Remember 14?


Being a stepmom has been a journey with experiences and emotions I could not have predicted in my most creative moments…

Aidan became my son just over 9 years ago, came to live with us 8 years ago (in Peru!) and started calling me Mom shortly thereafter… forging a parent-child relationship with someone that was not born with that inherent unconditional love for you is challenging and difficult at times, yet incredible and absolutely one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences I will ever have. We have been through a lot together and it’s not been an easy ride for him either… living a life between split families is no picnic… but he has taken on most of life’s challenges with a cool composure and a mature attitude.

And I love him more than I think he will ever fully comprehend. Happy 14th birthday Aidan George!! ❤️❤️


From living legend to legend. 

Today marks one year since the last time I spoke to my mom. We talked about the usual day to day, catching up on life. She told me about her recent stress test that showed no immediate concerns. Five days later I would learn she suffered from a fatal heart attack. So much for stress tests. 

A week ago we learned that Auntie Gemma died. Another sudden and devastating loss. This is life, I know. 

While my dear uncle remains in the hospital fighting to overcome kidney issues (after surviving a stroke, heart attack, cancer and Vietnam!), I cherish his lucid (awake) moments and recall many sweet memories. 

Some people are iconic, whether it’s a patriarch or a matriarch or just a stolid member of the family. When one falls, there is always someone just as strong to carry on the legacy. It’s like a royal dynasty. Well it is royal isn’t it, what’s more important than family? 
All the family and friends and even the celebrities and musicians we felt like we knew… All the ones that were living legends… And became simply, legends. They left their mark, on one or many. 

It’s hard to let go though… To let them be legends. We want them back, we want times to be like they were before. They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to release the grief. Support and love from those around get us through our difficult times. 

There’s no clear path, no getting “over it”. There is only a new way of looking at life, at your surroundings. Every day I find a new perspective, the one that keeps me thankful for the love and life I am blessed with; the one that shields me from bitterness and resentment. Every day I look at life anew. Every. Single. Day.

If you are hurting, I hope you can find the strength to get through today, then tomorrow, then the next day. And the inner peace to feel loved, to realize your blessings, and of course, to smile….


Life Repeats Itself


Let’s see… Christmas was lovely. New Year’s was pleasant. The Carnival season was extremely fun – as always. And my trip to NY was simply perfect. Great, we are all caught up.

Last night I was going to write in my journal about my frustrations (also known as my kids!). Instead, I decided to read some earlier entries. In February of 2013, I wrote about the very same thoughts I have today. Three years later and what has changed? Well there is another child in the mix and my mom is not around to hear my complaints.

I still don’t meditate. I have not started back yoga. Even running is not as enticing as it used to be. Also, I’m not writing much (sad face emoji). Hmmmm… this is a systemic issue. These are all within my control and yet years later I still struggle with a short temper and a wardrobe 1/2 size too small.  Eye opening.

This is not something I would normally talk about ON MY BLOG. I’m not trying to send out negative vibes though. Quite the opposite. I always usually send out love and optimism so I’m hoping this will act as a boomerang and get me back on the right track. Only I can do that for myself, but if I send this message out to the world, shame on me if in three years I’m saying the same things all over again.

Here’s to the journey on this windy road we call life. Don’t go around in circles – “Look kids, Big Ben.” Go forward and love where you’ve been.






I’ll take that hug with a side of laughter please…

Taking advantage of the better things in life… kids, sunshine, summer.


The thank you cards are sent. The household is sorted through. The ashes are scattered. The seemingly endless To Do list is completed and thus the intermission is over. There was life with mom. Now there is life without mom.

School starts next week. We’ve been back from NY for a few days and mostly I feel like – well it’s hard to explain. I feel uncertain, cloudy. Yet, in my heart, I know I will survive this.

Lovely words, heartfelt emotions, sympathy cards, late night chats. These have started me on my journey past grief. And hugs. Hugs are the hardest. I simply cannot hug a person without a lake forming in my eyes. Very much a part of the process. Very much the opposite of me. It’s a new day.

Just a select few of many:

The day we scattered Mom's ashes...

The day we scattered Mom’s ashes

Maria was lovely….truly. I am grateful that she was part of my life. I tend to turn to quotes during times of sadness or anger, I found this one and thought it fitting.  I know nothing can help but time, but maybe it will help a little.  I love you and miss you!!
“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” ― Leo Tolstoy

Sometimes we’re broken only to discover a rebirth in our lives: a new way of thinking, loving, and cherishing everyone, and every moment we’re blessed with.
I believe you will find the strength that your mom saw in you. And when you do, you’ll realise that the spirit of M is ever-present in your daily life as you hear yourself laugh, and see glimpses of her love in Blaine and the children.


My favorite.

I have a million things to be joyful for and only one to be sad about. And while it is a deep sadness, the love surrounding me will swallow my grief little by little and it will be OK. I will be OK.


“A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear.”

While I waited for my computer to boot up (only a few seconds) I glanced at my reflection and thought, “there is still beauty there.”  That’s not how I was feeling this morning when I tried to look half decent for a family photo shoot we had planned. Just under six weeks after giving birth it can be hard to stand in front of the mirror and love what you see.  Yes, it’s an amazing feat and being a mother is truly grand. But it’s still nice to feel pretty.

No one except my four year old daughter was even remotely looking forward to the photo shoot.  It was intended to be a fun experience and while there were some laughs and smiles, it wasn’t quite what I had hoped.  Expectations are a bitch.  The photographer was great, she is a friend of ours, a long time friend of my husband’s family and it was no fault of hers that my morning went awry.

It felt like a never-ending cycle of brattiness (daughter), sarcasm (eldest son), yelling (me), crying (kids), and silent indifference (gracious husband). Yet, the stress inducing events of the day passed. As they always do.  Once I am able to breathe and reset  everything tends to fall back into perspective. Sometimes I wish I could restart the day with calm resolve but life is not a blog post, nor a DVD.

Each day starts and ends with a smile. I wake up grateful, happy just to enjoy a cup of coffee with my husband.  And I go to sleep with peace in my heart when I look at my healthy sleeping children (the silence helps with this!).  The in between parts are sometimes frustrating, harrowing, and stressful. On occasion days are filled with nostalgia, longing, even sadness.  But I find that much of life is made up of moments full of laughter and joy.  These times get us through the others and make all the beautiful smiles possible.


Tough day…

Ten Years.

Ten years (and two days) ago, I boarded a plane to Los Angeles, and moved across the country away from everything I knew and everyone I loved.  On Saturday, April 9, 2005, with no less than seven guide books tucked away in my luggage, my dream of living in California had become a reality.  I soon met awesome people, made great friends, and with them, enjoyed life in Redondo Beach in a way I never anticipated.  And I never used those guide books…

Redondo Beach, April 2005

Redondo Beach, April 2005

When I was 17, my high school English teacher asked us to write an essay on where we would be in ten years.  27 seemed like a lifetime away.  I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to study in college and I didn’t have a boyfriend.  Yet my teenage brain had a high powered career, husband, and kids locked down in ten years.  No one can predict the future.

At 28, it would be my career that would bring me opportunities for a new chapter in life.  And later, love, marriage, & kids would indeed bring me farther from where I began.  Now, ten years after my move to L.A. (and two countries later), I have more memories than I could have hoped for and good friends to remind me of them.  A lot can happen in ten years: weddings, babies, deaths.  Ten years of events that have both pulled me closer to, and pushed me farther from, those whom I love most.  Ten years of life changing, character shaping moments.

Today, I celebrate that move, the friends I made along the way, the good times shared.  Today, I celebrate a charmed life.


New day.


Sometimes, at the end of the day, I’m really disappointed (it’s rare, I’m usually just tired). In these moments, it’s important to remember, tomorrow will bring a new day. 

Make it count.  

Be creative, or productive. Give a hug, share a laugh. Move forward.  

Wishing you a lovely day, 


My sweet niece… too cute for words.