Thursday, March 31, 2011

41 random facts

it's the last day of march.  the last day of my birthday month.  i thought it would be fun to wrap it up by giving you some facts about myself.  in writing this i realized that there are some things that i still want to share.  some very personal, some interesting and some funny. hopefully nothing that will prevent me from getting a job in the near future. it's a good list to go by.  

before you read on, i wanted to take this time to thank you for reading my blog.  some of you daily, some of you every so often.  it's been fun and i appreciate the support and comments.  so thank you!
  1. i go by betty, gioconda, nena, b, and mommy.  read all about it here.
  2. i love cooking, photography, scrapbooking and now running.
  3. i once took a classical guitar class.  i can't remember a thing.
  4. i met my first boyfriend on a student film project about elvis.
  5. we've been married for 16 years.  
  6. i've been a tour guide at a major motion picture studio, a pre-school teacher's assistant, a sales associate at target, a theatrical distribution sales person, and a personal assistant on a tv sitcom.
  7. when i first started college i wanted to be a teacher.
  8. after taking a creative writing class in my freshman year i changed my major.
  9. i spend a lot of my time volunteering at the kids' school.
  10. my husband wishes i spent more time at home doing laundry.
  11. i'm a terrible housekeeper.
  12. i can't make a good pot of coffee.
  13. my dream job is to be a food photographer.
  14. when i was a kid my dream job was to be a makeup artist on days of our lives.
  15. my lucky number is 3.
  16. i once got a phone call from an oprah show producer. i promise to do a post about this soon.
  17. screenwriting was my major in college but i have only written one screenplay and no one has read it.
  18. i went into labor with my first born at 22 weeks and spent the next four months on bedrest.
  19. that was the scariest time of my life.
  20. my son was born at 37 weeks healthy as could be.
  21. i believe in the power of prayer.
  22. my 8 year old makes me laugh more than anyone else i know.
  23. my 5 year old reminds me so much of me.
  24. i have scrapbook crushes on herher and her.  she inspired this post.
  25. my favorite vacation was a trip to paris and rome on our 3rd anniversary.  there have been many great adventures since then.
  26. this house has always felt temporary. we've been here for 10 years.
  27. my first car was an old ford falcon.
  28. i am a "straight and narrow" kind of person.
  29. i put a lot of pressure on myself.
  30. i've always wondered if i suffer from an anxiety disorder.
  31. i am a good listener.
  32. i believe that there is good in everyone, even though i'm sometimes wrong.
  33. my favorite shows right now are modern family and top chef.
  34. 90% of my clothes are from target or old navy.  with a little ann taylor loft thrown in.
  35. i speak english, spanish and en peu de francais.  
  36. i love my handwriting.
  37. i prefer flip flops to snow boots.
  38. i'm not very adventurous or spontaneous.
  39. i have a lot of self doubt.
  40. that changed for me on saturday.
  41. this is the life i dreamed of.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

the great race

how do i sum up this experience?

let me start by saying that i never played sports as a kid.
i never took ballet or dance. (ok, i took jazz one summer at the local park as a kid.  i was so excited about my turquoise leotard and matching wrap around skirt.  not so much about the actual jazz.)
i was never on a team.
i don't have trophies. (i do have a first place ribbon but that was for a bake off at the kids' school.)
i was never good at sports. (i did receive the presidential award for the fitness test in high school but to this day i am sure that it was a mistake.  i can't do a pull up to save my life.)

i think you get the picture, right?  i am no athlete.
and now you know why doing this race meant so much.

the other part of it is that it's been a while since i've done something like this for me.
i am lucky that i do get time for me but it's spent reading, scrapbooking or watching tv.  i haven't challenged myself like this in a long time.  running required discipline and focus that i wasn't sure i had in me.  i mentioned in a prior post that i thought i knew what my limits were.  but the biggest thing that this race taught me was that i am capable of so much more.

saturday morning i woke up around 5 and drifted in and out.  i finally got out of bed at 6.  i felt calm and ready.  but i also felt guilty that we were getting the kids out of bed so early on a weekend.  we had a long drive and it looked cold outside.  i was really hoping it wouldn't rain.  but i loved that the weather would keep us cool during the run.  bobby brought us bagels for breakfast.  it was just enough fuel to get me to the race feeling good.

when we finally made it to agoura it was crazy.  the 1/2 marathon was in progress and there were people everywhere. the sight of all those people running made the butterfly flutters a little more intense.  the parking was very limited so bobby dropped me off so i could meet my group.  on the way up i found my friend amy and we were set to go.

we met up with our training group.

no, we did not coordinate our outfits.  but it will make it easier to scrapbook these pictures.  after pictures the announcer said "all athletes please move to the starting line."  athletes?  that meant me.  

we headed to the starting line.  that's when it hit me.  the nerves and excitement took over as i saw all of the people gathered together to run the race.  i could see the starting line but could not hear the announcer.  i put my earphones on as they announced the start of the race.  with firework by katy perry blaring in my ear, we were on our way.  i kept saying, "i can't believe this." i wanted to raise my arms in the air and really take in that moment. it was an intense moment for me.  amy and i just smiled at each other.  the pack of people disbursed and we had a little more room to move our legs.

it was so cool running in this neighborhood but a little disorienting because i wasn't familiar with what was coming next, or how far i was from the mile marker.  we slowly lost the rest of the group.  actually, we quickly lost our trainer and a few of the other faster runners. but amy and i maintained a good pace. 

mile 1 seemed to come so slowly.  then mile 2 was a relief.  and then the pain started kicking in.  my ankle was feeling sore and my right leg was starting to hurt. and to top it all off i could feel a side stitch coming on.  i quickly lifted my arms to my head to relieve that discomfort.  i watched little kids pass me by.  i mean kids that must have been 8 or 9 pass me by.  we saw one guy who was carrying his son on his back and running.  and then we started catching up to some of the runners that were way ahead.  i never walked, although i could have.  i never let up on my pace, although i wanted to.  we maintained a pace just under 12 minutes.  faster than i had done all training.  i just kept going.  

and then we turned the corner to go up that last hill.  i was running out of fuel.  so i remembered something i had read in runners magazine. (the orthodontist has a subscription and surprisingly i picked it up before reading people.)  it asked what you do to finish a race when you are running out of energy.  the response was to pretend like you have a scooper that digs deep inside of you to pull out that last bit.  i imagined that and it worked.  we made it up the last hill and turned the corner to see all the people lining the track and yelling.  
i started smiling at that point.  i tried to look at people's faces.  i tried to take it all in.  i think i wanted to cry,  but i didn't.  i was looking for bobby and the kids.  but i was also feeding off the energy and trying to record that moment in my mind.  and then i saw the finish line.  more people yelling.  the announcer and the clock.  i found that last bit of energy and turned it on full speed to cross the finish line.  amy and i hugged each other and laughed.  we did it!!

my parents were there to give me a hug.  bobby and the kids, who at that point had been standing for 2 hours and just wanted to go home, greeted me with hugs.  

and i felt a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!!!

i collected my medal and took more pictures.
thanks to my sister and bobby for the photos.  and then it was all over.  we had a long walk back to the car.

this week i am taking it easy.  just as everyone predicted amy and i started planning for the next race.  another 5k so we can improve our time.  maybe then we could do a 10k.  why not, right?

thanks for reading along and following me on this journey.  i felt the support throughout the run.

Monday, March 28, 2011

weekly menu:: week 13

sofia had a playdate this morning so i finally got myself organized and am ready to post our menu.

it's my night to take dinner to a friend who had a beautiful baby boy last week.  so i doubled the recipe for this soup and made one pot for us and one for them. the best part is that dinner is ready.
tuesday - bbq pulled pork sandwiches with apple and carrot slaw.  it's baseball night so i'll be making the pork in the crockpot.
wednesday - baked panko crusted chicken tenders with honey mustard, oven fries and salad
thursday - homemade pizza (unless I come up with something better).
friday - grilled salmon, couscous, green beans
saturday - leftovers or pizza, if it don't make it on thursday.
sunday - eat out.

the boys start spring break on thursday and are off all next week.  sofia doesn't have off until before easter.  not that we are planning on going anywhere but i wish their schedules matched up.  

full weekend

we had a very busy weekend.  i'm not ready to post the details yet.  i have to take care of the usual monday morning business.  but just in case you were wondering . . . .

i finished.  i ran the entire way. i ran faster than i thought i would.  i did it.

official time was 35:21.  my legs are still sore, my ankle is healing and i am still on cloud 9.  look for a full post tomorrow.

saturday afternoon andrew had a baseball game.  and then we left for irvine to spend some time with bobby's grandparents.  

sunday, after a stop at the original pancake house, we headed down to san diego for grady's second birthday party.
 loved being with the family again.  got home really late last night.  so there is much to take care of today.

have a good monday.

Friday, March 25, 2011

five on friday :: 5k

oh my gosh.  the race is tomorrow.  i can hardly contain the excitement/nerves/terror.  i am ready.

1. my friend amy picked up my race bag with my bib number and t-shirt.  wow, looking at the bib with my name on it makes me giddy.  i am really going to do this.

2. i made a run playlist that i had on shuffle for my training. but tomorrow i have a planned list with some new songs that will hopefully get me through the hurdles and get me going a little faster.

  1. firework - katy perry
  2. everlong - foo fighters
  3. dog days are over - florence and the machine
  4. pain - jimmy eat world
  5. good vibrations - glee cast
  6. 1901 - phoenix
  7. sweet disposition - the temper trap
  8. rock that body - black eyed peas
  9. sweetness - jimmy eat world
  10. forget you - cee lo green
  11. defying gravity - glee cast
the playlist is 40 minutes long.  my goal is to not make it to the end.

3. i am ready for the pain.  i'm hoping for the best, to be able to work through it.  and after the race i plan on doing some work on preventing injuries instead of dealing with them.  (kenzi - i promise!) for tomorrow i'll take the ibuprofen just to make it a little easier and i'll wrap the ankle.

4.  for my birthday bobby bought me a pair of pants and a shirt.  so sweet that he wants me to look good while i run.  the shoes are the ones we bought when we committed to running.  i'm finally sticking to that commitment.  this will probably be the one and only race these shoes see.  i think i've maxed them out but they served me well. 

Source: via Holly on Pinterest

5.  here's the thing, i know i can do it.  i've already done it and then some. i've been to every training.  i've run every mile.  i've lived through the pain.  i did what i thought i couldn't do.  i am nervous that all of my aches and pains will keep me from doing my best.  but i know that tomorrow with the adrenaline flowing and the music playing in my ears i may not feel the pain. i am looking forward to seeing the finish line and my family there to cheer me on.  

tomorrow really is my tomorrow.

wishing you an exciting weekend.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


eta: i wrote this last night and scheduled it to post this morning.  

sometimes i have a lot i want to say.  the thoughts and words are easy and i can't wait to write them down.
sometimes it's hard and i struggle and i wonder if it's worth posting anything at all.

sometimes i want to be light and funny and share pages or projects or ideas i've found on the web.
sometimes i want to be meaningful and thoughtful and make an impression.

sometimes i ask myself if anyone is listening.
sometimes i know that they are.

sometimes i worry that i'm boring or make grammatical mistakes or don't use parenthesis where i should.
sometimes i don't care.

sometimes i am so proud of my pictures or my finished post.  it makes me feel warm inside.
sometimes i'm just happy to hit the publish button.

sometimes i write an entire post and pour out my feelings.
sometimes i erase it and start all over.

sometimes i wonder...sometimes i think too much...sometimes it doesn't make sense.
sometimes i just do it.  those seem to work the best.

sometimes i spend hours on one post.
sometimes i just want to crawl into bed and watch modern family with bobby and laugh and just be.

tonight is one of those nights.
late last week a friend of a friend lost her husband in a tragic and senseless accident.  they have a 2 year old and twins due in just a few short weeks.  they were a normal family living a normal life.  and last thursday their lives changed forever.  the funeral was today and it's all i can think about.  nothing seems important enough to post.  at least not today.

instead i want to take some time to be with bobby and let him know how grateful i am to share my life with him.  i want to thank him for his sacrifice, his patience and his strength.  i want to tell him that my life is more meaningful because he loves me.  i want him to know that i appreciate him as a husband and father.  i want him to remember that he matters to me. i just want to be with him.

life has been busy and hectic. my mind is on the race and school and to-do's.  i think i have forgotten to slow down and live this moment, this right now.  it's really all we have.

life is so fragile . . .

sometimes it's good to be reminded of that.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

showered with love

i love a good party.

i especially love a good shower.  it signifies the beginning of something special, a marriage, a baby.  food, gifts, flowers, what's not to love?  and if our family had a shower committee i would be one of the co-chairs.

i love researching and coming up with ideas.  but more than anything i like to make the shower a very personal experience.  i've been asked before if i would ever consider starting a party planning business.  yes and no.  i think it would be fun, but i'm not sure i would be willing to give up my weekends with my family.  i enjoy putting it together but mostly because i know the person and want them to feel loved.  not sure it would work for people i don't know.

over the next year our family will have 5 weddings.  and with that comes 5 showers.  and over the next few years many baby showers, we hope.

i thought it might be fun to share some of these ideas.  don't worry, i'm not giving away any secrets about what is being planned for these amazing brides.

it really all starts with one little idea.  maybe it's an invitation that catches my eye.  or a theme i see in a magazine or website.  but it all kind of flourishes from there.  sometimes i take charge and others pitch in.  other times i just lend a hand where needed.  my mother in law is usually my partner in crime.  in fact i call her "the ethel to my lucy".  if i need help she's always there to give it.  and she never tells me how crazy i am until after the event.

i have collected dishes, napkins, table cloths, silverware and party supplies throughout the years.  i even have those mini salt and pepper shakers for the table that nobody ever uses.   i could have my own rental business at this point.

my sister and i put together this "baby" shower when i was pregnant with sofia.  after having two boys i really wanted to celebrate having a girl and the wonderful women in my life. so we put together a tea.  my sister and sister-in-law found each guest a tea cup and saucer at the second hand store.  we had tea sandwiches and little desserts.  no games, just fun times hanging out together.  we made a cd with music about girls/women with songs like "isn't she lovely" by stevie wonder and "this ones for the girls" by martina mcbride, to take home with their tea cup.  a very simple but lovely party.

one of the things i loved about this bridal shower was the game we played.  sarah, the bride, loves the cookie decorating station at the annual cookie bake.  so as a game we had gingerbread men and women.  the guests had to decorate them and sarah picked the one she liked the best as the winner.  steve and sarah holding their 4 babies.  we packaged the cookies and included a cookie cutter as their party favor.

food has to be amazing at showers.  we usually end up making the food ourselves.  we decide on the menu and everyone signs up to bring something.  there are some amazing cooks in our family.  i like to experiment and try out new recipes.  like fried ravioli.  and there are the must haves, pasta salad, lemon bars and brownies.  we even invested in a chocolate fountain.

for this tea i made the sandwiches.  chicken and apricot salad on rolls, caprese canape and egg salad sandwiches.  most of these are recipes i have collected over the years or found on the web that are tasty and look pretty, they have to look pretty.

favors are one of my favorite things.  i like useful gifts that go with the theme. i love this favor from a wedding shower.  one of the other hostess put lemon drops in small mason jars.  i made the tags for the jars with my scrapbooking supplies.  so cute and easy.

for another baby shower we came up with the idea to do a book theme.  i looked on the web and found this idea.
i printed the book covers and glued them to lollipop sticks.  then inserted them into the chocolate cupcakes.  they were a hit.  once the theme was set i just googled "book themed baby shower" and i got lots of ideas.  guests brought books for the baby's library and we gave bookmarks as party favors.

my mind is racing with ideas for my sister's bridal shower.  i've already shared them with some of the bridesmaids and i think we have a theme set.  now it's just gathering ideas, recipes and items.  i'll be helping out with a few of the others this year and look forward to capturing it all on camera.

here's a list of some of my favorite sites.
martha stewart
oh happy day!
one charming party
good life eats pretty food
utterly engaged makes a beautiful e-magazine

there are a ton of resources.  but i find that setting the theme or color scheme helps to narrow down the choices.  then a simple google search brings thousands of ideas to choose from.

looking forward to a year of celebrations.

Monday, March 21, 2011

weekly menu:: week 12

i am slowly recovering from the weekend.  my ankle has been giving me problems all week and i am resting it and icing it like i should.  i started getting worried that i wouldn't feel good for the race.  saturday for training we were going to run 5 miles.  i really wanted to do it.  i woke up feeling good.  i thought i would show up to training and run until i felt the pain.  i felt pretty good the entire way.  my ankle only gave me problems on the way down the hill.  but i never stopped.  once i hit the 3.1 mark all i could think about was finishing.  but when we did, i felt so exhilarated.  i ran 5 miles!!  i can't tell you how great that felt.  now the race on saturday will be a breeze.  right?
getting ready to rehearse
i spent the rest of the weekend yelling at, chaperoning the chorus for the willy wonka play.  it really was a calamity of errors and natural disasters.  saturday's dress rehearsal was great.  the kids looked adorable.  they sang their hearts out and went home. sunday, the kids came in with so much energy.  it was hard to get them all dressed up in their oompa loompa costumes, paint their faces and then have them sit and be quiet for 8 hours.  oh and did i mention that it poured down rain.  or that the fire alarm went off right as we were having dinner and we had to get them out of the building in an "orderly" fashion.  or that the auditorium flooded and we couldn't use the bathroom.  but they sat through two shows, were awesome on stage, and made it back to their parents unharmed.  what an experience it was.  and what talented kids we have at our school.
hoping to bring some normalcy back into our lives this week.  i could use it.  i think we all could use it.  we never had fish tacos on friday because it just got so busy.  so it's back on the menu this week.

monday - won ton soup
tuesday - twice grilled burritos or quesadillas, chips and salsa
wednesday - preschool fundraiser at jersey mike's
thursday - rotisserie chicken from costco, shells and cheese, salad - baseball game so we need an easy dinner
friday - fish tacos and rice
saturday - birthday party
sunday - birthday party

wishing you a perfectly normal week.

Friday, March 18, 2011

five on friday

there is a lot of sadness and tragedy going on in the world today.  so i wanted to share something fun and happy just to lighten the mood.  even for just a few minutes.

1. jordan has been looking up jokes for nerds.  he is thinking he might want to be a nerd for halloween this year.  so he wants to practice some jokes to go with the costume.  here's one that made us laugh.

Two atoms are walking down the street and they run in to each other. One says to the other, 
"Are you all right?"
"No, I lost an electron!"
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I'm positive!"

2. i wrote about elena's blog yesterday.  but what is making me happy is that i looked at her flickr photos in hopes of learning what her process is.  as you know, i want to buy a new camera or new lens.  i dream of taking pictures like she does with the beautiful light and the softness.  well, in reviewing her photos i found out that she uses the same camera and lens that i already have.  what?  you mean i could be taking photos like this.  it just goes to show you that sometimes what needs to be upgraded is not the equipment but the photographer.

so i started playing around with the settings on my camera and got this photo.

3. this little girl.

4. the friendships i have made at both schools.  i have created some close bonds with moms in jordan's class, andrew's class and now at sofia's school.  ladies that i like to hang out with, even if we are spending countless hours doing volunteer work.  ladies that i run with.  ladies that offer a hand or a shoulder when i need it. ladies that bring me a starbucks coffee before a meeting.  ladies that talk me out of volunteering for one more event.  ladies that have lunch with me.  friendships that i hope will last for many years.

5. seeing this oufit on pinterest.

and then looking in my closet and piecing it together.  i would love that scarf but i have something that will work.  and i'll be wearing it today and feeling happy.

and to do something that will make me feel happy i think i will make a donation to the red cross.

have a happy weekend

Thursday, March 17, 2011

this week...

i (along with a few other mom's) painted 34 pairs of socks.  that's 68 socks!

i borrowed 12 pairs of baseball pants from our new baseball league.  no questions asked.

i made this amazing banana snack cake for the pto meeting.  yummy

i am nursing a tender ankle.  but i need to run 5 miles on saturday and the race is in two weeks.

i have been praying that my ankle will heal.

i ate an entire bag of salt and vinegar pop chips by myself.  not in one sitting, mind you.  over a few days.  and the bag's not that big.  only 120 calories a serving and only 3 servings in a bag.  is this bad?

i watched the season finale of the bachelor and played bachelor bingo with my sister and i don't feel guilty about it.

i laughed harder than i have in a long while.

i fell in love with this blog.

i researched cameras and lenses . . . again.

i remembered to bring snack to andrew's baseball game.

i made a to-do list and have crossed off almost everything. and it's a long list.

we could have used a housekeeper, a physical therapist, and oh what the heck, a nanny.

i went a whole day without drinking coffee.  i will never do that again.

i am helping to dress 34 3rd and 4th graders for the school play on sunday.

i am praying for patience.

i am giving sofia a bath because her father fractured his finger at baseball on sunday and can't get his hand wet. . .or scrub her hair . . .or pick her up.

i am hanging on by a thread.

i am missing my wonderful mother-in-law, and partner in crime.

i am gathering items for the goodwill truck at the preschool.  i bet i could fill it all by myself.

i am trying to figure out how to make shamrock shakes for dinner tonight.

i enjoyed the beautiful weather.  who knows how long it will last.

i put on work out clothes twice but never went to the gym.

i learned the difference between an asteroid and a meteor.

i got the most comments ever on my disney blog post.

i really enjoyed putting sunflower seeds on my salad.

this week is all about simple pleasures.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


we are lucky.

we get to go to disneyland quite often.

we've been going since jordan was a baby.  well i think he was 15 months?

my lovely mother-in-law works for disney so we get in for free (well, most of us do).

i don't know how a family can afford it.

we always bring our own food, lunch and snacks.  we've been doing this since i was a little kid.  my mom would pack egg and chorizo burritos and hide them in her purse.  it's ok, you don't have to sneak it in anymore.

it sounds good now, but back then i just wanted to get hamburgers like everyone else.  but we were a family of 6.

seriously, i don't know how a family can afford it.

this time we went with bobby's dad and step mom, sister and brother in law.

we had the best time.

even though we are here a lot there is always something new to do, or discover, or taste.  and going with someone that hasn't been there in a while makes it all new again.

watching them take pictures.

taking them on pirates because that's traditionally the first ride of the day.  it kind of sets the mood and gets you singing the song for the rest of the day.

riding on big thunder railroad, all nine of us.

having lunch at the golden horseshoe and watching billy hill and the hillbillies.  if you haven't seen this show, i highly recommend it.  it's entertaining and funny and just a good place to rest your toesies.  these guys are talented.

taking them to pooh's corner for the traditional "pooh pig out".  they have chocolate covered pretzels, big glorious cookies, the largest rice krispies you have ever seen and tigger tail marshmallows.

riding the train around the park.

daring the rapids.  it was sofia's first time and she was sooo excited and drenched.  i missed taking their picture as they came down "the big drop" but they look like they had fun.

a friendly competition at toy story mania.  i'm not telling who got more points here, but better luck next time angela.  

eating dinner at the golden vine winery.  we had never eaten there before and it was really good.  i had shrimp and linguini, the kids had spaghetti and meatballs.  it's a pretty restaurant in california adventure and i've always wanted to eat there.

celebrating my birthday one more time.  who can pass up tiramasu?  not me.

and sharing it with everyone at the table.

waiting for fireworks in front of the castle.  i don't know why it is, but it always makes me cry.  all of the songs, the audio from the haunted mansion, the sounds of walt on the day the park opened.  it brings me back to being a kid. (not that i was there when it opened but i can imagine what that was like.)

riding space mountain.  andrew's first time.  he was nervous but really wanted to do it.  i wasn't sure how he would do.  this kid throws up if you take a turn too quick in the car.  but i think it was too fast for him to react. yes, i have my arm around him, making sure he doesn't slip out.  it was a blast!

and then it's goodbye and goodnight.  a fun and memory filled day in the magic kingdom.