Category Archives: Faith

Stressin’ About Shoes

Elliott is receiving her first holy communion this weekend.

It’s a big deal.

I know this because I just went through it myself about 6 weeks ago.

She’s been preparing for this since October and she is so excited. Her catechist has done such a fantastic job this year paving the road to her first reconciliation and now her eucharistic sacrament. I think it helped that she watched me being baptized, confirmed and receive at the Easter Vigil. She is ready and we can hardly wait to witness this solemn, yet powerful, milestone.

We’ve been shopping and selected her dress with Lolo and Lola. She chose her veil all on her own {I zipped my lips ~ promise!} at the parish gift shop and we tracked down Monsignor Mike to bless it. We’ve been practicing taking the host and sipping the wine at home.

And then there was the shoe issue.

She wanted sandals with HEELS.

WHITE sandals with heels.

Like these…


I said absolutely not and may have played the {sandals are not allowed} card.

I just couldn’t do it.

Her dress is darling and extremely simple. I wanted her shoes to also be classic and sweet.

Without heels.

I scoured several stores ~ Famous Footwear, Kohl’s, Target, Wal-mart {just couldn’t go through life knowing I purchased her first communion shoes at Wal-mart, sorry}, Marshall’s and Ross.

Then a mom that I totally adore and value her style and taste mentioned that she got her daughter’s shoes at Payless and that they had several styles to choose from. I immediately logged on and clicked through the white dress shoes and found these cuties…


Delicate little ruffles with the ever so tiny sparkle of a few rhinestones.



AND they were $5 off.

ANNNNND when I got home and showed them to her she squeeeealed, “They have heels!”

Win. Win.

Everyone’s happy and she’ll be an inch closer to the ground ~ at 7 {allllmost 8} years old, that is a good thing.

I suppose one could argue that the higher the heels, the closer to GOD………

Cannot argue with that.


Looking forward to your day, Elliott Elizabeth Aspiras…Saturday, May 11, 2013 is going to be so, so special.

It’s NOT about the shoes anyway.

Get On The Train

A friend, and mama of one cute little red-headed, freckled boy in Holden’s class, welcomed a third sweet boy named Rowen on April 1st ~ no foolin’. Almost immediately, another friend spearheaded a Meal Train to come down the track and deliver meals to little Rowen’s family. I immediately jumped on board and signed up for a dinner date. I absolutely love bringing a home cooked meal to new parents who essentially need tooth picks to keep their eyes open during the first daysweeks…months with a newborn under their roof.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Mexican Lasagna is the dish that I’ve coined as my {dinner after baby} meal. It’s one of those dishes that just as good, if not better, a day or two later.

Normally I bake it and deliver it hot and ready to serve, but this time I decided to grab a disposable pan, assemble it and add a little note for how to heat & serve it just in case they didn’t want it immediately or something else came up.

They also have two little guys {a kindergartner and a preschooler} that like pasta {when you create a Meal Train profile, it gives you the opportunity to tailor it to the recipients likes/dislikes}. I decided to just do a simple Annie’s white cheddar shells and carrot sticks with Ranch for the boys. I picked up a couple tossable plastic containers and included a Capri Sun and a CLIF fruit twist for dessert. I also tied a couple Army parachuters to the top of their individual plastic containers to make it extra special for both big brothers.


I included a caesar salad kit, some sparkling lemonade, paper plates, napkins and a couple treats for baby.

And what is dinner without a little something sweet afterwards? Yesterday I whipped up a batch of my all time favorite Sugar Cookie Bars…with baby blue cream cheese buttercream, of course!



Meal Train is a great way to orchestrate meal delivery for a variety of different reasons. It’s extremely easy to log on and select a date to deliver a meal to appreciative recipients.

It’s been awhile since we’ve been able to deliver a meal to a family with a new baby! It was so much fun to put this together and deliver it to their doorstep this afternoon.

I will never forget the kindness and thoughtfulness WE received after Elliott & Holden were born. Sweet friends bearing meals and gifts in those first days after coming home from the hospital are so vivid in my memory and were so very much appreciated.

It is just as much a joy to be on the giving end.

Cannot wait to meet you, little Rowen Samuel!


So Much More

On this Holy Week, I’m preparing for the arrival of my in-laws and loosely planning all the things we will do while they are visiting. I’m secretly shopping for little Easter trinkets yet reminding myself of the true meaning of Easter. It’s not about the baskets or the Cadbury Creme Eggs or the Peeps or the egg hunts. It’s about the holiest day of the year ~ without the Resurrection, there would be no Christian faith.

While yes I am scurrying around tidying up and vacuuming corners and gathering goodies for little baskets, this Easter is about so much more.

I am being baptized into the Catholic Church.


{my sponsor [and anchor through all this], Rhonda and I ~ Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels}

The past 18 months of RCIA have been filled with reflection, prayer and forming a deeper relationship with the Lord. I’d be amiss to not mention the wonderful brothers & sisters I have met and bonded with throughout this process. We have met twice a week for a year and a half. We have shared things that are hard to share. We have listened to each other, comforted each other and prayed for each other. These people will be friends for life. The thought of this chapter of my life coming to an end is bittersweet. But again, there is so much more that lays ahead.

I’ve been attending Catholic churches with Jay for over 10 years now from Blessed Sacrament in San Diego to St. Philip Neri in Fort Mill, SC where Elliott was baptized to St. Cyprian in Sunnyvale, CA where Holden was baptized to Saint Mary’s in Gilroy to our current parish, Blessed Kateri {now Saint Kateri Tekakwitha}. As a non-Catholic at each of these parishes, I always felt welcomed and at home…always greeted by the warmest of parishioners and sent away with a feeling of peace and renewal.

In just about 5 days, I will be officially handing over my heart to Jesus and becoming a true Catholic.


{Palm Sunday 2013}

I’m ever so thankful to my parents for raising me to know that there is a God and always teaching me {Matthew 7:12}, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”. And I’m ever so grateful for my in-laws for instilling their steadfast faith in Jay which in turn led me to be called to grow my relationship with Jesus and to serve.

I love you all! XO


Speaking of serving, Julie has a heart of gold and is always thinking and doing for others. She recently put her creative Photoshop hand to work and designed a special printable to benefit St. Baldrick’s and their fight to help cure childhood cancer.


{just $5 ~ a great Easter gift!}

By purchasing this ROYGBV goodness from her shop for only 5 dollars, you’ll be helping Julie send a pot of gold over St. Baldrick’s way ~ she’s donating $2.50 from each purchase!

Within minutes of making your PayPal transaction, you will be e-mailed a downloadable {non-watermarked} copy of this bad boy for printing at home or sending to your local Walgreens, Target or photo lab of choice.

I printed mine out at home and it’s beautiful. Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring me a bright white frame to house it.


Happy Monday.

Have a blessed week!


Hi friends!

Can’t believe it’s been over a week since I posted….I was doing so well and then things got extra busy I guess.

Two weekends ago I took a little getaway down to Carlsbad and attended a ladies retreat that was hosted by Mission Hills Community Church. Some friends {Richelle, Julie, Stephanie & Amanda} were extremely involved in the planning and I was fortunate enough to partake and enjoy the fruits of ALL their labor. As I mentioned before, this weekend away was my Christmas gift from Jay and it couldn’t have been more perfect.


The theme of the retreat was “Blessed” as quoted in Jeremiah 17:7.

The decor team transformed the meeting room at The Carlsbad Inn into a colorful place of worship with burlap, adorable buntings and banners, milk glass, hoop art and the retreat’s color scheme ~ aqua and yellow. Every eyesore in the room was covered with beautiful antique and vintage pieces for the most pulled together, cohesive atmosphere.


Little handmade cupcake liner flowers peeked out of Mason jars and watering cans…


We were spoiled with all sorts of treats…tote bags, beautiful handmade journals, logo’d insulated plastic cups, darling coffee cozies and the most lovingly made {blessed} signs as we wrapped up and said goodbye to a wonderful weekend!




We had the chance to make necklaces with hundreds of little graphics and designs to choose from. I chose a seashell to remind me of this special weekend meeting and visiting with women all with a breathtaking ocean view as the backdrop.


It wasn’t too bad waking up to this view two mornings in a row…





We ate like queens with the most thoughtful continental breakfast spread each morning as well as Panera for lunch and a dessert table each night that was to-die-for.

For dinner we were on our own to explore the town of Carlsbad and pick from loads of little restaurants all within walking distance.


It was truly a weekend that I will remember forever. I met SO many sweet, godly women, but one of them will always touch my heart ~ thank you, Maria, for our chat. So grateful that HE paired us up and I had the chance to get to know you and hear your testimonial. XO


Upon returning home to my little family that I missed so, was the usual Sunday evening frenzy followed by a busy week ahead.

We missed soccer practice the previous week due to a day of illness, but were ready to get some practice in for our first games this past weekend…


{One Ninja & one Pink Panther}

I also attended a first holy communion retreat with Elliott this past Saturday. She painted a glass, made a quilt square and kneaded her own unleavened bread to prepare for this sacrament in a couple months.We both thoroughly enjoyed it and I almost snuck a glass and painted one myself! So fun….



Today, and everyday, I am counting my blessings. They are most definitely abundant and I no doubt recognize them.

Today I am blessed with new friends, a stronger faith, a healthy family and so much more.

I hope you’ll take a little time out of all the craziness and chaos and remind yourself how blessed you are!

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross



This weekend is the perfect weekend to have three birthday parties on the agenda.

I am going to be out of town redeeming my Christmas gift from Jay ~ a Ladies Retreat down south.

I am SO excited.

I need it. There is something so powerful when a group of ladies get together and share, chat, laugh and even cry.

Knowing that you are not going through life alone and that you have an amazing support group other than your immediate circle of friends and extended family is always comforting no matter how perfect you think your life is. And while I know that my life is NO where near perfect, I feel blessed daily and I need to continue to do so.

Yes, even through the homework and the bickering and the losing my patience and the yelling and the dog hair in the corners and the sink full of dishes and the clean dishes in the dishwasher that need to find their home. We all need a moment {in this case about 48 hours} to ourselves to sit back and visit, make new friends, share stories and remind us that we are truly, madly, deeply blessed.

So, Jay will be with the children and doing school pick-up, dance class, Fish Stick Friday, Little Church and attending three birthday parties around town. I know he enjoys seeing Elliott & Holden interacting with their friends and watching them laugh and play with their peers.

It should be a win/win all around this weekend.

Although I’m sure I’m going to be the one that feels more refreshed and renewed when it’s all over, I hope that we can further appreciate our true gifts and blessings on Sunday evening when we’re all back together sharing stories of the weekend.

Thanks babe, for the chance to get away for a bit. I appreciate it more than you know….and I appreciate YOU!

What are YOU looking forward to as this week comes to an end? It’s supposed to be GORGEOUS!


Chalk Talk


{backyard chalk art by Elliott, age 7}

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart ~ Hellen Keller

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Paper Bracelets

Last Friday morning I was driving to West Hills {San Fernando Valley} to deliver shoes that some local friends and I lovingly gathered and passed along to Tracy and her family in order to help bring sweet Sofi home from Eastern Europe and into the Jensen’s loving arms.

As I was driving down the 118 to exit Topanga Canyon, I all of a sudden, experienced some warmth in my chest and a quick shortness of breath. This has happened once before in early summer ’12 along with a couple different symptoms and I had Jay take me to our local ER where everything checked out normal and I was sent home with a diagnosis of general anxiety. Needless to say I was thrilled that was all it was. In the meantime I have tried to simplify our life and try not to be so stressed.

{I need to add that I was NOT feeling stressed, overwhelmed or “put out” by any means while I was delivering Shoes for Sofi! I am not implying that by ANY means. I obviously do not know what triggered this, but it just so happened as I was en route to make the shoe delivery.}

Well, when this happened again on Friday morning while I was driving, alone, thirty miles from home, I got a little nervous. I took deep breaths and continued on my way to deliver the shoes and planned on knocking on the door of the person who I was delivering them to and ask them to maybe take me to a nearby urgent care. When I arrived at the house and rang the bell, nobody answered so I unloaded the shoes and a note that I had written for Tracy and left them on the porch. It had begun to rain and I didn’t think it was safe for me to get back on the freeway and drive home so I drove to a medical building and walked into the pharmacy and asked if there was an urgent care nearby. The girl behind the counter told me there was a hospital “right down the street, turn right on Sherman Way, pass Fallbrook and you will see it”.

Fast forward about 15 minutes……


{not the kind of bracelets I enjoy accessorizing with}

I parked the car and walked into the ER/Chest Pain Center entrance and was immediately escorted by a security guard into a triage room where the nurse began firing off questions and ordered an EKG while i was sitting there answering said questions. Shortly there after, a young Asian woman {probably younger than me ~ wah!} came in and introduced herself as Dr. Shum. She was sweet and gentle and kind. She had a PA with a digital notebook taking down all the information she was getting from me and then read the EKG. She said it was completely normal and that my blood pressure and pulse were slightly elevated which is completely normal when you are sitting in a triage room ~ imagine that!

She said she wanted to also get a chest x-ray, but before that I needed to give a urine sample so they could do a quick pregnancy test. My mind immediately flashed forward to an episode of “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant”. As much as another baby would be lovely, the test was negative and I soon found my way following the request of a sweet little older gentleman who introduced himself as Alex and led me down the hall to radiology. He asked me about myself as we strolled and was so kind. He quickly took the x-ray and we were back on our way through the automatic double doors to the BUSY emergency room.

By this time I was getting a little nervous about being able to get home in time to pick up the kids at 2:09 when they got out of school. I had already called Jay at work and reassured him that I was OK, but I was at West Hills Hospital waiting on the chest x-ray results since I had the same symptoms from earlier last year. He had a co-worker bring him to the hospital {he works close by the hospital, but takes the bus into work so he didn’t have a car}.

I didn’t really want him to come into the waiting area since many people were sitting around with masks on and a few of them were holding barf bags. Not quite the place you want to be during flu season. Or ever for that matter. I took the car key to him in the lobby and he headed home to pick up the kids which was such a relief to me. Yes, we have people that we can call on in an emergency to get them from school, but just knowing that daddy was on his way to get them made me so much more at ease!

Right after Jay left, Dr. Shum came by and informed me that the chest x-ray was completely clear and there was no sign of anything. She mentioned that since I had sat there for almost 3 hours for them to observe me she said she thought I was good to go. I told her that I was there for a good 2 plus more hours since my husband had just left to go get the kids and she agreed that since we had time that she would do a blood draw just to rule out anything else.

Next comes the kind and gentle phlebotomist who took 5 or 6 vials of blood from me almost without me even knowing. How did I get so lucky with such caring healthcare professionals on such a busy Friday in the ER?

After my blood draw, Dr. S came by and cleared me to go to the cafeteria while we waited for the results. I must’ve looked trustworthy because I’m not sure that is standard practice that they let patients leave the ER. I promised her that I would run down, grab a soda and come right back….although the thought of sitting in the cafeteria was much more appealing that sitting out in the halls with masked folks and watching all the sweet senior citizen patients being wheeled in from ambulances. {sad face!}

Long story short, the blood work came back negative {praise God!} and I was discharged. I waited out in the main lobby for Jay and the kids to drive up. I watched a woman {and her daughter} demand a cast for the mother’s broken wrist and then storm out of the ER when it was explained to them that there were other people that needed attention first. Why do I mention this? Because I know that our healthcare system is broken. I know that there are people that take advantage. I don’t know this woman’s story, of course, but all I could do was pray that she receive the care she truly needed. It stood out to me because she and her daughter treated these healthcare workers with such disrespect and threw out obscenities at these people who were there to help them. I viewed my time {over 5 hours} and situation there so much differently. I was there for them to help me. I was patient. I was compliant. I was kind.

James 1:19-20

This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

Yes, I was there by myself. I wanted to save the battery on my phone for Jay to be able to get a hold of me, so I mostly just sat and observed and prayed. I was calm and comforted by Jay’s warm and gentle soul even though he was going back and forth on the freeway {in the rain} to get our babies and bring them to me ~ the time when I needed my little family the most.


I share this experience not because I want anyone to worry about me {I promise I am fine}, but because I have learned so much. Don’t ever take your health for granted. I am guilty of that and I am trying so hard to change.

And I share this because I’m curious to know if anyone suffers from or has experienced these in the past. They are scary and this link describes mine to a t.

I am fortunate that I feel comfortable with my/our healthcare providers and I feel comfortable opening up to them. I am {anxious} to work with my PCP and find out why these are happening and trying to prevent myself from having another one.

Sometimes it’s scary to realize that maybe you’re not as healthy as you think you are. Maybe you won’t live into your late 90s like your maternal grandparents did.

All I can do is take it from here and know that I have the best doctor there is….

And with my doctor, the Lord God, it doesn’t matter if you have a PPO, HMO, Medi-cal, or currently don’t have insurance, his care is FREE.

3 John 1:2

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

Picking Up Where We Left Off

Well, this morning I got up and packed 2 little lunch boxes after having 3 and a half weeks off! Again, I found myself feverishly roaming the aisles of Vons and Ralphs over the weekend searching for lunch box worthy items that my kids will eat and that are not complete junk.

We made it up and to school on time in the freeezing So Cal temps and it feels good to start back into our weekly school routine. No more late to bed and late to rise. No more jammies ’til noon.

Our Winter Break was wonderful and even though it was almost a month long, it flew by. I was thumbing through my camera roll this morning while sipping my coffee and couldn’t help but smile.

Our break was full of…


{package shipping}


{advent candle lighting}


{cookie baking}


{manger viewing}


{blessing bag delivering}


{sno-cone slurping}


{gallery wall hanging}


{In-N-Out lunching}


{fro-yo play dating}


{Vegas date night laughing}


{Lolo & Lola enjoying}


{pearly white polishing}


{prayer bead making and reconciliation preparing}


Twenty-Thirteen is already proving to be a busy one…the pages on my new Much Ado About You planner already have glitter gel penned commitments into the month of May! I love having big things on the calendar to look forward to, but at the same time I like quiet, family weekends where we work around the house and go on outings to Hollywood, LA or Santa Monica.

Right now I’m enjoying preparing for Holden’s 6th birthday party. How can it be? I recall printing the invites and gathering goodies for his 1st birthday celebration like it was yesterday……

Here is a hint to this year’s theme {because you KNOW there is a theme, right?}…


I’m so excited. Elliott’s 1st birthday was jungle/safari themed so I am loving coming up with similar {wild} ideas, but for an older crowd this time ~ kind of bittersweet because this is the last big party for Holden. From here on out, the birthday festivities will be much lower key and include just a few friends.

Still with a theme, of course.

Happy Monday, all!



Hi friends!

Happy Friday…we’re already 10 days into the new year and I’ve been meaning to share my/our word for Twenty-Thirteen.

This is the first year I’ve done this, but I think it’s a great way to focus and a good reminder to what it is that you’d like to accomplish in the upcoming 12 months…


I love this word because it can be used in so many different ways.

REACH out ~ make that phone call to someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Send a note in the mail just to say “Hello!”. Drop off dinner to a friend that is having a hard day/week. Meet a friend that you haven’t seen for awhile because of your crazy schedules for a quick cup of coffee and get caught up.

REACH to help others ~ Hold the door open for someone. Help the little old man reach something on the top shelf at Target. Hand out a random $5 gift card to a near by fast food restaurant to someone that looks like they could use a meal. Offer to buy someone a hot cup of coffee instead of washing your windshield {like we recently did in Barstow on the way to Vegas}.

REACH your goals ~ I don’t know about you, but I seem to have the same goals every January 1st and that is to lead a healthier life. Lose weight. Exercise more. Make healthier food choices. Look good in my jeans. Blah. Blah. Blah. I struggle with this daily and I hope that this year I can really come closer {or even actually REACH} some specific goals that I’ve set for myself. I know that I have it in me because I’ve seen it before….just need to get focused and sometimes that is the hard part. But, no excuses!

Most importantly, in order to accomplish the things listed above, I/we need to try to REACH out of my/our comfort zone. We all love our comfort zones {because it’s comfortable, ha!} and, for me, that is what prevents me from branching out and starting new routines or dabbling in something that I’ve been interested in. We can’t SEE a change unless we MAKE a change.

So, with that said, I’m going to post this word-of-the-year around the house as a reminder to stretch, push, forge ahead when things get tough.



Do you have a word or a slogan for the year ahead? If so, please share. We can all motivate each other.

Have a blessed day and WEEKEND!