Got a coupon

During our in-flight meal, those smart marketing people at my favorite photo book company cleverly included a coupon under my saran-wrapped ravioli plate.

Not just any coupon. A coupon for a free photo book. How fitting as my family and I were on our return flight from a 7-day vacation.

A coupon for a free photo album sitting pretty on each of our five in-flight meals.

However… these wonderful coupons expire at the end of September. I suppose I need to sort through my photos within the next few weeks.

I still have a long way to go before I select and process enough photos to fill an entire book (or five), but I managed to IG a couple vacay favorites.

Oh, how I am missing the beach.




Reboot 2014

Feb blog post

I realize it’s been ages since I’ve blogged. Life is rebooting once again and we’re (I’m) very excited.

Last year (2013) was one of our busiest and best. Three of our siblings got married in 2013, and we had three weddings in three different states.

Kids were involved with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Cross Country and Track.

Hubby still runs his marathons & ultra marathons along with the brothers (his older brother & my brother). Work keeps him busy, but he still has flexibility to coach the kids’ teams year round.

At my facility, I always hope for it to slow down, but there’s always a new project going on. Last year, we revamped and launched a new marketing plan and industry partnership.

After six years at the university, I’m taking on a new career challenge next month. 

So, 2014 will be a time to adjust and adapt to change. One change that captured my heart… Big Brother starts high school this fall. I still remember his first day of kindergarten. Where does the time go…?

Change of address

So, in my last post, school had just started and we were in the middle of not-knowing-what-will-happen-next. Since then, a lot has changed!

We moved! I’m posting from our new home!

We spent the past couple weeks packing and moving, and we are finally (mostly) settled in our new digs just 1.5 miles away from our previous home.

So many reasons to be thankful right now! To name a few…

  • The move didn’t disrupt the kids’ school routines or move us away from the school (aka our kids’ home away from home). We made several trips to unload over the weekends and rented a truck on a weekday.
  • We are a few doors down from family friends. Our kids have grown up together since Kindergarten and are in the same grades & classrooms, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Band, Robotics, school sports and clubs, etc. Now they’ll attend the same Intermediary and High Schools. If we stayed in our last house, our kids would attend rival schools. Will be nice for carpooling, too!
  • This house is little bigger – we had outgrown our previous home. Hence, the severe clutter issue and reason I started my Project List 2011. Moving brought decluttering to a whole new level as I did NOT want to move anything that we did not need! We disposed, recycled or gave away a LOT!!!!
  • The floor plan is more open, so it’s easier to entertain. We celebrate holidays and birthdays with extended family and it always felt cramped in our previous floor plan.
  • Since it’s a two story with a smaller footprint, the yard is much bigger. Kids love it! The trees are mature, so we have lots of shade too. Also great for entertaining!

But, keepin’ it real… We had to make some big sacrifices to make this work. On the downside…

  • We’re off a main street and very close to a shopping center. I keep waking up at night from the traffic and noise. (Who wakes up to go to the gym at 5am?! Geesh! And, did I mention our neighbors have roosters??? They rise promptly at 5am, too.)
  • We were in a gated community before. Seriously, we didn’t lock our front door or our cars. This is a safe neighborhood, but we’ll still need to take better precautions.
  • My path to and from work is a little longer… so more commute time.
  • Our master closet is a quarter of the space we had before… In fact, we didn’t need bedroom furniture, because it all fit into the closet. Currently, we’re living out of suitcases, laundry baskets and large garbage bags. Pretty, huh? Craigslist will be our new bff.
  • ALL of the closets are smaller. Except for Brother’s. Ironically, he’s the only person not sharing a room and he probably has the least amount of clothes.

In the grand scheme, those are petty, first-world problems. There were some big decisions that will remain personal. Overall, though, Hubby and I both believe this is where we are meant to be and we plan to stay here for several years to come.

Along the way, there were factors out of our control and many setbacks… but everything fell into place. Keep in mind that we did not have a definite plan three weeks ago (or last week, really)!  Yet, the entire time we had a peace that all things would somehow work together.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

As we head into fall and the season of thanksgiving, I have a renewed spirit and sense of my place in this world. All that just from a change of address??? Nope. All that from my experience in the past 3 weeks – trusting God day-by-day, leaning not on my own understanding and believing that God answers all prayers in His time, not ours.

In some ways, it was a miracle. It was an answer to prayer, in a way that we weren’t expecting. We believe that nothing would have come together if it wasn’t meant to be. For that, we are very humbled and thankful that God provided for our family.

Along for the ride

On my roller coaster of life, the track has taken another unexpected turn! And like its real-life counterpart, the ride is both thrilling and scary. I wish I knew how the ride ended, but that is the fun (and anxiety) in it all. Hopefully, in a month, that part of life will be resolved.

Meanwhile, I cannot believe we are starting yet another school year! The year is off to a great start and the kids each have wonderful teachers. They are growing so fast…. Lately, I miss the days when I was able to work in the classroom.

I was never cut out to be an elementary teacher, but I enjoy seeing my kids in the classroom.

DH will be coaching the cross country team again this year. So, I’m grateful that one of us is able to be more closely connected with the kids. I have to be honest though, I don’t miss having to remember all my elementary school facts to help with homework! I’m definitely not “smarter than a 5th grader”. (Is that show still on???)

Happy fall! Hope everyone is having a great school year!

First day of school!

Fall into chaos

Before I left work today, I counted my overtime from last week… 12 straight hours (or 18 OT hours at time-and-a-half). And, I’m still a bit behind schedule. Sometimes I don’t think it pays to take a vacation, when you have to come back to so much work ;)

Fortunately, we had 2 superb, extended weekends away from the house and our normal reality. It really was difficult to come back to work and do laundry!

So far this summer we’ve gone to:

the beach

the aquarium

the park

a wedding

several concerts {woot!}

the museum

camp on a racetrack

backpacking in the wilderness




It has been so much fun now that the kids are all at a great age. They are mostly self-sufficient, but not overtly independent. I love that they all just really want to hang out with mom and dad. <3

Next week, we’ll start our new routines. Back to school!!

New teachers

New classmates

New clothes {woot woot}

New backpacks and supplies

New kid in kindergarten, the “baby” {EEEK}

I know for our kids, the first 2-3 weeks is tough with  trying to get enough sleep and figuring out the where everyone needs to be on which day at what time. This is our first year with all 3 kids in school and, believe it or not, they’re all at the same school. This will be the only year! Next year, my oldest will be at the middle school (7th – 8th grade).

When I was pregnant with kiddo #3 six years ago {holy heck, has it been that long}, I was in the middle of my MBA classes. My vision was that this would be the year I would go back for the last half of my MBA… Now that the last six years have flown by, I’m getting the itch to go back and finish!

But I have no time! I spent 12 hours above my normal work schedule to make up for the two days I was off for vacation. I don’t need an MBA to know that is some wacky math if you ask me!

So, with that said, do you have any tips for easing into the school year, rather than starting the fall season in chaos? My workload is crazy right now and coming home with a straight head to help the kids with homework (aka whinefest) is necessary for survival. I would love any tried and true advice!

Happy fall!

Summer Fun

This month has blown by! Maybe because it’s sandwiched between two holidays. Okay, maybe not.

Last year, I thought things at work would slow down in June. Little did I know… they were just about to pick up. I promised myself to be better prepared this year…. I’m not sure if I’m wiser for knowing or worried because I know what crazy busy days lie ahead of me!

I do enjoy that the sun is still shining for a few hours after I get home from work. We’ve enjoyed some family time together when we’re not running off to one of our weekly activities. Although the kids are out of school, we still have Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, dance, band, church… I have managed to schedule a few vacation days in so we can get away!

Last Friday I came home from work and felt funny. I crawled into bed at 5pm and slept for 17 hours. I was completely exhausted!

I imagine the next few weeks will continue to be too busy, too hot and full of more crazy, lazy, hazy, days of summer.

And, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Recently heard – with aid

My oldest daughter has some of the most interesting word associations.

Last night we gathered for a 4-generation family dinner – my grandma, my parents, us and my kids. (Grandma will be turning 88 years old this summer!) It was late in the evening for my grandma, so she was getting tired and quiet.

After we dropped grandma off, my mom and I were chatting while little ears in the backseat were listening attentively…

My Mom: I think Granny was getting tired. She was quiet.

Me: Maybe she was having trouble hearing.

Big Sis: Yeah, Granny uses special ear vitamins to hear.

Me: {???}

Big Sis: She puts them in her ear to hear better.

Me: ……..oh! You mean her hearing aids?

Big Sis: Yeah! Ear vitamins!

A World Away

Naturally, Compassion Bloggers: Philippines 2011when I heard that this year’s Compassion Bloggers team was headed to the Philippines, I was intrigued and excited.

First, because the Philippines is the country of my ancestry.

Second, because my local church recently planted a church and school in the Philippines.

Third, because I am greatly inspired by the work of Compassion International.

By following the Compassion team’s journey this week, I see a small window into a world that is so close and yet a polar opposite.

As a first-generation American (in my father’s lineage), I can picture my dad in the faces of each of those little boys that they visit.

My dad’s journey to the United States was innately led by God, each step of the way. Because of his faithfulness and obedience, I am living comfortably in the suburbs of one of the largest cities in California.

It is not lost on me that if a single choice he made was different, it could have altered my life as I know it.

He was one of those barefoot kids in a small fishing village on the river. He started working at the age of 9 to support his family (my dad’s father died when he was 4) and to pay for his schooling.

Compassion International had not been formed yet, but there were several caring individuals along the way who opened doors of opportunities for him that eventually led him to the United States.

A missionary team to the Philippines led a VBS-type service and my dad happened to wander in. He wanted to know more about Jesus and committed his life to following his teachings. This choice greatly influenced and shaped his life.

Long story short & fast forward to present day……. It’s as if I’m on the opposite side of the looking glass.

I want to do my part to make a difference. Over the past year, I’ve contemplated whether to join one of our church ministry teams to the Philippines. And, through the Compassion Blogger teams, I can really see the value of sponsoring a child. I haven’t made a commitment to either option yet, but I have a greater sense of urgency to prayerfully take that first step.

Founded in 1952, Compassion International, with the support of its donors, volunteers and staff, provides for 1 million children in 26 different countries. Their work is life-changing. Read their vision statement and the posts from the bloggers past and present and come to your own conclusion :)

But first, read this amazing post by Shaun Groves who is one of the Compassion Trip Leaders. Kristin Welch traveled with Compassion last year. There is no such thing as “random” in this story! Don’t wait. Read it now :)


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