Category: Family

A Good Conversation

Well, I missed another day. The only thing I can say I definitely need downtime. Yesterday was one of those days. After a flurry of activity Thursday and Friday, I guess my body was ready for a break. The college kid heightens the energy in the house. I use to love hearing my kids laugh when they were little, but I love it just as much now. There’s a certain vibe when we’re all together. All the inside jokes come out and more are created as we build on the latest goof someone said (or nowadays, the latest meme someone posted). I love the banter I have with my boys.

My college kid told me once that it was difficult to find a girlfriend because of our family. Because in the matter of one evening (or hour) we can go from talking about quantum physics and the rules of time travel to who should be cast in the next season of Bachelor in Paradise. He said it’s hard to find someone who can keep up with that swing of conversation (I’m sure he’s referring to the quantum physics part…) and join in.

It is good to hear that conversation is near the top of his list. (I’m sure there are other attributes at the top…) It’s certainly one of the things I’ve tried to instill in him. Relationships change over time and you need to have someone by your side that you can have an honest-to-goodness good conversation with whether you’re cuddling on the couch in your pjs, waiting in the myriad of waiting rooms we wait in during our lifetime, or sitting on beach relaxing in the sun.  You need to have someone by your side you enjoy talking to.

Celebrating in Nontraditional Ways

For most of our marriage, either my husband or I have worked a nontraditional schedule. There was a blissful 5-year period where he worked a 9-5 job and I stayed at home that we celebrated holidays on the actual holiday like normal people. But, for the most part, we fit the holiday gatherings and meals around whatever wacky schedule we’re working with that year. This is just fine with me, but I firmly believe the holidays are about the people you spend them with, not the date on the calendar.

This started the first year of our marriage when I worked at Disneyland. My family and my husband came to the Park and we had Thanksgiving lunch at Rancho del Zocalo. (I still refer to it as Casa de Frito from when Frito-Lay sponsored it when I was a kid.) Nontraditional for sure, but we were happy to be together celebrating a new job for me and a new life with my hubby.

So, today is our Thanksgiving day. My husband worked yesterday, so today’s the day. Or really, tonight’s the day, because my son has football practice this afternoon (No rest if you want to win a state championship!) and both boys are going to the church’s Turkey Bowl. So, while I imagine most “normal” people had their Thanksgiving meal yesterday afternoon, we’ll be lucky to get it on the table by 8pm tonight.

That’s okay. It’s my favorite meal of the year—no matter what time we eat it.

The holidays always put in a weird frame of mind. On the one hand, I miss my family and the big families gatherings. I don’t miss driving is California holiday traffic, where the traffic is actually worse on the holiday. On the other hand, I kinda like it when it’s just the four of us and a little quieter, but then I miss having people over. Somehow, having people over makes it seem like a holiday. Usually we have a Friendsgiving with my best friends and their families, but everyone was traveling this year, so we’re back to just us. Which, like I said, is okay too.

So, wherever you may be and whoever you may be with, I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving too.

The OU Wesley

Our college kid invited us to a dinner!

Of course, we said yes!

He invited us to a Missions Dinner at the OU Wesley. The OU Wesley is the United Methodist Mission at the University of Oklahoma. It’s the first time he’s invited us to an event at school. The Wesley has recently been remodeled so it was great to see the new digs.

Chet is part of the leadership team. It’s great to see him taking the initiative to be a part of this vibrant ministry. This year is planning on going back to Rio Bravo, Mexico for a mission trip. Last year, he went down there and helped build a parsonage for the church’s pastor and her two kids. You can see why this kid makes me proud.

What’s great is his friends from high school are also there and involved. I couldn’t have hoped for Chet to have a better college experience. He’s definitely living his best life!

And, of course, we need a sunset picture from Chet’s apartment:


Christmas Shopping – Planner or Pantser

Are you a planner or a pantser?

In writing circles, a planner is someone who outlines their book before they start writing and a pantser is someone who writes (“flies”) by the seat of their pants. They sit down and write and sees what comes out.

I think the same might apply to Christmas shopping. In past years, I’ve been a planner, keeping lists and checking things off. Usually I’ve waited until later in the season, so a list was essential.

This year I think I’m more of a pantser. Albeit an early-working pantser. I decided to pick up gifts throughout the year as a I came across good ideas, because it seems like during the last few holidays seasons the gift idea well had run dry. Any ideas I had over the previous six months completely evaporated when it came time to add things to my cart. This year, I think I picked up my first gift in May or June.

So, how’s it working out?

Pretty good…I think. I still have a few gifts to get. (Why are dads so hard to buy for? Oh yeah, because they go buy whatever they want.) I am definitely ahead of the game. Of course, now I have a whole pile of presents to inventory and make sure I’m ready. Also, I’m pretty sure I’ve bought multiple presents for the same person. Seems like that would be a bad thing, but now I know I have birthday presents ready for 2019.

I would definitely say this is more of a “pantser” method, picking up things as I go along. But it’s definitely an improvement over the birthday presents I gave six month late this year. #truestory #yesimterrible #itsthethoughthatcountsright

What’s your Christmas shopping looking like this year?

If you haven’t started yet this year, my biggest tip is to shop the Black Friday sales ONLINE. Most places will have their sales available online on Thanksgiving Day if you want to get a head start. Then you can get a good night sleep knowing your shopping is done without having to wait in line with overly caffeinated shoppers in the middle of a cold night as you anticipate being trampled for a $50 TV.

If you’re someone who enjoys shopping at the last minute, that’s the ultimate pantser move. I salute you!

Market Street Meatloaf

Do you have meals you make for special occasions?

Now, I don’t mean the big holidays, those are a given. I mean a special meal you make for someone’s birthday because it’s their favorite or something reserved only for celebrations.

For my husband, it’s Market Street Meatloaf. It’s one of those dishes that takes some thought and definitely some time to put together, so I usually only make it on this birthday or Father’s Day. Well, this has been one of those years where either he hasn’t been home on the day of celebration or frankly, I’ve been too tired to make it work. (I’ve spent most of 2018 exhausted, but that’s a different story.)

So, I took advantage of his day off and Veterans Day to make him feel special with a little meatloaf. (What can I say? We all have our love languages. Amiright?)

Market Street Meatloaf goes back to early in our marriage when we were both learning to cook (and before the Internet made it easy to find new recipes and discover new techniques). We found the recipe in this cookbook. (I think it was a wedding present):

The New Basics by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

Like the description on Amazon says for beginners it will show you how to boil an egg and for experienced cooks it will show you new techniques to try. This is definitely a cookbook to have on your shelf.

It’s worth all the chopping of onions (white & green), carrots, celery, bell peppers (red and green), and garlic to see how much he appreciates it. Be forewarned the vegetables have to sweat and then chill for an hour, then the meatloaf itself cooks for about 50 minutes. So this isn’t a quick and easy meal, but you will be rewarded for your hard work. (You can even do the vegetables the day before, but, honestly, I can never seem to work that far ahead.)


And, one more tip, it seems like some of the ingredients, like the meats, aren’t necessarily sold in the same quantities as called for in the recipe. This recipe is pretty forgiving if you’re over or under a bit, it’s not going to make much difference.

This time I saw where someone had topped it with a mixture of ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard five minutes before pulling it out of the oven. That was delicious!

Hubby was so excited when I offered to make it last night and that makes me happy.

What meal can you create to make someone in your house feel special tonight?

Armistice 100/Veterans Day

One hundred years ago, the treaty to end The Great War was signed on a private train carriage in a remote area of France.

People really believed there was never be a war like that again. How could there be? It was so terrible with such a great cost to human life. Wouldn’t we all do what we could to prevent that from happening again? Thus the name “The Great War.”

It was such a hopeful thought.

Of course, we now know The Great War as World War I. In the last one hundred years, not only have we seen World War II, but also Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Iraq. And, those are only the one involving the U.S. Unfortunately, there are people at this moment living in war zones.

Armistice Day is now known as Veterans Day to honor and celebrate those individuals who have served their country and put themselves in danger to ensure freedom for the rest of us.

Today, I honor my husband. He chose to serve not once, but twice and then reenlisted again after a year of active duty after 9/11. His sense of duty and desire to keep the bad guys away from our shores and to help others find freedom is inspiring. Thank you, Honey.

I am forever grateful God puts warriors on this earth to stand up for what is right.

Bedlam and Playoffs!

What a weekend of football in our house!

Last night, my son’s high school team won their first playoff game this season 49-0! Go BA! Go Tigers!









It was quite a feat since it was literally freezing out there!

I’d like to institute a new rule. When the temperature hits 32 degrees, we play “soccer rules.” The clock no longer stops. For anything. No timeouts. No stopping when someone gets out of bounds or for a first down or even for an injury. Let’s get this party going and get people into the warmth!









Seems reasonable, yes?

We’re on to the semifinals next week!

Then, today, was Bedlam!

The University of Oklahoma played Oklahoma State University. It probably doesn’t sound like much to anyone outside of our state, but since we don’t have professional football here, it’s one of the biggest football events of the year. (Although, being an OU fan, it feels like every game is a huge event!) It’s fun to be a fan and even more fun now that my oldest is a student there. I can even imagine what game day must be like as a student on campus!

The fun continues tomorrow with pro football. Our family has restarted our family football league where everyone picks a team before the beginning of the season. The person whose team makes it the farthest wins! It use to be that the losers had to throw the winners a Super Bowl party, but since we’re all in three different states, we’ll have to think of a way around that. I have the Rams and I’m currently tied for first place!

Better start looking a trophies!


BA Football Undefeated! District Champs!

BA Football Undefeated! District Champs!

Well, it was easy to find something to write about today. Last night my son’s football team has a record setting night!

First undefeated season in school history!

Highest scoring game in school history!

District champs!

It’s been fun to be a part of this season as a parent and seeing these players work hard and grow. It’s been a huge season of growth for Ethan as he’s learned a new position and figured out how to navigate high school football as a sophomore. It’s not easy being one of the young guys on a big team. There’s not a lot of recognition or playing time. But, I’m proud of E for sticking with it and working hard. I know he will see success in the years to come and it’s my hope that he can relish this victorious season.

On to the playoffs!



2017 – What a Year!

Some years are better than others. That is a fact. While this was a tumultuous year for the world collectively, oddly enough, it was one of the better ones for our little clan. (And, we’ve had our share of not-so-good years.) With more wins than losses this year, it seemed fitting to write down the good stuff while it’s (semi) fresh in my head.

1st Major Parenting Goal Accomplished: Our first kid graduated from high school!

The old cliche is true. While the days are most definitely long, the years are most definitely short. From the time the new year dawned, everything just barreled toward graduation with a speed I was not prepared for. There were tears and one big ugly-cry, but when he walked across that stage the feeling of overwhelming pride was like no other. We did it! We got him through school. We got him to age 18. We raised a human being. We’re putting a fine young man out into the world. I couldn’t be more proud.

2nd Major Parenting Goal Accomplished: Our first kid went to college!

While it seems like this should go hand-in-hand with the first one, I’m keenly aware this isn’t always the case. There are a lot of distractions and certainly other viable paths to take after completing 14 years of education (preschool – 12th grade). I’m proud Chet set his sights on college and stuck to that decision. It took a lot of effort but he did it! Now he’s a freshman at the University of Oklahoma! (Boomer Sooner, Baby!) This is something I dreamed about when he was born. To see it happening right in front of my eyes was so strange and satisfying. This kid was built for college life and is knocking it out of the park! He is a member of the AF-ROTC and is heading out this week on a mission trip with the OU Wesley Foundation. Watching him find his path is the most gratifying feeling of parenthood so far.


Parenting Dream Fulfilled: We have a football player!

There are goals and then there are dreams. When we had two little boys, I think both my husband and I assumed we would be spending every minute of free time at sports games and practices, and certainly we would have a football player since my husband played and his dad before him played. The boys tried a bunch of different things but nothing really stuck. Then, Coach Morgan happened. It was his 8th grade P.E. coach that suggested Ethan go out for the football. (Some things require independent 3rd party verification in our house.) So he did. He went to summer conditioning and played the full Freshman Football season on special teams and as a safety. They even beat their sworn rivals—TWICE! Now this kid eats, sleeps, and breathes football. “Is there a football game on today, Mom?” is a common question every morning now and when he’s not watching it, he’s playing it on his phone or Xbox. The video games and apps have actually helped him learn the plays and positions. So cool. While we would have been fine with whatever extracurricular activity Ethan chose, we are loving being football parents!

Major Job Promotion: I’m the Project Manager for Picture Book Summit!

This was a late-in-the-year development, but a huge one nonetheless. I’ve been working the founders of Picture Book Summit since the online conference started in 2015. I’m the executor (not like that!). I’ve been the one doing the behind-the-scenes tasks and taking care of customer service for the last three years. I love working with this team and our project manager Kristin. At the end of this year, Kristin was offered an opportunity to pursue her writing career she just couldn’t pass up. After she left, the team offered me the promotion to Project Manager! How awesome to have my hard work recognized. Grateful doesn’t begin to describe what this means to me.

Major Goal Accomplished I Had Nothing To Do With: My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary!

How amazing is that? Fifty years with the same person. That’s an accomplishment. And, they still love each other! That’s an even bigger accomplishment. They still love doing things together (and still love some time apart too). We are so lucky to have them as our role models for how to navigate this life AND enjoy it at the same time. For their anniversary in July, ALL our family went to Hilton Head, South Carolina, for a week. Their best friends came with us and helped perform their vow renewal ceremony. Such a wonderful week!

Number of New States I Visited This Year: 9

We drove to the festivities in South Carolina and took a different route back so I visited these states for the first time:

  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee

Took a business trip in September and went to:

  • Connecticut
  • New York!

Yes! I got to visit New York City for the first time. My friend and unflappable tour guide, Katie, made it a trip to remember. I stood at the top of the Empire State Building. Rode the subway. Got lost on the subway. Saw Grand Central Station. Rode the Staten Island Ferry. Sailed by the Statue of Liberty. Had a drink at a cool bar in Central Park West. Walked through Central Park and glimpsed Times Square on our way out of town. To see all these sights from TV in real life was nothing short of amazing!

Other cool things that happened this year:

  • Watched our friends march with The Pride of Broken Arrow in Tournament of Roses Parade
  • Ethan competed in his first robotics meet. (He completely downplayed this but it was the coolest thing to watch!)
  • Chet and Ethan both got jobs working for Say It with Beef! Job title: Carniflorist – They make roses out of beef jerky. Seriously.
  • I learned to crochet!
  • Chet and Ethan went to New Orleans!
  • I filled in for the pastor and gave the message three times at church this year!
  • Met The Outsiders author S.E. Hinton at a 50th anniversary book signing event.
  • Big Chet drove an Audi R8 at 150 mph.
  • We got a new (to us) car!
  • Took my mom to a book signing with one of her favorite authors, Sandra Brown.
  • We had all the grandparents and aunts here for Chet’s graduation. Not sure the last time we were all in the same place at the same time.

Whew! No wonder I’m tired! As I said, not all years are like this, but I’m thankful during the tough times, there are good times to remember and look forward to.

Wishing you a wonderful 2018!