting go process. Without it, we would have no closure. Without it, the pain would be insurmountable.

We need this ceremony to let those left behind be comforted, coddled and loved to get through it. It’s hard. It can almost break you and you never fully recover from such a huge loss but you learn to survive it.

I watched my uncle and cousins ( grown men) brought to their knees from this loss. Our entire family rallied around them to lift them up with love and support because that is what family does. You put aside any petty qualms or past hurts and you just be there. Moments of normalcy began to seep through and in the next, the weight of the loss would be bearing down on all of us so heavily that we felt as if we all might be crushed by it.

It was a horrible situation but it served a purpose to remind us all just how important family is to all of us. There’s been check ins and phone calls and texts between all of us because if my aunt Erma’s death has taught us anything, it taught us that life is brief and we have to make the time to love those around us; to show them, not just think it.

You’ve heard the saying to one person you are the world? Well, while our lives may not feel as if they amount to much in the grand scheme of things…to one person, they could amount to everything. I think we take that for granted.

A life well lived and a life well loved is all any of us can hope for. The brokenness that remains behind is a testament to how we loved while we were alive.

That’s the way I survive loss, by remembering that it was a privilege to be able to love these people; to see them smile, hear them laugh, see the twinkle in their eyes when they were happy, hold their hand when they were sad. Life is fleeting and loss lingers so love so full on that it borders on crazy because there is no such thing as showing someone you love them too much.

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Thanksgiving recipes, perfect thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, family, Angel Soft, recipes, recipe perfect thanksgiving

A perfect Thanksgiving is just around the corner. In all honesty, it’s my favorite holiday, not because of the perfect turkey recipe, all of the scrumptious side recipes  or even the unbelievably good tasting sweet potato casserole that I make every year but because it’s the one time of year, I know that my entire family will be gathered together in one space; breathing the same air. I am so grateful for this one-day and these people who I hold so dear to my heart. These are the people who cause me to be soft and to be strong.

We don’t live that far apart, only a few hours really. But as many of you can relate, life gets in the way of the best intentions. We never get to see one another as much as we would like. But birthdays, weddings, religious celebrations and Thanksgiving, those are the days we show up for without fail.

Once the Big Guy and I were married, we knew that we wanted Thanksgiving to be our holiday because we wanted to unite both families. My husband is from a small family. He only has one brother, three uncles and two aunts. I can count all of his cousins on one hand. This was weird for me at first because this was completely different from what I was used to.

I grew up in a big Latino family with 60 first cousins and several Aunts and Uncles. My parents have six children and we were raised to believe that family is the most important thing, right after God. Being together with family means everything to us. In fact, we were raised that the moment you marry your spouse his family is your family. Even if you barely know them or don’t like them, you love them because they are family.

That’s the true recipe for the perfect Thanksgiving.

We may not have had much in the way of money or possessions growing up, our fortune was meager but we were rich in family and wealthy beyond our wildest imagination in love. We want this for my children. This is why we decided to host Thanksgiving, to bring both sides of the family together and blend them into one great big beautiful village for our children. For us, Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate all the blessings we have by being part of that amazing group of people.

Since I was a small child, Thanksgiving has always been about our family being together celebrating. In Mexico, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving because it’s an American holiday but in our house, it’s always been a day to be thankful for the life we have and the people we get to share it with. This is a beautiful thing to celebrate.

We might be Mexican but our Thanksgiving doesn’t look much different than yours. There are only a few subtle differences. For example, at some point during the day Banda music will probably be playing because I like to dance while I cook. There will always be hot sauce on the table because my dad puts it on every thing he eats, including turkey legs.

Sure there is football on the television, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a 30-pound turkey but depending on who’s showing up there might be tamales and there is usually a pretty intense game of lotteria played by all the children. In the end, it’s all about the family and taking the day to be thankful for those people whom you get to love.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Georgia Pacific. The opinions and text about Thanksgiving are all mine.


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Summer vacation, blues, travel, family,vacation,summer break, traveling with kids, Nashville, Charlotte, friends

I am just getting back from the first mini summer vacation; this one was 11 days. Not actually so mini.Our summer vacation started off with 7 days in Nashville, Tennessee and capped off with 4 days in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina with great friends (I’ll write you some great travel posts about that over the next few weeks but today we’re focusing on how hard it is to come back to reality.) I have to be honest, it was exhilarating but reentry is HARD! Really hard. Like I feel like I’m moving through molasses hard.

I barely looked at my social media except for sharing a couple of photos on Instagram (because my phone was out of actual storage space) and I went a little overboard on Periscope (@DeborahCruz you have to watch the video about the drive thru safari. There is nothing quite so funny/frightening as a Bison sticking his head into your car trying to eat your tiny people.) This vacation gave me a chance to decompress and look at things a little softer and less cynical. I saw the beauty instead of the time consumption.

I’ve been back from summer vacation for 24 hours and I just can’t get back into the swing of things. I miss exploring a strange town, hanging with great people and being unplugged. Coming home and back to my reality of cleaning house, obligations and deadlines is hard. Reentry into the real world and the summer vacation blues are real.

You know, getting caught up in the grind is what keeps us going. Every day we get up, do our thing and power on to the next. It becomes old hat and we do it because we are supposed to. We never step back and deeply inhale, enjoy the moment. We can’t because every moment precedes another moment. There is always something else pressing to be done; whether it be meeting with a neighbor, checking a status, writing a post or just getting dinner done. Life is full of obligations.

The problem is when you actually do take those moments to enjoy your life, the minutes, the days the people that surround you; then you realize what you are missing and this is what is causing my raging case of summer vacation blues. We left our bubble.

We were outside enjoying the summer weather, noticing all of the new sights and sounds around us. Trying new foods, talking to new people and doing new things. We were completely out of our comfort zone and I loved every moment of it. The girls were enthralled, in the moment and never stopped exploring and engaging. The truth is that if you stop to enjoy every moment of life, it goes slower and it is actually so good that you can’t help but want it to last forever. It usually is, we just never notice because we are stuck in the minutia.

My husband and I have had the conversation that when you are in your teens and twenties, you spend your life looking for someone to love and spend your life with. You just want that all consuming, never ending happiness but you never realize (until you have it) that THAT kind of love has a price. When you truly love and enjoy something so much, it can be your undoing. The same way slowing down and going on vacation can be your undoing. You change your perspective and you change your expectations and your limitations.

I married the man I love and I have my daughters but with that I learned that the price of that happiness, that gift, is that if I lose them, it’s not something I am sure I can bounce back from because once you’ve gone there, you can’t go back. Once you’ve seen the world in living color, it’s impossible to go back to black and white.

When you go on vacation and really enjoy it, it makes it glaringly obvious how unmagical your reality is. I know the purpose of vacation is to rest and relax but it makes the price of not resting and never relaxing almost too much to bear. I came home and it’s been raining since we returned, there are no new and exciting anything, there are no old friends to love and consort with and there are bills, responsibilities. Life seems less bright. Maybe we are gypsies but we all agree on this point.

The time with old friends was amazing, however now I am left feeling more than a little deflated because it reminded me of just how much I miss them. The places we stayed on our summer vacation were beautiful, vibrant and ethereal because we were in a dream. Reality is like a room filled with fluorescent light, it gets the job done but it is severely lacking the magic factor.


I have the summer vacation blues but there are some things I can do to cure them.

  1. Take more time to enjoy the moments. Consciously, make the effort.
  2. Explore your own town. There are a million places that I’ve never been or eaten or explored within 2 hours driving distance but I will.
  3. Go out of your comfort zone. Obviously what is comfortable is good but it makes us complacent. I am sick of complacency.
  4. Try something new. Introduce yourself to the new neighbor, visit a local gallery or the new Ethiopian restaurant that just opened. Go to see the live bands play in the park.
  5. Do it all while taking it all in. Don’t power through life, soak it in. Bask in it like the warmth of the summer sun.

Life might feel ordinary and boring after an exciting summer vacation but if you look, if you stop and breathe for a moment, you can always find the extraordinary right beneath the surface of the ordinary people, places and things.


How do you cure the summer vacation blues?

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We’ve all seen those stories about college kids in other countries studying abroad only to never come home because they go missing, right? Or those kids whose parents took them on a trip to some magical, tropical island and poof! they disappear into thin air? Well, my dad lives 2,162 Miles from home in Mexico for 8 months of the year and this morning, he was missing. Let me restate, as far as I knew this morning, he had been missing for 8 days! This is not something that I would normally talk about but it happened and my nerves are pretty much shot so I’m trying to process all of this the only way I know how.

This morning I received a phone call from my sister, asking if I had heard from my father. My mom still works so she is still in the states all year round. Me, not hearing from my father for a week or even a month is not cause for concern but my mom gets daily phone calls. No phone call since July 27th. None. We called AT&T and the phone has not pinged since that day and every time we call it, it goes straight to voicemail. There is no ringing. My dad is in his 60’s.  So, I go into full panic mode. I’m a fixer. I can’t wait for things to work themselves out. That is not me. I was one hair away from hopping a plane to Mexico.

The first thing I did was call the phone to confirm that it is, in fact, going directly to voicemail. It is. I know because I called 75 times (sort of like when, in disbelief, I found out I was pregnant and took 17 pregnancy tests). Still, it went straight to Voicemail.  Then I did what any sane person would do, I called all my brothers and sisters and then I called the town. Yes, the town he lives in ….in MEXICO!

He lives in a very small town and back in the 80’s before cell phones and people having landlines, in this particularly small part of Mexico, we called the post office. I called that number and in my best rusty Spanish, I asked someone (anyone) to please go check on my father and to either call me back and let me know what was going on or to have him call me. Do you know how hard it is to track down someone who lives virtually off the grid? Think trying to locate Lewis and Clark without a cellphone or GPS. The nice woman on the other end said she would call me as soon as she knew anything. Meanwhile, I had to wait. I am not good at waiting. I am the worst waiter in the history of the world, especially when it potentially relates to the health and safety of my father.

So, I did what any insane with worry person would do, I Facebooked every cousin I know and asked them to ask their parents to call the city, call their family and friends in that small town and then I called in the big guns. I called my best friend  (Who speaks Spanish like a native) and had her inquire on my behalf. This was all within 30 minutes of my original call, one Xanax and a phone call to a long lost uncle. Desperate times, desperate measures my friends.

You see, my dad is a healthy 66-years old man, he rides his bike and runs and is a very much a loner. He likes his solitude. I guess he needed the quiet after living in a house with 6 kids for all those years. Anyways, the nice woman at the post office told my BFF that she had went to the house after “Debi” ( that’s me the crazy one) called and it wasn’t broken into and his vehicles were there and he was probably just out riding his bike, as he does daily. Apparently, everyone knows him in town and she told us not to worry she would go check again in a bit. Then my cousin walked into the post office and said, I just saw him riding his bike in the plaza.  Weird, right? I still wasn’t satisfied. I needed eyes on the old man STAT!

I had no solace. I spent my morning crying and imagining the worst possible scenario. I went to a dark place in my head. I was imagining that I would need to rush a passport and grab a flight to Mexico to collect a body.A BODY! I couldn’t handle it. I was on the verge of hysterics I was sure he’d gone off into the mountains and either gotten hit by a car, bitten by a snake or worse. WORSE!! Mexico worse, not US worse. The worst.

Just as the Xanax kicked in and I was about to call the federales in Mexico and then the embassy, the phone rang. It was my sister telling me that my dad was on the phone with my mom. His iPhone has died. I’m sure he is annoyed that I called the city multiple times and sent people over to find him. He is a very private person but he should know that if someone I love goes missing, I’ll never quit looking until I find him. I don’t give up. So, here I sit emotionally drained from this mornings events and all I want to do is hug my dad but that won’t be happening until November.

I always thought the worst feeling in the world was when your kid wandered off in the Target and hid under the racks for 2 seconds and it scared the crap out of you but apparently, losing your dad in another country where you can’t just look for him or call the cops is a pretty close second. I’m thinking of putting a chip in my dad next time he’s home. I’m not kidding. I’m not sure I can handle this happening again. A contingency plan has to be put into place or an intervention…for me.

What would you have done if a family member went missing while in another country?

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It’s been one of those weeks. You know the ones where you are bone tired but at the same time there is something inside that won’t shut off. It’s like your flight or fight response has kicked in and you have no one to fight and nowhere to run because the cause follows you because it is within you.

The week started with a midnight ding on my laptop; a comment on a blog post about my battle with anorexia. God that seems like a lifetime ago in the miserable state of affairs my body stands in today. The comment was left by a 15-year-old girl in New Zealand who is struggling with eating disorders. She is crying for help but no one believes her. I know how this turns out if no one pays attention; the story ends with her dying. Gone. No more because even her own parents wouldn’t take her seriously. I reply. I give her some number and emails to a hotline. I am triggered. I want to swoop in and save her but I can’t. I am here. I can only offer assistance, listen, believe her and hope she takes the next step. Fight.

Then a couple days later, I hosted a twitter party. I was really excited about it because it meant that I could giveaway  a prize that I thought would make some little girl’s Christmas morning. That meant something to me because I know there are mothers out there who can’t afford to give their children anything for Christmas and I could help a mom give her child the best Christmas ever. It took a lot of work. I’ve been planning and negotiating this since August. Then I even got to give away 2 houses and then after it was all said and done, I was called a liar and a cheat by two participants who didn’t win. I know I shouldn’t take it personally but I do. Fight.

Then I read a post by an asshole man called, Five Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder. You know, the disease that kills women, the disease that might be killing a 15-year-old in New Zealand right now and the disease that could have killed me. He makes light of this disease that I suffered from for 8 years; the very same thing that I will be in recovery from for the rest of my life; the disorder that kills women. He obviously has no understanding of it or is the most callous and unkind human walking the face of the earth. Fight.

Then today, November 24th, what would have been the first birthday of the baby I lost. I accidentally watched a 1st birthday video of a friend’s daughter and that’s when it hit me like a MACK truck. I should be celebrating but instead my lap is empty and my heart is heavy today. The air is thick and it’s hard to breathe. I don’t know when this will stop happening. I don’t know if we ever really get over our hurts in life. I think maybe they grow to be a part of us and change us. Flight

I’m here, hammering out deadlines and avoiding my reality. My heart is pretty fragile this week and the slightest push of pressure in the wrong way may break me completely. But in this moment I thank God for what I have; a man who loves me with all my flaws, children who I can hold in my arms a little longer than I need to today, a best friend who reaches out from across the universe to make sure that my heart is still in tact and work. Work that keeps my mind occupied and tears at bay.

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tornado, tornado warning,wornado sirens, tomatoes

tornados, tornadoes, tornado warning, tomatoesSo, as many of you have noticed, I have been very lucky this summer to partner with some wicked awesome brands and share some great products and even do a couple really amazing giveaways that I thought you’d all enjoy. I love doing that occasionally but at the same time, I want to apologize if it’s been too much consecutively so I really wanted to write a post that was for nothing but me…and you. God, I miss you guys a lot. Crazy effin summer is out of control, even by my standards.

Time to share a funny story, well; I guess that all depends on your perspective. Last week, we had a pretty crazy tornado warning. We live in the Midwest so we take this kind of shit pretty seriously. We don’t mess around with tornadoes or tomatoes as my 6-year-old calls them. You know that same crazy adorable kid who calls wiener dogs ..”CORN DOGS”. I will pause so you can laugh. Go ahead. I do every.single.time she says it. It’s so effing cute I cannot stand it. I never correct her and I never will. Never!

Anyways on that particular night, I had given the girls a melatonin (Don’t judge me! That day was even more cray-cray than that night) and they had just fallen asleep. My sister was in town with her toddler and he had just gone down and it was time for some girl time, gabbing and a good movie. Two of my brothers had come over so it was about to be a full on Cruz kid sleepover, minus two (yeah we are a really big family of Mexibillys).

Anyways, just as I kissed my corn dog kid on the forehead and tried to creep out of her room, the fucking Wizard of Oz warning sirens went off. My brother went into Alpha male mode (my husband was in Cali sending me weather reports and telling me to get the kids to the downstairs half-bath).

As I’m creeping out of the girl’s room, my brother is running up the stairs shouting drill sergeant style to get the kids and get to the first floor. I tried to shush him but it was too late. The kids were discombobulated, half awake and crying about the tomato headed for us. FUCK!!!!! My visibly irritated sister grabs her startled, crying toddler, I grab the 6-year-old screaming, “Tomato, Tomato!” in and out of consciousness and my brother grabbed the lanky 8-year-old who was 70 pounds of solid dead weight.

As we are all running down the stairs like we’re in a fucking war zone or some sort of nuclear war drill, headed for the half-bath to see just how many Mexibillys and their kids could fit into it, this here clumsy lady stepped, missed the 3 bottom steps and broke my fucking pinky toe. No worries, I didn’t drop the kid nor did she wake all the way up. But I learned the hard way how much damage over 200 pounds falling on one little pinky toe can do? A LOT!!! Ouch! Honestly, I am surprised it wasn’t crushed into dust under the weight of the two of us. Poor stupid pinky toe.

Moral of the story, the Tomato never touched down, I did the Tebow at the bottom of my stairs without dropping or waking a child to my brothers’ amusement (P.S. I fucking ROCK!), my toe looks like it has hypothermia and just might fall off and you can fit 4 full-sized, grown Mexibillies, 2 half-asleep children, a crying, pissed off toddler and one bulldog in heat in my half-bath.

How was your week?

P.S. Who’s going to BlogHer because I want to meet you!!!!

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winter, winter wonderland, snow, sledding, memories, family

winter, winter wonderland, snow, sledding, memories, family

Walking in a winter wonderland

We just had our first substantial snow here in the Midwest. The girls have waited months for this snow. There is just something magical about snow; to adults and children alike.

We all had high hopes that we would have a white Christmas but it wasn’t meant to be. We did receive a small blizzard the day after and have been living in a winter wonderland ever since.

winter, winter wonderland, snow, sledding, memories, family

The girls couldn’t wait to put on their snow gear and frolic in the wintery wonderland. Me, I grew up outside of Chicago and I have a lifetime of memories of freezing in the cold winter snow, sledding, building snowmen and trying to knock down my nemesis’ snow fort to last me a lifetime. As much as I now hate the cold, I want all those memories for my girls and so I doubled up my layers, dug out my snow boots ( because no Midwestern girl worth her salt doesn’t have snow boots) bundled up my kids and my husband and we walked in the 22 degree weather to the neighborhood park; Rocket park. You can imagine what we went there for?

winter, winter wonderland, snow, sledding, memories, family

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unexpected, family, life, change


unexpected, family, life, change

Last week, the Big Guy had an unexpected job interview. Unexpected because he loves the job he has, it’s his dream job. The past three years have been insanely chaotic for our family. I started this blog, the spring that my husband first had to leave us for a job; my daughters we’re 2 and 4. They are currently, almost 5 and 7. Many of you know the story of our two-year commuter marriage and all the upheaval that has come with that. The moving, the separation, the hurt and finally, the reunion, we have survived as a family. It’s been really hard.

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change, life changes

change, life changes

Life Changes~What do I want to say? It feels like I’ve been missing from here a lot lately. I miss my home. This blog is my home. I miss my people. I miss the interaction and the back and forth. Lots has been going on behind the scenes lately. As many of you know, I have started writing at a few different places around the internet; Smart Mom Style, Aiming Low, Modern Home Modern Baby and the Stir. I am truly blessed, even if unexpectedly so.

Changes Come Unexpectedly

There are lots of other changes going on too here at our home. We’ll be moving this summer and our house has still not sold and that is weighing heavily on my mind and my heart. I’ve been doing a lot of praying for patience and understanding. The girls are growing up fast. I blinked and now our life is about Spring Breaks and ballet recitals. It used to be all about time together and having fun and now it’s all turning to obligation. I feel out of my depth on many levels and yet there is still more changes going on.Things that I can’t even think about with too much thought or my head may explode from all of the overwhelming possibilities.

This is where I have been lately. Then there was spring break. I so welcomed and looked forward to it. It started off amazing with a trip to Castaway Bay indoor water park. The girls adored it. The Big Guy and I had a blast just watching them run around from activity to activity, screaming and squealing all the way. Finally, a place they could run, jump and scream and it was perfectly acceptable, if not expected. We spent our days dripping water and surrounded by laughter and love. The Big Guy and I soaking in every single moment of togetherness with the girls. They will never be this age again. There will never be another first trip to the water park. Each night we collapsed into bed, snuggled together excitedly recounting the thrill of the day. Lots of sweet memories were made at Castaway Bay, not the least of which was my Mommy alone time spent in the spa with my pedicurist Laura Williams. Not only was there peace and quiet and an amazing pedicure to be had, Laura had a vibrant personality and a pleasing demeanor. She made the pedicure an experience.  Then we returned home.

Changes in plan

The next day, we spent with Grandma having lunch at our favorite spot and watching ,Mirror, Mirror; a special treat for the girls. We were relishing every single moment together, just as I had planned and then I got sick! Not just a little case of the sniffles, this is a knock down, drag out, can’t lift your head kind of illness. It was like the devil spawn of the worst head cold you’ve ever had the misfortune of catching and the flu on crack. I woke up Tuesday morning feeling like I had been run over by a mack truck. I stayed there, in bed, trying not to die the entire day. The week pretty much plateaued at that point.

I’m slowly recovering from the illness, the girls are on their last day of spring break and I am still overwhelmed with a lot of choices that I need to make soon. How do you embrace the changes in your life?

Changes whether good or bad can be overwhelming


**Disclaimer I was given access to Castaway Bay indoor water park and their resort for review purposes but all opinions expressed are my own. All life changes are my own.

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