Elements of Fitness – A Mother's Memoir

Overweight Becomes a Lean and Mean Mom of 3

I may not have introduced myself.  Some of you know me, some of you don’t…  some of you I have been friends with for YEARS and some we’ve never met but have only connected online.  I don’t like to post pictures of the kiddos and I’m not all about the selfies as much as others, but you may be able to relate better knowing that I’m a single Mom of 3 and they are my world.  We are just as busy as you and we still make the time to work out.  I keep the kids in sports to make sure they stay busy and aren’t home creating unhealthy habits.  I post a lot about fitness and nutrition but have you ever wondered why I do what I do?


Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, AZ

Have you ever wondered what exactly I do as a fitness coach?  Have you wondered how I got here?  Have I always been  shape?  (uhhhh no – I haven’t.)  How did a stay at home Mom turn working Mom with a fitness business?

I haven’t always been into fitness.  But I have always been an athlete.  I lived and breathed gymnastics until I was about 14, then I wanted to do team sports for my school (soccer, tennis, volleyball).   I was in shape but working out was not the fun part of my day.   I used to hate running.  I would do it because a lot of sports needed the cardio conditioning but I didn’t like it, and I didn’t eat right, etc.

Before kids, I could eat whatever I wanted just like when I was a teenager and not gain a pound!  But now, that’s not so much the case.  Once I had my first child, Kaitlyn (with whom I gained 64 pounds!), I could not lose that weight.  I tried every diet under the sun, got a gym membership thinking that would help, etc.

Pregnant but still overweight

Pregnant but still overweight

But I didn’t stick with it.  My husband at the time could still eat whatever he wanted and the scale would not be affected so I would gradually go back to eating like he and I always did.  Then 7 months after giving birth we were pregnant again.  It was what we wanted because I always wanted to have my kids close in age and we knew we weren’t done, HOWEVER, I never got back to my pre-pregnancy weight first.

With baby #2, I was determined not to gain another 64 lbs!  (BTW, this before pic ——–>      was really hard to post!) I did a little working out while I was pregnant with her and I ate a lot better.  Not good, like I do now but better.  I only gained 24 lbs with Britney.

After she was born was right around the time that low carb diets were the thing.  And I was sold when I read that I didn’t need to work out, I could just eat low carb.  HA!  I dropped all the baby weight and then some!  Then it became that the only time I would work out was when I ate really bad the day before.  So now that I knew I could just eat low carb whenever I had some weight to lose I went back to eating atrociously!  Then I would work out twice a week if that.

Well as the girls were getting older, I decided to start cooking and making more home cooked meals at home.  I was a huge advocate for nursing since formulas were getting so much criticism for their ingredients and I was reading more and more about baby foods and how easy it was to make at home AND this way you knew what was going in to your child’s mouth.

That lead me to start watching and learning about the foods I was eating.  All the crap sold in the supermarket were 90% chemicals!  I started trading in the commercialized grocery stores for farmers markets and Trader Joe’s (Whole Foods wasn’t in Phoenix yet).  I also started buying organic whenever we could afford to.  I started with vegetables that grew in the ground and then meats was next.

After seeing and FEELING the results of just eating right it motivated me to want to get toned and in shape especially since I knew how to eat now!  Food was fuel now, not comfort.

Now comes the year 2007, I was in better shape then I was when I was a teenager, even had more energy then I did then.  We were running, biking, I had a gym membership where I would do spin class 2- 3 times a week, my girls and my ex and I all belonged to a dojo where we were all there at least 3 times a week.  I even taught yoga there for a while for some of the moms that had kids in the karate classes.  In June I found out that I was 4 1/2 months pregnant with Baby # 3, my son Frankie!  He was due in December!   So I had 4 short months to plan to have a baby!  But I didn’t want to stop working out.  I was mostly doing cardio anyways:  running, hiking, rollerblading, spin class, kickboxing and yoga at the dojo.

Frankie was born and I ended up only gaining 22 lbs.  My doctor towards the end was concerned that I hadn’t gained enough weight.

Then I started to want to help other Moms!  My girls started cheer and would have regular practices in a park, their Coach asked me if I would be the squad’s conditioning coach so now I started doing that every Tuesday and Thursday.  Soon after, some of the Moms of the girls recommended I do a fitness bootcamp where they could come work out.  We did and soon more and more moms showed up.  I would get the girls warmed up for cheer and then I would move over to the Moms!  It was fun.  We all created a close bond and I even helped some of them get ready to run their first marathons.

I started a blog, THIS ONE, hence why its name is Mom-related and not fitness related.  🙂  When I first created it, I started talking about tips to help breastfeeding Moms and nutrition was one of the most common posts because the questions were all closely related to the Mom being able to produce enough milk for a growing baby, etc. and then it started connecting me with women who were likeminded all across the country.

2008It was about this time that my neighbor introduced me to P90X.  Frankie was not even 2, Britney was 7 and Kaitlyn was 8 1/2.  My hands were full.  I was in shape but not getting toned.  I was still doing a ton of cardio.  P90X had weights and I knew I had to add that in.  I was always afraid of weights, always thought I would like a man, etc.  I was ready for a change.  I always wanted a personal trainer and now I had my own in MY HOUSE!!  It was amazing.

1st round of P90X

1st round of P90X


This was me in Cabo after the 1st round P90X.  I did the lean program and I refused to eat the P90X way.  I thought I knew more about what my body needed than this nutrition ‘guide’ telling me to eat 100 carbs a day!  At that point, I would barely eat 100 carbs in 4 days!!  I thought I had this whole fitness thing down and all I needed was to add weights.  HAHA.  I would be exhausted half way into the workout, or getting really bad headaches right after.  So I knew something was wrong.



90 days later 2nd Round P90X results

90 days later 2nd Round P90X results

The lack of carbs is why my first round didn’t get me the results I anticipated.   I added a little muscle but nowhere near everyone else’s 90 day results.  This got me so mad!  So then right away, I started the classic program and I ate exactly how it told me to, even bought Shakeology.  I was posting my results pics on Facebook and friends and family were the first to notice.  Then I started helping other people get through their first round of P90X.

After 3 rounds of P90X, I decided to switch it up with Insanity.  I loved Insanity because it was a more intense version of P90X’s cardio days and guess what I started thinking P90X was too EASY!!  On the P90X cardio days, (Tuesdays and Saturdays) I would do the Max Cardio Circuit from Insanity instead of PlyoX.

I started connecting with people on the Facebook P90X message boards and through my blog.  I was helping people get through the programs but not getting paid for it!  And then Tony Horton shared my blog post of How you know You’re Addicted to P90X.

I knew I could help other Moms too… and realize everyone can do this too.   Being a Coach has been one of the greatest blessings in my life.  It got me in the best shape of my life, I have a healthy relationship with food, I have spent more time learning about myself, learning about others, and learning ways to better help YOU.

You do not have to be a fitness expert or nutritionist to be a successful Coach.  All you need is the desire in your heart to help others.  Beachbody is all about helping others.  They provide the tools you need to change your body, the nutrition your body is craving, a Coach who is always there for you… (ME!) and the network of likeminded people that you can connect with on Team Beachbody.

If you are interested on learning more please contact me.   We do a very brief 15-20 min webinar once a week and you will see how it easy it is to do the same thing I do!

Let’s get in touch and work on You together!  What do you have to lose??  You never know, it could be supplemental income for you too OR even become your main source of income!


Send me an email:  at CoachChristysElementsofFitness@gmail.com

OR an Instagram:  @FitnessElements4Life


November 16, 2014 Posted by | About Me, Being a Mom, Children, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Divorce, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Family, Insanity, Me, My Low Carb Recipes, Nursing, Nutrition, P90X, P90X Recipes, P90X2, P90X3, Phoenix AZ, Pregnancy, Products That Work, Shakeology, Women Today, Women's Health, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken

Want a delicious dinner that practically makes itself?   Wow your friends at your next party or bring this dish over to the next football party you’re invited to.  Just a warning though – it will disappear and they will ask you to make it each and every time you come back.

1415572554957LEMON CHICKEN

1 3-4lb whole chicken, fat trimmed, giblets removed, rinsed and dried
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 lemon, halved
1/4 tsp paprika
2-3 rosemary sprigs (optional)
3 TBL parsley, finely chopped
1 large onion, cut into wedges
2-3 garlic cloves
2 TBL reduced sodium soy sauce
8-10 small red potatoes

Place 1 bouillon cube inside chicken.  Squeeze lemon, reserving juice and put rinds and 1 garlic clove inside chicken.

Place chicken, breast-side up, in slow cooker.  Sprinkle paprika and parsley.  Add onions and remaining garlic, then pour soy sauce and lemon juice over chicken.  Crumble remaining bouillon cube over chicken and line the sides of the cooker with potatoes.

Cook on high 3-4 1/2 hours.  Discard lemon rinds, skin and bones.

Half potatoes and serve.


fitness screenshotFor more low carb recipes, click here.

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November 9, 2014 Posted by | Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, Family, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Protein Banana Pancakes

My kiddos call these Mommy’s Banana cakes but what they dont know is they are getting a huge amounts of protein, fruit and fiber!

Protein Banana Pancakesbanana cakes

(Makes 2 servings, 3 pancakes each)

1 scoop protein powder

1/4 cup rolled oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 dash sea salt

2 large eggs

1 small ripe banana, mashed

2 TBL unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp safflower oil

sliced bananas and/or assorted berries for garnish (or yours or your kids favorite fruits)

Mix protein powder, oats, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.   In a separate bowl, beat eggs, and stir in mashed bananas and almond milk. 

Mix in the oats and stir well.

Heat half the tsp of oil into skillet over med heat.  Pour 1/4 of the batter for each pancake.  You should be able to fit 2 or 3 at once.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbles form on top and then flip them over and cook for another 30 seconds.  Remove from skillet if cooked through and set aside.

Add the remaining oil, and the remaining batter and repeat.

Serve with garnish of your choice.   Now prepare for your kids to ask for these every morning.   And you can make a lot more and just freeze them and then warm them up in the toaster oven.

Nutritional Information (per serving):   Calories: 315   Protein:  20g  Fat:  10g  Carbs:  39g

***** You can also substitute the protein powder with Chocolate Shakeology.  Order Some Today! *****

For more recipe ideas click here.

Enjoy!  🙂  And let me know how yours turn out!

May 29, 2013 Posted by | Being a Mom, Children, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Eating Clean, Family, Low Fat Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes, Products That Work, Shakeology, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Discipline and Co-parenting

Disciplining children can be hard enough as it is in a traditional family.  But add divorce, joint custody and getting remarried to the equation and it makes it even more difficult.

The girl’s father was very lazy, nothing bothered him and it took pulling teeth and ultimatums to get him to lift a finger.  Now I’m in a relationship that is quite the opposite:  Frank does things way before I even need to ask.  The problem with this type of personality though is that he is ‘Johnny on the Spot’ when it comes to my girls and the proper discipline.

I’m from the school that no one disciplines your children except their own parents (unless of course they’re staying at someone else’s home and the parents aren’t around). 

disciplineFrank is from the school that anyone can and should take matters into their own hands.  [I don’t mean literally.  Neither one of us has never laid a hand on any of the kids.]

For example, this just happened the other day, Frank and I stayed up way later than we normally do watching movies and then the following morning Frankie woke up and we didn’t hear him cry.  Kaitlyn’s room is right next to his so she went in his room, took him out of his crib and brought the baby into her room to play with the idea that she was helping us out. 

Me, being the lover of all things sleep, loved this.  I’ve allowed her to do this in the past, either by me asking her to go get him or vice versa so I’ve seen her take him out of the crib many times and she’s never had a problem.  Plus, if she had a hard time taking him out and accidentally hurt his legs or something he would not hesitate to cry.  But that scenario has never happened.

So I wake up with Frank walking into our room with the baby and he said “Did you know Kaitlyn takes the baby out of the crib?”  I said yes and thought that would be the end of it.  He then says “I don’t want her taking him out of the crib unless she asks us first and we say its ok”.  To which I replied ok and went back to sleep.

The next day as we’re all sitting around the table having lunch and Kaitlyn tells Frank something funny that happened that morning and Frank asked if she got the baby out of the crib.  Her and I both said yes.  He got pretty upset and said he didn’t want her to do it anymore.  I told him I recalled that he didn’t want her to do it without getting permission first.  He then said no, he doesn’t want her doing it at all.  He explained that he doesn’t feel she’s strong enough and didn’t think it was a good idea.  Then I got upset that he was doing this in front of the children and not allowing me a say in this.  I explained that if the baby was getting hurt he would cry as she was pulling him out of the crib, etc.

The most frustrating aspect of all of this is that he and I (like all parents) are supposed to be a united front.  So we can’t argue about it in front of the children.  But at the same time, pressing issues need to be dealt with immediately so the kids understand the consequences of their actions right away.

The other reason this hit home a little too much is because just a couple weeks ago, the girl’s father told me that the girls tell him that I do ‘whatever Frank says’.  This absolutely boggled my mind, first, because supposedly it came from the girls and second, I do not do as I’m told.  I never have.  So this was a complete shocker.  Now I know that my ex loves to say stuff to get under my skin and he never has a nice thing to say about Frank but the thing that cut to the core of me was wondering if that was really the girl’s perception of me?  Now I know they’re only 7 and 6 but still.  He also told me that the girls tell him that I make Frank his dinner and his drinks.  I told my ex that this is coming from our children and that I make dinner and get drinks for everyone.  I also added that I used to make dinner and drinks for him and I too when we were together.  It was then that he realized what I was saying (or at least pretended to).

So after this heated moment at the dinner table all of these thoughts started running through my mind.  And all I kept wondering was what the girls were thinking.  So since Frank raised his voice I decided to raise mine.  I told him “I did not appreciate him talking to me that way, especially in front of the children and I wanted an apology.”  He started to apologize right then but I said I wasn’t done yet.  I then said “if you have a problem with how I do things around here talk to me about it behind closed doors where we can resolve it between the two of us.”  He told me (in front of the children) that I was right and that he was sorry… and then everyone was silent for the next few minutes.

Now this isn’t, of course, the least or worst of examples.  It was just the most recent.  We’ve always had this problem about discipline.  He thinks I’m not consistent enough and I think he’s too harsh.  We’ve been to plenty of parenting classes due to horrendous allegations by my ex where we learned that you have to tell a child 2000 times each behavior you’re trying to correct. 

Last month, my youngest daughter got all her toys taken away by Frank because he’s had to tell her too many times to pick up her toys after she’s done playing with them.  And he did this when I wasn’t home.  Now I understand that there should have been some form of consequence but I thought taking away all her toys was way over the top.  I also don’t think that he, being the soon-to-be-Stepdad, should be the disciplinarian.  And many counselors and other people in the field we’ve spoken to agree with me on that.

But he disagrees.  He doesn’t believe he should’ve waited til I got home to let me handle it.

Anyways, the point of me sharing this is to try and figure out if I’m alone in this.  I can’t be.  But does every blended family household go through this?  Or anything remotely similar?  Did anyone grow up in a broken home?  What were your experiences?  How would you have handled either scenario differently?

July 8, 2009 Posted by | Being a Mom, Children, Discipline, Divorce, Family | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

PADI Certified?

Call me crazy… but why are people paying for this certification?  What is stopping people from buying their own scuba gear, reading “Scuba Diving for Dummies” and then going off to dive into any ocean they want?  Is there some sort of scuba police that I don’t know about where they’re waiting to ask for your PADI ID?!

Don’t get the wrong idea here, the money isn’t the problem – its’ the time.  Frank and I and the kids are going to Hawaii in the next month and Frank wanted to get certified before we went.  To me it seemed like a logical thing to do until our ‘scuba instructor’ told me yesterday that Frank and I have to watch a DVD, read a 150 page book, answer the 5 chapter tests, get acquainted with our RDP contraption, and meet him on Friday for an orientation meeting!  What the heck!  All I want to do is breathe under water!  Does it really take all this to get that accomplished?? 

Frank and I have been scuba diving before.  Well let me rephrase:  I’ve been scuba diving before.   A couple years ago we went to Cabo San Lucas (ahhh) and we added scuba diving to our itinerary online while we were booking the trip.  When we got to the hotel who was sponsoring this adventure the instructor gave us our gear, told us there was a 15 minute instuctional video and when we were done to meet him on the pier at the boat!

This scared the heck out of Frank because he’s not the best of swimmers coming out of upstate New York and all.  He was expecting a class at the hotel pool.

I wasn’t scared yet.  I had never been scuba diving before but I had been snorkelling in Catalina Island before.  So since there was no formal training being given here I just thought this was going to be easier than I ever imagined.

caboWe got all our gear on, met our instructor at what looked like a fishing boat, drove out to the picturesque rock formation that is on every postcard from Cabo and then we threw the anchor.


The instructor who could barely speak english reminded us to swallow every foot to a foot and a half and to wave to him if there was a problem.  Frank and I initially had problems starting because we weren’t used to breathing through a straw.  This was it for Frank.  He was freaked out.  He climbed back up into the boat and told me to go ahead.  It took me a while to get the hang of it but eventually I did and went down.  I loved it.  I saw a family of seahorses nestled into the ocean wall and I had this fish follow me for most of the whole experience.  It was a pretty euphoric feeling.

A little scary at first but well worth the anxiety.  I’m a little nervous right now about doing this in Hawaii but mostly because we’re taking the kids with us.  So we’ll see how it goes.

July 8, 2009 Posted by | Children, Family, Traveling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

To My Dad for Father’s Day

Every year at this time, I always want to get my Dad something better than the year before.  It’s so hard to buy anything for someone who is so distinguished.  He has everything already.  What could I possibly get him that he really wants and doesn’t already have?   Well, Dad I am about to try…

Dear Dad,

I love you more than words can say.  You have always been the world to me.  When I was little and would put my hands in yours I trusted you to show me the way.  And never wavering, you always would.  All my life you were there whenever I needed you.   You are a wonderful teacher with the utmost patience and you possess a kind-hearted spirit that makes me strive to be more like you every day. 

I am so lucky to have such a wonderful Dad in you.  Too many people I have met throughout the years either lost their father at a young age or worse, never even met their father.  I couldn’t imagine either one or anything in between.  You have been such an inspiration to me. 

You taught me right from wrong, good and evil, how important it is to believe in God and most of all to cherish life and all it has to offer.  All the while instilling in me so many life lessons.  You told me early on that “priority #1 is always Numero Uno” – that health is the most important thing because if you don’t have your health you will experience nothing.  You taught me as a teenager that “life isn’t always fair” and the soonest I believe that the less disappointments I would feel. 

You’ve always had a way of bringing the most mundane of things to life.  A boring drive would turn into fun and excitement.  We would guess what the people in cars in front of us looked like just by their bumper stickers, license plates or where they bought their car.  Or teaching me about how a car engine works by drawing a diagram and showing pistons, rods, the crank shaft and side block. 

I remember when we went up north to find a Christmas tree and we made a day of it.  We stopped and played in the snow, made snowmen and snow angels and had snowball fights.  We picked the most beautiful tree we could find and then lost it on I-17 just 30 minutes before we got home.  It was one of the best days ever!  We laughed so hard and then on the way home we picked up a tree on a street corner a minute away from our house!  

I remember spontaneous road trips like when you drove us up to the top of the Four Peaks and we actually drove through the clouds. 

The Four Peaks

I remember telling my friends that and them thinking you had magical powers.  And I would tell them that I really thought you did have magic powers because who can drive through clouds?

 I remember all the bike rides where we would ride and talk.  Then, we’d come home and jump in the pool because we were so hot!   Oh and lets not forget my sweet 16 birthday.  It was time to drive but first you had me change a tire.   You didn’t lift a finger – you only gave instructions.  

Dad and the girls

These days it seems we don’t have enough time to be with each other like we used to.  When we do, I get to see you in your role as Grandpa.  It’s there where I get to relive your goofiness and marvel in all the things I loved about you when I was a kid.   I see the kids light up when you play with them and it brings me such joy inside. 

You are not just a wonderful father.  You are a wonderful son, husband, grandfather, a friend to many, an inspiration to all that know you and a blessing to all that share your love. 

Thank you for being you!  Happy Father’s Day!

Love Always,

(no, no one else is allowed to call me that… besides Mom and thankfully she never does!)

— The song above is mine and my Dad’s favorite father-daughter song. —

June 19, 2009 Posted by | About Me, Being a Mom, Children, Family, Me | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

An Ode to Stay At Home Moms!

This is for all you Stay-At-Home Mom’s out there… 

I don’t get much time these days to do this (being a SAHM and all) but I love it when I can sit down while the baby is sleeping and read a good book! 

Recently, I have been feeling a little negative about my current situation and trying to find some creative outlet (besides blogging!) that I could do in my spare time.  Then, while catching bits and pieces of the Today Show last week I heard what sounded like a knowledgable voice talking about how we should be praising the “Stay At Home Mom” and it got my attention.   

Author, Dr. Laura Schlessinger was speaking to Meredith Vieira about how SAHM’s really get a bad reputation but they should instead be given credit to forming the next generation of people. 

Me, being in need of an ego boost and an internal pep rally, went right out to Barnes & Noble to get this book.  I finished reading it the next day and I truly loved it.  It was the pick-me-up I wanted and so badly needed.

Yes, there are parts that sound a bit 1950’s but when you cut to the core of what she is trying to say it all makes sense and it is very truthful.   SAHM’s put their families as priority #1 and we rarely get credit for it.   After all, these are the women who are choosing to take responsibility for the choice they made to have a child and want to actually be there to raise that child with our own morals and views of right and wrong instead of a minimum wage day care worker.

We are also perceived as being unintelligent, lazy and/or unmotivated.  But we’re not.  We are not lazy since we know being a Mom is work 24/7,  not just 8-5  and we’re not unintelligent.  We are trying to share our intelligence and instill it in this brand new beautiful mind we’ve created.  We want to be there to teach our children the morals we grew up with, our beliefs, our truths, and our knowledge of the world so that when they are presented with a choice that could dramatically change their life they will be equipped with the skills needed to make an “intelligent” decision. 

To me, it is extremely smart to choose to be there for your children and one of the best and most important decisions a woman can make.

I am very aware of the women who have to work due to financial situations and I’m not saying we should accept just cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children all day as a means that defines us.  So please don’t be offended by what I’m saying.  If you have a skill, a talent or a dream by all means fulfill it!  But rearrange your goals and dreams around your children, not the other way around.  They are only in our care for 18 years!  In the bigger picture of life, that is not very long!  Make the most of it!

What I enjoyed most about the book is the letters and emails from other Moms that the author shared.  Heartfelt and uplifting true life stories of other moms and children brought tears to my eyes many times throughout the book.

Most importantly, it inspired me.   As I was reading it, I couldn’t wait for the baby to wake up from his nap and the girls to walk in the door from school. 

There are days I get so frustrated I want to pull my hair out, getting upset over something so miniscule, or that certain things didn’t get done that day or I am so totally exhausted by the end of the day that I think to myself that any other job would be a pleasant relief.  But then I remember there were also so many moments I would never trade in for any other job on the planet:

Those moments when your child gives you a smile or just a look of sheer happiness, moments when they would give you a kiss, a hug, or just hold your hand for no reason, or one that just happened to me the other day:  my daughter told me that when she grew up she wanted to be just like me!

Those are the moments a mother treasures forever in her heart.  They cannot be replaced.

No, SAHM’s don’t get a paycheck at the end of a very hard week.  We get hugs, kisses and an immense joy that fill our hearts so deep that money feels like… well,  just that …. money.

April 23, 2009 Posted by | About Me, Baby Care, Being a Mom, Children, Family, Me, Women Today, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

When Does A House Become A Home?

I haven’t been able to write because for the past 2 weeks I have been preparing our whole family to move.  We started packing on January 19th and our move date was January 29th.  

Our 2200 square foot home had finally become too small.   Well it actually became too small once Frankie was born.  His room used to be the girl’s playroom.  Frank with Frankie

For the past year, Frank and I talked about different improvements we’d like to make or what we wished this house had and then we would say “or . . . we could just move”.  So it was the running joke of the past year.  Especially since our home had become worth less than what we owed on it. 

Thankfully, at this juncture, we are able to afford to keep it and hopefully get it rented out.  We won’t be able to get enough rent to cover the entire mortgage payment so we’ll have to cough up the difference every month until the market gets better.

But we found a beautiful new house less than 2 miles away and it is more than double the size of our old house.  It’s great to have so much extra room and the cupboards aren’t busting at the seams anymore! 

We had 50 boxes of just “stuff”.  Not even stuff that normal people use every day!  For example, a Tazmanian Devil popcorn machine!  I have no idea where it even came from!

My mom, my aunt, my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Kaitlyn and Britney both helped me pack up the kitchen 2 days before the move and I swear they just kept pulling stuff out of the cabinets and I kept saying “Where’d that come from?” or “Where was that hiding?”  It made for some good comic relief.

However, now with so much room I have found that it’s not cozy anymore.  Our old house was cozy and warm and now our house feels cold and dull.  True, we haven’t hung any pictures yet or anything but it should still feel like our home and it doesn’t.  

Old Backyard

It just feels weird.  Not since my childhood home have I felt so content as in our old house.  For some strange reason I get attached to inanimate objects.  I don’t know why.  I guess it’s the memories and the sentimental things.  

I asked Frank last night if he was sad and his answers are always so logical and witty.  He says, “Why would I be sad?  Hun, you can’t get attached to inanimate objects.  Yes, we’ve created a plethera of memories here but they stay in your heart, they don’t stay with the house.”

Completely true statement.  However, it still feels strange.  

So here’s my question:  when does a house become a home?  Because I need this feeling back as soon as possible!  So please help!?

February 11, 2009 Posted by | About Me, Being a Mom, Family, February 2009, Moving | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nothing Feels Better Than Family

2008 was a hard year for millions of people.  Many of us probably are still struggling with finances and wondering if our jobs are safe.

What better time is it to reconnect with our families?  Spend more time at home playing games with your kids or just go for a walk with them.   Read books, go outside or just ‘hang out’ with them?  What would your children say to you if you were 100% there for them with no distractions? 

The next time they go to their room, go with them and just be there for them.  Just sit there with them and do nothing but watch them until they start interacting with you. 

Depending on their age they might hand you a toy (2-3 year olds), they might want you to play ‘make believe’ with them (4-5 year olds), or they might just say something so astoundingly astute to you such as “our democracy is a great thing, except for the part about letting anyone vote” (6-7 year olds).  And yes,  my 7 1/2 year old daughter really said that.  It was last October during election season!  We laughed so hard.

Anywho, what do you think your children would say to you if they noticed you sitting there for 5 minutes just totally focused on them?

Remember when our children were babies and we would just sit on the floor with them and watch them explore?  Remember their sincere delight when they noticed you were sitting there just for them?  Our children still need that closeness. 

Something that I found that works really well to break the ice is right after dinner go around the table and start with the youngest and play the ‘high/low’ game.  Their high is what made them smile the most that day, and their low is what made them sad or unhappy that day.  I wish I could take credit for this idea but I can’t.  It came from the movie “Story of Us” with Michelle Pheifer and Bruce Willis.  Love that movie and I still cry every time I watch it!

Also, don’t neglect your spouse.  They need one on one time as well.  Get the kids to bed a little earlier tonight and make a separate dinner under candle light for just the 2 of you.

I’m feeling a little mushy tonight because today we had a family photo shoot with the photographer who’s going to shoot our wedding.  It was supposed to be an engagement session but we already got that done so we wanted to include the kids.

We met Jennifer from O’Grace Photography at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess


and she took some really great photos.  She’s big on candid shots and so am I so I can’t wait to see all the images.  I’ll post some once I get them.

Have a great week everyone!     Smiley Sunglasses                                             

January 25, 2009 Posted by | Being a Mom, Children, Family, Photography | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Road Trip

So yesterday we decided to go on a road trip just Kaitlyn, Britney, the baby and me.

We went up The Apache Trail.  It was beautiful.    

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It was full of winding roads, steep cliffs and gorgeous sights.  We left at 1:30 and we didn’t get back home until 5:30.  But we talked, sang songs and got out to walk around and breathe the fresh air.  It was fun.  We all had a good time.

There is a sign that warns that the next 22 miles is a dirt road, however, it takes an hour and 30 minutes to get through it.   But the scenery made it all worth it.

I definitely recommend this day trip to anyone.  You can see so much just from the comfort of your own car. 

We did get out and get an ice cream cone at Tortilla Flat. 

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There was a band playing and then after the girls finished their ice cream we wallked down to a little waterfall where they hopped on all the rocks.


The best memories that were created on this trip were the memories of laughter and singing along to Grease with the girls.  Not to mention the different things we talked about.  We saw a woman with tattoos on her arms and both the girls promised me they would never get a tattoo because they thought it looked awful! 

Yes!   🙂

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Children, Family, Things To Do | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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