Thursday, May 30, 2013


May 31, 2011

Summer 2011
Around 14 months?

First haircut
Fall 2012
It's hard to believe that it was two years ago that I sat at my dining room table at midnight, trying to make small talk with my mother-in-law while my husband frantically got the last of our items in the car. I winced through the contractions while giving care instructions to "Mor Mor" (grandma) & "Pa-Pou" (grandpa) as they would be taking care of  the older boys while we were in the hospital. I'll never forget driving down the deserted streets as we made our way to the hospital, thinking to myself...this is it. My baby is coming and I will never be pregnant again. Julian Michael Kargas was born just after 4am on May 31, 2011. As with each of my three births, holding my baby while in a morphine-induced haze (all c-sections) was one of the most euphoric moments of my life.

Winter 2012
Flash forward....two years. Here we are. A crazy family juggling way too much and living in a sea of chaos. Julian is now a spunky toddler with tons of personality. He is a chatter box pointing at things constantly and asking "What's this?" He is curious, affectionalte and strong-willed. My Ju Ju Bean can throw a mean tantrum.

I don't know where those two years went. I swear it was just yesterday that I spent my days walking the lake with a sleeping infant strapped to my chest. We always say that it goes too fast. And it does. It does. Sadly much of the time is spent wishing for sleep and respite from the crying. I tried so hard to cherish each and every moment, but yet it still feels as though the newborn days slipped through my fingers too quickly.

No idea, but one of my favorites!
I am a lucky mama. No, I don't have the easiest kids. I see those children, quietly coloring in there notebooks and answering their parents polietly. The kids who put their toys away neatly and the siblings who rarely fight. That was not my lot in life. My boys are messy, loud, rough and sassy. They are smart, strong-willed and full of life. I love them each with all of my heart.

And as we celebrate my sweet baby's second birthday (yes Julian you will ALWAYS be my baby!) I remember that these years will also pass by too quickly. Double digit celebrations are right around the corner, teenage years and drivers license, parites without  us parents. Someday and it won't be long... I will be looking back and wishing I could just have "two" again.

Happy Birthday Julian.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


It was time to cut the fat. I don't consider myself a pack-rat, yet we have acquired.... and ruined quiet a bit of "stuff" over the years. Of course children don't help the cause, not only do they take pen to sofa, dining table and kitchen chairs, destroying perfectly good furniture  but  they are "stuff" magnets. Birthday party presents, not to mention favors, Halloween costumes, miss-matched shoes, happy meal "prizes", half used coloring books, art projects, stuffed friends, bikes and on and on and on. Long story short, since we are moving out of this house in a matter of weeks it was the perfect time to purge.


We hosted our first ever successful garage sale today. In years passed we have participated in half-hearted  events advertised only by a chicken scratched poster duck-taped to a fence up the block. This time, we meant business and took the extra step to post our sale on Craigslist. It paid off. We got rid of just about everything. I can't say that we are now rolling in green, but that wasn't the point, the point was to get the junk out of here. 

Oh the junk. The junk. The once beautifully cheerful colored Crate & Barrel kitchen chairs I picked out for our dream home in Denver, the house we purchased when expecting our first born. I poured over the catalog imagining my children picking out their favorite colored chair as their own special spot at the table. (I somehow didn't factor in that there would likely be fighting since two children would ultimately both  want their tush in the red chair, when we had only one of each color.) The chairs while still sturdy,were now  worn and tattered, scratched and chipped. We sold the set for $40.

The small wicker dresser from Pier One, which was on our wedding registry. I was only 24 when I selected those items, how was I to know what was practical and what would fall to pieces?  For years it held socks, swimsuits, towels and cats. Cats who shred the wicker in multiple places leaving it an unsightly mess. We sold it for $5 along with a matching rolling table.

The Ergo (baby carrier) which held my Julian close to my body for the first year of his life. I became an expert at strapping that sucker on with a squirmy infant in under 30 seconds. I walked the neighborhood, picked my son up from kindergarten and visited the Farmer's market while wearing my baby in that contraption. I sold it to a family today for $5.

The tiny baby clothes. The last ones, since I have given so many away to friends with baby boys. This was all that was left of my 3-18 month clothing. My children will no longer need clothes that are sized by months. Ever. They all went.

The black dress I purchased so very many years ago while visiting my friend Hilary in New York. I have no idea where I bought  it, but I wore it with her to sushi and a show. Hilary was chastising me the whole time saying that with my legs I should have worn something shorter. (Thank you sweetie!) I kept that dress all of these years because of the memory of our weekend. Today I sold it for $2.

I'm a nostalgic girl. What can I say? Parting with things can be hard. I realize that it's all just stuff, yet how can I forget that my grandfather bought that now scratched, nicked, paint stained kitchen table for our wedding?

As I sold off our belongings I realized that once again we are entering a new phase of our life. We no longer have a need for double strollers, bibs and high-chairs. The furniture we got for our wedding or even for our first home is now terribly worn and unattractive. It's time to move on. It's time to grow up and face what is next. But not without looking back for just a moment at what was once shiny and new, remembering how with each scratch, crayola mark and stain our family has become what it is today.  And that? It's priceless.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mimosas, Hello Kitty & My Niece

Sunshine. Blue skies. City views. Hipsters picnicking. Costumed Bay-To-Breakers runners playing Frisbee in tu-tus. Birthday balloons. Hello San Francisco.

This past Sunday my family along with my brother in-law and lovely niece visited Dolores Park. We happened to meet one of my brother-in-laws friends who lives blocks from the park, is childless and well...  therefor WAY MORE FUN than most people in my life.*Wink*

But my brother-in-law's friend turned what would have been a lovely day frolicking with the kiddos on the playground to a six pack of beers-and mimosas- relaxing-grown-up- friendly afternoon.

Damn. To be out there in the city with the cool kids sun bathing, playing catch and drinking in the sunshine. I almost could remember what it was to be one of them. Believe it or not- I once of them. Before there were kids there were drinks before the drinks at the game. There were high-heels almost all of the time and lingering brunches. Yes.  I do miss those days sometimes.

But Sunday... brought me back, and in a good way. I had a buzz by 3:00. I laid in the grass with sunshine across my body, soaking it in. I admit, I let my husband do the heavy lifting with the kids, I'm lucky that I can do that. For just a moment I pretended that I lived a different life, one where I could drink bloody mary's on a Sunday without too much consequence. It was a good day.

Check out the amazing view!
Everyone loves riding the BART!

It was a good visit overall. I happen to have a lovely five year old niece who appears to like Hello Kitty as much as I do! We had pedicures, hot chocolate and shopped. My daughter fantasies realized! We held hands as we walked down the street, no coaxing needed. We talked about flowers without my forcing the conversation. In her presence my boys spent hours coloring and there seemed to be significantly less talk about punching. It was awesome.

And then Sunday was over and my niece and brother in law left. Leisurely weekends will be few and far between over the next couple of months, with our impending Colorado move looming just around the corner. And the boys? They are back to they are back to the usual body slamming games and endless baseball sessions. *Sigh*

Hello Kitty Heaven!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Yes, you may call me fast

Those people used to annoy me. They would open their big mouths and whine about how they needed it, and I would roll my eyes. Please, I thought, your not fooling anyone.

Nobody really wants to run. For miles. We all would prefer just to sit on the sofa watching Arrested Development and eating pizza. I was sure of it. Until it happened to me.

I want to run. Every day. On days that I don't run I feel sluggish, lazy and crabby. I don't think I really experience the "runners high" on a regular basis, I don't believe it's the endorphins, but rather the the way I feel about myself when I'm running. Strong, dedicated, ambitious, determined. I like those qualities and running has helped me realize them within myself.

I like the challange, the sense of achievment when reaching a new goal. The problem is I am human and with limitations. I don't think I can run a marathon. It isn't that I don't have the stamina, it is that I don't think I can do it without injuring myself. My knee gets sore from time to time, I have the haunting memory of last year's stress fracture in the back of mind and I do not want to end up benched.

Yet I still want to mix things up and push myself harder and harder. Today I achieved this goal with speed. I ran four miles at an average of eight minutes twenty seconds. For me, that is quiet speedy.

I have already signed up for my next half marathon, this fall in Denver. I am so looking forward to it. I briefly debated doing the full but instead I think I am going to focus on speed, completing my next half faster than my last.

So for better or for worse I have turned into one of those people. A runner. An addict. And I love it.
Notice my spiffy shirt from the Pleasanton Half!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

People I Want To Punch In The Face: Inspiration, PDA, Sweat

I'm feeling a little shall we say.... snarky today, so I guess that puts me in the right frame of mind for a People I Want To Punch In The Face post. It's really going to be more of a random collection of rants, you have been warned.

1) My hairdresser. I'm growing out my hair dude... did you have to take so much off? Love the color sweetheart, but do you know every centimeter of growth has been painful. Nuff said.
Hey where did my hair go??

2) People who include inspirational quotes in the signatures of their emails or on Facebook. Seriously I don't need to know your philosophy on success when I am only trying to coordinate a meeting with you or looking for a little morning entertainment with my coffee. I do not want your inspiration.

3) People who get too lovey dovey on Facebook. What is up with all of the crazy PDA there? Couples we know you are deeply and madly in love, but since when did we have to read your personal Hallmark cards to each other? And the fact that my husband cannot even tag me in a photo, does that mean he loves me less?

4) People who are chronically late. I always have to laugh at our kid's soccer coach who demands that we arrive twenty five minutes early for games so that the kids can warm up, but then never shows up until the last second. He moans about how hard it is to get out of the house with his wife and one seven year old son. Sweetheart, we manage to make it there with three boys, on time, every time. Get it together.

5) People who sweat all over the equipment at the gym and then don't have the decency to wipe it own. It's so freaking gross. They have those disinfectant wipes there for a reason. You make me gag. And you smell. Wear some deodorant.

Hey clean up after yourself. Got it?

Well hopefully my bad mood this morning put a little smile on your face anyway. Until next time....


Monday, May 13, 2013

On The Second Day Of Mother's Day....

Me, my crew and my lovely gifts!
This morning Evan asked me if it was the second day of Mother's Day. Oh how I like that idea! How can Mother's Day come only once a year? We mama's need at least one day a month. Trust me, we would be much nicer people.

I had an amazing day of love and relaxation. I slept in until 10:00, my poor husband dragging all three kids to Zachary's 9am soccer game. I actually forced myself out of bed at 10, figuring that it would be a shame to spend the entire day sleeping. My husband prepared a lovely brunch and the boys presented me with their adorable, thoughtful homemade gifts. Evan had just about been bursting at the seams to give me the plate he had made for me in preschool. I can honestly say there is nothing sweeter than your child beaming with excitement and pride as they give you something from the heart. I melted.

My husband then dropped me off at the spa where I received a much needed 90 minute massage. Afterwards I browsed the shops on Piedmont Avenue and then met one of my most-kick-ass girlfriend's Ms. Hannah for a cocktail. The day ended with a shrimp dinner and chocolate mousse.


But now. Oh now. It's back to reality. And oh what a reality. I am incredibly busy with work, the house is in total disarray we are dealing with all that needs to be done to our Denver home before we return there in June, and figuring out how the heck to move out of this house. So much unorganized crap, I don't have the mental capacity to even think about it. My approach may actually be-pack it all up and deal with it... later. Awesome right? Not so much. And while all of this move out/move in stuff speeds ahead we are bogged down with the day to day, epic loads of laundry, meal preparation, play dates, baseball games and birthday party planning. Yes folks, it's birthday season once more.

So yeah...about that second day of Mother's Day? BRING IT.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day! Love you Mom!!!!

Alright, it's just about Mother's Day, and I usually do a sarcastic post instructing my family exactly how to treat me on the special day, but there are just so many out there that are far funnier than I can be, so I'm going to refrain.

Of course there are also millions and millions of mushy Mother's Day post as well . Women gushing about the privilege of  motherhood and giving thanks to the woman who raised her. Well today I'm feeling a bit warm and fuzzy myself so keep a barf bucket close at hand.

First, to my very own mother. My amazing mama. A mother who always put her children first. A woman who has sacrificed again and again for her daughters. My mother has always been there for me. As a little girl my mom thought of my sister and I first. With her small budget she bought us gifts she knew we would love and never spent a dime on herself.  She volunteered at my school, teaching folk dance and painting faces at our annual carnival. She held me in the middle of the night when I was scared and she fed me white bread and 7-up when I was sick.

Later in life she stood with me through teenage angst. She did her best to beat away my demons, the self doubt and hatred. She tried so hard to rescue me from the strong pull of an eating disorder. She was always  there. Always.

As I've grown to a woman she was the first one I called with that positive pregnancy test, the first I told about a promotion, a fight or a sprained ankle. She listens like I am the most interesting person in the world .

It isn't that we never fight. Oh we fight. Good Lord we can fight. It's because of the closeness, because of the love. We can push  each other's buttons, and drive each other nuts, but it is because we both care so very much.

My mom is living it up, traveling Europe for a month, and I am not sure I will be able to speak with her this Mother's Day, but I know someday she will read this, and I do hope she knows in her heart how I am thinking of her.

Finally, on to my own role as mom. It's been seven years that I have been a mom. Seven. I remember my first mother's day. We took my eight month old to brunch at a lovely Denver restaurant. I dressed my baby boy up and wore a sundress. I am sure I was glowing.You see,  I didn't know if I was going to get to be a mother. I had infertility concerns, and thought that I might not ever be on the receiving end of a mother's day card.  It was truly a magical day for me.

And here I am now. Mother to three sons. Three sons! Oh I moan and groan about the stress and the work. The stress is real, but the love is stronger. I know, I know how truly blessed I am. I am the luckiest woman in the world.

So thank you Mom. Thank you Zachary, Evan and Julian, for making me a mother. Thank you David for being there with me through it all.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you. It's a happy, happy day.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Abercrombie & Fitch RANT

You have probably already read the news: Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch hates "fat" people. (And by fat he means anything over a size ten, which apparently is as high as the retailer goes.) Although there have been countless stories written on the topic I can't help but to put in my two cents, because I am disgusted.

This isn't the first time I wrote about my disdain for Abercrombie & Fitch. Perhaps a year ago I wrote a piece about the company's practice of marketing sexually suggestive clothing to preteens. This organization simply seems to lack decent values.

If the reports are accurate, Mr. Jeffries believes it is in his company's best interest to market only to cool "beautiful" people. Mr. Jeffries defines beauty by pant size. If you are a size 12 ladies, I'm sorry you are simply too "ugly" for Abercrombie & Fitch. I didn't believe what I read, so I visited the A&F website to verify and in fact, some of their pants go up to only a size 6 or 8, which is well below the size of our average American woman.

The whole thing is simply offensive. One could argue that the store has a right to sell what they want  and target whatever market they choose. I believe that. Stores catering to petite women is not a new concept, and honestly I don't believe there is anything wrong with that in and of itself. One store can't be everything to everyone. Back in my days of suits and heels I was known to shop at Petite Casuals from time to time and I never, ever could buy anything at Ann Taylor, the brand simply did not make clothes that looked good on my figure. We have plus sized stores, stores for preppy girls, party girls and chicks who want to look like prostitutes. Each store is targeted to a different population-as it should be. What I take issue with is the exclusionary attitude of A&F's CEO, only thin people are beautiful, cool and popular. Screw that.

I also find it concerning that the company has a kid's line of clothing and presumably they hold girls up to the same standards of beauty as they do adult women. It doesn't take long for a teenage girl with full hips to realize she doesn't belong in that store. The sales people are tiny, the models featured in their advertisements (which usually include horny teenagers fondling each other) are tiny. The company is contributing to a culture that objectifies and sexualizes young girls while demanding  that women fit into a single digit size in order to be valued.

Does A&F have the right to do this? Absolutely. Are they morally bankrupt for acting on this right? Absolutely. In a day and age when eating disorders are appearing in younger and younger women, when as a society we are concerned with teen pregnancies and child molestation, what company in good conscience could promote push up bikini tops for little girls and have the company's leader openly chastise "fat" people?

The only conclusion I can make is that A&F is a bad company run by a morally corrupt man, one who surely doesn't have a daughter.

So Dear, Mr. Jeffries, while perhaps I could fit into a pair of your jeans, and have boys that someday may want to shop at your store I vow that I will never, ever spend one single penny at A&F.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


13.1 miles. A goal that once seemed ridiculous, now accomplished. I completed my first half marathon today. Not only did I finish, but I finished well. 13.1 miles in one hour and fifty seven minutes. Out of 800 some runners I placed 232. I was tenth for women in my age division. 59 out of all of the hundreds of women who participated. Hell yeah.

I cannot explain how good it felt, how good I feel. I set a goal, I pushed my self, I succeeded. I have never experienced anything so empowering. I feel stronger than I have in my life.

The run was nothing to write home about. A flat course through an east bay suburb. There were no cheering crowds, no bands, no fan-fair, but it didn't matter, I was there, with other runners pushing myself and that is all the motivation that I needed.

It really wasn't all that difficult, in fact the 11.26 miles I ran solo a few weeks ago was far more challenging. During the race I was part of something, I was encouraged by those around me and those who would greet me at the finish line.

As I reached mile 12, runners started to pass me, I realized they were sprinting to place earlier, so I picked up my pace too. When I saw the clock was a few minutes under two I found my reserves and pushed harder, a smile on my face, as I saw my husband and children cheering me on. I crossed that finish line and was handed the first metal of my life. I got high-fives and hugs from my family, who got up at sunrise just to support me. The pride I felt in myself, the love I felt from my family made this one of the bests moments of my life.

My mother texted me this morning and said, "never say never." A mother's wisdom. I now know I can do what I set my mind to. And damn straight, I am doing it again!