Wednesday, August 17, 2016

i wasn't ready



i've always been one of those moms who rejoiced over the first day of school. i've hosted back to school mom parties at my house. i've had big celebration breakfasts. i've secretly chuckled at those mothers who posted about their first day tears on facebook.

the first day of school happened for my household this week and, just like that, the house was empty all but one preschooler. this year, for the first year in my life, i wasn't ready. that bus pulled around the corner of our neighborhood and i didn't want to let my kids get on. there were no tears on my part but, for the first time ever, there was some disappointment.



maybe it was the fact that i took two no-kid trips this summer and missed those moments with my kiddos. maybe it was because of the 15 day road trip we took as a family, crammed into an over-crowded SUV, and surrounded with each other's good company. maybe it was that i wasn't physically prepared (can you say night-before school supplies?). maybe i'd just gotten used to them being around. regardless, the house seems eerily quiet. 

there are no people to chat about their daily plans. no one is sharing what they read in their latest book. no one is helping to bring down the dirty laundry. no one is really needing anything from me. i know, it sounds like the picture of bliss. i know it sounds ridiculous to wish it otherwise but i'm simply not used to the quiet. 

i went from being needed and busy 24 hours a day to having whole chunks of time completely alone. i went from running and managing and scheduling and cleaning and planning every second of every day to having chunks of time when i'm in my house alone. it feels very strange.

maybe this is what happens when your kids get older. the exhaustion of doing everything for your preschool and early elementary kids turns into the companionship of kids as they grow older. i have a friend whose son is a senior in high school and she is incredibly sad to see him head off to college next year. when asked about it, she said, "i really like who he is now and he's about to leave." i think that's how it is supposed to be.

now i evaluate this school year and wonder if i'm just growing to enjoy my kids' company. i'm wondering if i'm just liking who they are more and more as they get older...and i'm also having to start evaluating who i am and what it will be like without them. i'm very aware that time moves much too quickly and my years with each one in my home are numbered. i also know that, ultimately, i'm raising them to leave. that's my job as a parent, right? i'm supposed to raise great kids who will be able to stand on their own two feet without me. that's what seems difficult to process.

even though i know that this is how it is supposed to be, it doesn't seem right somehow. this summer was over too quickly. the school year's beginning that marks another year gone by with my kids came much too fast. they are growing up more rapidly than i can fathom and i'm simply not ready for it all. still, i do know who i am and i know that when they do eventually leave and stand on their own feet, that new phase will be great too. so, today, i'm learning to enjoy the quiet, to love on a preschooler, to greet them all when they get home and to remember how quickly it all goes. this is how it is supposed to be, each year a little bit of letting go. i may not be ready, but they are...and that's what matters.

Friday, July 29, 2016

fun finds: purr-fect flair for cat lovers


                              this post was sponsored by the lovely people at nutrish. the comments and opinions are all our own.


as you have heard, we had an awesome time at catcon with our friends from nutrish a few weeks ago. the most asked question from all of you was about what everyone attending the conference was wearing. we were ready to see some amazing cat themed shirts, but were wowed at the "purr-fect flair" that so many people had designed or found.



here are a few of our favorites:

purr-fect nutrish tee "cat person & proud"








in case this is not your level of cat celebration, we have found some purr-fectly awesome cat shirts for all of you cat lovers out there:












































real men like cats


we are huge fans of nutrish and so our our cats! check out nutrish for cats here and follow nutrish on social media for the latest information on products and discounts!


rachael's rescue: rachael's personal proceeds from the nutrish pet food line go to rachael's rescue. this organization was created to help shelter pets in need. to date, she has donated over $14 million dollars. this money has gone toward food, medical supplies and treatments for these unfortunate animals.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

eighteen years ago today



eighteen years ago today, i was a fiercely independent 23 year old who was just returning from a month’s vacation in europe. as i returned to my job at a small local church, there was a note in my box from the church’s pastor. it read simply, “a guy named jim called looking for you…he sounds nice. call him back.” and with that note my life changed forever.


little did I know that the match making had started long before my pastor had gotten involved. my mother went to a church when she was in high school with a young girl named thelma. over the years they had lost contact with each other but, that year, thanks to the wonder of email, they reconnected and came to find out that they each had children, who were single, living within an hour of one another who were both interested in law enforcement (side note: this was in my forensic science days. i have a master’s degree in it. i have never used it once. #moneywellspent.) somehow my mother and thelma managed to get my number to thelma's son, jim. he was instructed to call. maybe i needed help getting my law-enforcement career going. maybe he could use a friend when he came to san diego. regardless of their reasons, my number ended up in his hands and on that july day of 1998, he called…and i called back.



we talked for a couple of weeks on the phone, a few minutes here, a few minutes there and we slowly found out we had things in common. we laughed, shared some more and talked vaguely about grabbing lunch sometime. and when lunch never seemed to work, we decided on dinner, on a friday night, just two single young adults who had never seen each other. 



as i think back now, i’m horrified that this complete stranger drove up to my apartment where i lived alone to pick me up for what had now become a blind date. still, at that time, i was just nervous. i had never seen a picture. there was no facebook stalking. facebook didn’t exist. our date was planned based on our phone conversations alone and when he showed up with flowers as i peered from my bedroom window, i knew i was in trouble. 



this week marks that first blind date. four weeks ago we marked sixteen years of being married…and i wouldn’t have it any other way. our marriage isn’t perfect…far from it. it’s work as all relationships are. it requires priority and compromise. it requires forgiveness and endless communication. it and all marriages are work but as i went on that first date so many years ago and as i have gone on countless dates with the same man for the last 18 years, i know the work is worthwhile. he is worth it. our marriage is worth it. our family is worth it. as i think back on eighteen years ago this week, i can’t help but feel grateful that i took a pastor’s advice and called the stranger back. that note changed the course of my life for the rest of my life…and i’m forever grateful.



Monday, July 18, 2016

what happens at #catconla...

this is a sponsored posts by our friends at nutrish. all opinions and thoughts are our own.

we love girls’ weekends. we can’t get enough of them. so when our favorite friends from nutrish offered us the chance to spend a girls’ weekend together at catcon in los angels, we jumped at the chance. first of all, we absolutely love working with nutrish. besides having pet food products that we adore and use faithfully, the people who represent their company are absolutely wonderful. we love spending time with them. second of all, we got to spend the weekend together….and attend catcon. we spent three fun filled days catching up together, visiting with our friends from nutrish and soaking up all that catcon los angeles had to offer. does it really get any better?



it is impossible to put all of catcon into words but we can share with you some of our favorite moments and items we saw at catcon. if you are in the los angeles area, let us just tell you…go. the costumes alone are worth the trip…and where else can you find multiple “you’ve cat to be kitten me right meow” shirts all in one place? seriously…go. you will be glad you did.

in case you cannot make it, here are our favorite things about catcon. this list doesn’t do our trip justice but it can give you a small taste of all we were able to experience that weekend.

lola 

really, she is the highlight of catcon. the fact that heather actually spontaneously adopted a kitten from the spca booth at catcon is nothing short of miraculous. how could she resist though? lola is the sweetest little thing ever. she would melt your heart too.



nutrish 

the nutrish booth was amazing. it felt like we were walking into a very trendy, cat loving apartment. the very best thing about this apartment, however, was that there were artists there making caticatures. you read that right. there were two artists who joined a human’s face with their cat’s body and made a drawing for people to take home. people stood in line for hours to get this done and the results were amazing. we are waiting on ours which are being sent from our nutrish friends but we wish you could see some of the pictures. seriously. so good. 



we also cannot get enough of nutrish and it was great getting to be with them for a while handing out samples of nutrish cat food. we use nutrish everyday and have for years so it's a no brainer to share our love with others. it's done wonders for our cats and it can be bought wherever we do our normal grocery shopping. #winning. if you haven't tried it, click here to get started. you won't be disappointed!

this picture

for real. this picture. i have no words to describe it. #catconla


made by cleo cat collars

we couldn't pass up the made by cleo booth. jane, mr. darcy and lola are all sporting new collars. they have the best patterns of fabric for the collar and then matching or coordinating flowers and bow ties. mr. darcy has never looked more handsome.


shen and sam co. candles

these candles smell amazing. we spent a really long time going from scent to scent because we could not decide which were our favorites. they are also subtly decorated with cat prints that could blend easily into everyday decor. they smelled fantastic and i want one for every room of the house. if you can't make it to cat con, you can find their candles at shenandsam.com. you can also get 20% off your order until august 31st with the code: catconla. 



peach pet liners

these beds are simple and the prints are trendy and bright. they are perfect for a clean, happy look in the house. heather couldn't resist one for lola and she curled right up and slept in it her very first night home. they also assemble easily together and do not take up much space in the house. they are perfect for small spaces or for people like me who don't want the cat accessories to take over. 



kafbo scratching posts

we loved these handmade scratching posts. they are shaped into animals and the scratching part is made of cardboard pieces. they are durable and simple and are easily portable to any room of the house. we loved that they were made out of really beautiful wood. lola played with hers right away and we know it will save pieces of furniture all over heather's house. you can find yours by looking here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KAFBO


together time

the very best thing about catconla? well, that is simple. we got to spend it together. it doesn't matter where we are, we are just happy to have each other to walk through life with. the fact that we got to experience cat con, los angeles with one another and with our friends from nutrish, well, that is just icing on the cake. 



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

it's a girl!



this post is sponsored by rachael ray's nutrish. the thoughts and opinions are my own.


after being a happy #boymom to my favorite 6 & 8 year olds on the planet i am happy to say that we have added a girl to our little family! not the human kid, friends. this gal recently brought home a bundle of cute kitten goodness to complete our family.

a couple of weeks ago, genelle and i were able to spend an amazing girlfriends weekend together at catcon (thanks to our favorite people at nutrish). living across the country from each other, genelle and i get giddy with happiness when we have the opportunity to travel together for the blog and be able to spend time together. catcon is a huge convention that takes place in los angeles for all the cat lovers of the world to unite, participate in all sorts of fun activities, peruse cat related merchandise and learn more about the best of the best in all cat products.



we knew we were going to have a fun time at catcon, but even though my boys had been begging for a pet for months, i had *zero* intention of coming home with a kitten. the last few years of my life have been filled with lots of highs and lows that were beyond my control so i find myself not often doing things impulsively. however, upon entering the spca's area with adoptable kitten and cats from local shelters and seeing the cutest kitten ever i was head over heals for miss lola.




after a little disbelief in my own desire to add a kitten to our family, and a little gentle push from genelle....i adopted her. my heart was warm and we left the area with instructions to come back to pick her up at the end out the day. i practically skipped with glee out of there to tell our friends at nutrish. everyone shared in my joy....and then the panic set in. what the heck was i going to do?! we were in la, staying at a hotel, with *nothing* there to be able to bring home my newly adopted fur baby. in a mad dash, we rushed to the closest target in an uber for the essentials (who knew there were so many litter options?!), rushed back to our favorite vendors to grab more goodies and, of course, nutrish cat food for miss lola.




with the hotel set up for my newest addition, we headed back to catcon to pick her up, introduce her to her new nutrish family members and head back to the hotel.

we cozied in for a "say yes to the dress marathon" in our pj's and started taking a ridiculous amount of sleepy kitty photos (like any good cat mom should, correct?!)








after our return to san diego, miss lola settled in nicely and i prepared to surprise my sweet boys when they returned home.....and boy were they surprised!




after deciding that she needed an additional name was needed.....miss lola ohana was officially a member of our little clan (ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten...for my fellow lilo & stitch fans out there).




lola has settled in nicely and the boys are obsessed with learning how to care for her and make her feel welcomed. sweet lola follows them around everywhere they go and has already rounded out our family with love and happiness. moral of this story? maybe i should be impulsive on a more frequent basis and happiness often comes when you least expect it.



about nutrish:

nutrish is the fantastic line of super premium pet food created by the brilliant pet advocate, rachael ray. nutrish is made with simple, wholesome ingredients like real meat or fish, and do not contain poultry by-product meal or fillers.

rachael's personal proceeds go to rachael's rescue which was created to help shelter pets in need. to date, she has donated over $10 million. this money has gone toward food, medical supplies and treatments for those unfortunate animals. all of the rachael ray nutrish products are available where you shop for your family's groceries, making specialty recipes accessible and convenient for every pet parent. if you are considering adding a new member to your family, please consider adoption.

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