Monday, November 30, 2009


All I want for Christmas is:


(banana republic)






P.S.: So, last night I couldn't see this picture clearly, and didn't realize these boots had weird vertical stripes. Now I see the error of my ways, and would like to scratch them off the list, and replace them with the black boots below.
P.P.S.: Go ahead and Yahoo Image search 'black knee high boots for women', and go to about page 4 or 5...and tell me you don't feel just a littttttttle dirty.

(max studio)



90 Seconds

Jill Bolte Taylor, MD, coined the phrase the " 90 second emotion rule." The idea is that it takes 90 seconds or less for each emotion to be automatically triggered, surge through the body, and dissipated. Once the emotion (chemical component) is gone physiologically, it then becomes a choice to continue as she puts it the " neurocircuitry" to run or not. In this sense, we become more attuned to the emotion in the current moment versus continuously cruising on autopilot. We become aware to what we are feeling, learning to yes, choose whether to take it, leave it , or change it. (Source:

How you choose to feel is up to you.

What an empowering and scary thought.

I spent some time today thinking about this, after my boss, co-worker and I discussed it. And I realized that while I do not know about the scientific validity of her statement, on a base level I believe it to be true. And I think the message is important too, in that it reminds us that we can choose to react how we want, and we have control over our emotions and our responses to them.

And let me tell you, in MY house, this is where 'sitting on the steps' comes in handy. It isn't a parenting tool I use her age it's more 'go sit on the steps and calm down' time, and it's usually done in response to a tantrum which follows being reprimanded for something. Ocassionally, it follows really bad behavior on her part, like hitting or kicking or pushing her brother. And in her case, it typically takes more than 90 seconds for her to get a grasp on her emotions once again, but for her age that's pretty normal. But...those 2 minutes (or thereabouts) she's sitting on her steps give US the chance to recover from our emotional response. I've found I'm a better parent when I have the time and mental space to get over that initial emotion (frustration...anger...frustration...sadness...frustration) so that I can deal with the behavior she exhibited without my own frustration or hurt feelings or whatever else I feel getting in the way.

What I think is especially interesting about this 90-second 'rule' is this: what is your default emotion when your 90 seconds are up? Is it anger? Happiness? Fear? Ambivalence? Something else? I think THAT is what matters most...not what emotion you feel in a surge through your neocortex (or something like that...) but what emotion your default back to when the 90 seconds are done and gone.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

This Year.

I'm thankful for my husband who loves and supports and protects me and our children. I'm thankful he works hard at a job he loves shaping the minds and lives of the next generation. I am thankful to be married to my best friend and the best dad my kids could ask for.

I'm thankful for Luca, who made me a mom and has taught me unconditional love and patience. I'm thankful she encourages me to slow down and also to take from life what's there for the taking. She makes me smile, laugh, swoon, cry...she is all that is right about the world, wrapped up in the body of an amazing little girl!

I'm thankful for Rohan and for the lessons about love and patience he has taught me. I'm thankful for the way his nose crinkles when he smiles, and for the sparkle in his eyes. I'm thankful for the generous and loving spirit I already know he is. I cannot wait to get to know his personality as he grows!

I'm thankful for the things, good and bad, I went through in the past year. For a healthy pregnancy and a birth experience that taught me not only about my own strength, but my husband's...and one which enabled me to feel pride in my body which I'd never felt before. I'm thankful for the lessons I learned from the hard times and for the laughter I had to carry me through.

I'm thankful for my family and my in laws. This life wouldn't be as rich as it is without family!

I'm thankful for ALL my friends who provide me laughter, support, and understanding of life's challenges. I'm also thankful for the people in life who remind me to appreciate the bad with the good, and for those who challenge me to think about things in a different light.

Happy Thanksgiving Day to you and yours!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Blue Eyes.

Baby's got blue eyes.

And so does my dad. Apparently these gorgeous eyes run in my family. I, naturally, did not get them. I'd like to take a moment to raise a middle finger to genetics for that.

We had an early Thanksgiving at my mom's house on Sunday since she will be in California for the actual holiday, visiting her mom and sister as well as my sister. I don't think I'v ever blogged about my dad before, but though he and my mom are still married they do not live together. My dad is in assisted living because he has dementia. It's a long story, one I may recount in detail on another day when I have more time and less emotion. But the short version is that my dad died 9 years ago, in 2000, when he coded after a long and complex surgery to remove multiple cancerous tumors from his abdominal cavity (bladder, small intestine, etc.). Diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, we thought we had 6 months...maybe 2 years. In reality we had both much less time than that and much more. The man that went into the hospital that day in February (5 days after he turned 54 by the way) died there, and the man sent home in his place is a shell...a shadow. It...well it fucking sucks. But I usually manage to not feel bad for myself over all of it. I've been through the emotional gamut in the past 9+ years, but when I come out the other side I face this realization: For 21 years I had a dad who loved me, who adored me, and who helped make me who I am today. For that I am so blessed, even though he has no idea what year it is, is constantly wondering whether his parents are still alive, and cannot remember walking me down the aisle.

But there it is again. Because while I wish he remembered walking me down the aisle I'm so grateful he was there to do it. In January of 2004, almost 2 years past the date his prognosis told us he would live to see. It was hard when he looked at me, in my veil and white dress, carrying flowers and surrounded by people, mid-aisle, and asked me where we were. It was hard when, a few months later, I reminded him that Darrick was my husband and he got choked up and asked why he wasn't invited to the wedding. But he was there, and it meant the world to me.

But nothing in my life has been such a gut punch, such an utterly empty and lost feeling as knowing that my kids will never know my dad as I knew him and that he will never really know them. He's met them. He's talked to them. Every time he sees me with them, his first question is, "What year is it???" because in his mind it's sometimes still 1995 (and I am still 16) and I just know he's thinking All that work to raise a good daughter and she thanks me by having two kids while she's still in high school?!?!. He'll ask me their names, point and look at me incredulously while repeating, "That's YOUR baby?!?!" and shake his head. And once in a great while when Luca's feeling brave (because my dad is kind of scary to a 2 year old) he might even give a hug. But typically he seems to almost forget they are there.

Which is why, when we showed up to my mom's house on Sunday and I set the baby carrier next to my dad's chair, I was floored when he said, "Oh, can I hold him?" and pointed to Rohan. And so Rohan joined my dad in his recliner, and they stared at each other for a long while. Then Rohan smiled his golden smile and my dad laughed and grabbed his hand. And the two of them - two of the most important men in my life - fell in love with each others' smiles.



Add berries to the list of foods that trigger Rohan's Masto. Which is so freaking unfair because, seriously, blueberries and raspberries and strawberries...oh my! We tried a bowl of blueberries and raspberries for dessert tonight, and 15 minutes later he was in bed. Thirty minutes after going to bed, he was up crying with a big puff raising up on his spot.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Terrible Twos.

Oh so THESE are the terrible twos?!?! In the last week in our house we've lived through:

Me: "I love you, Luca."
Luca: "Well I don't love YOU."


"No, Mama. Don't follow me upstairs!"


"No hugs. I don't want HUGS!"


(We have Luca sit on the stairs to calm down when she's having a tough time or being kind of naughty. This happened after she tried to hit my leg because I asked her to put on her shoes. I put her on the steps and told her why, then returned a few minutes later.)

Me: "Do you know why I had you sit here?"
Luca: "I don't know."
Me: "What did you do to Mommy?"
Luca: "I don't know."
Me: "You DO know, Luca. Why did Mommy tell you to sit here?"
Luca: "Because I hit Mommy."
Me: "Why did you hit Mommy?"
Luca: "Because, Mama. I just DID."


Tonight, her mononlogue after she spent 10 minutes trying to avoid going to bed, and I was attempting to tuck her in:

"Go away Mama. GO AWAY! I don't wanna go ta bed! I want Dada. Dada can sing me songs. I don't WANNA give kisses. I don't NEED kisses!!!! No, Mama. GO AWAY."


And then there are the attempts to hit and kick, the crying when told no, the throwing of toys just because.


T minus 6 months until she's 3.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Teeth That Took My Sleep.

Rohan cut his first tooth when he was 4 months old. Since then, he's cut the two middle lower teeth, and all 4 upper middles.

That last upper middle, though? The one on the left? THAT one was an asshole. I swear it took WEEKS to even get to where it was showing under the gum (though I could feel it before then). This past week that damn tooth has been turning my nighttimes into night of the living dead. It's gone something like this: Put Rohan to bed. Go get him 1.5-2 hours later when he cries, and give him back his Boppy. Go back in when he cries hysterically an hour later, bring him downstairs to feed and change him. Back to bed (it's not usually about midnight). Up again for a Boppy at 2, then up at 3 or 4 with him crying inconsolably until I bring him into our bed and feed him and pat his back until he falls back asleep.

Did I mention my alarm goes off at 5:30 to start my day?

So then, if people who know me in real life have wondered where Katie's brain has been lately, there's your answer in that paragraph above. So when I misplace my keys (in my pocket), insist you said something you didn't (because you did in my dream), almost back out of the garage while the door is still closed, or get all the way to the gas station before realizing I am not wearing shoes - - - and I am on my way to work - - - you'll know why.


Please note further evidence of my sleep deprivation. This should be 18/30.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

PlayDoh Burger: Eating on the Cheap Part 2.

Luca would like to add her suggestion to the mix.

The PlayDoh burger. At 4 cans for $2.54 it's cheap, and seeing as how it's not actually supposed to be consumed, it's diet friendly.



Stuffed Tomatoes: Eating on the Cheap.

In the past few months we've been working on clearing out the excess in our pantry. Cooking at home is both cheaper and better for us, but with 2 kids and 2 working parents it's posed a bit of a challenge. Add to that my sheer lack of cooking expertise. It's not that I can't cook, it's that I generally do not enjoy following recipes and meal planning. I want to. I really want to be a domestic goddess who plans her weekly meals when the Wednesday ads come out, but I just don't have it in me. In fact, I tend to cook more from time tested 'recipes' with very few ingredients and instructions (Wash chicken, trim fat, season and roll in egg then flour, bake). Or, alternately, I make it up as I go along, which is exactly what I did tonight.

Before I share the details and pictures I should say two things:
1) I am not Pioneer Woman. She's faabulous. I cannot match her skills in cooking nor her skills in photography. Seriously, check out her blog and you will never be the same. But don't expect my pictures, taken in crappy lighting, to be as divine as hers.
2) Um, I got so distracted by Pioneer Woman's blog I forgot what 2 was.

So, without further ado: eating like you're on the dole even when you're not.

The ingredients and their cost:
- 2 chicken breasts (I used leftovers from BBQ on Sunday, boneless skinless) - $1.99/lb on sale, and I'll estimate it was 1.5 pounds
- 4 hot house (or some LARGE variety) tomatoes - $1.49/lb, est. 2 lb.
- Green peppers - free from inlaws' garden, but I routinely see green bell pepper for as cheap as 3/$1 at the store
- Rice - Bag is about $2, used 1 cup of it, est. 1/8 bag.
- 1 can black beans - $1.49?
- Shredded cheese - big bag was $4.99, but we just used a few small handfuls est. 1/10 of bag
- Salt and/or pepper to taste - I didn't use any, so free for me!

Total estimated cost: $8.46

Get Cookin'!

1. Enlist a helper. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Start by getting the rice going on the stove, since it takes 20 minutes. I made 3 cups (2 c. water, 1 c dry rice).
(I'll spare you the picture of rice simmering....)

3.. While rice is simmering, wash and finely chop the green peppers (I used 1 long one and 1 small one, but if you're doing a bell pepper, do 1 whole). Be sure you let your helper lick the peppers you are not using since she looks so cute doing so.

4. Chop the chicken into small pieces. (I suppose this is where the obvious aside gets added: mine was already cooked. If you need to cook yours please do so before chopping it and adding it to the mix. Because salmonella may help with weight loss, but it's probably expensive to treat.)

5. Drain the beans and rinse. Let them sit in colander in sink while you prep everything else.

6. The time consuming part: wash the tomatoes. Using a sharp knife, cut the top off each tomato (similar to how you cut a pumpkin to carve). Use the knife to cut loose the 'stuff' inside the tomato. Then use a spoon to scoop it out and into a bowl you set to the side. Do this with all 4, then use your hands, a spoon, or a knife to break up the tomato in the bowl.

7. Mix together rice (should be done by now), chicken, beans, peppers, and tomato 'stuff' in a large bowl. Place tomatoes in a baking dish, and fill each one with the ingredients in the bowl. I overfilled mine cuz I'm wild like that. And, thinking back on this I wish I'd had some corn to add to the mix. Next time.

8. Bake for about 15 minutes (your guess on exact time's as good as mine...I didn't watch the clock). Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese, and return to oven. When the tomatoes are soft and the cheese is melted, switch your oven from 'bake' to 'broil' to brown the cheese. Remove when cheese is browned and serve warm.

It should be noted this made more filling than necessary, so Darrick took the excess, added Gunslinger and Green Tabasco and ate it with a spoon. He claimed it was 'like gumbo' which he promises was a compliment. You could probably also make it into a burrito or just make less filling. Your call. It would be great as a side dish or served over a bed of greens, but I made it my main dish and it was perfect!


10 in 6, week 1.

Week 1 was a success, and all it took was a conscious effort to eat at home, eat less, and ban snacks from the office.

I lost either 1.2 or 2.8, depending which scale reading you use. I'm splitting the difference and calling it 2 pounds even.

8 more to goooooo!


Monday, November 16, 2009

The Zoo on a Perfect Fall Day.

It rained on us as we unloaded the car Saturday morning. Not a harsh rain, nor the typical fat raindrops that smell like dust which we tend get in Arizona. But a cool air, misty whisper of rain. Luca giggled like a maniac, apparently made giddy by cool wet weather just like her Mama. Rohan was strapped into the stroller with a red hoodie and a soft green blanket, content and warm from the nap he'd taken on the drive over.

Mornings like this, you almost forget that living in Arizona is like living at the crossing of hellhole and shit-dump for at least 5 months of the year.

The zoo was pretty crowded this weekend, overrun with little girls in blue and green and brown vests, treasure-like maps with clues about where to go next spelled out in riddle. They had knapsacks slung over shoulders, weary pack-moms tagging after them. Ocassionally we'd see a crew led by a chipper young thing in hiking boots and a perky ponytail, no doubt the mom who gave up her usual Saturday morning of elliptical at the gym or hiking outdoors to schlep her little Princess and the Princess's Troup-mates up and down the hills and to every corner to the zoo. Luca was fascinated with these older girls, skipping around giggling and laughing at the rhino as it pooped for an audience. She was simply enamored with them, and everytime we'd come across of crowd of them, she would lean out the side of the wagon and stare wide-eyed, smiling on reflex when she saw them smile and letting out a giggle when a cluster of them would walk by laughing. I watched them too, all too aware that someday in the not-too-distant future that will be her, jumping in some other mom's mini-van to go explore the furthest reaches of the zoo with her friends and not with us. :::Lump in throat:::

But in the meantime, in the present day which I've promised myself I will live to its fullest, it WAS us she wanted to be with. It was her Daddy's shoulders she sat on, high above the heads of all those bigger girls, smug in the confidence that she's HIS and he is HERS. It was my hand she kept reaching for, asking me to hold onto hers while I pushed the stroller and walked next to her wagon. It was me she laughed at and called "MAMA-MISA!", a nickname she came up with all on her own.

And we had a blast together, the four of us. And I think the giraffes liked us too.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Walk Out, Walk On.

I was struck recently by something a woman said at an event we hosted for work. We invited an author, public speaker, and community change organizer to try to inspire people in the non-profit world, government, and those who just plain care to come together and work for change.

And one of her main points was this: You have to be doing what you are called to do. If it's not working, walk out and walk on.

Walk Out, Walk On.

And so I've been thinking a lot about what that means to me, personally and professionally. I've been thinking about the things in life I feel called to and the things in life that have become more of a drain than a joy. I've been working to be nicer to my husband and more patient with my kids because they are the center of my crazy world. I've been making an effort to be more understanding of people I don't agree with and to ask questions and LISTEN to the answers rather than answering for people in my own head. And I've been thinking a lot about that which calls to me, professionally and personally.

And I think personally THE single biggest thing I've Walked Out on and Walked On from in life was the fear. I used to be much more afraid to just BE and let people deal. I still want everyone to like me, and I still don't want to offend. But motherhood has done something extraordinary for me: it helped me find my voice. I Walked Out on that girl (wife...friend...daughter in law...stranger with the baby) who never wanted to offend and never stood up for herself. I Walked On to become a mother who's still learning and feeling things out, but who is sure in who she is. I may stumble around like I'm blind, bumping into walls and feeling lost and frustrated sometimes. But I am sure in my footing because I am listening to the voice inside me which tells me mothering is best led with the heart. And so I've silenced the voices of advice...of criticism...of doubt...of questioning. I've learned more about who I am, about the true weight of my convictions and what matters most to me from being a Mom than from anything else thus far in my life.

To those ends, I'm also contemplating some changes in my professional world. Some small (maybe teaching a class here and there), some very personal (taking more time for the creative outlets I enjoy, one of which in my dream of dream worlds might someday be a profession of sorts), and some I'm not ready to open up to the world about just yet, but which could lead me to Walk Out and Walk On in a whole new very scary and very exciting way.

I'm not Walking Out on anything just yet, but the door is open and I'm letting the new possibilities Walk In. That may not be something our esteemed scholar suggested, but it's what works for me right now.


Close Call.

Friday night, my friend wanted me to go to the Kohl's after-hours sale with her, so I put Romo to bed and Luca asked to sleep in our bed. Darrick decided to lie down with her and ended up falling asleep when she did, in our bed. My friend picked me up and I went out the front door, locking just the baby gate and the screen door.

I get home about 10:30, and when I get to the front door, the screen/security door is closed but NOT LOCKED, but the inner door is wide open. I feel my heart start to hammer in my chest. Is someone in my house?? But I open the door and the dogs are there, wagging their tails. Surely that means no one broke in? I look around and notice some shoes strewn around, a folding step stool tipped over, and Luca's potty on the floor (usually it's in hiding once she's in bed). I check to make sure no one's in the house and make sure the kids are accounted for, and all is clear.

A little later, I go to get in bed, and discover Luca peed on our sheets. I wake H and ask why he didn't put her in a diaper overnight, and he says he did.

"I had to go poo poo," she tells me.

And then it clicks. She went down by herself, went potty, played with some toys, and opened the front door. And my heart just stopped. If I hadn't locked that baby gate, what could have happened? And what if she'd discovered she could climb over it?!?!

I guess it just goes to show that you can never be too careful with a toddler in the house. AND it's time for some more serious baby-proofing of the front door!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009





Crawl on all Fours.


Make Me Giggle.

Scootch Around on the Floor.

Bare New Baby Teeth.

Climb All 14 Stairs.

Have a Belly Ripe for Tickles.

And a Heart-Stopping Blue Stare.

Pull Up to Standing.

In Your Crib.

On Your Toys.

Need a Kiss.

Need a Hand.

Bring Us So Many Joys.



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