It’s a new year, so let’s get real


It is officially 2016.  The calendar changed as the clock struck midnight, and for anyone who actually has to manually write the date out, you will struggle to remember how to end the year for at least a week.  Thankfully, all my correspondence occurs electronically, so that’s one less thing off my list!  Full disclosure – with three kids and a really LONG few weeks, I did not stay up until midnight. My wild and crazy NYE looked like this:

For all of us, it seems only natural to spend time reflecting on how the last year has gone and the new year will go.  We all have resolutions in mind, convinced that like Cinderella, something magical changes at the stroke of midnight that allows us to become someone new…or old in the new year. I will admit that I have a couple of things on my list, but I’m not ready to share them yet. Clearly, as a blogger, I will have to publish at least of few of my “resolutions” for the world to see to fully commit – partly because that’s what bloggers do and partly because I’m masochistic.

Instead of resolutions and reflections, I’m going to use my 20 minutes of quiet before the family wakes up to think through my reality.

My reality is wonderful and imperfect and exhausting and sensational.

  • I am way closer to 40 than 3o, and that makes me freak out, but it also makes me happy. I have earned every wrinkle, scar, and extra pound. Ironically, I haven’t found a grey hair yet, but I know its coming!
  • I have three insane, loud, beautiful kids that are so much more work than I ever anticipated, and yet, they are one of the two things in my life that I am most proud of.
  • I have been married to a goofball that I met 18 years ago this month and married 12 years ago.  He is the love of my life and makes me better, stronger, and happy, even when I think I want to kill him. He is the other thing that I am most proud of.
  • I am generally a hot mess! I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time, so I trust my heart and my gut. It works out most of the time, and when it doesn’t, I learn from my screw-up.
  • When something falls through the cracks, I have been blessed with amazing back-up: family and friends who know how to pick me up and keep me going when I need a little boost or literally pick something up at the store because I had my wisdom tooth extracted and forgot the ice cream!

Overall, I am living my life the best that I know how, and it’s working out okay. There is always something that I want to change about myself, or my husband, or my kids, or my life.  We all want everything to be perfect. We all want a little bit of the fairy tale life that we grew up dreaming of. But, perfection isn’t real, and today, I am going to appreciate my reality.  Because, after all, it’s REAL! It’s my life and I helped create it.

The resolutions will come, but right now, in this moment, I am going to love what I have now!

Happy 2016 to you all, wherever you are! Appreciate today before dwelling on what will be better tomorrow…

Thanks for the memories

Today is a day of food, football, family and friends.  My entire house is quiet, enjoying a late start and a holiday weekend.  I made the mistake of getting up to start the coffee and turkey and came back to this scene…

family sleep

Needless to say, I wasn’t going to fit back in the bed again today.  What to do when the turkey is on and you don’t actually have to be anywhere or do anything for another hour? Well, write for a few minutes, of course!

When I woke up this morning, my mind was replaying Thanksgivings of the past.

Meals when I was 8 or 10 at my Aunt Gaby’s, my first experience with fancy matching plates, glasses for water and “wine” or sparkling cider for the kids.  We dressed up in fancy clothes, and my hair actually had to be combed.  It was that classic Thanksgiving dinner you see in the movies, some family drama included, but completely surrounded in love.

In high school, I remember the wonderful chaos of Leza family Thanksgivings at Abuela’s house in Texas! 150 people or more eating in shifts at her two-bedroom house as various tias (aunts) carried in multiple turkeys, mashed potatoes, green bean and corn casseroles, Mexican rice, beans and more. Someone always made the candied yams with marshmallows – which I never ate because they were BRIGHT orange.  It was loud and lovely, with people laughing and yelling and singing (because the mariachi music always starting playing by the end of the night).

Then, we move to college Thanksgivings. For some of us, we couldn’t afford to get home for Thanksgiving. And in those moments, I learned how friends really become family too.  My freshman year, a collection of us stranded students attempted Thanksgiving, it was a fantastic disaster in the dorm common room but amazing at the same time. As the years went on, my best friend and roommate started to let me tag along with her to off-holidays (Thanksgiving/Easter). We’d make the trek to northern Minnesota from South Bend, IN – smoking cigarettes, watching for cops in Wisconsin because they are all about getting the out-of-state drivers for speeding, and singing at the top of our lungs to everything from Smashing Pumpkins and Cake (my picks) to Rage Against the Machine and Marilyn Manson (her pick).

Now, as a married mother of three, I start to think of my own Thanksgiving traditions.  Because even though I don’t feel grown up, my 6- and 8-year old will start to remember these days as they grow older. Our traditions will be different – they will be a mix of the amazing history of traditions that both Craig and I experienced. They’ll be good, with a little bad (as I will likely yell/scream at some point trying to get the house ready for the in-laws). But they will be loving.


The key about Thanksgiving is it’s not about how pretty your table is, or if the turkey is perfect. It’s about FAMILY. And family, regardless of how they came to be, is love and really “all you need is love…”

Enjoy your day today, even if it isn’t perfect. Be kind! Give someone a hug! Call someone you love, even if you wouldn’t normally do it.

I am eternally grateful for my families. I grew up and still live surrounded by love, and I am blessed.  On this day of thanks, I am thankful for you – all of you who have been there for me when I needed it most. I send my love across the miles to my friends and family scattered around the world.

Happy Thanksgiving!