Friday Favorites

Hip Hip Hooray for another edition of Friday Favorites! Just so y’all know, this is a carefully curated list that I keep updated in the notes app on my phone. I add to it all week and whenever something strikes me with its awesome, I add it to the list. So, here we go!

1. On Saturday, I experienced my first ever Bunco night. And all of my hand-wringing over how hard it would be suddenly seemed silly. Roll the dice, count, drink, repeat. A game of chance pairs perfectly with a slightly chilled bottle of Chardonnay. It was also, of course, Halloween-themed, so everyone was encouraged to dress in costume and bring a dish to share. I bought 2 cans of crescent rolls, a can of black olives and one bag of sundried tomatoes for these squiggly snakes. Apparently, if you take 5 minutes to loop your food around a skewer, it makes your food all curly and Instagram-worthy. The recipe actually called for pizza dough, which is what I will use next time, since that would be better suited for the marinara sauce I bought. But seriously, how freaking cute. And even easier than the mummy hotdogs I made last year. Thanks for everything, Pinterest. But most importantly, thanks for not being around yet when I was planning our wedding.


2. Speaking of Halloween-themed Bunco, I couldn’t resist getting a selfie with my Birthday Twin. I was a character from a popular children’s book and she was the liquor that had me praying for mercy to the porcelain god at my friends’ wedding (here’s to you, Matt and Ginger). Any guesses?


3. There aren’t any pictures of this, but that was also the night I discovered the sweet nectar of the gods: warm apple cider and caramel-flavored vodka. Fortunately for me (and anyone else who would encounter me the next day), I didn’t come upon this combination until the end of the evening. But just one glass was enough to make walking home a bit perilous. And when I sat down to remove my hooves, I nearly sat on this guy, who was the only one still waiting up for me. He was the last person I expected to see lounging on the couch.


I texted the girls and they immediately shot back with a slew of jokes about being surprised by a little Woody. Yes, of course they did.

4. Our neighbors down the street, who have 4 boys that are 7 years old and younger (one set of twins in there for y’all who are doing the math at home), invited us to their Halloween Cooking Challenge. One parent + 2 boys form a team and one parent + 2 other boys form a team. One night during the week, the chosen team prepares an appetizer, entree and dessert, all of which must feature a Halloween theme. We arrived after the appetizer (Mummy Hotdogs), but in time for the entree (Bug Guts Stew) and dessert (Witches’ Brew). Costumes were also strongly encouraged. We didn’t get that memo before leaving the house, but luckily for us, they had a trunk full. So, I grabbed a hat and Blue morphed into Creek-Wading Captain America. We drank crow’s blood from claw goblets and sipped our stew from cauldrons. The battery-operated candles flickered as 6 boys debated if the soup was better with shredded cheese or without. And I knew instantly that our friends are killin’ it as parents. Most of the time it’s like herding cats trying to get out the door to school and often there is something going on with at least one of the kids, but on this night, I completely understood that these 4 boys are having a most enchanted childhood. It’s not always slaying dragons and saving the princess, but it will be happily ever after, for sure.


5. Sitting in traffic on Thursday, I looked over and noticed this piece of weathered sheet music just laying in the turning lane.


It was such an unexpected thing to see in the road and it immediately brought forth all sorts of questions about how it came to be there. Was it a mini-van full of musicians on their way to play at the Hollywood Bowl when it suddenly blew out of the back seat? Did it fall out of the shopping cart of a once-famous violinist who now lives on the street, but longs for her Stradivarius? Was it shoved carelessly into a backpack while hastily packing for piano lessons and then whipped by the wind all the way down Sepulveda Boulevard? I will never know, but I did think, just for a second, about leaping out to grab it before the light turned green. Then I remembered my mom reading a news story last year about a scrap of paper that was covered in a powdered drug and left in a parking garage. A toddler picked it up (as they tend to do) and the drug entered his blood stream and killed him. They just had a nasty outbreak of Typhus on Skid Row. I left that piece of sheet music, along with all my unanswered questions, at the intersection.

6. I have discovered another wonderful blog. I’m not even sure how I came to click on it, but I’m sure it had something to do with the title of the post: I Millennial Mom So Hard. I believe the person who had shared it on social media commented that finally someone else was unapologetic about the internal contradictions many of us live with everyday: like why I will spend $5 on a quart of organic strawberries, but let Blue have a bag of frosting coated animal crackers after school…or why I limit his TV viewing to mostly PBS shows, but we have a growing collection of Pokemon cards. Parenting is hard and I think she absolutely nailed the reason behind our decisions, which seem erratic and inconsistent to most, but make perfect sense to us.

7. A welcome (and rather exotic) addition to our neighborhood Momfia is the Lizard Lady. I’m not sure exactly how many lizards she has, but I think there are at least 10. They lounge in the Rubbermaid storage container under the SoCal sun (and right next to the sea because the Lizard Lady has one of the best views in the neighborhood) and wait to be showered with attention, whether it’s at school pick-up or Friday afternoons when the kids don’t have to finish homework first. Filed under, “You can get used to anything”: I don’t think twice now about seeing the Lizard Lady at the school gate, with a lizard tucked under a bra strap, waiting for her little one to meet her at the top of the stairs. The other day, she had one swaddled in a Crown Royal bag and as we chatted about duty stations and military stuff, he just crossed his little claws and listened intently. It was just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen a reptile do.


Here’s what it looks like when a lizard lives the good life.

That’s all for today! I would love to hear YOUR Friday Favorites!

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!! It’s a short week for Neal since the Army gives a 4-day holiday for Columbus Day. Blue’s school does not, however, so Neal and I are going to try our hand at kayaking the canals at Long Beach today. I haven’t been in a kayak since 2004, but it’s probably just like riding a bike, right? Get in, paddle and try like hell not to tip over because the Pacific Ocean, in case you didn’t know, is freaking cold. All the time. I don’t know how the kids play in it on our beach days. They say once you get in, you warm up, but I’ve never gone in past my knees so I can neither confirm nor deny that statement.

I think on Fridays I’m going to do a little round-up of my favorite things from the week. Please feel free to send me your favorite things, too! As I’ve been saying all along, this blog is meant to be a community where everyone has a voice. So, please…use it!

I Got Back on Instagram…After a Year Hiatus

I had the opportunity to “take-over” the Blue Star Families’ Instagram for the day. On “Take-over Tuesday”, they posted several pictures and captions from our star-studded evening at the red carpet premiere of SEAL Team. They even included a picture Neal took of me interviewing Judd Lormand and A.J. Buckley! Speaking of the premiere, did anyone watch it? Holy explosions and falling stunts, Batman! When Max Thieriot jumped off that rig, the whole theater erupted in applause and cat-calls. Should you ever get to attend the premiere of any TV show or movie, take it! It is a completely different experience when the cast is in the audience with you. 20180925_213631

I Have Awesome Friends Who Do Awesome Things

A friend of mine in Kentucky posted this picture on her Facebook page this week.


Her husband spent three days repainting the roof of their barn. He had to paint one color at a time. And if you’ve ever heard the expression, You couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, then you know exactly how big that barn’s roof is. I’m sure this was a backbreaking task, but what a worthy endeavor! And the result is breathtaking. I look forward to seeing it in person someday.



Fifteen hours after walking the red carpet, I was sitting at LAX, waiting for Mom’s flight to land. We had a hot 3-day date with a couple of mice (and all their friends) down the road. I am going to quietly admit that Disneyland was significantly more fun than I thought it would be. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the Happiest Place on Earth (because over-stimulation of a six year old is anything but happy), but it was certainly a good time. I’m not sure I would change my stance on the question: Our family wants to go on vacation…should we go to Disney or the Grand Canyon? But I am finally willing to concede that perhaps the answer is: Both, eventually. These are a few of my favorite pictures from the weekend, but you’ll see many more next week (apparently, I have a media storage limit on my WordPress account and I’m at 12% right now. I am wondering just how long it will take before upgrading is my only option.). Beginning Sunday, I will post a 4-part series that will cover what I planned beforehand, what we learned from each park and what we’ll do differently next time (oh yes, boys and girls…there will be a next time).


Because One Blog Just Isn’t Enough

I was channeling my grandmother when I started yet another blog this week. She was a woman who, upon finding shoes or clothes that fit perfectly, would buy it in every color. Why have one when you could have two? Or three. Or four. I enjoy writing (obviously, as most of the time I do it for free), so why not create a space for sharing my love/hate relationship with burpees, kale and all of the essential oils that smell so bad but are so good for me. Most of that happens in our garage, which is too small to fit the Prius but too big to not utilize. Also, I don’t have to scrape ice for 2 years and that was a major factor in choosing to convert the garage into a gym. Playing beat the clock while your windshield defrosts is, I’m sure, a game they play in Hell. My paint job will probably suffer but at least I can squat myself to greatness. If you want to join the fun, come find me Behind the Garage Door. I will post Tuesdays and Thursdays.


Have a great weekend, lovely people! I’ll see you on Sunday!