Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Hanging with St. Francis

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monster Jam comes to Phoenix January 25, 2014!

Nate and Lydia can name the model of a car from a mile away.  Nate has always been interested in cars, and I think Lydia picked it up as a way to be more like her big brother.  They have no idea that in January Bo will be taking them to MONSTER JAM in Phoenix at the Chase Field!  I know that all 3 kids will be excited and have an awesome time!  We have never been to a MONSTER JAM show before, so I can't wait to hear all about it (and I'll be sure to share what I learn with you after the show.)  They can expect to see 16 massive trucks, crushing cars and making the dirt fly!

If you want to attend the fun, here are the details:

WHERE: Chase Field – 401 E. Jefferson Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004

WHEN: Saturday, January 25, 2014
Party in the Pits from 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM*
Event begins at 7:00 PM
*Event ticket & Pit Pass required for entry; Pit Pass available to purchase for $10 each

TICKETS: Ticket prices range from $20, $25 and $30 (Gold Circle); Kids tickets (ages 2-12) are priced at only $10 each for select seating (not valid for Gold Circle level)**

Total Access Pass - Avoid the lines, skip the crowds and enjoy VIP access including private driver meet and greet with the Total Access Pass for $125 (limited quantities available).

Tickets are on sale now and available at the Chase Field box office, online at or charge by phone at 800-745-3000.

**Above ticket prices are advance purchase only; all ticket prices are $2 more when purchased the day of the event; tickets may be subject to service charges, facility and handling fees.

DISCOUNT: For my readers, use the discount code SMASH to receive $5 off the $20 and $25 tickets!

Watch for my screaming kids if you go!  I know they'll be yelling with excitement!

*Disclosure: I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-Show events. Even though I receive these benefits, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.*

Saturday, December 14, 2013

SuperCross Comes to Phoenix - January 11, 2014

Have you ever been to a Supercross race?   The Monster Energy Supercross FMI World Championships are making a stop in Phoenix on January 11, 2014.  Wouldn't that be a cool ticket to drop in a Christmas stocking this year?

Monster Energy Supercross is the world's premiere indoor supercross event!

When? January 11, 2014 at 7PM.  Pit Party starts at 12:30 PM with Pit Party tickets ($10)

Where? Chase Field

Tickets?  Lots to choose from:
$85 (VIP Club Front Row)
$67 (Club)
$42 (Gold)
$35 Adult/$10 Kids (Front Row B)
$30.00 Adults/$10 Kids (P5)
$22 Adult/$10 Kids (P6)
$15/$10 Kids (Tread-Head)

*Disclosure: I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-Show events. Even though I receive these benefits, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.*

Friday, December 13, 2013

Disney on Ice in Phoenix -- Rockin' Ever After!

Disney on Ice is back in Phoenix with another much-anticipated show!  From January 8 - 12, 2014, you can catch Rockin' Ever After at the USAirways Center in downtown Phoenix!  My family raves about these shows, and Lydia can't wait to see the debut of an ice-skating Merida from Brave perform (as well as a collection of other Disney princesses.)  These shows are truly some of the highlights of our family outings.

WHEN will the show be in Phoenix, AZ?
Wednesday, January 8 at 7:00 PM
Thursday, January 9 at 7:00 PM
Friday, January 10 at 10:30 AM & 7:00 PM
Saturday, January 11 at 11:30 AM, 3:30 PM & 7:00 PM
Sunday, January 12 at 1:00 PM & 4:30 PM

US Airways Center – 201 E. Jefferson Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Ticket price levels are $20, $25, $45 (VIP) and $75 (Front Row)

Weekday Kids tickets start at only $10 each for select seating (only valid for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday shows)

Special 50% Off discount tickets available for Opening Night performance (not valid on VIP/premium seating)

Tickets available for purchase online at, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or at the US Airways Box Office.

Yes!  I have a discount code to share with my readers!  The promo code MERIDA will save readers $4 off the $20 and $25 tickets.

Watch for our review after the show!

*Disclosure: I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-Show events. Even though I receive these benefits, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.*

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I am Mom to a Teenager!

Tonight, I was texting my sister and talking about Colin's birthday and she said "Remember when he would make me draw toes on snowmen??  And now you have a teenager!"

She's right.  When he was very young, he absolutely loved snowmen, even though he didn't see snow until years later.

This morning, I wake up as a mom to a teenager.  This amazing young man who made me a mother turns 13 today.

He's passionate about the things he likes.  He's extremely smart, extremely kind, and extremely thoughtful. He is my most sentimental child, the one who loves tradition. He still loves to read, and still prefers fiction over non-fiction.  When forced to read non-fiction, he has discovered biographies of favorite authors (like Tolkien).  He is excelling in school, and while PE has been a least favorite class, he also discovered this year that he really enjoys playing tennis.

He and Nate are still the best of friends, and while they may not speak a private language anymore, they spend hours together talking, conspiring, and planning who knows what. He's a good big brother to Lydia, always making sure she is safe and taking time to talk with her friends and be a good sport when they coerce him into playing.

He's tall!!  I think he's taller than his aunt, and his feet are as big as mine. His voice is just starting to crack every once in a while, so I'm expecting more cracking as it deepens over this year. His legs are long, as is his hair.  Yes, he has a red mop on his head, but when he was little I always said there were more important things to take a stand on than hair. I'm trying to keep that in mind as I remember what an excellent young man he is, even if his hair is longer and messier than I'd like.

For his 13th birthday, he requested Pei Wei, so we're headed there tomorrow after he competes in a trial game for the National Academic League.  Saturday he begins private tennis lessons, which are one of his birthday presents.  He's also receiving books.  Many books!  As well as a Lord of the Rings Lego set and a few other things.

Today, we will celebrate Colin Jeremiah.  My eldest.  My first-born.  My son.

But, there are plenty of times when I still remember him just like this:

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Minted Holiday Cards (Review)

Pretty much every year since we've been married, we have sent out photo holiday cards.  Especially since we now have 3 kids, and have family and friends all over the country, I like to send photo cards so everyone can see how the kids are growing.  I also love to receive photo cards!!

One site that has an amazing selection of photo cards is Minted.  A couple years ago, I ordered our cards from Minted and they were amazing!  I loved the heavy card stock they were printed on, and how our beach photo popped from the card.  Such a change from photo-paper thin cards we've sent in the past.  I also loved that they sent a proof of the card within 24 hours for my review.  This is our card from them in 2010:

I was recently looking at their new designs and was very impressed. One of the designs that I thought very clever was their minibook cards.  These cards are 5x7" and are made up of 7 pages that can be customized with both pictures and text.  One of the hardest things is choosing which pictures to include, and these minibooks would make that process so much easier.  They also don't cost any extra postage to send.  I also really like the ornament cards!

I haven't yet chosen a design or even a picture for our holiday cards this year.  I usually try to have it done by Thanksgiving, which is in just a few weeks.  I know that Minted is one of the places I'll visit to make that final decision about this year's card!

Do you send photo cards?  Have you taken your holiday photo yet? Let me know in the comments!

**Disclosure: I received credit at in exchange for sharing information about their site with my readers.**

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sunday, September 08, 2013


A couple years ago, Bo bought an ATV.  And then a buggy. And then another ATV.  And another buggy.  (Okay, I don't really know all that is in the side yard -- suffice it to say we have a few of each.) He was excited; he had talked for years about wanting them to ride with the kids. I pretty much stayed out of it. He & the kids have gone riding tons of times since the first one was purchased, and they all had a blast.  For some reason, I steered clear.

Until a month or so ago. Last August, Bo and the boys took a camping trip with a bunch of buggy enthusiasts Bo met online. They had a blast, but I still wasn't interested. This year, we have the RV and Bo asked if I wanted to go. I agreed and we went as a family.

We arrived in the evening, and in the morning Nate asked if I wanted to go for a ride. I climbed into the 2 seater buggy and let my 11yo drive me out on the Cinders. (really amazing area near Flagstaff that is covered in volcanic cinders that makes it great for driving buggies & ATV's.)  He hit the gas and took off!  We flew over bumps and hills and I couldn't stop laughing.  It was an absolute joy!  The harder I laughed, the faster Nate drove, and later I heard that Bo was getting a bit concerned when he saw how fast Nate was driving.  There was no need to worry, as I was having a blast, but he couldn't hear me laughing.

During the weekend, I rode a few more times, and I drove a few times.  It really is fun, and I'm looking forward to the next time we head out.  The video above is one of the rides I took with Bo.

While riding, it brought back a vivid memory of my Dad.  When I was little (I'm thinking 3 or 4?) my parents took me to a small amusement park.  There was a roller coaster and my Dad and I took a ride.  Looking back, I'm sure it was one of those small, kiddie, roller coasters -- but to me at the time it was pretty exciting!  The roller coaster had sharp curves (as roller coasters do!) and I was convinced for years that the only reason the car made those turns was because my Dad was driving and controlling the little car.  I don't remember ever talking to anyone about it, but I knew that I was safe and I remember thinking at the time that I wouldn't ride with anyone but him since I knew he would keep me safe.   It was a great memory to have.

Today is my Dad's birthday.  He would have been 65 years old.  Nate served at Mass this morning, and the homily was about the kind of legacy people leave behind. While it brought many tears this morning, it was also fitting for the day.

I guess I'm not sure what kind of legacy my Dad hoped he would leave behind. But I do know the legacy he left.  He left a legacy of loving your family passionately and unconditionally.  He left a legacy of romance towards my mother. He left a legacy of learning and curiosity. He left a legacy of always doing your best and trying your hardest. Above all things, he was guided by love.  And, I think that's a pretty amazing legacy to leave behind.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Time for an Oil Change

My Ford Expedition warns me when I need an oil change.  It gives me early warnings, then it tells me when I MUST change the oil.  I admit that I like that feature very much!

Recently, I learned about a site called "Motor Oil Matters" that includes a ton of great information.  I admit, Bo takes care of a lot of our car issues, but I am not helpless.  I liked the fact that the site includes an informative checklist -- which was useful last week when I had my oil changed in my truck.

One of the things I never thought about was the viscosity of the oil!  For the first time ever, in response to reading through the checklist, I looked into the owner's manual to find out what was recommended.  This time when I went to have the oil changed, I knew more about what to ask.  In the past, I just hoped they would take care of me.  Thanks to the information on the site, I knew I could take care of myself!

I felt more empowered and prepared when I took my Expedition in for an oil change.  You can, too, if you visit Motor Oil Matters!

*Disclosure: I received a gift card to get my oil changed and the information about oil changes from  No additional compensation was provided.*

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How Often Do You Change Your Oil? (Giveaway!!)

When my truck needs an oil change, it reminds me with a message on my dash.  I appreciate the reminder, because I'm sometimes terrible about remembering the schedule for oil changes!

My truck is reminding me right now that I'm getting close to needing an oil change.  So, I found it interesting that I received some information from the site -- -- that provides excellent information about what you should look for in an oil change!  At the site, you can even find a downloadable PDF checklist that gives you tips about what you should look for when getting your oil changed.

I know that I often blindly trust the mechanics that change my oil.  I have no idea what viscosity oil my truck needs -- but after reading through the materials, I am going to look in my owners manual to find out!  I really shouldn't leave it up to them and/or Bo to make sure my truck is well taken care of.

When's the last time you had your oil changed?  The folks from have generously offered to provide one of my readers with a $50 gift card so they can get an oil change!  Check out their site and leave a comment below with one fact that you learned to be entered into the giveaway.  You can earn a second entry by liking my blog's Facebook page or the MotorOilMatters Facebook page.  ( or  Just leave a second comment letting me know that you "liked" the page and which page you "liked."

I'll let choose a winner on July 31, 2013!  Be sure to leave an email address so I can contact you.

*Disclosure: I received a gift card to get my oil changed and the information about oil changes from  No additional compensation was provided.*

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Monday, July 01, 2013

Another Coppertone Summer!

I'm happy to say that we are an official Coppertone Family again this year!

Living in Arizona, sun protection is important year round!  We love the Coppertone products and I loved the selection of lotions we received.

This year, we are headed to the National Stuttering Association National Conference right here in Arizona!  We're staying at the beautiful Westin Kierland Resort, and I know we will use plenty of sunscreen enjoying those pools!  I will be packing extra to share with our NSA friends as well.

We spend plenty of time in our pool, and unless the sun is down, the kids all know to slather on the sunscreen lotion!  I like the pleasant scent of the Coppertone products and I especially love the sticks for easy application on everyone's face and tips of ears.

If you're headed out in the sun, don't forget your sunscreen! 

*Disclosure:  I'm part of the Coppertone Mom program sponsored by Coppertone and MomSelect.  In exchange for sharing information about Coppertone, I have received Coppertone products for our personal use.  No additional compensation was provided.*

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Built to Amaze -- Another Fun Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Show!

Last night's Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's show, Built to Amaze, was downright amazing.  I loved the construction costumes the dancers wore and thought the traffic cone stilt walkers were fantastic.

All of the Ringling shows start with a pre-access show that runs an hour before showtime. Everyone can go down onto the arena floor and interact with performers.  At least 2 performers are doing a mini-act at any time and there are opportunities to have your picture taken with clowns and even try on some costumes!  It's always very popular, and last night was no exception.

Once the show started (right on time!  I love it when things happen on time!) it was exciting and fun.  One thing that always amazes me is how they are experts at distraction.  You are always so engrossed in the performing act, that you don't notice them setting up for the next act in the darkness.

All 3 of my kids had a good time, as well as me and hubby.  We always choose our favorite acts in the car ride home.  This year, Lydia loved the act with the trained poodles and the lead clowns.  Nate enjoyed the Steel Vortex the most during this show. (2 large steel wheels that peformers spin around and climb in and out of!)  Colin said that he liked the trampoline act the most.  Bo loved the high wire act. My favorite act were the gymnasts that swung from long ribbons hanging from the ceiling.  And, I couldn't help thinking of a friend when one performer was shot from a cannon across the arena! Even though we all can choose our "favorite" act, it just reminds us of the other amazing acts we saw and it's hard to choose just one!

The show is in Phoenix through the weekend at US Airways Center.  Tickets can be found at Ticketmaster.  Even if you've been to a show in the past, you'll be amazed with the new acts and performers.  I highly recommend going!!

*Disclosure: I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-Show events. Even though I receive these benefits, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.*

Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: Sweet Shine Dolls

A couple weeks ago, Cepia (a small toy company that we've worked with before) sent us 2 dolls that are limited in their release to the Phoenix area right now.  They have created an adorable line of dolls that are colorful and fun to play with called Sweet Shine dolls.  We received Lola Twinklepink (see her there in Lydia's backpack ready for one of our camping trips!) and Pipsy May Peachburst (which we are donating to the NSA Silent Auction to help raise funds.)

One of the fun features of these dolls is taht they light up and project secret shapes!  Twinklepink has a button on the back of her head, that when pressed, displays shapes on the wall or ceiling.  Lydia likes the fact that she's like a doll AND a flashlight!  She also likes the tiny accessories that came with her, which included hair flair, a tiny purse that looks like a cupcake and a pet bunny.

After the jump, Lydia made a video review for all my readers!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

RV Camping

 A few months ago, some things fell into place and Bo found an amazing deal on this RV.  We have talked about buying an RV for years, but I admit I never really thought it would happen.  I'm so lucky that my husband tends to find ways for things to happen, even when they seem unlikely.

We have been out in the RV twice now.  The first time was over Memorial Day weekend when Nate was competing in a soccer tournament in Flagstaff.  We stayed at a campground with some other families, and everyone had a great time. We got an idea of things we would need to add to the RV, and got comfortable with the idea of camping. (We have never been camping with the kids -- and Bo & I only went camping a couple times before kids.)

This past weekend, we headed to Happy Jack, AZ. It was about 20 degrees cooler during the day, and dipped into the 40's at night.  After the Valley's highs of 108, the cooler temperatures were welcome!

We wanted to start camping because we wanted to give the kids a chance to explore outdoors and get away from screens.  The joke was on me last weekend, since AT&T has absolutely NO service in Happy Jack, and I was cut off from e-mail, Facebook and searching the web.  I survived, though, and it was well worth it!

Colin did spend a bit of time in the RV with  his 3DS, BUT he asked if we could get a new kickball before we left town, and also asked if we could bring a deck of cards and a travel chess set.  Nate & Lydia were the real explorers and spent plenty of time exploring the woods around the campground.

They found neat things -- like this swing hanging from a random tree in the woods, and a large jawbone.  They wandered the forest and searched for tracks and enjoyed the tall trees.  Nate loved taking pictures.

The RV made cooking meals fairly easy (and who am I kidding?  You guys know that Bo did all the cooking -- but I did do the shopping!)

We had a wonderful time and I couldn't wait to get back this weekend.  Unfortunately, a stop at a service station for an oil change turned up some repairs that need to be made before we should hit the road again.  We're glad we found out about them when we were home and not stranded somewhere and we trust these mechanics, as we've visited them for years.   But, as soon as the repairs are done and we're able -- we will be back out in nature.  I can't wait!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer Camps

Nate played on the Hungarian team at camp,
and made chocolate chip bars decorated like the Hungarian flag.
Every summer, we choose camps for the kids to attend based on their interests.  Nate has been attending Challenger Soccer Camp for the last 4 or 5 years and absolutely loves it!  They bring in coaches from the UK to teach the kids for a week, and Nate always leaves feeling great.  It's usually the first camp of the year, because of the heat.  He finished up the first week of June.

Then, a random stop found him in another camp this year.  A local AirSoft facility runs a 3 week camp teaching gun safety, etc. and Nate is all over the weapons and tactical maneuvers.  They run it like a military boot camp (well, as much as you can for a bunch of 11 - 17 year olds) and it is right up his alley.  He finished up the first week today and can't wait for next week.

This week found Colin in chess camp.  He enjoys playing, and used to play regularly, but got away from it in the last year.  He has had a great time learning new strategies and playing hours of chess this week.  He is considering whether he wants to go another week, or not.

In just a couple weeks, we'll be attending the National Stuttering Association's Annual Conference.  It's not exactly a camp -- but it's full of workshops so it's sort of like a camp.  It's being held in Scottsdale this year, so the entire family will enjoy the fun that is a NSA Conference.

The week after that conference, Colin and Lydia will head to the Challenger Space Center for Space Camp.  They won't be together in camp, but they offer camps for 1st graders and 7th graders that week.  Colin will be building a telescope (I think) while Lydia will learn about being an astronaut!

And, then I think we only have 2 weeks left before school starts!  Fit in some camping trips and our summer is jam packed with fun! 

What are you doing this summer?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus Coming to Phoenix ($5 off tickets)

We are excited that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is headed to the Phoenix area again from June 26 - July 1, 2013 with their show "Built to Amaze!"  Every performance we have attended has been better than the last, and I'm sure that this year's show won't disappoint.  All 3 of my kids were so excited when I let them know we were going again (and it's not easy to excite Colin these days)

One of our favorite things about the circus is the all access who that starts one hour before the performance.  The kids love going down to the performance area and getting close and personal with the performers and some of the animals

As a special discount code to my readers, use MOMSAVE at to save $5 off each ticket in the $20 range and above.  The discount is valid on all performances, EXCEPT opening night.

My kids love the clowns, and this video gives you a behind the scenes look at the clowns preparing for the Built To Amaze show!

*Disclosure: I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-Show events. Even though I receive these benefits, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.*

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

Eggland's Best Eggs - Delicious! (Sponsored Giveaway!)

I was offered the opportunity to host a brunch with Eggland's Eggs.  They sent me a gorgeous ceramic bowl, coupons for eggs, a cute cutting board and other goodies.

If you've been with me, you know the last 6 months have been long and stressful. Bo doesn't really like eggs, but when he's out of town, scrambled cheesy eggs is my go-to comfort meal for me and the kids.  It's a meal that I know will be met with agreement by all, and I know it fills their tummies. In fact, tonight was just such a night -- Bo out of town and we were feeling a bit out of sorts, so scrambled eggs with cinnamon sugar toast was dinner.  It was delicious!

I did remember the task given me, however, and last week we enjoyed a wonderful Sunday morning breakfast with french toast (made with Eggland eggs) and fresh berries.  And, later that day, I made this wonderful pineapple upside down cake (link to recipe)  In fact, there are a bunch of great recipes at the Eggland website.

One thing I learned at their website is that the polystyrene containers are recyclable, and have less environmental impact than the paper cartons!   I also like the fact that the feed they give chickens does not contain any animal byproducts,  hormones, antibiotics or other nasty stuff.

If you want to learn more about them, you can check them out in a variety of places:

I'm excited to tell you that they have a great gift pack for one of my readers!  

The gift pack includes a coupon for Eggland's Best Eggs, a ceramic bowl, a ceramic mug, a wooden cutting board, a whisk, a scraper and a reusable bag!  If you would like to enter the giveaway, please follow this link to my giveaway page and fill out the necessary information.  Entries in the comments will not count for the giveaway.  On the giveaway page, you will enter your name, email, name of giveaway and answer to mandatory question.  You will get an extra entry if you have liked my Facebook page.

Giveaway ends April 17, 2013!

Name of Giveaway: EGGS!
Mandatory Question: Which recipe from the Eggland site would you like to try?

Good Luck!!

*Disclosure: I was provided information and products from Eggland's Best Eggs to facilitate this post.  They also provided the gift pack to give away. This is a sponsored post.*

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tell Me Thursday - Dad

This is the last picture I took of my Dad.  We were sitting outside in the courtyard of the hospice, enjoying the sun and warm breezes. There were many birds in the courtyard, and we talked about how much noise they made.  We mostly sat there quietly.  My Dad was always a thoughtful man -- thinking about many different things and contemplating things and figuring things out. He was so very intelligent, and the liver disease stole away pieces of his brain.

Today marks a month since his passing.  I miss him so much, and know that I always will.

His memorial service was very special.  My mom & brother gathered things that meant a lot to him and had them displayed in the chapel.  They brought in a large print of a photograph he took, a gargoyle (which he collected), a Tardis (for his love of sci-fi), and other items.  I compiled a number of pictures that the funeral home made into a slide show that played on a screen throughout the service.

My brother started things off, then Colin played Largo from Dvorak's New World Symphony on his viola.  Then I spoke, and my Dad's only brother, then his cousin, and finally my mom.  Nate wrapped it up playing the same piece, but on his string bass.  My Dad loved music, and I know he would have loved knowing the boys played for him one more time.

My mom had asked for donations to the AZ Humane Society, but some people still sent flowers.  I think there were 3 arrangements with tropical birds of paradise -- and I don't think I ever want to see another one.

Each eulogy given was special in its own way. This is what I shared about my Dad:

I want to thank you all for coming today.  My dad was a special person, and will be missed.  As the original daughter, I was his favorite . . .  well, until my sister, Jane, was born anyway. And, then Matt came along. Truthfully, my dad didn’t play favorites, but instead loved his children for their uniqueness and their own gifts.
 There are so many memories of my Dad that I cherish – waking up before dawn when I was very small and seeing him come in from work when he was driving a truck for Mobil, road trips to visit places across the U.S.,him leaving small gifts for me when we worked in the same office, his solo visit to Arizona soon after we moved here.  I cherish these memories in my heart. 
People often ask me how I ended up working with computers. I always tell them that I have my father to thank for that.  In high school, I wanted to take jewelry making.  Instead, he insisted that I take a BASIC programming class.  In high school, I also took the secretarial track by following his advice, and that knowledge helped me feel comfortable with computers when they were just taking off, and also helped me find higher paying jobs as I went through school.  Today, I love teaching others how to use software and simple programming – all in thanks to that push from my Dad.  In fact, I am so used to training that at this point I feel like I should pause and ask for questions. 
My father was a man devoted to his family.  His family always came first, and there was no doubt that he put us before anything else.  He loved talking about his children and his grandchildren to anyone who would listen. Especially during these last years, I was able to be with him when he would regale nurses and aides with stories of how proud he was of us.
He was especially devoted to my mom. Their love for each other was obvious to anyone, and that love was strong and passionate.  For as long as I can remember, they were always by each others’ side.   He doted on her, and did his best to make her feel special and loved every day.
 My Dad loved to learn. He would read about anything – just to learn more about it. He was curious and interested in how things worked, and especially loved new technologies.  The books in our home covered every topic imaginable, and provided many hours of enjoyable reading during my childhood. One thing that I strive to instill in my own children is that life-long love of learning. 
My Dad also loved music.  His CD collection was eclectic and far reaching.  He especially enjoyed Irish and Indian flute music, but that by no means limited what he enjoyed listening to. Not many of you may know this, but among my Dad’s love of music – he loved funny Christmas music.  He had quite the collection of humorous Christmas songs that he loved to play during the holidays.    
I’m going to miss my father fiercely.  He was a loving, compassionate, respectful man. Even though we may not have always agreed, he respected my intelligence and my choices.  He never insulted me for making the choices I did.  I know he loved me, and I will hold that in my heart for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Tell Me Thursday -- this boy

I don't have a favorite child, but when I'm sick -- this child is my favorite child.  He is the most caring, most empathetic, and most gentle person to have around when you're not feeling well.

I know -- what a surprise! -- but I was sick again this week.  This time, the entire family came down with a stomach bug.  Nate got it a day earlier than I did, so when I was feeling like a truck hit me, he was the one who made sure I had drinks and even made me Jell-O (and now you know another secret about me -- when I'm sick I crave Jell-O.  I also craved it throughout my pregnancy with him.)

He also quietly played with his sister and plugged in headphones to the television so the sound wouldn't disturb me.  None of which I asked him to do -- he just knew what to do.

This picture is of him visiting his grandfather in the hospice last month. He's also the only one in my family who really talks about his grief or asks about mine.  He's one special kid, and I am honored to be his mom.

Wordless Wednesday - this boy

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tell Me Thursday -- Greystoke

Greystoke is the beautiful cat in this picture, who was rescued by my sister this week. But this picture really isn't about the cat. It's about the beautiful woman who is my sister, who has held my heart from the moment my mom brought her home from the hospital.

A person couldn't dream of a better sister -- loving, caring, not afraid to tell me when I'm unreasonable, and able to make me laugh until my sides hurt or I spit out my drink.

And my kids couldn't have a better aunt -- fun, loving, adventurous, kind, dependable, and always ready to listen.

My life is so much richer with her in it. And her kitties are lucky to spoiled by her, too!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

50% Off Tickets for Disney on Ice Treasure Trove in Phoenix

Disney on Ice's show Treasure Trove, will be in Phoenix from April 11 - 14, 2013.  You know how much we love Disney on Ice, and I am super excited to tell you about this fabulous opportunity to get 50% off the cost of tickets for the Phoenix shows.

On Friday, March 22, 2013 (ONLY), if you bring a new school supply to the US Airways Center, you will be able to purchase tickets at an amazing 50% discount!!  All school supplies collected will be donated to Children First Academy, a local school for homeless children.  The deal begins on March 22 at 12:00PM and ends at 1:30PM.  Tickets are limited to 50 tickets per show, and only 4 tickets per person. (not valid on VIP seating)

Once the limited number of Treasure Trove Deal tickets are sold out on Friday 3/22, fans with school supply donations will still be able to purchase until April 11th at a $5.00 off discount rate (excluding VIP and front row seats). The ticket promotion lasts until April 11th at 7pm.


Thursday, April 11 7:00PM
Friday, April 12 10:30AM & 7:00PM
Saturday, April 13 11:30AM, 3:30PM & 7:00PM
Sunday, April 14 1:00PM + Spanish Language Performance at 4:30PM

For more information, visit or visit us on Facebook and YouTube.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tell Me Thursday - hands

This is a very difficult "Tell Me Thursday" post to write. This picture is my hand in my father's hand, taken sometime last week. It's also the lock screen on my phone.

He spent the last couple weeks under hospice care, and left this world late Monday night.  He battled long and hard, but finally reached a point where he couldn't fight anymore.

My Dad loved his family above all else.  His love for my mom began in high school and continued unwavering for 48 years. She was the light of his eye, and his constant companion.  He was her protector.  My Dad was a romantic - always writing her love poems and notes, and showering her with jewelry.  Their example of commitment and love started me well in my own marriage.

He adored his children. I remember one year that he was on a business trip that was during my birthday, and he made a special effort to return the night of my birthday.  I also remember him leaving little gifts on my desk when we worked in the same government office early in my career.

We never hung up the phone, or walked out the door, without saying " I love you! "  There is no doubt that I was well-loved by my father.  And that love was multiplied for my sister and my brother.  When I would be out with him, he would regale pretty much anybody who would listen to stories about his 3 children (and his 3 grandchildren as well!)

There's a million more stories I could tell. It's tough right now.

My sister and I were with him, each holding one of his hands and telling him how much we loved him in his last moments.  I held his hand in the last couple months more than I had in the last couple decades. I wish I had held them more often. You never know when the last time may be.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Review: CalmAid Lavendar Capsules

If you read my last post, you know that I've been under some stress lately.  I was sent a box of CalmAid (lavendar oil capsules) recently to try.  They are made by Nature's Way, a company that also makes Sambucus (an elderberry syrup we keep on hand all the time to help shorten colds) and also the Valerian Root capsules that I have used in the past to help me sleep.  So, I feel pretty confident in their products.

The lavendar capsules are meant to be taken once a day, to help reduce tension and stress.  I know that the scent of lavendar is calming, but I hadn't known that the oil could be ingested for the same effects.  When I know I am facing an especially stressful day, I have taken one in the morning and it seems to help me feel less stress.

The capsules have been tested in clinical studies, but they have not been evaluated by the FDA.  If you take any prescription medicines, always check with your physician before adding any supplements.

You can find them online, and also at local retailers.  Check out the Nature's Way website for more details.

*Disclosure: I received a box of CalmAid to facilitate this review.  No additional compensation was provided. All opinions are my own.*

Tough few months

Some of you may remember back in November when I mentioned that Nate had a mysterious illness that affected his ability to walk.  He had 2  hospitalizations, one which culminated in sending him home in a wheelchair.  He is so much better than he was (plans to return to altar serving and soccer next week!) but he's yet to be 100%.  We're still visiting specialists and trying to make sure he doesn't have a relapse.

And, then, there have been my kidneys.  I had another attack in November, followed by another in December, then a doozy in January that knocked me flat for a few weeks.  It's so difficult because I have no warning, and then I'm down.  It's frustrating for the company I contract with, since I have had to cancel at the  last minute a few classes now and it's hard to replace me at the last minute.  I'm slowly returning to teaching, but . . .

My dad, who has been sick for quite a while, has recently taken a turn for the worse. A little over a week ago, a decision was made to accept hospice care in his home.  My mom is an amazing caregiver, but he requires 24/7 care these days and so I've been doing what I can to support them both.

There's more to each of those stories, but it explains why I've been missing in action mostly these days.  Because, of course, there's more to life than just what I've posted, but those things have probably taken up the bulk of my time and effort.  If you've been wondering where I am, though -- now you know!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

NHRA Drag Racing in Phoenix (Discount!)

Have you ever been to a drag race?  We had tickets to a Monster Truck event a few weeks ago, that I had to miss because I was sick, but Bo and the kids had a blast!  I know that's not the same as a drag race, but it's close enough that I'm excited that we are going to the drag races next weekend & I am healthy enough to go!

On February 22, 2013, pro-qualifying sessions begin and run through Sunday, February 24, 2013 at the Phoenix Firebird Raceway.  Tickets can be purchased through or calling the NHRA at 800-884-NHRA (6472).

Tickets for children 12 and under are FREE with any paid adult ticket!  Fans have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers with exclusive pit passes.

My kids are so excited to go!  My husband has warned me that it will be loud, but I know we'll have a ton of fun!

Thanks to my wonderful contact, I have a discount code to pass along to anyone who wants to attend.  If you visit to purchase your tickets and use the code MOMNHRA13 you will save $10 on each ticket purchased.  You'll also find more information at

Let me know if you plan to attend!  We'll be there on Sunday the 24th!

*Disclosure: In exchange for this informational post and an objective review of the event, I received tickets to attend the event with my family. No additional compensation was provided.*

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tell Me Thursday - makes me smile

My picture yesterday (in case you couldn't tell!) is the front of my refrigerator. It makes me smile every time I look at it because it's covered in pictures of my sweet family, magnets from places we've visited (or that mean something to me - like my saint magnets) and various notes from the kids teachers when they've done something noteworthy.

Sometimes I go through phases where I think we should have a clear refrigerator . . . and then I miss my pictures and my magnets and they slowly creep back.  A blank stainless steel front can't begin to compare to the smiles brought on by the slightly messy jumble that is there now.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Tell Me Thursday - listen to mom

That sweet note was written by Lydia (Please listen to Mom. If she wants anything get it for Mom.)

It's been a long couple weeks around here.  More than 2 weeks ago, another kidney stone struck, that turned into a kidney infection and resulted in lots and lots of pain, high fevers, puking, feeling terrible and lots of time in bed watching Netflix Instant Stream.  (Oh! And missed work.  Way too much missed work.)  It hasn't been fun - for anyone.

Lydia wrote the note after a meltdown I may have had while Bo was out of town for work and I felt like I was being kidney-punched and slightly delirious.

I am feeling better, but still not well.  Lydia said, as she came with me to run an errand a couple days ago, "I'm really glad you're not doing that groaning anymore.  It really annoyed me."  Yes, my daughter is nothing if not honest.  I assured her that my groaning annoyed me too.

I'm off to see a brand new urologist tomorrow, in hopes that he can help more than the one I've been seeing the last 2 1/2 years.  In addition to the strain on my family caring for me, I've lost a ton of work, and I'm now nervous to accept any travel in case a stone strikes while I'm far from home.  I have no warning -- just POOF! I'm in excruciating pain.

And that's just a tiny look into all that is going on right now -- the other stories aren't mine to share -- but they are mine to live.  I need to get healthy again so that I can deal with the rest of the storms brewing.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

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