Thursday, February 25, 2010

On a Happier Note....

Our yearly pilgrimage to follow the world's best band DMB is nearly upon us. We missed it last year as the show we had purchased tickets for was cancelled due to the untimely death of LeRoy Moore, one of the founding members of the band following an ATV crash on his ranch. We were heartbroken when we heard the news that the show was cancelled and vowed that there was no way in hell we'd miss it in 2010.

Tickets officially go on sale tomorrow morning @ 7:30am and you know I'll be logged in and waiting and so very excited!

And in parting, the lyrics to our (currently) favorite Dave Matthew's Band song that will (hopefully) become the song we have our first dance to whenever we manage to get around to renewing our vows...

Wanna pack your bags, Something small
Take what you need and we disappear
Without a trace we'll be gone, gone
The moon and the stars can follow the car
and then when we get to the ocean
We gonna take a boat to the end of the world
All the way to the end of the world

Oh, and when the kids are old enough
We're gonna teach them to fly

You and me together, we could do anything, Baby
You and me together yes, yes (x2)

You and I, we're not tied to the ground
Not falling but rising like rolling around
Eyes closed above the rooftops
Eyes closed, we're gonna spin through the stars
Our arms wide as the sky
We gonna ride the blue all the way to the end of the world
To the end of the world

Oh, and when the kids are old enough
We're gonna teach them to fly

You and me together, we could do anything, Baby
You and me together yes, yes

We can always look back at what we did
All these memories of you and me baby
But right now it's you and me forever girl
And you know we could do better than anything that we did
You know that you and me, we could do anything

You and me together, we could do anything, Baby
You and me together yeah, yeah
Two of us together, we could do anything, baby
You and me together yeah, yeah
Two of us together yeah, yeah
Two of us together, we could do anything, baby

to reach the end of the world


I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful and supportive family. I can never truly express the amount of gratitude I feel for the ones I love.... I'm at a loss...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Financial Woes...

I've been mulling over whether or not to chat about this on the web but I feel at peace with it now and I hope that my issues might help someone else going through the same thing.

When we bought our home in 2007, we thought we were getting a great deal. A beautiful, spacious home right across the street from a park for under $300K, which was a steal back then. So we decided to bite the bullet, and signed our name to loan documents for a 7/1 IO ARM first mortgage(mortgage-speak for an adjustable rate mortgage that is fixed for only the first 7 years and carries an interest-only payment for that term as well)and a 30 year fixed 2nd mortgage to cover the remaining 20% of the purchase price. At the time, that was a very safe ARM-style loan as the market was at an all-time high as far as value and we just "assumed," like so many others, that we'd wait a few years, build up a little equity and then refinance the house into a traditional 30 year fixed or sell it and buy a new home.

Fast forward to about a year ago when we finally agreed that the house would probably NEVER be worth what we paid for it and that we could and should be renting a much larger and nicer home in a much better school district for the kids for what we were paying for our current mortgage payment. We took the logical first step and called our mortgage company about our available options and were pretty much told to get the hell of the phone and that there was no help, what so ever available because "we made too much money." We make ok money, but nowhere near an amount that I would call "too much" for a family of 4 in California.

I'm condensing this quite a bit because I don't want to share my guts completely, but this was an EXTREMELY difficult agreement for my husband and I to come to as we'd always made every payment on time or early, but we knew that we'd lose the house, whether now or when the rate started adjusting in a year. We made our final payment Oct 2009 and starting looking for an attorney to retain as we had to claim Bankruptcy (in addition to eventually heading into foreclosure and losing the house)to protect ourselves from retaliation from the bank due to us getting a 1st and 2nd mortgage when we bought the house and it's a tactic to stall the bank from filing an NOD (notice of default) and beginning the Foreclosure process... We are now several months into all of this and it's only become slightly easier for me to say the words foreclosure, bankruptcy, and the like. I know that there are people out there who may judge those who've lost or are losing their homes and it really bothers me. We never intended to have to go this route nor did we want to tarnish our virtually perfect credit but we had to make a really tough choice for the better of our family.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Photos from Stinson Beach Trip

As promised, here is a photo collage of our trip last weekend to Stinson Beach....


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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stinson Beach for Vanetine's Day Weekend

We decided to fore go the traditional over-priced flowers, chocolates and dinner for a family trip to Stinson Beach this Valentine's Day and it was more than we could have hoped for... The weather was perfect (hey, it's California... We're spoiled), the kids were in a great mood during the drive down and the beach was beautiful. Stinson Beach is located off of highway 1 on the California coast about an hour outside of San Francisco.

As usual, I took WAY too many photos that I will share as soon as I get them organized!

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Roots

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd pay a little homage to the love that made it possible for me to be here today. My parents have been married forever, and probably should hate each other buy now, but I've never met two people more in love with each other. Love you Mom and Dad!!!

Why I Love Him

He's sexy, and sweet and the best dad any kiddos could ever ask for. Oh, and he's willing to take topless photos for me!!! I should so stud him out huh?!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

For the love of my Mei Tai Carrier!

When I was pregnant with Brookie I decided that I wanted to buy myself a new baby carrier and was hoping to find myself something more comfortable than the Baby B*jorn that I used with Lukey that always seemed to kill my back if I wore him for more that an hour. At the time my sister was purchasing a bunch of handmade items for her upcoming wedding from a lovely website called ETSY.COM ,so I logged on to see if I could find a carrier. I came across a woman who made BEAUTIFUL, REASONABLY-PRICED, HANDMADE carriers and placed an order for my one-off mei tai carrier. What is a mei tai carrier you may ask? Well, a mei tai carrier is, in it's most basic form, a square of fabric with 4 straps, one at each corner that you tie onto your body to carry your baby. The one that I ordered was so much more than that. I was able to chose two different fabric patterns, one for the inside and another for the outside, and she sewed it with a pocket in the front for anything you may need to bring with you as well as a handy little binkie strap so the munchkin could reach it and not be able to throw it! Anyway, it turned out beautiful and the turn around time from order to receiving it was super speedy. Here's a few pictures of the sample and the finished product.


Here's a link to her store on Etsy:

My Blessed Baby

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday's Nuggets of Wisdom

Bullets for good measure:

* It's virtually impossible to get smooshed sweet potatoes out of an Australian Shepherd's coat after it has been rubbed in by baby fingers

* Who knew athlete's foot cream can cure a wicked diaper rash?

* Before babies, the chances of being crapped on and thrown up on in the same day are slim to none unless you're a nurse. Once you have kids, it's rare when it doesn't happen at least once a week!

* There is no limit to the number of "why's" and "how's" you will answer when conversing with a toddler/pre-schooler... Be prepared, but I doubt you can ever really prep for the number of times you'll hear it in a day.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Finally 4: Brooklyn's first photo shoot March 2009 (6 weeks old)

First Family Photo with Baby Luke (2 weeks old) Oct 2005

Grandpa John & Luke @ Brookie's 1st birthday party

Aunt NeNe and Lukey Duke - Snow Trip 2008

Grandpa and Brooklyn

Aunt Melanie & Brook

Grandma & Miss B

3 Generations: Lukey Duke, Daddy & Grandpa John

Mom & The Duke

My gorgeous aunt and Miss Brooklyn

Friday, February 5, 2010

March of Dimes March for Babies Walk

It's that time of year again! Last year I was invited to join Team Matthew to walk in the March of Dimes March for Babies here is Sacramento in memory of a mutual friend's baby boy who passed away in his sleep from SIDS. Here's a little background on baby Matthew, the motivation behind our team to walk and raise money for March of Dimes:

In January of 2007, we were blessed with the amazing news that we were pregnant and expecting our second child!

Kaitlyn was already 2 when we found out and considering how easy the pregnancy with her was, we expected nothing different. Boy, were we wrong!

At 23 weeks and 5 days pregnant, my water unexpectedly broke (preterm, premature rupture of membranes, pPROM) and we were given the news that survival was not likely since there was no fluid to assist with lung development or growth. We made the difficult decision to continue on with the pregnancy.

After 10 weeks of strict hospital bed rest, that tested our family time and time again, Matthew was born at 33 weeks gestation weighing in at a healthy 4 lbs and 14 ounces. He cried at birth.

Matthew endured a 26 day NICU stay before coming home to his adoring family. He spent the next 10 weeks being loved, spoiled, kissed, hugged, played with and adored before falling asleep on the night of October 14, 2007. Matthew never woke up, he passed away in his sleep and became a victim of SIDS.

Losing Matthew has been a tragedy to his entire family. He left behind parents who love him, a big sister who adored him, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

In April of 2008, we started walking with March for Babies as Matthew's Team. It is a way we can not only honor Matthew, but we can also help raise awareness to prematurity and raise funds to help research find cures and screenings to prevent more families from suffering through this loss.

Please, if you can, donate to this extremely worthy cause in honor of Matthew and all of the other babies and families touched by the tragedy of SIDS, pPROM and infant mortality.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

She Speaks!

So, over the weekend the kids got to hang out at Grandma & Grandpa's house so mommy and daddy could have date night. When we came to pick them up on Sunday, Miss Brooklyn looked right at my mom, handed her a toy, and said "thank you" clear as day! She's been wandering the house all week saying thank you over and over again.... I think she's pretty proud of herself! She's also currently a big fan of "Oohhh," "hi doggy," and of course, "mama" and "dada." Crazy how fast they turn into mini adults :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Cake Pictures

"Wait...I'm supposed to grab it with my hands? But then they'll get all yucky!"

"What is this stuff all over my hand? I wonder what it tastes like?"

"What! There's more than just frosting?! Woo Hoo!!"

"I wonder if it will all fit in my mouth at once??"

"Ummm....Dis es gooood!!"