Category Archives: Family

Kaleidoscope ~ The Color Run

Well, hello readers!

Are any of you still out there? I sure do kinda miss blogging and hope to post more now that the holidays are upon us….my absolute favorite time of the year.

But, what I’m sharing today is the fun time we had this past Saturday morning in Ventura participating in The Color Run. We’d been wanting to cross this off our bucket list for awhile now and coupled with the fact that my vision for this year’s Christmas card involved lots of color, we needed to get this done sooner than later so mama could make sure her vision would be carried out. 😉

So, we rose super early, threw back some coffee, tied up our tennies and headed out the 126 before the sun came up. Needless to say, the kids couldn’t understand why we woke them up “in the middle of the night”, but once we got there and got our bibs, shirts, temporary tattoos, and headbands, their excitement built.




{It was a freezing 51* so we sat in the warm car until it was time to line up in the chute}




{about a mile in we ran through the pink station}


{…then came yellow…}


The route took us down Main Street and by the Mission San Buenaventura. It turned out to be a gorgeous morning for “The Happiest 5K on the Planet”.



Before we knew it, we ran through the final color station and the kids had fun gathering samples of KIND Bars, McDonald’s smoothies & Oberto Beef Jerky!


Once you cross the finish line, you are handed your own powder dye pack and encouraged to partake in the group color bomb that happens every 20 minutes or so. The kids were a little skeptical at first, but quickly warmed up to the idea!




{Holden had Hulk Hands when all was said and done}


So glad we finally did this….the whole family had a blast and the kids are asking when we can do another one.

May I suggest adding this event to your 2015 Bucket List?

So fun!


I Left My Heart In NYC

Over a month has passed since we returned from a week in NYC for my BIL’s wedding to his beautiful bride, Anuja. This post has been hanging over my head and I forced myself to hit “Publish” and not let the draft sit another day. I haven’t posted it sooner because I wanted to have the time to sit and reflect and cover all the amazing things we did during our travels. The trip was the perfect mix of sightseeing and helping with wedding prep. We wanted to build in a couple extra days for playing tourist, but at the same time wanted to help with all the minor details of coordinating not one, not two, but three special ceremonies ~ one on Friday & two on Sunday}

We flew Virgin America and were extremely pleased with this fairly new carrier. They call themselves “a breath of fresh airline” and I completely agree. Their safety video is THE best and I encourage you to check it out.


After taking a red eye and landing at Kennedy a little before 8am, we were a little tired, but relied on the energy of Manhattan to wake us up and carry us through the day.


{Waiting to check into The Conrad}

Elliott and I joined Anuja and one of her other bridesmaids, Jocelyn, to run errands around town and pick up her wedding dress. It was fun to get a sneak peek at the bride in her gown…


{Hailing a taxi to get the dress home!}

On Thursday morning we walked over to the 9/11 Memorial which was very close to our hotel. I hadn’t been to Ground Zero since July ’02.


{So many emotions, memories, prayers & tears spilling over.}

We then continued our walk to The Brooklyn Bridge and made our way across on foot. This was on our Summer ’14 Bucket List.


Later that evening we enjoyed Prosecco & Ice Pops at sunset…


{Blueberry & Peach w/ St. Germaine liqueur}

The popsicle slowly melts into the prosecco ~ heaven!


{With this as the backdrop!}

Friday morning Rodney and Anuja were married “in the church” by a Catholic priest at a sweet, old parish in Harlem. This was a quick ceremony with just immediate family.


After that, we immediately headed back down to head across the river to the venue for the rehearsal.


{Ferry to Jersey City}


{Limo ride to the rehearsal dinner}

On Saturday, we were up early, grabbed a little Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to wake us up and took the subway up to Central Park.



We strolled through the green, peacefulness of Central Park and then did a little shopping at FAO Schwartz before having lunch down in Rockefeller Center’s Summer Garden & Bar.

Later this evening we attended a dinner hosted by Anuja’s family and prepared for the big day to follow. There were dozens of kids there and Elliott & Holden immediately hit it off with all of them. They literally ditched us at all the events and hung out with their “new cousins”. It made this mama heart happy to see them all get along SO well and add to their group of “cousins-in-law”.

We made Saturday night an early one as we had to be up bright and early and dressed in our gorgeous Indian clothing for the Baraat and Hindu ceremony.





{Photo Credit: Razel Duque}

Later that afternoon was the traditional Catholic ceremony.





{Photo Credit: Greg Steele}


{Photo Credit: Wonder Tiff from Facebook}

The day after the wedding, we planned to relax a little, yet take in a few more sights before taking off the next day. We spent some time wandering around Soho and finished the day joining lots and lots of cousins for dinner, a stroll through Times Square and the M&M World and finally a swim in the hotel pool.

The next morning we were up bright and early to catch our ride back to Kennedy. It was a bittersweet departure from the city that never sleeps…

We had a fantastic time. It’s so hard to capture the magnificence of it all in a little blog post. There are so many more pictures, but I will stop here.

I’ve spent several weeks in NYC over the years and I have to say, it certainly holds a piece of my heart. There is just something about it that makes you appreciate where you come from, yet begs for you to return. The kids LOVED it and we can’t wait to go back and do the things we weren’t able to cross off the list.

But we were there for one reason and that was to celebrate Mr. & Mrs. Rodney Aspiras.

Welcome to the family, Anuja! We couldn’t be more thrilled to have you.


Midwestern Getaway

Last weekend I ventured to the midwest and spent 4 days in the Chicago & Detroit areas. The occasion? To celebrate the Grashanti {Hindu pre-wedding ceremony} and bridal shower for my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Anuja.

It was a lovely little getaway and it left me even more excited for their Big Day in just over 2 weeks.

I met so many of her sweet family members and was able to put a name to most of the fifteen bridesmaids!! It’s going to be ONE bridal party, I tell you.

Let me just say, the traditional Indian garb and cuisine is nothing short of fabulous. The saris that the women wear are so bright and vibrant that there isn’t a picture captured that doesn’t have several bursts of color. The spices in Indian fare are ever so fragrant and palate pleasing. If you haven’t tried Indian food, you simply must.

We spent a good part of one day driving from Chicago to Detroit. This was a great time to sit and hash out a lot of wedding logistics.

The bridal shower was held in the Detroit area and was also in celebration of Anuja’s sister, Anishee, who will be married in late August. The venue was a gorgeous home on Orchard Lake and the weather was perfect ~ a little warm if you were in the sun, but the temps and humidity were much better than I was anticipating! Again, there were many stunning saris worn and loads of exotic flavors and food served.



























This was the longest I’ve been away from my babies, but I knew they were in good hands with Jay. I loved getting texts that they were at Universal Studios, that they had talked Daddy into donuts and that they were enjoying BBQ ribs while waiting for Fourth of July fireworks. It was nice, however, to sleep in a bit and get ready each morning uninterrupted. 😉 Once my puddle jumper touched down from Phoenix, though, I could not wait to see my little family cruise up and pick me up curbside!

It’s good to get away, but it’s even better to come home.

Looking forward to doing The Big Apple with the kids and enjoying the fruits of all the labor that has gone into this special day.

Have a blessed weekend, all!

We plan to get some haircuts, check out the first summer concert in the park {Journey cover band!} and hit up Magic Mountain after mass on Sunday….gotta ride Colossus one last time before she’s gone forever.

Nighty night.


Summer So Far…

Hi Friends!

Summer’s in full-swing and we’re trying to keep busy, stay cool and check those items off our Summer ’14 Bucket List.

Since school got out 3 weeks ago, here’s a little of what we’ve been up to…


{Updated our chalkboard for Summer}


{Elliott’s dance recital ~ she performed two numbers this time…hip hop/jazz & lyrical}


{Daddy was out of town and Holden was at a birthday party, so it was just Gramma and me in the audience cheering for our little dancer}


{Early morning swim and donuts by the pool}


{A day at Magic Mountain…Ninja made this mama woozy!!!}


{My Dad, Popsi, came to visit and the kids HAD to introduce him to MOD Pizza}


{A visit to the Ronald Reagan Library}


{Sunday Brunch at Grand Central Market in Downtown LA}


{Carnitas Burrito from Roast To Go}


{Bacon, Egg & Cheese [added avo] from Eggslut}


{Almond Macadamia Iced Latte from G&B Coffee}


{Cherry Picking at Villa del Sol}


We thoroughly enjoyed our maiden voyage to GCM. Jay and I couldn’t decide between Mexican food or a breakfast egg sandwich, so we split. Both were incredible! Jay waited in line for about 40 minutes at Eggslut, but it was well worth it.

This was our first time cherry picking, too. We tried to go a couple summers ago, but waited until too late in the season. This orchard is only about 45-60 minutes from us so it made for a nice little afternoon outing. However, it was HOT and we decided to stop at the local Sonic for happy hour since Popsi had never been. We sat in our air conditioned car and sipped on blended root beer floats and cherry & watermelon slushies. I then proceeded to bake a cherry cobbler for dessert that night. Of course I did.

I just returned from 4 days in Chicago and Detroit to celebrate the upcoming wedding of my BIL, Rodney and his fiancé, Anuja. There was a traditional Grashanti {Hindu ceremony} on Friday and a beautiful joint bridal shower {Anuja’s sister is getting married in August!} on Sunday. I’ll write about that tomorrow. The trip was absolutely perfect and made me even MORE excited for their big day which is coming up in a couple short weeks!


Hope your summer has been happy so far!


Summer Bucket List ~ Twenty14

I literally threw this together in a matter of minutes. It’s usually well thought out, but you know…

Our list looks a little different this year as we will be traveling to The Big Apple for a week next month. Looking forward to sharing the bustling city that never sleeps with the kiddos. They are in for a surprise!

1. Donuts by the pool ~ Nothing better than an early morning swim and some sugar to fuel it.



2. Ventura County Fair {rolling over from 2012}


3. Concerts in The Park ~ Eagles cover band August 2nd!

4. Shave It with friends

5. Picnic in Central Park



6. Visit The Statue of Liberty

7. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge



8. Summer Movie ~ most likely going to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles {smiling through clenched teeth}

9. Thrifty Ice Cream



10. Mommy & Daddy do Whole30 for the month of August

11. Rose Bowl Flea Market



12. Grand Central Market in Downtown LA


So, there you have it.

This is one “To-Do” list that isn’t daunting.

What are YOUR plans for the summer? I’d love to hear….


{View our previous summer lists: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 }


Hello friends!

Happy June…it’s already the 3rd…school will be out 2 weeks from today!

Oodles going on lately ~ Memorial Day weekend, birthday celebrations, baseball season wrap-up, school presentations & awards, field trips, dance recitals, wedding planning, etc. etc. etc.

The first graders learned all about animal habitats and treated the parents to a darling play. I am lame and do not remember how to share a video clip on this here blog, but believe me when I say it was cute. The kids were supposed to wear white tees & jeans…I learned a long time ago that boys and white tees do not mix and forgot to pick one up, so this is the closest we had. Tigers live in habitats, right? Right.


Last week, the third graders taught us all about the history of the Santa Clarita Valley which is OUR habitat! So much local history that I was unaware of.




Memorial Day weekend was extra special in that Jay’s folks {Lolo & Lola} and Uncle Rodney and his bride-to-be, Anuja, came into town. Anuja’s family was also in So Cal for a wedding so we had the chance to meet her parents, brother, sister-in-law, nieces and nephew. All the kids will be in the wedding together this summer and it was nice that they could meet beforehand and get to know each other…





Speaking of weddings….time is ticking and we’re less than 2 months away from the big day! My bridesmaid dress has arrived and I, just this morning, ordered Elliott’s flower girl dress…


And here is a recent picture of the beautiful couple…


It’s been so fun learning about some of the Hindu traditions and I look forward to the two religions {Catholic being the other one} coming together in a gorgeous ceremony honoring my bother-in-law and his new wife.


Our sweet Elliott turned 9 last Thursday. We decided not to have a party this year with all that’s going on and save it for double digits {nooooo!!!!!} next year. She had one little friend join her for an afternoon at Color Me Mine, Justice, Claire’s and Red Robin…





I also surprised her with an In N Out lunch at school on her actual birthday…


{mommy’s lunch delivery comes complete with hand sanitizer!!}


I must say that it was a little hard for me to not have a party to plan this year, but we took our favorite sugar cookie bars to CCD and dance class so she was able to celebrate lots!



Holden had his final baseball game with the Angels this past Saturday. I’m so glad that he started this sport up again. I believe Fall & Spring soccer is too much for him and I’m thrilled that he can take the Spring off from AYSO and enjoy a little good all american sport. He really seemed to do well and is maturing quite a bit with his team sports….we still have a little way to go, but I saw more drive and concentration out on the field in the past few months. I hope he can find “his sport” in the next year or so. Lord knows Jay and I are trying it all and signing him up to dabble in just about everything! He is on a wait list for summer basketball and will play flag football in the winter.





I apologize for this post being all over the map and discombobulated, but I just wanted to check in and give a little recap of all the fun we’ve been up to. The real FUN will start in 2 weeks from today….10 school days!

But who’s counting……..



Busy Calendar

Hello and Happy-day-after-St. Patrick’s Day!

Our day of {all things green} was just like any other Monday pretty much.

It started out with my favorite pair of gold Havaianas having a blowout in the same spot as all my other well-loved pairs. The little part between the toe gave way and forced me to switch to my gold flats. Havaianas are my absolute favorite and I did get 3-4 years out of these, but I imagine the chlorine from the pool and the trips to the beach eventually take their toll on the rubber…..sad face.


Mama Leprechaun dropped the ball on the once-a-year-Lucky-Charms-for-breakfast deal so she popped them in the car for a donut with green icing and shamrock sprinkles at Albertson’s on the way to school instead! Not the best breakfast to start Health Week off with….

We had a leprechaun come and turn our toilet water green which seemed to freak the kids out a little more this year.

Last week I sampled a precooked corned beef brisket at Trader Joe’s and immediately knew I was going to serve it on a hectic, homework-filled St. Paddy’s Monday night. Fortunately Mondays are our “easy” days and we have nowhere to be, but it was nice to know all I had to do was heat the brisket for about 30 minutes in the oven and sauté up some cabbage and onions to make some sauerkraut! I also squeezed a couple drops of food coloring into a lone bottle of Mexican beer and hit it with a little lime juice for an adult after 5:00pm treat while I prepared our Irish feast.


Holden brought home a friendly little leprechaun and I updated our “days until” sign {which hadn’t been updated since Christmas!!}. That was the extent of SPD at Chez Aspiras!



And as for our nice, quiet, after-the-holidays schedule……that is all coming to a screeching halt and the calendar is quickly filling up again.

Elliott is back in full swing with Spring soccer through AYSO and is on another great team. They’ve played two games and walked away with a shutout in game one and managed to tie game two up this past Saturday. The Spring season is a lot more relaxed as there are no playoffs and only 8 games, but it is a great way for the kids to keep up with their skills and build up their momentum for the Fall season. We are so proud of her as she ASKS to go and practice at the park above and beyond her normal practices. She was chosen to be a team captain this past week and Jay captured this sweet picture of her teammate and her after they won the coin toss…


She also has stepped up her dance game and has taken on another class aside from her Friday hip hop & jazz. Last week she went and tried a lyrical class with her friend, Tiffany, and came home so excited to show me what she had learned. In one hour she had mastered choreography for the Spring recital number and the teacher asked of she was doing the recital! I thought the deadline had passed to order costumes, but apparently it was extended so BOOM she’s enrolled in one more dance class during the week and I ordered her second costume for the recital.


This warms my heart as lyrical is one of my most favorite styles of dance and I have been nudging her to take this class for a couple years now.

I feel so blessed that she can go from aggression and speed on the soccer field to beauty and grace in the dance studio. I pray that she will continue to grow in both of these activities and is always able to keep one foot in a soccer cleat and one foot in a dance shoe.


Holden is about to start Spring baseball so we will throw in a practice during the week and a Saturday game into the calendar for the next couple months. He is very excited and received new baseball necessities from Gramma Kathy for his birthday last month ~ fancy cleats, official baseball pants with a big boy belt {no more drawstrings!}, a bat and some awesome batting gloves. I need to uncover his right-handed glove out in the garage and he’ll be good to go! He hasn’t played since being on the cutest little t-ball team 3 years ago, so this league will be a great way for him to be reintroduced to baseball.

He and I also enjoyed a little mother/son bonding time at a PTA sponsored bowling event last weekend. Our team made our own tie dyed shirts which was a first for me and so much fun. The afternoon of bowling was equally as fun and we can’t wait for next year!



The weeks are simply flying by. Aside from these activities, they are both doing after school activities and their weekly religious education classes. Spring Break is on the horizon and that just means one thing…..Summer is not too far behind!

As mentioned in my last post, our summer is going to be filled with events leading up to the marriage of my brother-in-law to his precious finace in late July so we have all that goodness waiting for us on the books, as well.

Feeling so grateful for our busy calendar.

Have a beautiful day, friends!


One Of Fourteen

In 2013 Jay and I went to a beautiful convalidation {when the Catholic church “convalidates” a civil marriage} in April, an emotional vow renewal in July, a tropical 25th wedding anniversary in October and a gorgeous wedding on a sunny afternoon in November.

Each one was sacred and an honor to attend. All these precious couples are from different seasons/decades/times of our lives and I love that, even through the miles, we can come together to celebrate the beauty of marriage at one stage or another.

I adore weddings. I adore being IN weddings.

It’s been well over 10 years since I stood up in a wedding and was part of the bridal party.

Just days into 2014 we received the official news of my brother-in-law’s engagement to his sweetest girl, Anuja. We knew it was coming and I got tired of giving him a hard time!

Well, it looks like this year will be a very exciting year for our family….all four of us will be in the wedding ~ Jay the best man, Elliott a flower girl, Holden a ring bearer and I will be one of FOURTEEN bridesmaids.

Yes, 14. So exciting!

The big day is in late July and we couldn’t be happier. Our summer will be complete with this monumental milestone of welcoming a new member into the Aspiras Family!

Needless to say, I am in planning mode and the first thing I need to do is go order my dress.

“Punch” is the color and this is the style I chose…


On the hunt for silver shoes…

So glad Lent is about a week away. I need lots of discipline for the next 5 months. Hoping the seven weeks leading up to Easter will pave the way for healthier choices and increased activity to take better care of the temple.

Always a struggle, but it’s good to have a goal and something to look forward to.

Happy Wednesday!

1D & TMNT ~ A Valentine’s Day Shoot

A couple weekends ago we ventured out to shoot some fun valentine photos. Jay actually rented a camera and a lens to try out for the weekend so it was perfect.

Trying our best to capture more pictures and videos of the kids because these days, weeks, months and years are going by way too fast for my taste.

We broke it up into two separate days at two different locations and managed to get some cute shots.

Here are some of our favorites…















{The sweet burlap heart banner can be purchased here. Your generosity will help Ali fund her mission trip to Haiti. I plan to keep mine up all year long….it adds a touch of “happy” to any space.}

The kids had “Formal Day” at school on February 13th since they had a 4-day weekend for President’s Weekend. They exchanged valentines and received HOARDS of candy ~ my friend, Leslie, dubbed it “Valoween” ~ appropriately so!



Well, Superbowl and Valentine’s Day are over…to me, those are the two big days that kind of kick off the first couple months of the new year.

Next up….Holden’s Birthday.

HOW is he going to be seven?


We experienced a big milestone this week.

It happened quickly.

My mama heart didn’t have time to prepare.

Holden had complained about one of his top teeth hurting when he bit into things, but it wasn’t visibly loose. He was eating his cereal on Tuesday morning and apparently his spoon got caught in the space between his two front teeth and when he pulled it out it broke the root or something because we went from two seemingly solid teeth to one Nanny McPhee snaggletooth in point five seconds.

He said he couldn’t finish his cereal {because of his wiggly tooth}, opted for a glass of milk instead and off to school we went.

Only to have him come out at dismissal looking like this…


He was so funny. He couldn’t eat his snack. He couldn’t concentrate on his homework. However, he was able to play PS3 oddly enough.

I kept thinking to myself that I can’t send him to school with his tooth looking like a “door” as one of his cute little classmates called it. And he certainly wasn’t going to have an absence based on his protruding chomper, sooooo that left the only other option…..pull it out!

Elliott has lost several of her teeth while brushing so I told Holden to go up and brush his teeth and maybe it’d come out. Sure enough after his shower he screams, “My tooth is out!” and comes running downstairs naked with his little central incisor in his hand. I stuck it in a ziploc and labeled it for the Tooth Fairy while he went and grabbed his towel…


He was so proud.

He’s been a little later than most to lose his teeth. He’s only lost the bottom two and this was his third. But there is something about those top two teeth….they’re like the last, most noticeable, bit of baby-ness. Those two little white nubs that first cut through his little gums so many years ago {6 years ago, to be exact}. Once they lose those, they immediately take on the adorable toothless first grader look and adopt the cute little lisp until the permanent adult teeth come in and they take on a whole new more mature look!

I can handle growing feet and trips to the Vans store for brand new, comfortable shoes. I can handle buying the next size up skinny jeans. Heck, I can even handle a major haircut that adds on a couple years.

But those two front teeth…..they hold something special in my heart. The toothless grin will have to make up for that last bit of “baby” to leave because there’s no going back.

Just a reminder to slow down and cherish this season even though some days are challenging and long.

Let the teeth take their time. Don’t force the wiggle. Just let it loosen up on it’s own and slowly await the awkward, caddywhompus protrusion phase until it just falls out on it’s own.

There is no hurry.


I did also have to pick up a new pair of jeans in the next size up this week, as well. It’s been a double whammy.

The bright side is that Holden will be seven in 18 days and is just now wearing size 5 jeans.

I can handle that.