Category Archives: Family


What is the one thing in your life that your will stop at nothing to get/be/do?  
That one thing that you will never stop striving to have.  
That one thing that would fulfill a part of your soul that nothing else could.  
That one thing you stay up and think about at night.
 That one thing that you talk to yourself about.
That one thing for me is my degree.
It may sounds silly, but it is totally true and I’ll tell you why:
I graduated from high school in 2000 (yep, I’m almost the big three zero).  
And what year is it again… 2012?  
I went straight to college and lasted (not even) a full semester.  It was a confusing experience, and one I am not extremely proud of.  Sure, I didn’t do what I set out to do, and blah blah blah.  But what mattered to me in the years to follow was that I let down some of the people that supported me.  It was a horrible feeling, and one that I was not equipped to handle on an emotionally mature level at that point in my life.

So what did I do?
I rebelled.  I partied, and I partied hard. (something I did almost none of in grade school).
I came out of the proverbial cage like a bat out of hell, and I avoided responsibility like the plague.

For almost four years I worked in and out of ordinary restaurants, had a few near death experiences, drank WAY too much, and gave my parents a few extra (thousand) gray hairs.

Finally, in 2004, tired of running myself ragged and having nothing to show for it, I made a serious decision to go back to school.  With the help of my family, I stared at a community college where I would spend the next two years busting my ass before transferring to a university with a 3.8 GPA.  Yeah… I was serious about  it this time.

After 3 successful semesters at George Mason University, Bren and I found out we were expecting a baby.   Needless to say, this put an immediate halt on the ol’ education.  I took two full semesters off of school.  I cannot tell you how upset I was about having to stop taking classes.  I was thrilled about having a baby, but depressed about the changes it was going to force me to make.  (I have to laugh at that now… “changes.”  Yeah… a baby changes EVERYTHING). I swore that I would go back as soon as I could.  Bren promised to do everything in his power to help me do so.
About 3 months after I had Liam, I landed a full time gig at George Mason University (how convenient you say!), and began taking classes again soon after.  Luckily for me, GMU offers its employees tuition benefits.  This allowed me to take 2 courses per semester (which was all I could handle anyway having a newborn at home and all…). 
 Four years and two kids later (Liam and Collin), here I am: On the cusp of my last semester.  About to graduate in about 7 months.  Working full time.  Planning crazy birthday parties last minute.  Trying to do this blogging thing (which I love and wish I had more time and energy for).  
I cannot begin to tell you what getting my degree signifies for me.  
Strength.  Support.  Faith.  Determination.  Focus.  Creativity.  Passion.  Hope.  Drive.  Comfort.  Relief.  Relentlessness.    
Most of all, I know, that if I can do THIS… I can do anything.
Never give up on that one thing.  It will be yours sooner than you expect!


Friday’s Letters 7.0

Dear blog– Please forgive me for neglecting you all week.  I can’t believe I haven’t done a single post.  It’s not that I didn’t WANT to.  You’ll just have to trust me on that one.  I’m hoping you and I get to spend more time together next week.
Dear fellow bloggers– Has this ever happened to you?  I have been so busy this week that not only have I had a limited amount of free time, but in that free time, I haven’t been able to come up with anything interesting to write about.  I’d call it “writer’s block,” or better yet “blogger’s block,” but it is so much more than that.  “Thinker’s block,” possibly.  How do you combat this if and when it has ever affected you?  I don’t want to fall of the face of the blogosphere every time I have a stressful week.  Any and all suggestions would be welcome and appreciated.
Dear Hub– OMG.  All I wanted to do was curl up next to you this morning and not move.  You are so comfy.  I’m sorry I fell back asleep when you went down to make our coffee.  And thank you for sending me a text (“Get up.”) to wake me back up.  It worked. 
Dear Liam– First soccer lesson this weekend!!!  Aren’t you so very excited?  If not, I’m excited enough for the both of us!  I promise you’ll have fun Bubs.  I can’t wait to see how well you do!
Dear Collin– I see dat wittle toooof poppin’ through doze wittle gumz!  I’m rootin’ for ya, Monkey!
Dear 80 degree weather that is on its way– Everything is better when you’re here.  Everything.  Never leave me.
Dear Mom– It was so nice spending time with you and AK last weekend.  Thank you for everything: the pictures, the lunch, the dress, the company.  I had such a good time!  You’re the best!  I love you!
Dear Bri and Alex– Can’t wait for a little girl time with you tonight!!!  Such a treat!  Let’s pretend like there’s no one else in the bar but us! 
Dear Friends– Have a wonderful weekend!  Make it just what you need.  Whatever that may be!

Linking up with Ashley from Adventures of Newlyweds!!  Every Friday, yo.  Every single Friday.  πŸ˜‰  If you haven’t yet, check her out!!!


P.S.- Here are some pictures from the week:

[in Photos]: My Low-Key Weekend

Hub works every Saturday, so I have the entire day with my boys.  We usually get out of the house, because contrary to what some might think, it’s actually a harder day to manage at home.  I would much rather be out and about, letting Liam run himself crazy at a park somewhere, getting our shopping done, giving Collin a chance to nap (because he won’t at home… I mean, why would he?)

But not this weekend.  This weekend, it rained.   This forced me to STAY HOME!  And not spend money.  And instead, spend time on the couch with my babies, watching Disney movies, eating popcorn, drinking soda and dozing when I felt like it.  Saturday with my boys was so low-key and so very perfect.
Here are some of the things that made my weekend special:

Kony 2012 poster on campus.  It’s starting.
Baby kissy faces
Another amazing car that I want.  Right now.
These little ditties that I made the same night I pinned them .
My zexy hub
My family!!  This is Ray and Bri, who are affectionately known at Uncle Ray and Auntie B.  Like I said, family.
If these three pictures don’t make you smile, I don’t know what will….
His eyes…. are INCREDIBLE!

So proud of himself!
Sqeeeeeaky clean!

Sunday Dinner– Open-Faced Steak Sandwiches via Rachael Ray
Because who doesn’t have their own personalized ice cream bowl that they’ve had for the last 15 years of their life?
I have a leeeeeeetle obsession….
Whatever you did this weekend, I hope it was perfection!!



Simple Pleasures

~Holding a sip of red wine in my mouth for at least 20 seconds before I swallow it.~
~The way hub makes my coffee every morning, and makes it better than I ever could or would.~
~This picture:~
Babies in glasses.  Can it get more precious?
~Last minute invites to lunch with a friend/
Last minute invites to lunch with hub/
Two days in a row of last minute lunches.  
Heck to the YES!~
~Alone time in my car.  I have a routine I follow, and it is just so very perfect.~
~Watching Liam eat strawberry ice-cream.~
Pure determination
~A new spring/summer purse.  Although I guess this could count as a BIG thing.~
~A mid-day text from hub telling me he’s thinking about me.~
~Exact change.~
~Finding an old memory card FULL of adorable pictures!!~
December 2009 (going on 3 years ago!!)
Mr. Cool
Valentines 2010
Hims was just a wittle wittle baby!!!  Liam- 1-yr.-old
 What are some of the little things that make you happy?



[in Photos]: Weekend Bliss

 Things that made me Oh.So.Happy this weekend:
“Listen.  Listen.  I’m gonna sing somethin’ to ya.  Yeah.  Yeah.  Be Quiet.  Yeah.”
The name’s Liam and I’ll be here all night, folks.
A Friday night photo sesh with my boys!

Chocolate Layer Birthday Cake for a coworker
This hat. 
Hubs and bro-in-law in their fashionable golfing attire
Although I love asparagus alone, the bacon lured the men to eat their veggies.  And yes, they were in greasity-piggity-heaven.
Cheesy-taters.  drooooool
Crazy in Love…. still  πŸ™‚
Look Ma, one sock!
Being lovey dovey with my Bubba
Mid-day naps with the Col-mister
I so wish everyone could and/or does feel as blessed as I do.
Happy Monday, Friends.

Friday’s Letters: 2.0

Dear World–  Kony 2012 
Dear Today Show–  Thank you for allowing Jason Russell to come on your show this morning and confront the public scrutiny he is facing for trying to rally the troops and do something spectacular.  That man radiates peace.
Dear Blogosphere– I absolutely adore you.  Not only do you provide me with an outlet to express myself openly, honestly, and creatively, you also supply me with SO many wonderful blogs and bloggers to read and enjoy.  It’s truly inspirational for me to be able to connect with people I don’t even know, just by reading their daily/weekly posts.  Because let’s face it… that is what life is about!  Human connection!   
As a side note, I’m finally hitting my stride (I think) in terms of finding my niche 
and my voice in this viral community, 
and I am looking forward to seeing what continues to 
manifest from my blogging efforts.
Dear PINTEREST!–  Even though you make me want to be a professional cook, a model, a photographer, and a designer,!  And you are good for the connection thing too… just on a little bit more of a superficial level.  I’m okay with that so long as you provide me with mindless distraction from the monotony of my job.  
Dear Job– Thank you for being boring and for allowing me the freedom to indulge in other parts of my life that I love, like my family and my schoolwork.  And blogging.  And pinterest.  Facebook… meh… over it.
Dear Facebook– Although I love posting pictures on you, you are quickly becoming my least favorite social media platform.  I am not willing or able to part ways with you, but if you want a bigger spot in my life, something has to change.  I miss us.
Bubba (aka- Liam)
Dear Liam and Collin–  
Keep shining baby boys!  
Momma loves you to the moon and stars and back, 
with no imaginable end.   
Puppy (aka- Collin) chillin’ with his big bro  πŸ˜‰
Dear Husband–  I am soooo looking forward to spending all day Tuesday with you. –random day, i know-  An entire DAY without children.  No babies crying no toddlers begging.  Just me and you.  Let’s just lay in bed and hold each other and cry ourselves to sleep.  I love you, my lover.
Dear Mom–  Thank you for being such a wonderful person.  I know there have been times you wanted to ring my neck, but I love you endlessly for refraining from doing so.  It is so admirable to watch you step up to the proverbial plate to be there for those you love.  I know how much Aunt Kathy needed you this week, and you didn’t skip a beat.  You never do.  
Dear Body–  All 175 pounds of you!  You are perfect.  Go on with ya bad self!  
Dear Friday–  Your only purpose is to propel me into the weekend.  Okay, and to give me a day where I convince myself that my otherwise daily bowl of oatmeal can justifiably be replaced by a [healthy but insanely delicious] breakfast burrito.  I guess you’re alright afterall.
Dear FRIENDS!-  Have a marvelous, stupendous, beautifully perfect weekend… whatever that means for you.


Friday’s Letters

Dear Husband– I don’t tell you enough how proud I am of you and of us for making this whole “family” thing work.  It’s hard, it’s crazy, it’s exhausting, and it’s chaotic.  But you and I have somehow managed to only grow closer to each other through all of this insanity!  I am so glad you’re my bestest.  If I could make one small request: Please hang up your towel on the towel rack after you’re done showering.  I have done it for you for the last 2 years… because I love you, of course!
Dear Collin– You can start sleeping all the way through the night ANY time now, my love.  You’re 5 months old, and will be driving soon.  It’s time to get regular with the sleep schedule.  It’s for the best, Pupp!  I promise!
Dear Liam– You melt me.  You amaze me.  And as Dr. Evil would say:

Dear Melissa–  You’re on my mind daily, and I continue to send out love in your name.  Space and time have no bearing on my desire to be a part of your life.  I still hope that one day, somehow, you will come around.  If not… I’ll always love you.

Dear Person who Scraped Up Against my Car While I Was Not in it and Chose Not to Leave a Note–  One word:  Karma.
Dear Emily Neill– Happy Birthday, dear.  I hope you’re well.
Dear FRIENDS–  It’s FRIDAY!!  How happy does that make you!?  What are you doing this weekend?  Do tell!
Dear Ashley–  Thanks for starting this awesome outlet!  Friday’s Letters are a great way to vent, especially for people who do the majority of their venting through their blogs.
And lastly—- a nasty-gram.  I have posted my thoughts on this issue all over the place today.  I am absolutely sickened by this man’s words and the intent behind them. 
Dear Rush LimbaughDo you REALLY think that the only reason women take birth control is so we can β€œhave all the sex [we] want” without the consequence of pregnancy? It almost seems as though you (men) might know what it’s like to experience debilitating menstrual cramps, or an irregular menstrual cycle, or mood swings that alienate you from family and friends, or PERIODS, or the capability to carry and birth a child (with or without serious medical implications!). Has any man experienced any of these in a biological sense, and do you know how it feels and what it means to be a woman? I think not.  We all get it dude— you love to be the asshole.  Congratulations!  Bottom line, Rush:  You’re disgusting. 

Kindly and with LOVE to ALL~

Father and Son

Last night, after putting down my baby boy (Collin), I happened to come downstairs at the perfect moment:  
I saw my husband and my oldest son (Liam) in the sweetest embrace.  
Such a tender moment between father and son; such a nice change from the usual wrestling and running and “I can burp louder than you!!!!”  
Being the opportunist that I am (at least in photographic terms), I snapped a picture with my Blackberry camera (whyyyy doesn’t it have a flashhhh!!!) and was instantly taken back to Liam’s baby days.  In particular, I was reminded of a picture I took at the hospital only days after Liam was born.  

What I love about these two pictures is that even though time has elapsed, there is an obvious and undeniable bond between these two special boys.  It brings me endless joy to be witness to their love.
Thanks for listening to me gush!

If you don’t have anything nice to say…..

“No power in society, no hardship in your condition can depress you, keep you down, in knowledge, power, virtue, influence, but by your own consent.”  
~William Ellery Channing~

We are a social species, and we have a tendency to allow our self-images to be rooted in the opinions or (mis)conceptions of others.  

It is far too easy to become trapped by labels and “definitions” that others place on you.  

While it is nice to be aware of your affect on those you love, and it is important to be mindful of how you might make others feel, it is also important to try hard not to base your self-worth and dignity on external opinions.  

To be a good person, to  be honest and kind to yourself and others, and to make choices that will lead you with happiness; these are the measures by which I have learned to base my moral and personal pride.  

I have started to narrow down what makes me most happy: To be kind— all around KIND. 

While this may seem to contradict my above statements (on not defining yourself by others standards), it is (also) is a decision I made for myself.  Because being kind to other people is what makes ME feel good.  Also, it is something that my family, in particular my mother, taught me, and I find it to an invaluable characteristic to pass down from generation to generation.  

I have two sons who motivate me daily, and are a huge source of inspiration to be kind and treat people nicely.  I hope they learn from me what I have learned from me my Mom.

I hope to make this more of my focus on this platform, my blog.  I hope to chronicle the special ways in which I display random acts of kindness. 

This was inspired by quite a few people, but most recently, I have rediscovered a global campaign that I find to be absolutely beautiful.  It’s called Guerilla Goodness, and if you follow that link, you can read all about it.  I hope you take the time to do so, and I hope it finds a place into your heart as it has with mine over the last 3 years, and mainly within the last few weeks.


My wonderwall(s)

It would be totally impossible, utterly painful, completely mind-boggling, to imagine my life without these two wonderful people by my side on a daily basis.  
They are the wonders of my world.