Family


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I am so late to the year-end-edit party, but I am doing it anyway because at the end of the day I blog for me, as selfish as that may sound. I blog so I can pull up memories at any given moment and share them with friends or relive […]

2016 Year End Roundup


Hope Chapel Honolulu
While we were in Hawaii, we had the good fortune of our flight being delayed on Sunday which allowed us the extra time to visit our sister church, Hope Chapel Honolulu, which is a recent church plant out of Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay, now called Anchor church.  Ralph Moore is […]

Hope Chapel Honolulu


North Shore
We drove to the North Shore, the epicenter of the surfing world, which is famous for it’s massive waves at Pipeline and the rural heart of Oahu.  It is about an hour and a half drive from Waikiki depending on the route you take and the traffic.  We rented a […]

North Shore Scenic Route



Surfing Waikiki
One of our most anticipated activities was surfing in Hawaii. The last time Luke surfed Hawaii, it was in Maui and he was 2 years old. This trip he took lessons at Beach Boy Hale Surf School on Waikiki. Jeff and I paddled out alongside him and watched and cheered […]

Surfing Hawaii


Hilton Hawaiian Village 2
Last week we were in Honolulu for the Foursquare International Church Leaders Convention. Every year it’s held in a different city, and this year Jeff was especially happy that it was going to be held in Hawaii, his favorite place on Earth. We stayed on the beach at Waikiki at […]

Hilton Hawaiian Village


Central Park
Often on my trips to NY, I wander around Central Park alone, but it was so wonderful to spend a few hours with my family this time. My Mom and my sister had never been on the boats, so we did that all together. Of course Luke couldn’t pass up […]

Family Day in Central Park



Purchase College
Last week we journeyed to New York City for my little sister’s graduation from SUNY Purchase in White Plains. My sister is an artist and her dream of a getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree has been a long time coming. She took an unconventional road to success, joining […]

Congratulations Grad!


Quality Time
The advertising sales world I live and breathe with its constant deadlines and performance goals often leaves me feeling like I am constantly running on a hamster wheel- unable to slow down, yet never really going anywhere. Stopping to smell the flowers is not really an option.  One of the […]

Quality Time


Flowers
We spent most of Spring Break visiting our friends in Springfield Missouri. We’ve been out to visit them many times over the last 10 years the’ve lived there.  We were all excited to arrive by 1pm so we’d have a whole day together before needing to prepare for the Quinceanera. […]

Springfield Spring Break



Peter Bella 3
Over Spring Break we went to Missouri for our God Daughter, Isabella’s Quinceanera. It was so surreal to see the little girl I once knew now become a woman.  We were so blessed to take part in her milestone celebration.  Jeff performed the ceremony and I bestowed the tiara just […]

Belle of the Ball


Pokemon Food
This weekend we celebrated Luke’s 9th birthday with a Pokemon Party. I worked with him on the theme, invitation and ideas. It was a fun collaborating with him and much more authentic since according to him I’m a “newb” when it comes to Pokemon lingo.  It was probably my favorite […]

Pokemon Party


Pokemon Card Cake
This year, for Luke’s  birthday, rather than baking and decorating myself, I went with a semi-homemade solution.. I ordered a pre-made plain white frosted cake from Costco and then decorated it as a Pokemon Card.  I chose Charizard as the character because a lot of the decorations we bought for […]

Pokemon Card Cake Tutorial



Pokeball Favors 2
I was determined to find actual Pokeballs to use as favors for Luke’s party but did not have any luck so I decided to make them myself.  Here is how I made these DIY Pokeball favors in 5 easy steps. I found these red and white plastic balls at Party […]

DIY Pokeball Favors


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Luke’s 9th birthday will be upon us next week and I’ve been hard at work pulling it all together. This year’s Pokemon theme made it a lot of fun for me to get to know the show and the characters and allowed me special bonding time with my son through it […]

Pokemon Invitations


California Adventure
We stayed the night at The Sheraton Anaheim Park Hotel, which was walking distance to Disneyland, so we could head over to California Adventure first thing in the morning. We went straight to Cars Land and the wait for our favorite ride was only 20 minutes. For perspective, last time […]

California Adventure



Disneyland
On Friday we pretended to drive Luke to school and then took a detour to Disneyland instead as a reward for his outstanding behavior in school for the past few weeks. It ended up being the perfect day to go because the lines were not completely unbearable and the weather […]

Disneyland Detour


Family
I have been specifically praying for Luke since last year that God would make him kind. Not that he wasn’t a kind boy, but it seemed that I was the only one who knew it, and as him Mom, I longed desperately for others to see him the way I […]

Kindness


Broncos
This year we hosted a Superbowl Party at our house for a small group of young people from our church. Since my Patriots were out this year, I didn’t have a dog in the fight but Jeff and Luke were passionate about their teams. The dance-off between Beyonce and Bruno […]

Superbowl Party



Pinz LA
Luke and I spent Sunday afternoon at Pinz LA, a bowling alley on Ventura Blvd in Studio City. One of his classmates is moving to Oregon so he hosted a going away party there. This particular bowling alley has one of the most extensive game rooms I’ve ever encountered, complete […]

Pinz LA


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The combination of weather and everyday heat styling had left my hair dry and unmanageable. Jamie Alexander, star of Blindspot, serves up some serious messy bob inspiration so I took a few pins of her into my local Aveda salon and consulted with my colorist and stylist to see if […]

Messy Bob


Lakers Night
Kobe Bryant announced recently that this will be his final season as a Laker. I had it on my list to take Luke to a game before the season ended and last Friday we had the chance to go as a family. The Lakers lost miserably to the Spurs but […]

Lakers Night



monster trucks
We had our first experience at Monster Jam last weekend, which if you’ve never been, it is an insane display of Monster Trucks racing and flipping through the air.  Jeff had some discount coupons for Monster Jam 2016 and I thought it might make a good family night so we […]

Monster Jam 2016


Laundry
I realized that during the weekdays, after 3 hours of commuting, 8 hours of work and 8 hours of sleep, I’m left with only 5 hours of actual free time in each 24 hour period. Those five free hours are basically from 5am to 8am and 7pm to 9pm but […]

The Service Laundry


Basketball Lessons
I played basketball in Jr. High and High School and I remember being so dedicated to the sport that I’d practice in 20° weather in my New Hampshire driveway. Over the holiday break, I promised to take Luke to play basketball but when we arrived at the only outdoor court […]

Life Lessons on the Court



Ikea
I really wanted some inspiration for the church children’s classrooms and I remembered Ikea used to have a lot of creative ideas for kids rooms the last time I was there (which was about a decade ago) so Luke and I drove out to Burbank to explore together. Nothing like […]

Ikea Trip


2016
My best friend and I have a tradition to write our resolutions on New Year’s Eve and share them with each other.  It is a tradition I cherish because it allows us insight into the issues most pressing in each other’s lives, challenges us to grow in areas where there might be room for improvement […]

2016 Resolutions


2015 Moments 2
2015 was a year mixed with both joy and sorrow.  It was the year I said goodbye to my closest co-workers and AOL got bought by Verizon, the year Jeff lost his sister, Debbie, to cancer,  the year Jeff’s daughter Erin got married, the year Luke played flag football and […]

2015 Moments



The Grinch
Luke’s school Christmas play this year was “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.  It was an elaborate production with sets and costumes that rivaled most high school plays I’ve seen.  Luke was one of the Who’s and Jeff, Mema, Uncle Danny and I were very entertained.  Here’s a few pics. {the […]

How the Grinch Stole Christmas


LA Zoo Lights
This year instead of our traditional tour of the Valley’s famous Candy Cane Lane, we got our Christmas lights fix at the LA Zoo.   From November 27th to January 3rd the Zoo is transformed at night into a wonderland of Christmas lights, including a musical water show.   The […]

LA Zoo Holiday Lights


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We had a lovely Christmas holiday.  Christmas Eve we opened gifts from my Mom and my brother. Jeff’s Mom joined us Christmas morning and Jeff’s daughters came over for Christmas stockings and lunch.  The day after Christmas we went to my Aunt’s house in Hawthorne to see all my family. […]

Christmas 2015



Grinchmas
Luke and I took a mommy-son day and headed to Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood for costume inspiration as Luke’s upcoming Christmas play, the Grinch, was happening the following week. We went the first Saturday in December so the lines were not too long and the whole park was decorated […]

Grinchmas


We are the champions
Luke’s Team at West Valley Christian School won the Flag Football Championship game 14-0 over Valley Pres. Valley Pres was previously undefeated and Luke’s team had lost to them twice this season, so the victory was sweet.  Highlight reel below.

We Are The Champions


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Luke and I got all dressed up for Erin’s wedding. Luckily that meant we only had to go as far as digging into the backs of our closets.  It’s pretty funny when “all dressed up” constitutes jeans and a button down shirt but if you only knew how hard it […]

All Dressed Up



Luke & Mema
Jeff’s youngest daughter, Erin, got married in Santa Barbara this weekend. It was an intimate ceremony at the courthouse followed by a brunch at Cielito on State Street. The reception was the following evening at a friend’s home in the valley.  Here are a few of my favorite moments. {Father […]

Wedding Weekend


Flag Football
Luke’s team made a valiant effort at last week’s flag football game but lost to Valley Presbyterian. Being their first loss of the season, it was a valuable lesson for Luke that you win some, you lose some but what’s important is how you play the game. He played hard […]

Win Some, You Lose Some


Halloween 2015
For Halloween this year Luke was Halo’s Master Chief. We did our typical trick or treating with our neighborhood friends while Mema held down the fort at home. It was a lovely night to be out, which made us extra thankful to live in Southern California. {Scream character and Zombie […]

Master Chief



Walk for Life
Every October for the past 5 years we have participated in the annual Walk for Life to benefit Open Arms, our local crisis pregnancy clinic and resource center.  This year was challenging because Jeff was getting over a stomach virus and I woke up feeling sore all over but the three […]

Walk For Life 2015


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Luke started flag football this year and last week was his first game. It was so much fun to watch him. His team won 26-0. Not a bad start to a season. He is #6. Luke played a lot and seemed to genuinely enjoy it. I’m hoping he will end […]

Flag Football


Scooter run
Saturday we stepped away from our hectic lives for a bit to take Luke to the skate park. At first he couldn’t even ride his scooter without putting one foot down, by the end he was riding in the bowl with ease. I attempted to take one ride and quickly […]

Scooter in the Bowl



Lolli and Pops
The last thing I need in my life is more sugar, however, I am a sucker for a candy shoppe (no pun intended). Something magical happens whenever I step inside one, I become like Charlie wandering around Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, trying desperately to take it all in.  Last weekend […]

Lolli and Pops


Birthday Surprise
Jeff’s closest childhood friend, Robert Weiner, is a renowned surfboard shaper, and was named Shaper of the Year in 2011 by Surfing magazine. The two of them got together this Summer so Jeff could have Robert shape a board for his nephew and they decided that a reunion was in […]

Reunion Birthday Surprise


Debbie
I started this blog talking about God’s grace in my sister-in-law’s life. A week ago Friday she went to be with the Lord and even her death served as a reflection of Gods grace. It was her courage through cancer that shone brightest. Throughout it all she remained positive and […]

Debbie



Reading
Luke is playing flag football at school this semester. It’s his first time playing sports at school so it was time for a physical. We visited his pediatrician and not surprisingly he was in the 95th percentile for height and 90th for weight. His doctor thinks he will be a […]

Physical Time


Universal Studios Hollywood
Just as Summer wound down, we finally made our way back to Universal Studios with our season passes so that I could experience Furious 7 The Ride. Jeff and Luke went months ago but I had to work so it was fun to join them. It is part of the […]

Furious 7 The Ride


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A few weeks ago I stumbled upon the most beautiful blog, AHolyExperience.com.  Ann writes with such poetry,  her words are pure art.  I began reading her book this week, One Thousand Gifts, and in it she brings a fresh perspective on how to find joy in the midst of suffering.  […]

The Power of Gratitude



Be Still Sunset
Stop Striving. That was the message from God on a busy September morning.  I had spent the last 6 months planning, preparing, away from home far too often and obsessing about balancing it all.  In reality it had been far longer than 6 months,  I had spent the last 40 […]

Be Still


Batting cages
Luke is really excited to play baseball again. We took a year off so he could finish his green belt in Taekwondo and now he’s ready to go back to the sport. We went to the batting cages last week to get back into the swing of things (no pun […]

Batting Cages


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For our Labor Day activities, we spent lots of time on the water slides at the Westin Mission Hills. We also wanted desperately to take Luke to ride dirt bikes in the desert but couldn’t find any rental places in Palm Springs. We opted to go back to Off Road […]

ATVs and Water Slides



Luke Football
Labor Day is our one last-ditch-effort to make the most of family time before Summer is officially over. This year Jeff had a Wedding to go on Saturday so Luke and I headed out to Palm Springs on our own and Jeff met us there on Sunday. It was a […]

Labor Day Getaway 2015


church beach day
We had our annual Hope Chapel Beach Day last weekend at Zuma Beach in Malibu.  Jeff hosted free surf lessons for everyone and it was a beautiful day.  Luke and I didn’t surf, he boogie boarded and I took photos but we had the most fun. {Jeff brought our collection […]

Church Beach Day


Tower 20
We welcomed a group of young missionaries from Montana to stay at our church while on their visit to LA. Jeff offered to take an afternoon and teach them how to surf. We chose Tower 20 in Santa Monica as the designated surf spot. This was exciting for Luke since […]

Tower 20



Malibu Beach
This was one of my favorite afternoons spent with my family on the beach in Malibu during our staycation. I savor the salt air and sound of the waves so much and experiencing those things with Luke and Jeff and my Mom made it even sweeter.

A Walk On The Beach


Private Beach Access
Usually when we vacation I just take a few days off prior to a long weekend but this time I took off an entire seven business days for my birthday to spend with my Mom and sister and get Luke back to school. We chose to staycation for a couple […]

Malibu Beach House Staycation


40 is the new 30
Part two of my 40th Birthday celebration included a dinner at The Sixty Hotel in Beverly Hills. We started and ended the evening on the rooftop, which incidentally happened to be screening one of my favorite movies, The Goonies, by the pool that evening.  It was a lovely time with […]

40 at The Sixty



Flamingo Inflatables
It’s been a very busy week around here, starting with me turning 40 on Monday! Yay! So exciting. My Mom and sister flew in from South Carolina and New York respectively to attend the festivities which kicked off with a pool party for my family on Saturday.  I had planned […]

I Heart Pool Parties


Pool Surfing
Luke is reaping the benefits of having a thrill seeker Dad. One such benefit is doing dangerous things together like surfing our pool. Usually the two of them wait to do this when I’m out of town since I am the responsible, safe one in the family. But this week I […]

Pool Surfing


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I have been traveling for business a lot more than normal lately and missing my boys. Last week, Jeff took Luke out of Summer Camp for the day and went deep-sea fishing in the Channel Islands, off the coast of Ventura, CA. They both caught their limit in fish and […]

Fishing & Dirtbikes



Rainy Summer Saturday
It’s not entirely true that it never rains in Southern California, although it is extremely rare that it ever thunderstorms or that it thunderstorms in July. Well, that happened on Saturday and it was such a fun day. After sitting outside to watch the lightning as a family, we spent […]

Rainy Summer Saturday


Pool Renovation
When we moved into our house back in 2006, the pool needed to be re-plastered but we decided to paint it black instead.  For the past few years our black-bottom pool has been giving folks black-bottom feet.  We knew it was time for a fix and this year we finally decided […]

Pool Renovation


Dodger baseball
Last night we went to the Dodgers vs. Phillies game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Fighting the traffic to get there from the San Fernando Valley is no small feat, so we were Fashionably-LA-Late. We made a bee-line for the hot dog stand because let’s be honest, that’s the […]

Dodger Baseball



Gone with the Wind Dress
Lately Luke and his friends have been obsessed with digging for dinosaur bones. They’ve been digging up the backyard looking for everything from fossils to diamonds, smashing rocks open with hammers to see if there are hidden gems inside and then looking up their findings on the internet. I didn’t […]

Digging Dinos


Wild Kratts
Luke and I went to a “Wild Kratts” birthday party for one of his classmates. If you’re unfamiliar with “Wild Kratts” it is an animal show on PBS where the Kratt brothers teach kids animal facts while introducing you to real creatures and then parlay the video into a cartoon […]

Wild Kratts


At The Playground
Some of my fondest childhood memories were at the playground- swings and see-saws, kickball games and slides, sand and bare feet.  The beauty of being a Mom is part of your job involves taking your child to the playground so I had the chance to revisit those childhood memories with […]

At The Playground



Universal
As season pass holders at Universal Studios, we received an invitation to experience the new Fast and Furious Ride before it opened to the public. I took the day off Monday and invited Luke’s cousins to join us. We were all set with an 11am reservation and then the night […]

Universal Break


Disneyland 60th
Last week we spent a couple of days at Disneyland and California Adventure. It’s Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary and in addition to their epic fireworks display they are hosting all sorts of sweepstakes for visitors to the park to win diamonds and other various prizes. You can read all about how […]

Disneyland 60th Anniversary


Jeff Lisa and Luke
Last weekend we attended the wedding of a young couple in our church at Walnut Grove in Moorpark, CA. Jeff performed the ceremony and Luke was the wedding crasher (I threw out the invitation envelope and couldn’t remember whether Luke was invited or not). The bride was gracious to us […]

Walnut Grove Wedding



Baseball boys 2
We finally had a Saturday together after all my weeks of travel where we could get outside and enjoy the day. We went to the local baseball field and took turns hitting a few balls. Standing in the outfield reminded me of those wonderful weekday afternoons of high school softball. […]

Baseball Boys


Nordstrom
I work full time so I typically blog on Sunday nights, but since this last Sunday was Mother’s Day, I decided to take a break even from blogging. Instead I spent the evening watching the remake of Karate Kid (2010) with Luke and Jeff.  Luke is aiming for his Taekwondo […]

Mother’s Day 2015


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I am so lucky to work for a company that supports National Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day. It is Luke’s favorite day of the year (next to Christmas and his birthday of course). This year I planned the event for the AOL Beverly Hills office and I […]

AOL Take Your Child To Work Day 2015



Jeff and Lisa
This week I got to bring along my two favorite boys to the Clippers/Lakers game where I was hosting a client event in our VIP suite. Incredibly, I realized it was the first time Jeff was able to come along with me to an event in the suite (#terriblewife). As […]

Confessions of a Pastor’s Wife


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One of the beautiful things about living in Los Angeles is that there is no shortage of fun things to do around town when the kids are off from school. This week during spring break we took Luke and his cousins to Universal Studios Hollywood to experience the new “Minions” […]

Spring Break- Universal Studios Hollywood


Haircuts
This weekend was the first time we didn’t have our schedules booked back to back. Jeff was still under the weather so he mostly rested but Luke and I were able to get out and enjoy the sunshine together. Here are a few of the highlights. Hope yours was happy! […]

Weekend Highlights



Grandparents Day
Luke’s school always amazes me the way they honor people. Each year they take a special Chapel service to honor Grandparents. This year was a 50’s Sock Hop theme, which had kids whizzing around the sanctuary on roller skates in poodle skirt and twirling hoola hoops. Luke has a very […]

Grandparents Day


Bio Bay
One of the truly magnificent things to experience in Puerto Rico is what’s known as the Bio Bay.  It is filled with micro-organisms that emit light when agitated at night.  We paddled in on kayaks just before dark and as we waited it began to rain.  Luckily for us the […]

Bio Bay


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One of the most memorable adventures we had together as a family in Puerto Rico was zip lining in the rainforest. We went to [Rainforest Zipline], which offers a kid-friendly course of various zip lines through the canopy of the rainforest. The people were so nice and they really made safety […]

Rainforest Zipline



La Pared Surf Shop
Being married to a life-long surfer has its perks- one being that I can get free lessons anytime I choose to.  Over the years we have surfed together in Manhattan Beach, Malibu & Hawaii but there’s something to be said for taking a proper surfing lesson as a form of […]

Surfing La Pared


Puerto Rico Water Slide 018
Jeff and Luke arrived to meet me on Tuesday night, just in time to kick off the beginning of our time together as my business meetings came to an end Wednesday afternoon.  I was so excited to see them and missed them so much.  We have lots of adventures planned […]

Puerto Rican Water Slide


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This Tedx Toronto video from Drew Dudley is the most inspiring video I saw this week. As I watched it I began to well up unexpectedly as I thought about the impact certain people have had on my life.  My lollipop moments that I had never taken the time to […]

Lollipop Moments



Army Party Invite
I’ve been making themed birthday parties for Luke every year since before he can remember. Some of the best were [Hulk], [Minecraft] and [Star Wars]. This year when I asked Luke what theme he wanted he said “I want an Army party”. So random. I didn’t even realize there was […]

Army Party


USS Iowa
For President’s Day we decided to head down to San Pedro to visit the USS Iowa. Jeff suggested we tour it and I didn’t even know that it existed! I was so amazed to see there was such a massive piece of history in our own relative backyard. If you’re […]

USS Iowa


Valentines Flowers
For Valentine’s Day we had a date night at the ArcLight in Sherman Oaks where we saw [The Imitation Game], a fantastic movie.  Neither of us had been to the ArcLight before so it was really nice to experience the plush theaters and expansive concessions options.  Afterwards we headed to […]

Valentine’s Day



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A few weeks ago my friends at the office were teasing me that I had never been to [The Grove], a popular shopping center in Los Angeles.  The Sur La Table Cooking Class I attended recently was at The Farmers Market, right next to the Grove, so I did finally experience […]

The Grove


Veggie Burrito
On day two of my best friend’s birthday celebration, we headed out to Malibu for a tour down memory lane where our friendship all began 23 years ago- [Pepperdine University]. It was so restorative to walk around and remember all the little things that bound us together so closely all […]

Memory Lane


Bike Jump
Jeff made good on his promise to build Luke a bike ramp this weekend. I never had any desire to do jumps on my bike as a kid but apparently Jeff did so on a regular basis. I’m certain it took more courage for me to watch than it took […]

Bike Ramp



Sky High
Mondays are Jeff’s only day off so it’s not often we have a day off together..but Luke and I both had Martin Luther King day off which made for an opportunity to do something fun together. We headed to Sky High Sports, a trampoline park in Woodland Hills. Luke was […]

Sky High


Valley Hike
I love the San Fernando Valley. From its sweeping views of the mountains to its wide open spaces for simple things like parking. The pace of my life doesn’t often allow me to take it all in, but this past weekend Jeff took us for a spontaneous hike at the […]

Valley Hike


Wood break
Last night Luke had his Taekwondo test to advance to Yellow Belt and passed. Jeff and I very proud of him. Here are the highlights. {He had to break this board with his fist and broke it in 3 pieces with one strike}

Yellow Belt



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I had not spent a Christmas with my Mom in forever because we always have Christmas at home but this past year my Step Dad had multiple strokes and I felt that bringing Luke to my Mom would be a great way to cheer her up during an otherwise very […]

SC Highlights


Paintball
Poor Luke came down with a fever the moment our plane took off from Denver on our way to Springfield. His fever fluctuated the entire trip and didn’t really subside until our last day in South Carolina. He was a trooper though and found ways to have a little fun, […]

Paintball Fun


Robillards + Jeff
Over Christmas break we went to visit our God-children in Ozark, Missouri. I thought it would be fun to do a photo shoot with them so they chose their favorite outfits and we drove to downtown Springfield for some pretty fabulous backdrops. It was 27° outside but you’d never know […]

Strike A Pose



Le Labo
I have had a perfume obsession for as long as I can remember. I have tried so many scents over my lifetime and my tastes have certainly evolved. From the drugstore fragrances of my teen years like “Exclamation” and Debbie Gibson’s “Electric Youth” to the department store fragrances of my college years […]

Le Labo


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2014 was a beautiful year that flew by faster than I imagined. In reviewing my posts to round up the year’s best, I was reminded of how much we really did together this year, as a family, as a couple, as a church and as a company at AOL.  God’s grace […]

2014 Round-Up


Christmas 2014
We never travel over Christmas but this year we have had a beautiful time celebrating Christmas with friends and family across the country. We started out at home on Christmas day and then added stops in Springfield, Missouri and York, South Carolina through New Year’s.  Here are the highlights of our 2014 […]

The Christmas Express



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One of our favorite family traditions for the Christmas season is to take a drive down Candy Cane Lane to see all the pretty houses.  We finally got around to getting our tree and putting up our own lights this weekend so a visit to Candy Cane Lane was the […]

Christmas Tradition


Mohawk helmet
When I was growing up we rode our bikes in the middle of the street until the street lights came on and if helmets were invented, we never heard of them. As of 1994, California has a mandatory helmet law for riders under 18.  Luke outgrew his helmet (and has also […]

Mohawk Helmet


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We woke up early on Black Friday and headed to Zuma Beach in Malibu. Jeff finally got his long-awaited chance to teach Luke how to surf. Luke was surprisingly brave. He suited up and jumped right into the waves on his boogie board as a warm up, then switched to […]

Surf Lesson



Thanksgiving 2014
Our Thanksgiving table was overflowing with food and surrounded by family. Jeff’s Mom and his daughters joined us along with his youngest daughter’s fiancé and my brother. We went around the table and each one of us shared what we were most thankful for.  Luke started by saying he was […]

Our Thanksgiving Table


Simple Place Cards
Every Thanksgiving Jeff and I wake up early and go into the kitchen to cook together. It’s one of those times of year I look forward to most.  I also typically spend the afternoon before Thanksgiving finalizing my ideas for the tablescape and decor.  This year’s theme was simple chic. […]

Thanksgiving Place Cards


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Luke’s school has a tradition that every year the 2nd grade hosts the 5th grade for a Thanksgiving Potluck. They all dress up like Pilgrims and the parents provide the food and service. I was one of those lucky parents last week and got to witness the sweet tradition. {I […]

Pilgrim Potluck



Family Night Nov
Last month Jeff and I began a newsletter series at our church called “Family Night” as a way to help equip parents with ideas on how to set aside one night a week to focus on experiencing God together with their kids. This month’s focus is on “Heart Metamorphosis”. We […]

Heart Metamorphosis


Ivy at the Shore
Friday night Jeff and I stole away to Santa Monica to celebrate the anniversary of our first date. Its the first time we actually celebrated in Santa Monica, which is odd, since our first date actually took place there.  On our first date we had dinner at the Ivy at […]

Santa Monica Getaway


Mini Gym Bag
My poor husband has been driving around an old VW Passat Wagon for the last two and a half years that was totally on its last legs. After pouring in thousands of dollars to fix it over that time period we finally decided to cut our losses and trade it […]

Mini Blessing



Tris and Four
This year we hosted our first ever Halloween Party for our neighborhood. It was a “post trick or treat” party – after we took the kids trick or treating around the neighborhood about 10 of our neighbors showed up at our house to roast s’mores around the fire pit and […]

Halloween 2014


Digging holes
I came down with a pretty nasty cold last week that reached its pinnacle on Friday with a full blown fever.  I felt like the Walking Dead, but while I was laid up on the couch Luke and his friend were busy creating their own real life Walking Dead episode […]

The Walking Dead


Family Night 1
About a month ago Jeff and I decided that we needed to be more intentional about teaching Luke how to have a faith in God that can stand on its own.  We instituted what we have been calling “Family Night” where basically every Friday night we order pizza and read […]

Family Night



Trick or Treat After Party
I am very excited about Halloween! This year we are hosting our first Halloween party ever. We’re calling it a Trick or Treat After Party and are inviting all of our neighbors so we can actually get to know one another. It dawned on me a while back that Halloween […]

Trick or Treat After Party


Nerf Wars
Saturday I took Luke to a birthday party for one of his classmates and the instruction was to “bring your nerf guns”. The party was at a park so there were a lot of wide open spaces for the boys to play and it was so interesting to watch them. […]

Nerf Wars


What little girl didn’t want to be Wonder Woman when she grew up?  Actually, for me it was probably a tie between Wonder Woman and Daisy Duke, since Lynda Carter and Catherine Bach were both such beautiful women who were also smart and strong.   I had the privilege of growing up […]

Wonder Women



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When it’s 105º in October, you find yourself longing for the beach quite a bit, so after church on Sunday we headed to Malibu to cool off.   The weather was a perfect 83º and clear skies.  It was nice to have a family day with no agenda.  We skipped rocks […]

Malibu


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Have you heard of this? An Arcade game bus that shows up at your house for parties? The one we experienced was called [Thrills on Wheels]. It’s a great idea for kids and parents alike since the bus houses contemporary video games along with the old school arcade games adults […]

Thrills on Wheels


Tubes Guitarist
One of my goals this year is to invest in music by going to more concerts with my family.  Jeff’s birthday served as the perfect entree to this as one of his favorite bands from the 70’s, [The Tubes], happened to be playing at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills.   […]

The Canyon Club



Los Angeles View
Although I grew up on the East Coast, I was born in Los Angeles and I have loved living here for all of my adult life.  Jeff has never lived anywhere but Southern California.  Despite that, earlier this month we realized that there is  a lot we still don’t know about our […]

LA Hidden Staircases


We extended our beach day in Santa Monica last weekend with a visit to the Santa Monica Pier.  It was the first time we ever took Luke to Pacific Park, so he was basically in heaven riding all the rides.  I highly recommend it as an affordable alternative to Disneyland. {dude- […]

Santa Monica Pier


Boogie Boarding
Living in Southern California, its easy to take the beach for granted. I don’t know how it went so fast, but somehow we reached the end of Summer without even going to the beach. Last weekend we spontaneously decided to head to Santa Monica and it turned out to be a wonderful opportunity […]

Endless Summer



Fire Dancing
On our final night at the Westin Mission Hills, we attended a Luau on the property. It came complete with hula and fire dancing, which was super fun for Luke. It reminded me of our times in Hawaii together, minus the humidity and the five-hour flight, making it a much […]

Labor Day Luau


Luke's Hat
I hope all of you had an excellent long Labor Day weekend! My husband was due for some relaxation time so we headed to the desert. Our favorite place to unwind and reconnect with each other is the Westin Mission Hills Resort in Rancho Mirage, CA. They are a great […]

Labor Day Highlights


Pool Play Date
With back-to-school in full swing, I wanted to spend a little time at play with Luke before the Summer ended. There is no better fountain of youth than having kids.  If it weren’t for him, I’d be sitting on my couch, not jumping in pools. Here are a few photos […]

Pool Play Date



First Day
There are so many firsts in our lives. I am one of those people who likes to stop and take them in. The first day of school is always a fun memory for me because my Mom was so great about making it special. I’ll never forget the first day […]

2nd Grade First Day


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Birthdays have always been one of my favorite things to look forward to. I remember the anticipation of turning 13, 16, 18, 21, 25 and 30. Since each of those particular ages held promises in our culture for what those years might bring that had not been possible the years […]

Pushing 40


Farm
It’s no secret that I am not a fan of camping. Its not that I don’t enjoy the outdoors, I just find it counter-intuitive to sleep on the dirty ground outside when I spend so much of my energy trying to keep a roof over my head and a warm […]

Glamping



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By the age of 12, I had spent more time in bars than your average kid, watching my Dad play darts with his friends. I still have no idea how they let a kid into those places but back then things were a bit more lax I suppose.  Eventually he […]

Cactus Darts


Success
When we found out last month that Luke had a hernia I was concerned about my little boy having to undergo surgery, but that concern did not become real until last week when they were rolling him away from me to the operating room.  Fear spread over me like a […]

Brave Boy


Fischer Men
One of Jeff’s favorite pastimes happens to be fishing, which suits him being that his last name is “Fischer” (I, on the other hand, don’t go near a fishing boat without loads of dramamine). On his day off this week, Jeff brought his nephew along with Luke on a day-fishing-trip […]

Fischer Men



Scrambler
Luke had never been to Magic Mountain and I did not want his first time there to be on a field trip with his school, I wanted to be there the first time he faced his fears to ride a roller coaster, so when he asked to go this Summer, […]

Facing Fears- Six Flags Magic Mountain


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Friday afternoon we headed down to the [St. Regis in Monarch Beach] for an anniversary getaway. Despite the traffic that took us 3 hours to get there, it was a really pleasant trip. They upgraded us to an executive suite and got us into the Monarch Bay Resort Club for […]

Anniversary Getaway St. Regis


Marriage Guidepost
This weekend Jeff and I will celebrate 11 lovely years of marriage. When I think back on our wedding I am amazed at how far we’ve come in these 11 years together. We were really starting out our lives together from scratch but we started out on a strong foundation. […]

11 Lovely Years



US Capitol
It is always a thrill to tour historical sites, but there is something especially exciting to me about touring our National Monuments and places of government. My soul floods with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy whenever I am near them. I’m strange that way.  I tried to pass […]

US Capitol


Summer Reading List
In high school I remember combing through the AP Honors Summer Reading list with eager anticipation to decide which three books I would choose to read before school was back in session. Books like [Jane Eyre], [To Kill a Mockingbird] and [Anna Karenina] are just a few that I remember […]

Summer Reading List


National Harbor
Deep breaths. That is all I could think as I stepped into the air conditioned gondola to embark on our ride of the [Capital Wheel] at National Harbor. The ride operator smiled at us and closed the sliding doors shut. Immediately my heart began to race and I had to […]

Capital Ferris Wheel



The White HOuse
We stayed two blocks away from the White House on our trip to DC, so we decided one morning to grab coffee and pastries and walk down to the White House to enjoy our breakfast. My Dad arranged for me the privilege of touring the inside when I was about […]

Breakfast at the White House


DC Fireworks Crowd
We enjoyed spending Independence Day in our Nation’s Capital for a very patriotic 4th of July this year. It was Luke’s first time ever visiting DC and all of our first times experiencing DC on the 4th. It was so nice to spend some time reflecting on the freedom we […]

Patriotic 4th


Pool time
It’s hard to believe that it’s July already and we’ve hardly spent any time at home as a family this Summer. Last weekend we finally had a chance to just hang out by the pool and have swim races, somersault contests and remote control boat chases. It was so much […]

Pool Time



Luke and Me on Rollerskates
We spent Saturday morning at Skateland in Northridge for a birthday party of one of Luke’s classmates. It was Luke’s first time roller skating and Jeff and I hadn’t been since we were kids. As we were pulling into the parking lot Jeff shared that he had been coming to […]

Skateland


CHLA
Yesterday I was able to visit my little friend Grace at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. You may remember {this post} from when I found out she was diagnosed with Luekemia earlier this year.  Since then she has been fighting ALL like a ninja princess.   She has come through so much […]

Ninja Princess


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We spent Saturday afternoon at the California Science Center touring the Pompeii Exhibit and experiencing the IMAX movie “Forces of Nature”. It was a pretty amazing family afternoon and a great reminder that time is precious. We are not here for very long and we never know when that moment […]

Pompeii



Trophies
Last week seemed like one big commencement ceremony for Luke. On Wednesday he completed 1st grade as an honor roll student. On Friday, he graduated to the next belt in Taekwondo and on Saturday his first baseball season officially concluded in which all players received trophies just for being part […]

Belts and Trophies


Game Time
Since the start of the baseball season, Luke has wanted to play first base. He was put at every other position on the field except first base and there was a reason for that. Luke could not catch when he first started playing this year. Last week Luke was allowed […]

First Base


Maleficent
One of the great things about working in advertising is getting access to fun events where I get to bring my family.  Last week, we had such a privilege to attend the Moviefone Pre-Screening of Disney’s Maleficent movie, at the AMC in Century City.  Luke brought a friend and I […]

Maleficent



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I have always loved children.  I can remember being a child and not understanding adults who didn’t like children.  I would think to myself, “don’t they realize that they were children too, once?”  Despite my fond feelings for the wee ones, I did not possess any innate desire to have […]

Best Friends & Kids


La Costa Flowers
Jeff was going out of town on Memorial Day so Luke and I went on a Mother/Son getaway to San Diego.  We stayed at La Costa, one of our favorite family destinations in Southern California.  This was the first time we had a chance to enjoy the splash center and […]

La Costa Memorial Weekend


Memory
A few weeks ago my friend Jac told me that when she was a little girl her parents would  surprise her when they woke her up for school by saying “we’re not going to school today, we’re going to Disneyland!”.  I thought it was the greatest idea and it couldn’t […]

Disneyland Holiday



Happy Feet
Since I didn’t really get any time to rest on Mother’s Day, it was lovely to have a little downtime with Luke this past Sunday afternoon. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of quality time by the pool to restore that connection.

Downtime


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My husband has such an amazing story.  He basically gave up on himself academically at the age of 12, when his parents divorced.  He resorted to a life of surfing and drugs, barely graduated high school and then went straight into the workforce.  His lung collapsed at the age of […]

Graduation Day


LA Zoo
We had not been to the zoo since Luke was really little. That said, when he asked me if we could go after his baseball game I said yes without giving any thought to the weather, which turned out to be 90 degrees that day. I am teaching Luke that […]

LA Zoo



Bracelets
A few weeks ago, one of the baseball Dads in Luke’s little league came down with Strep throat. It quickly led to pneumonia and he passed away very suddenly.  He was young and left behind a wife and two young children. It was so sad.  Last Saturday, Luke’s team played […]

VCAA Baseball


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Luke and I had a blast spending the day together at AOL last week for Take Your Child to Work Day.  Here are some of the highlights.

Take Your Child to Work Day 2014


Huntington Beach
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach for my cousin’s wedding at the tail end of our Spring Break. It was our first time at this hotel and it was an amazing place for a family getaway. Complete with various shops on the property, a little market that serves […]

Hyatt Huntington Beach



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My cousin got married on Good Friday at Newland Barn in Huntington Beach. Jeff performed the ceremony and tied the sacrificial love of Christ to the love we are called to display toward each other in marriage. It was so touching. There were vintage inspired details everywhere from the bride’s […]

Newland Barn Wedding


Off Road
I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire and we had three ATVs, which we called four wheelers, for the seven of us kids to share.  In the winter we would ride them across the ice and in summer we’d ride them in circles around our sprawling lawn. […]

Off Road


Pool time
We were able to spend a few days bonding in Palm Springs for Luke’s Spring Break this week. Since it was my new year’s resolution to spend more time with my family, these little getaways are so important to me in fulfilling that commitment. We almost didn’t get to getaway. […]

Spring Break