Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Take This Man by Brando Skyhorse

A few years ago I read the book, The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse. It immediately became one of my all-time favorite books. After I finished I emailed the author to let him know how much I loved the book. He told me that he was working on a memoir. That memoir finally published a few weeks ago.

I was so excited (and even more to see it was only $4.99!). I devoured the book in 2 days. This book is all about the messed up childhood that Brando Skyhorse lived. His mother just adopted the name of a famous native american incarcerated outlaw and took it as her own and her sons. This left Brando with a false sense of who he was and where he came from. To add to the chaos many different men came in and out of his life and as a young boy searching for a father figure he took to each of these men and then had to deal with the aftermath of their leaving.

Eventually Brando learns the truth and finds out his father is a Mexican man who has always lived near him. The end of the book finds Brando with a father and half-sisters. You can tell that he is having a hard time becoming a part of a "normal" family, but is making a grand attempt. What I admired so much about Brando and the life he lead was that he turned to education and despite the odds against him, he went to and graduated from a university.

I loved this book and found it funny and heartbreaking and hopeful. I hope that Brando Skyhorse continues to write. After reading this book I emailed Brando again and he very graciously wrote back. I love that! 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Photos from the 4th

We had such an amazing weekend with the family. It was a great way to ease into vacation mode!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Just Us Journal

Phi is showing lots of pre-teen symptoms. We know she is 9 but she has always been advanced. We see a lot of eye rolls and hear a lot of heavy sighs and don't hear much from her mouth these day. I am waiting for the day she wears the same Georgetown sweatshirt and black British Knights everyday. I understand where she's coming from. I was the oldest too. I too had a super cute, charismatic and troublemaker little sister too. As you can imagine Louie takes up a lot of our attention. She practically demands it. But Phi is happy to stay in the shadows and not be noticed (just like her father).

The thing is that I need Phi to know that I am always here for her. That she can talk to me about anything at all. I want to keep the lines of communication open. I saw this idea for a journal that can be passed back and forth. I loved it.....

I wrote about our journal over at HerMamas today. Check it out! CLICK HERE

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

June Grateful and Books

There was a whole lot to celebrate in June..... 

I am grateful for.......

6/1/14: celebrating my baby's 4th birthday. I still can't believe she is 4!
6/2/14: the times my kids play together
6/3/14: Phi's love of drawing
6/4/14: silly text messages from my godson
6/5/14: flowers blooming
6/6/14: good books recommended by good friends
6/7/14: my crazy sister Cari
6/8/14: wrong turns that lead to gorgeous views
6/9/14: summer nights
6/10/14: late dinners with our buddies
6/11/14: the team of doctors working with Phi
6/12/14: gifts ordered came in on time
6/13/14: 10 years at an amazing company
6/14/14: lifelong friendships
6/15/14: my badass Pops
6/16/14: dinner on the grass
6/17/14: my girl scout troop
6/18/14: some time spent outside
6/19/14: summer storytime outdoors
6/20/14: chubby babies
6/21/14: a quiet day at home
6/22/14: that I had the chance to help out my brother
6/23/14: Phi's friends
6/24/14: 8 years with my Joey
6/25/14: a girls night in
6/26/14: picture messages to Big Tata
6/27/14: my kids allow me to take so many photos
6/28/14: a fun afternoon on the lanes
6/29/14: a beautiful day with my beautiful family
6/30/14: kids book we can connect with.

Books 34-37

As far as my reading challenge goes I am about 7 books behind where I wanted to be at the end of June. I am hoping with our week vacation coming up this month I will be able to get a lot more reading done.

 34. Bared To You by Sylvia Day: Following in the success of 50 Shades, this book is right in that borderline erotic literature. You have the same high powered ultra-rich male lead, and the shy awkward female lead. There is a lot of sex and mystery. A quick read.
35. Reflected In You by Sylvia Day: This is the second book of the Crossfire Trilogy, because everything is a trilogy these days. This book has the same amount of sexy time as the first and gives us a little more insight into the mystery behind the hunky main characters.
36. One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak: Yes that guy from The Office!  I was excited to see this one at my library. I have been wanting to read it since it was released. It came at the perfect time too. I needed some short stories. My attention span was very short with so much going on in June. This book was filled with smart witty humor. I loved when he took familiar stories and told them from a fresh perspective.
37: The Bear by Claire Cameron: Now if you are a bit unsure about camping this book will help you decide that camping should never ever be done. The author read a news story about a couple who were camping and attacked and killed by a bear. The author used this as the premise for her book, except she added to small kids (ages 5 and 2) who escape and have to survive. This book is told from the voice of the 5 year old girl and it is as heart wrenching as you would expect. Let's just say thank goodness this years Bass Lake trip is in a house and not in a tent. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Aquarium of the Pacific (I totally got to touch a jellyfish!)

A few weeks ago my Mom gave us 2 coupons for adult admission at the Aquarium of the Pacific. I put them on the fridge and figured we would find some time this summer to go. Then I realized that they expired on the 30th of June. SO, we decided to take a last minute trip to Long Beach since we had to be out in the LA area Sunday evening for a family function. 

The Aquarium of the Pacific is a great place to spend the afternoon. 

Phi was excited to see everything. Louie was freaked out by the ability to get close to the wild animals. 

Louie took a picture with this little guy because he is a "Little Blue Penguin" and she is a "Little Louie Blu"

My favorite is photographing the jellyfish.

This place has a lot of touch tanks. Louie wouldn't get near them, but Phi touched a lot more this time around than last time. I was super excited to touch a jellyfish. I have always wanted to do that.

Of course the Sea Otters were a big hit. We all love the sea otters.

It was a great outing with a break in between for a yummy (but pricey!) lunch at Bubba Gumps. Thanks for the coupons Mom and Pops!

Friday, June 27, 2014


"..run like a girl."
".. kick like a girl."
".. throw like a girl." 

I have 2 daughters. I grew up in a family with all sisters. I have never liked the expression "...like a girl". While at our local Movie in the Park the man running the show used this exact phrase at least 3 times. This man is a pastor at a local church and I am sure did not mean to insult every girl sitting in the crowd, but he did. It has been on my mind for days now.

These terms are all meant to be insults yet are such an okay part of our language. They are meant to say that you doing something wrong, or weakly. This is not meant to be a compliment. 

Then one of my favorite blogs (Girls Gone Child) talked about this very topic and shared this video from Always...

My job is to make sure that my daughters know that "like a girl" means strong and powerful and amazing because my girls are strong and powerful and amazing. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

8 Years

The day I married Joey was an amazing day. It is in my top 3 days of all time. You can guess what the other 2 are. The day I met Grover at Sea World and my First New Kids on the Block concert! Just kidding, obviously it was the days our girls were born. 

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary. And even though we are settled nicely into marriage, I feel like I did anything but settle when it comes to Joey. 

 The 25 years of my life before I met Joey he was out there. I sometimes think how all those years we were just living our lives in what seems like 2 different worlds. We each made our mistakes and took the hits and we both wear the scars of life before. Before us. We were 2 kids from different places and families who somehow ended up where we are today. Happily married to each other. When I stop to think it seems impossible that this boy from Covina would one day meet this girl from Moorpark. But I thank my lucky stars that it was possible.

I am so happy to be celebrating 8 years with the coolest, funniest and most caring man I know. Marriage is about compromise and working as a team but Joey also makes it about adventures and laughter. The last 8 years have been amazing and I cannot wait for what the future has in store.

Happy Anniversary Babe
P.S. I Love you
Forever and Today.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Soar into Summer

Every summer it feels like a balancing act with work and keeping the kids entertained. I hear that these little people need sunshine, social interaction and entertainment. As a way to make up for the many hours my kids spend in an office we try to find cool places to take them when time allows. 

Yesterday we left the office a little early to head up the mountain a little to Oak Glen, Ca. Everytime we go there I am amazed that this little piece of forest is 20 minutes away from us! The Wildland Conservancy along with our local library do this program every summer called S.O.A.R (step outside and read). It is the usual story time and little craft project, but out in the great outdoors! 

We have not been to the trails here in awhile and they have really stepped it up with the signs and fencing. I wish they had longer hours during the summer because this would be such a great place to hike after work.

We were the first ones there and we set up with Ms. Nancy and waited for the rest of the kids to arrive.

I know that the day that Phi is not going to want to attend these things is coming soon. I am glad that she still seems to enjoy them now. I also have her enrolled in writing/art class at the library for older kids.

It is pictures like this that really show the age gap between these 2.

Of course I was the mom with the dslr camera, iphone camera and the ion video camera. I was screaming "mom blogger". I am still working on getting use to workig with the Ion camera. Here is some clips from our time with SOAR in Oak Glen. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Knitter Please: Granny Square Blanket

Click on the picture to check out my latest yarntastic creation! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

I love filling these out with the girls every year. It is so funny how their answers change from year to year! 

Here are there fill-ins for their Tata...

And here are the fill-in for their Poppa.

My girls and I are so lucky and blessed to have these 2 amazing fathers as ours! My Pops is an amazing dad and and even more awesome Tata! One day when the girls are older they are going to be amazed at how much their Poppa was involved in everyday of their lives. How much he wanted to be there to be the one to comb their hair and help with homework.

Happy Father's Day!