Monthly Archives

April 2015

Mindfulness, Tune in Today

Better in my 30s: Meditating

April 29, 2015

Tune in today to see if she can … Meditate for 30 days.

A few months back, I was on a Gabrielle Bernstein high. I listened to her audio book for Miracles Now and became a full-on spirit junkie, taking hit after hit of Gabby’s good stuff. While like most of my infatuations, it only lasted a hot minute, I would say I was addicted. I took introspection to a DEFCON level 5, dissecting every passing thought and action, trying these wild meditations with mantras that I chanted, having absolutely zero clue what they meant. But before you judge, listen to the girl speak. You might not drink the Kool-Aid, but you’ll at least smell it to see what flavor’s in the pitcher.

She said things like …

And these memorable nuggets …

I finished the last disc and swore to find my peace, damn it!

A quick confession and choppy transition: I have over 100 blogs in my Feedly roll. Whether you find yourself appalled or impressed is neither here nor there, but what I can tell you is certain trends are undeniable in the blogosphere. Repeating themes, if you will. And right now I could create a brutal drinking game for content addicts based on the mention of any of the following: juicing, HIIT, festival, flower crown or meditation. The latter being the only one that also coincides with my resolutions for self improvement in 2015. The universe just keeps throwing it at me. So, I’m going to stop throwing it back. At least for a month.

Starting Monday, this mama is going to hide in my basement, closet (c’mon, I have no pride anymore) or bedroom for 10 minutes every day, for 30 consecutive days, and meditate. Nothing fancy. No mantras. Likely just a timer and some instrumentals. I don’t know … I don’t know if I’ll have enough time … I want to see if being mindful truly impacts decision making, parenting and sleep. I want to breathe and reboot. So, we’ll see. I’ll journal and overthink it all and report back in June. I know you’ll be on the edge of your seats (wink, wink).

Until next time …


Arangadang adoration

April 27, 2015

Before we can even get into the obscene amount of adorable that I’m about to put on you, we have to get on the same page. If you have not already been witness to this piece of pop culture history, take a moment, won’t you?

This was pre-Anna, and, mind you, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Veronica Mars follower. At one point, the sole source of my appreciation for Kristen Bell was this sloth video.

Bringing it back to this post, our Children’s Zoo recently welcomed a baby orangutan, Asmara. There are two things I geek out about when I take the girls: 1) Feeding the giraffes, and 2) the orangutans in the rain forest exhibit. Spike calls them “arangadangs” which, let’s face it, just adds another layer of awesome.  I mean, they sit on branches with trashcan lids on their heads for crying out loud. They can kill you with a swift backhand, but they have such humanistic features and expressions.

When someone at work sounded the alarm for a last-minute photo shoot, I threw out the zoo as a suggestion, never imagining in a trillion years we would end up, as I imagined in my dreams, on a Friday morning, standing in an observation room in the rain forest with just 5 feet of space and a pane of glass between me, Asmara and her family. They were sloths, and I was Kristen Bell.





There are times when I can, and then there are times like this when I … just … can’t even.

Plus,  these dudes:


You’re welcome. Now go hysterically cry and record yourself.

Tune in Today

Much love for Mother Nature

April 22, 2015

Tune in today to see if she can … lighten her carbon footprint and trigger change.

Let’s give it up for Earth Day, everyone, whatda ya say, huh? It seems like such a lackluster effort on our parts. I mean, the planet gives us electric sunsets, piercing blue waters and, oh yeah, air, and we set aside one cotton-pickin day to consider what we’re doing to impede on her efforts. I feel like, I don’t know, we could really up our game as a species.

I would say, on an Earth-conscious scale from 1-10, our household falls at about a 5. Aside from filling our recycling bin to the brim, composting, repurposing, planting trees, avoiding material waste and educating our girls about all of the above, I know we’re just scratching the suffocating surface.

If every person resolved to make one change to one habit every April, big things could happen. I’ll go first … This Earth Day, I am going to switch to cloth napkins. After I made this declaration to Hank on the drive to Spin tonight, he countered, as he so often does, with, “I’m curious if it really does make that much of a difference, or if, because you have to wash them, it’s just as bad.” Enough to make me wonder and doubt my Earth Day ’15 choice.

According to, who tested both paper and cloth scenarios, “Over the course of a year you might wash your napkins 50 times and during the same time you might go through 350 (50 x 7) paper napkins. This scenario is much more favorable towards the reusable napkins, with 5 grams of greenhouse gas emissions for the cotton versus 10 grams for the single-use paper napkins. The linen napkin was even lower at 2.5 grams.” Sounds legit to me.

On to the contenders …


1. My front runner. Simple. Practical. Organic. And Mama loves a multipack.

2. Who doesn’t love a side of zigzag with their dinner?

3. These floral favorites are pretty, but perhaps a little fancy for a typical night at our table. (Spike can belch at will. Does this motif scream a message that mimics that ambiance to you?)

4. Another fave. I’m digging these colorways so hard.

So, go green, my brothers and sisters. Make a pact to pursue a simple, sustainable change this year, and every year, and happy Earth Day!

Until next time …


Boom. Crash. Flash.

April 21, 2015

Every once in awhile one of your kids goes and just shocks the shit right out of you. This time, it was my JoJo. Last summer, we tested the waters and took our oldest bird’s training wheels off, only to discover that she liked to do a full-on MacGyver bail at the slightest balance check. But last weekend, for whatever reason (her daddy’s persistent support, I’m guessing) this happened:

I’m telling you, had I not seen it with my own baby grays, I wouldn’t have believed it. Proudest mama.

But what comes up, must come crashing down, and who doesn’t remember their first epic cement smooch? She was warming up. Her uncle was stopping by to see her sweet new moves, and from the top of the driveway I heard it … you know, that sound of bone on concrete on screams that don’t quite register on the scale of human hearing? This is a child who has a tumultuous past, involving sedation as a last resort, when it comes to stitches, so the fact that we were dealing with a nasty road rash and swollen eye actually sent relief coursing through me.

My girl’s got grit. She hopped back on the horse and rode that mare all the way down the sidewalk.

In all the excitement, I came across a journal entry from last summer. It went something like this …

August 26, 2014

The other night, JoJo spilled water on her pants during dinner.

“Take ’em off and go change, babe. And then we’ll go for a walk after
dinner,” I said. So, she went up and put on a cute little green dress.

We went out and she told me she wanted to ride her big girl bike. So I
put a leash on the dog and she sped off in front of me. A family passed
… a dad with his 2 little boys … JoJo waved at them and on she
went. Flying around the path with her hair flying in the wind. Until
she got stuck at the bridge. I caught up to her and pushed her little
bike over the hump.

I got in front of her and she yelled, “Watch
out, Mama! Here I come!” so I turned around. The wind caught her skirt
and I that’s when I saw it. Her little bare bum. Apparently in her rush to beat the sunset, she decided to skip the undies. As she
whizzed on in front of me and I was close enough to take it all in, I
got a full view of the flashes of naked crack.

I laughed so hard
that Hank and Spikey had to come get me. The man with his children on a
leisurely bike ride, the neighbor lady lounging in her deck chair. They
all saw my little JoJo’s little fanny. What a great way to end the summer … with a full moon.


You can stick it

April 20, 2015

I am seldom a trendsetter. In fact, on the bell curve of coolness, I would typically fall in line somewhere in the “late adapter” sector of the downward slope. But my one claim to fame … the one tally on my hipster scorecard is the side of my fridge.

My love of Instagram was a frustrating, dead end sort of romance until a coworker – one far trendier than myself – put me on to Sticky 9. I ordered my first $14.99 sheet of magnets and never looked back. I don’t have sponsors or do endorsements (I have like 25 readers), but I will joyfully stand atop a mountain and tell the tens of tens of people reading this post that this company is awesome. You always get Free Shipping and the user experience is cake. Connect your Instagram account, choose your stickies and boom! You’re golden. The best part is that people think you’re fancy. I love when people think I’m fancy. 

If you do decide to explore this magnetic must, use my code, RAFCZ91 at Checkout. I’m not 100 percent sure what happens, but one of us saves some coin.
Spike Speak

Spike’s World

April 13, 2015

Today I invite you to leave commonsense behind and join my family for a beautiful, absurd adventure.

For months, Spike has been talking about her “world”. This alternate universe comes up at least twice a day and holds Grandfathers who teach her how to do things and her very own computer and iPad (Apple, of course), a friend named Desi who gets beat up by her brothers and is sometimes mean to Spike and, the most recurring character, her flying horse, Kiyango. Kiyango is referenced so frequently and convincingly that my mom actually got Spikey a Kiyango ornament for Christmas this year. She can tell you everything about her world. She’ll even draw you a map, complete with landmarks and detailed step-by-step instruction on how to get there.

With this background, our journey can begin. It started last night, when she demanded we go to her world, so she could retrieve her computer. (Truth be told, I was pretty sympathetic. I hate when you’re up against a deadline and forget your dang computer.)

This went on forever until finally a promise to go first thing after breakfast the next day brought the expedition to a halt.

And so, Sunday morning, 12 hours after the initial proposed departure time, me, Hank, Sloppy Joan, JoJo and Mya geared up to fall in line behind our fearless leader Spike, and head for her world.

Because there is a giant pond in Spike’s World, she first came down dressed in this little number …

But settled on some polka dot pants and a more-sensible shoe. Off we went: Two parents, one strapped up with a hairy baby, a dog and an older sister. All following a 3 year old who seemed to know exactly where she was going and was in a huge hurry to get there.

But being the middle child can be tough. And being the middle child getting a lot of attention can be especially tough on the oldest child. And as our adventure advanced, JoJo started poking. First she said she’d “already been there and knew how to get there herself.” Ouch. Then she started racing her. Then she started throwing full-on shade about the endeavor in general. 

Daddy dropped the hammer and took big sis home for a little timeout and talking to. Spike couldn’t care less. She pressed on, veering off the path and through the common area, chatting the whole way. At one point, we were looking for a rainbow to jump on. A few minutes later, we would be holding hands and dropping from a cliff onto a cloud (How everyone wishes Thelma and Louise would have ended). And then we found a patch of tall, prickly brush and homegirl decided to really go off the grid.

I was hesitant …

She crunched around until a big bird flew by and she decided it was heading for her world and we should track it. We walked by a tree full of Specks and her mind was blown for a solid 3 minutes. “We are here! We are here! We are here!” we chanted.

About 15 minutes into the trek now and “so close” to her world, she came upon a small ditch or stream or trickle of runoff (not sure what one calls this particular body of water).

What followed was a handful of minutes where I watched Spike pump herself up to walk through, essentially, a giant puddle, and then geek out and abort the crossing. We had come to the biggest obstacle on our route to Spike World. A river ran through it, and it was rocking sister’s world, until …

As I went to high five my trailmate, I noticed some dead weight. I looked down and …

Time for Mom to tap out. As if on cue, Hank, JoJo and the dog came strolling through the grass. Spike was ready to lead them straight through someone’s backyard and onto the final destination. Needless to say, I don’t think they made it past the cattails.

I am an educated, reasonable, incredibly realistic woman, but I would be lying if I didn’t say a small part of me wished a rainbow had dropped down from the sky with Kiyango all saddled up and ready to go. I mean, her imagination is so intricate and contagious, and I think all of us wanted to take a bath in the big pond and shoot the shit with Desi. Alas, it was only a walk. But a fun walk. And as soon as she got home, Spikey came upstairs, put her hand to her mouth and said in my ear, “Mama, tomorrow, I’m going to take you to my world.”


Easter at our house

April 8, 2015

Sadly, another first holiday as a family of five has too-quickly come and gone. Eggs were hunted. Hair was unruly. And then more eggs were hunted. And then candy was had by all. (Real quick, doesn’t it kind of look like Sloppy Joan has bunny ears in this top picture?)

While we would all live to regret our poor, sweet, sugary choices that day, as well as those made in the days following, the buzz did drive us outside, where we enjoyed one of the most beautiful days we’ve had so far. We walked, and chased bubbles in the wind and dialed in our bikes. JoJo even took her training wheels off for a hot minute. It was a great day. Three little chicks, a bunny and some sunshine … what more could a woman want? Maybe this picture …


Putting on my training heels

April 7, 2015

 Tune in today to see if she can … hatch a half marathon training plan.

There is something so romantic about being a runner. Rising with the sun. Worn sneakers with soles that trap and hold stories of triumph and trial. Lean arms that swing and pump and plead for one more mile. The pain. The glory. The reward of making it farther than ever before. It’s the most awe-inspiring example of the power of will. Of course I’ve never experienced these things personally (I know, I really sold it in those first few sentences), but when I watch people pounding the pavement on my drive in to work, I momentarily crush on their endurance. The fact that they’re out there. That they are runners. And then I think, damn it, I want to be a runner.The natural retort here would be, “Then go run, fool!” but the truth is, it isn’t that easy. To put it nicely, I am stride challenged. I have all the ambition, but none of the athleticism. I learned several years ago that I am great at moving up and down, and terrible at moving forward; a problem, some would say, when it comes to covering distance.
In high school, we had something called Summer Gym. The program was a requirement for athletes and basically a form of torture for hormonal adolescents in which we were turned out in 98-degree conditions and told to  run, dash through tires and look disgusting in front of every boy we ever liked. The climax of Summer Gym was the infamous run to Lion’s Park. Let’s call it 3 miles round trip. My girlfriends pulled the period card and bailed, leaving me and my yet-to-be-diagnosed stationary stride. About 1 mile in, it became clear my only hope was a stamp transfer. Please, god of teenagers, let me get a stamp transfer. When a runner reached the park, they received a Sharpie stamp on the back of their hand before looping back to finish the course at the school. Runner after runner came back at me, Sharpie mark flashing, until I finally spotted a cheerleader comrade. We locked eyes, desperation in mine, pity in hers. She pressed her Sharpie against the back of my sweaty hand. We held them there for maybe a full minute. Nothing. There was no hope now. I was going to have to run the rest of the route. Worse yet, the group couldn’t stretch and leave for the day until every single runner returned. I finished dead last. They sent a football player to get me. I believe his words of encouragement were, “Move your ass!” if memory serves.

Since that fateful day, I have been chasing down redemption. I want to run a half marathon more than anything. I’ve walked it three times, with a little jogging peppered in. But this is the year. I have developed a very detailed 5-part action plan for how I am going to come at it.

1. Pick a race and sign up.
Done. It’s at the end of September in my hometown.

2. Get some new kicks.
I always end up with Brooks Adrenalines, but I’ll still go to our local running
store for my biannual analysis because I like watching my feet on camera and imposing my self-deprecating commentary on the sales guy.

 3. Train to train.
There is this wonderful gal at work who runs the real deal races. She has helped several other people come up with a kickass training program, so I picked one I liked and sent it to her. She asked how far, frequently and fast I am currently running. I sent my stats. Her response was sweet and thoughtful and she (summarized) basically suggested I use the program I had found to get me ready to start a real training program in July. So, I need to train to train. I get it. That’s where I’m at. Truth is a liquor best served straight up. So, I’m starting my pretraining training program today.

4. Train.
In July, I will begin one of Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Novice training programs. I’ll have to give this more thought when I get there.

5. Find some sucker
I have solicited a few friends to join me, with some interest returned. I had a great walking partner, who very politely passed on trying to run the thing. I worry about someone with a quick or long stride because, as we’ve established, this is not my jam. I need someone who is determined to finish, but not super speedy.
So, here we go … 26 weeks and counting!