Two Pretzels

November 29, 2015

Oh my gosh, my heart is BURSTING. So much happy.


Thanksgiving was kind of a bust in our house.

Why? Well, 75% of us were ill.
Like flu-ill.
SO, there's that.

BUT! We're on the mend. Wah-who.

UGH. This was just ugh. #PlayRoomFlu




Remember how I told you about the loss of my old-school kindle? The one I used ONLY because it fit into the case that my Mom used to use with her old-school Kindle? I was super sad about it because I liked holding the case that my Mom held while reading, yadda, yadda...

Well, American Airlines has NOT returned it to me yet... (#shocker).

Instead, I bought a battery online for my Mom's old Kindle that I sort of absorbed from her after she passed. It's been dead since she died (is that weird to say?) and... guess what? Craig installed the new battery and...


November 16, 2015

MexMo: Cabo living

Was walking around in the grocery store (Mega) in Cabo (well, San Jose) Monday evening and the girls and I ran across this on-sale combo next to the dairy section.

(I almost made them pose next to it but paused for consideration... I decided no.)

So here you have it:

Only in Cabo would the grocery store pair selfie sticks with vodka.

Nicely done.

I think we all know that self-sticks and alcohol aren't the best combo (so said social media everywhere.)

And there you have it.


NOTE: You know how in the States you can go to Costco and get samples of dips and stuff? At the Costco in Cabo you can get tequila, vodka, whatev.



November 15, 2015

Sweet soul | Lila | Kindle | Lost tooth | Certificates

So I have a kindle that's ancient.

It's pretty much as old as my first-born child (she's in 1st grade) and in the world of technology, that's comparable to still using a kitchen wall phone with a 12-foot long curly cord instead of an iphone.

So I love my kindle because... when my Mom died I sort of just took on her kindle and her kindle case. I discarded my orange case with the little built-in read-at-night-light and started using her blue case with the little built-in read-at-night-light. There's something strangely comforting about staying up late at night and having my hands touch the same leather cover as she did. Reading under the same little light that she used...

We, my Mom and I, love to read.

When I travel, though - I pack the blue case in my checked luggage and throw my old, 2010 or 2011 kindle in my carry-on or purse.

I REFUSE to buy a new kindle, lest I can't use that cover that belonged to my Mom.

Well, when we flew back to Cabo from the States last Sunday it appears that I did what many-a-traveler does: I left my kindle in the back of a seatback pocket on one of the flights.


If you know me, you know I love technology. I love new phones, new iPads, new computers, new everything. I love updating my apps. I love software updates.

But a new kindle means a new cover and that means... well, it means that my Mom is further away from me.


....there's that.

(When we lose people, we hang on to the most random of things. These things make them feel closer to us... our brain understands that they're gone... but there's something wonderfully comforting about being near something that was near her.)

So I reported the circa 2010 kindle missing on the American Airlines website. Which, assumedly, is as helpful as standing on my front porch and yelling, in English, "Hey? Has anyone seen my kindle? Oh? No? Ok."

So I'm totally not expecting to get that back.


So, Lila, my sweet six-year-old, saw the empty blue kindle case that once belonged to her Nana sitting on my bed and said, "Oh no, Mommy. Here's the case. You didn't lose your kindle."

Then I explained, "Nope - that's just the case. I lost my kindle. I'm pretty sure I left it on the plane accidentally. I'm kind of sad about it... because I liked using Nana's case with my kindle. And I can't really buy another one like the one I had. And remember? You put stickers all over it, too."

She was silent.

We sat there for a few minutes, I continued doing what I was doing...

...then all of a sudden...

...I hear the loudest cry.

Lila's crying.


Lila is literally full-on, very upset, crying.

"Lila, what's wrong? Are you ok? What happened?"

I open my arms, she falls into my chest and says, "Oh Mommy, I just want you to be happy..."


That child.

That sweet, empathetic, kind child...


I explained to her that I absolutely am still happy. That it's just a thing. That my Mom is in my heart; not in that kindle situation. It's no big deal at all. But I told her that I appreciated her tears.

You guys.

That kid.



That same kid lost her front tooth this week, too.

It was loose for about 3 months. (I'm not lying. She.does.not.rush.anything.) She waited until it finally just jumped out of her mouth. It literally was like, "I'm going to hop on this apple slice and get out of dodge. I CANNOT BE IN HERE ONE SECOND LONGER."


She doesn't think it's so adorable, though. "Mommy, I think I look kind of weird..."

Weird is beautiful, sweet girl.


And also this week?

She was awarded a certificate from the librarian at her school. They gave it to her during the book fair, along with about 6 or so other kids. It was adorable. It was like a little "ceremony" with just the kids, their parents and a few other people.

Apparently she goes into the library every day after she eats lunch to chat, read, ask questions and "rent" books for her and her baby sister.

You have no idea how much pride this certificate inspired.

She loves books.

She can't wait until she can get her own kindle.

(And so it continues.)

Love her.


Sweet Lila, oh man. I love her.


November 10, 2015

3 Random things for you

1. We watch The Voice. As in, The Voice is on as I work at night. We like the blind auditions. We usually lose steam in the battle rounds, etc. That said, a few weeks back the husband told me that Gwen and Blake were dating. I didn't believe it.

No, I'm just liked, "REALLY? Eh."

It just sort of annoys me.


2. I may be the only person on the planet who doesn't really care either way for Adele's "Hello." I think it's just sort of ok. (I think it goes without say, but I'll still say it, that I prefer Lionel's version.)

3. What is GREAT? Coming back to CABO and living in 85 degree weather after my extremities and digits were FREEZING in 50-60 degree Ohio weather. #bloodthinned

Working from home isn't so bad. #helloteenyTinyOcean

That's all.


November 8, 2015

Confession. (And, I sort of have a feeling that I’m not alone with this.)

Blah. (This is a long one. Get a snack.)

I think that sometimes we all need a, “We are human” reminder.

While I don’t think it’s necessary to list all of my faults, I feel a strong need to on the ‘ole blog. Let's do this.

Confession: Sometimes I feel like I’m not a good a terrible parent.

Seriously, sometimes I am beyond disappointed with myself.

Did I seriously just make a six-year-old cry because I couldn’t handle sitting one.second.longer doing her homework because I have other things to do? Was I rushing her and getting frustrated instead of teaching her? (Today, I didn’t understand Lila’s 1st grade Spanish math homework so my fly-off-the-handle-reaction, “Craig? IT IS TIME TO MOVE. I NEED TO MOVE TO A COUNTRY WHERE THE TEXT BOOKS ARE IN ENGLISH.”)

See? Not my finest moment.

Then there's the: “Mommy, can you play with me?”

No. Sometimes I can’t.
I just don’t have the time.
(Go ahead, scowl and tell me I’m terrible…. But know that I feel guilty about this because I LOVE MY CHILDREN. I swear, I do. But Mama’s gotta work... But then I hear, "Nobody ever wished they'd worked more whilst on their death bed..." GAH!)

But we live in a time where parents are ALWAYS supposed to have the time. We’re supposed to make everything pinterest-pretty and pack our kids themed-lunches in their bento boxes. We’re supposed to download timers that help them remember how long to brush their teeth (still shaking my head at that one) and we’re supposed to gently divert their attention instead of just losing it at the airport and saying, “SIT THERE. BE QUIET. I KNOW THIS IS BORING BUT LIFE CAN BE BORING.”

Sometimes I lose it and sometimes I’m mean.

And, I sort of have a feeling that I’m not alone with this.


Confession: Sometimes I feel like a terrible wife.

In the list of all of the things that must be planned, purchased, handled, coordinated, created, turned in, paid and made… my sweet husband sort of gets pushed aside. [Shamefully puts head down.]

Do I write him love notes like I used to 18 years ago? No.
But do I love him more than I ever have? Yes.

Could I be a more supportive and thoughtful wife? Of course.
Should I attempt to make him dinner (or any meal) more often? Probably.
Should I say thank you and be more kind? Yes.

And, I sort of have a feeling that I’m not alone with this.


Confession: I read emails and I don’t email back right away. I do the same thing with texts.

But the truth of the matter is that I feel like I have to defend myself because we live in a “NOW! WRITE ME BACK AS SOON AS YOU’VE READ THIS MESSAGE BECAUSE I SEE THAT YOU’VE READ IT” era . And, well… I’m sorry, I can’t. 

Sometimes I’m multi-tasking.  I’m making dinner, or checking my email in the line at school, or I’m working on being “present” with my kiddos and I glanced at my phone when I shouldn’t have… I fear that people who I love think that they don’t matter to me, or that I don’t love them… or that their problem or question or concern isn’t important to me because I forgot to write/text/email/call them back. In reality, I LOVE my people. I love my relationships. I just don’t have a ton of bandwidth.

P.S. I turned my notifications off on my phone(s). No Facebook messenger, no instagram, no Facebook, no twitter. The only thing I get? Texts. It's helped a lot. I like looking at a blank phone screen.

And, I sort of have a feeling that I’m not alone with this.


Confession: I always think I could do better…

I always think that I could be better at communication…

I think I could be a better sister…
Write a better blog…
Be a better communicator…
Be a better coach…
Be a better business owner…
Be a better leader…
Be a better friend…
Be a better wife…
Be a way better aunt...
Be a better Mom…

The doubt creeps in and I think, “Kylee… you need to You are royally screwing this up. Like big time."

And, I sort of have a feeling that I’m not alone with this.

(Full disclosure: I even think I could do better with petting the dogs. I’m serious: “I could be a better pet mama.”)


It appears that the list of  “To Do’s” will continue to grow, but what is for certain, my time is not increasing.

I cannot burn the candle at both ends. (Neither can you.)
I cannot go and go and GO and GO until I collapse. (Neither can you.)

Instead, I can get up… release the guilt for eating the dark chocolate candy bar in the airport because I needed a fast emotional response / comfort. Instead, I can breathe in deeply, exhale and say, “You can do this.”

And the only way I can do this, because I know me… and I know how I am, is if I take care of myself.


I can only take care of everything and everyone else, if I take care of me.

I live by this:

"Take care of you, so that you can take care of them."

So… that’s where I am.
Pulled in so many directions, but doing the best I can. JUST LIKE YOU.

And, I sort of have a feeling that I’m not alone with this.


When things get a little crazy, I know I need to get back to my routine that calms me.

1.    I need to get up a half an hour earlier. When I do this, I'm happier. I'm not rushed.

2.    I need to sit quietly in silence for a couple of minutes each morning. Me + silence = necessary. I need to write down some affirmations, I need to visualize what I want my life to look like, I need to exercise, I need to read and I need to write. (Read the Miracle Morning. It’s cheesy – but I love the Morning routine - it's been a life changer for me.) I need to get back into my routine.

3.    And then I’m fine.

I’m a better Mom when I take care of me. I’m a better Mom when my body feels strong, when I’m eating well, when I’m sleeping at normal times, when I’m starting my day off optimistically and refreshed.

And, I sort of have a feeling that I’m not alone with this.


PSA of the day: Take care of you.

November 1, 2015

on grief: watching others go through it.

One week ago Monday, my nephew and my brother watched as the woman they loved breathed her last breath.

She was 43.




And she was brave. And she was optimistic. And she was kind. AND SHE WAS STRONG. And she was faith-full and loving. But most importantly, she was a Mom.

She battled cancer for nearly 2 years. And when I say battled; I mean knock down, drag-out, fought cancer.

Oh, [stupid/horrible/despicable] cancer.


I write this post knowing full-well that this is not about me in any way, shape or form. It's about my brother. It's about her children. It's about her.

Still, writing is how I process. You may know this, as you went through it all with me when I lost my Mom.

So, here I go. Processing about about death and dying.


1. Grief is personal.

There's no wrong way to grieve and there's no right way to grieve.

As I stood next to my brother at the funeral home, as he stared at her face, touching her hand, her chemo-short hair... I had no words. Me! I should have had WORDS! But I didn't, because there isn't comfort in words when you lose someone you love. There's comfort, I think? In being present for the ones you love. There's comfort in simply breathing, quietly, steadily behind and next to the person who is heartbroken.

That's all we can do because they need to do grieve in their own way.
They need to make jokes.
Or sob.
Or pace.
Or keep.moving.
Or curl up.

Grief is personal.

2. It's terrible to watch others grieve.

When my little sister told me that our Mom died, the excruciating pain in her voice was more than I could bear. That feeling - of seeing your sibling hurting so deeply - oh... It's like the empathy meter is completely pushed past the breaking point and you can hardly sit still.

I wish I could jump in the car with my brother, my niece and my nephew and DRIVE for the next year. I wish I could chauffeur them past the firsts, the anger, the disbelief, the despairing... I wish I could say to them, "I've got this. You close your eyes, take a nap, and we'll be there before you know it."

But I can't.
They've got to do this.
And it is

And all I can do is stand by.... and support... and watch. And remember.


3. No one knows what to say when someone dies. No one.

My dad is dead. My Mom is dead. I still don't know what to say to someone who has lost someone.

I know what comforts me... but will it comfort someone else? I know what comforts me now, but I know what I HATED hearing then; after my Mom died:

Hated then: "Don't worry, she's always with you."
Thoughts now: I get it. She is with me. It's true. I feel it. I feel her. I legitimately feel her with me.

Hated then: "...but she's in a better place."
Reason for hating: That may be true, but it would be BETTER if she was still in THIS PLACE with me.
Thoughts now: She is in a better place... heaven is suh-weet. But, it'd be pretty incredible if I could call her again. But it's true...heaven is better than Missouri.

Hated then: " least s/he's no longer in pain."
Reason for hating: Of COURSE I don't wish for my parent to be in pain, but if right now you asked me to chose between a little bit of pain or DEATH - I'd go with the pain, thankyouverymuch
Thoughts now: It's true. No one wants pain for their loved one. [lowers eyes and nods in agreement]

Hated then: "Everything happens for a reason."
Reason for hating: Really? Because when your parent dies you just can't SEE A REASON that makes sense.
Thoughts now: Everything happens according to a plan and that plan is what is meant to be. And even though we don't know the reason, beauty comes from ashes.

So what do I say?

I nod. I rub backs. I hug. I stand by. I sit quietly. And I say, "That makes sense..." And I say, "I'm sure..."

It's my opinion that grieving people need to be heard. A piano was just dropped from a 15-story-building directly on to their hearts. It was fast. And it made no sense. And they need to process.

Just listen.

4. We all have regrets.

When someone dies, we think about the last conversation, our last interactions. We over-analyze. We regret. We blame. It's human nature.

We all wish we would have said something else.
Done more.
Asked more questions.

But none of that matters. No one can ever prepare for the end of a loved one's life.

We can't beat ourselves up for what we did or didn't do.
We can only be proud of what we did have; the times we did share. The impact we did make.

With each death that touches us, our heart gains a little post-it note flag that says, "Remember, every person in this world has value. Be sensitive. Be kind. Have empathy."


My heart breaks that a mother had to say goodbye to her 16-year-old son and her 12-year-old daughter.

My heart breaks for their profound and life-changing loss.

My heart breaks because I know that who they are has just been impacted beyond measure. I know that the trajectory of their lives may not be altered, but it will definitely be affected by this loss.

My heart breaks for the conversations they will never have, for the graduations she won't attend. The weddings, the broken hearts, the newborn babies she won't hold...

My heart breaks because my heart has broken before.

Yes, my heart breaks for them because my heart has been broken before.

I am able to relate because it happened to me.

And maybe that is the beauty in life.

It happens to us >> we feel it >> it happens to others >> we empathize >> we support >> it happens to someone else >> they empathize >> they support.

And the chain of love continues.


My sweet nephew and my sweet niece and my strong brother will be able to relate to others because it happened to them.

It is my nature to find something optimistic about the situation. I have to find something to hold on to, because if you start scanning back over what just happened to my family, it will be easy to get lost in anger and sadness.

So, I chose to put all of my eggs in the strength and empathy basket. Losing her will mean that they've gained a whole new perspective that may help others one day. It may give them confidence and show them how strong they are. It will make them resilient. And kind and loving.

But for now, my heart is broken because two more children have just joined the club...

...the dreaded club.


--The Story of Loss. On Losing my Mom.
September 9, 2013  ::  The day I found out ::  Post here.
September 16, 2013  ::  It's One Week today  ::  Post here.
September 25, 2013  :: The Call  ::  Post here.
September 30, 2013  ::  Slivers of Sunlight  ::  Post here.
October 6, 2013  ::  That first week.Those first days :: Post here.
October 14, 2013  ::  14 days after  ::  Post here.
October 20, 2013  ::  I found a treasure  ::  Post here.
November 4, 2013  ::  She's been gone for 4 weeks  :: Post here.
November 13, 2013  ::  I smile and drive and cry and smile and cry  :: Post here.
November 17, 2013  ::  Weekends aren't easy  :: Post here.
November 26, 2013  ::  The holidays, the firsts  ::  Post here.
December 1, 2013  ::  8 weeks  :: Post here.
December 10, 2013  ::  The Dream  :: Post here.
December 19, 2013  ::  Vulnerability and Moving Forward  ::  Post here.
December 22, 2013  ::  The reminders. They're everywhere  ::  Post here.
December 29, 2013  :: 2013  :: Post here.
January 1, 2014  ::  The New Year  :: Post here.
January 7, 2014  ::  2 days from 4 months  ::  Post here.
January 17, 2014  ::  Another Gift ::  Post here.
January 25, 2014  ::  She would have been 60 today  ::  Post here.
February 9, 2014  ::  Five months  ::  Post here.
March 6, 2014  ::  Almost six months  ::  Post here.
March 27, 2014  ::  One of the Best Gifts Ever  ::  Post here.
April 1, 2014  ::  We're all in this together  ::  Post here.
April 24, 2014 :: 7 Months, Easter and Nope, I'm still not normal.  ::  Post here.
May 6, 2014  :: Mother's Day without a Mom  ::  Post here.
June 1, 2014  ::  Moving "forward"  ::  Post here.
July 6, 2014  ::  Denial & acceptance & blah, blah, blah  ::  Post here.
August 20, 2014  ::  So, I'm 35  ::  Post here.
September 2, 2014  ::  7 days  ::  Post here.
September 8, 2014  ::  The Day Before a Year  ::  Post here.
September 9, 2014  ::  Hello, one year  ::  Post here.
October 11, 2014  ::  The brain is funny  ::  Post here.
November 6, 2014  ::  Love  ::  Post here.
November 30, 2014 ::  Post here.
December 4, 2014  ::  Another feather. Post here.
December 28, 2014  :: All was calm, all is bright. Post here.
January 18, 2015  ::  They're always with us? They're always with us. Post here.
January 25, 2015  ::  And today I remember. Post here.
March 8, 2015  ::  A year and a half later. Post here.
April 16, 2015  ::  And here I stand. Post here.
April 29, 2015  ::  Joan & Shirley. Post here.
August 26, 2015 :: Perspective. Post here.
September 9, 2015  :: Two Years After. Post here.


Merry Christmas.

We may or may not be sitting on the couch streaming Christmas music by Pentatonix.

And I may or may not have bought several Christmas decorations today. Including Christmas-tree-smelling candles.

Game on.

Only 53 days, friends.

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