Thursday, March 28, 2013

Love Letters: Step Mothering

Step Mothering

Wow, I hate that word, but there it is. It’s a word all {most} step moms hate. Ever since Disney movies, we have been portrayed as evil, scheming women, whose sole drive in life is to torture their step children or send them off to boarding school.
But, do you know what? It’s just a label. My kids {note how I don’t refer to them as my step children} call me Mommy. Ever since their dad and I began dating, they said it and we didn’t stop them. From the beginning, we knew we would someday be married, so there was no harm in it, and obviously, they needed a mom.
So I became that for them. I was just 19, but the things you do for your children, the way you turn your whole life around and grow up… It’s so worth giving up the silly things you once deemed important.
Being a step mom is difficult, as I’m sure being a biological mother is, which I will someday also know. Growing up, I always knew my sister Kassi as my sister, not my half-sister. She has a different dad than my younger sister and I do, but having the example of how my dad treated my sister was such a blessing as I now look and see myself stepping into the same role. She called him Dad. It was normal.
I have been told it takes a special person to step in and become a step parent. But I don’t think so. I don’t need a pat on the back. I think that once you love someone, everything they love also becomes a treasure to you. It’s not something difficult to understand. I mean yes, we have problems that undivided families don’t; insecurities about the biological parent, fights with them, children’s tears upon leaving…
It used to be really difficult for me to accept that they had a biological mother, oddly. I felt like I was supposed to be their true and only mom because of all I had done for them, like I deserved it or something. But now, as changes have happened over the last year, I realize how important it is to build her up to my boys. It’s not fair for them to hear bad things about their parents {step or biological} and to plant a bad seed. Then they feel like they have to be one person in one home, and another in the other home.
I think this has been my whole journey all along. The word kindness has always had a special importance to me, and if I didn’t act and give grace and mercy the way Jesus has given me, I would be a hypocrite. But even if it’s not to better myself, being kind to her makes this whole thing easier. Not only for me, but most importantly, for the boys. They need an example of Jesus, and an example of how people should treat people, even if in this soiled world, people don’t always treat others as they should.
Children are an amazing gift. They make you look at things through different eyes, and cause joys where there would normally be sadness. Their innocence makes me yearn for my childhood, and to create a good one for them, which is the next best thing. Just thinking about the fact that this tiny person, this baby who has no knowledge of right and wrong is your responsibility is mind blowing. The person they become is a direct reflection of what you taught them.

Psalms 127:3 ”Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.”
- Savannah Lucero
IG: savannahsnow

Note from Kassi: Man, I love my sister.  I am beyond proud of her and what a great mommy she is.  Sav is 6 years younger than me, and I am still in awe of her ability to step into such a tremendous role at such a tender age.  She owned it, and she is a complete natural.  Those boys are unbelievably blessed to have her in their lives.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hola Amigos

Hola Amigos.  It is I, Carlos.  Today I have seen muchos of these equal sign things, y I can feel your pain, amigos!  It is mucho UNFAIR en mi casa, and I can't take it!  I mean, seriously.  We came first, but as soon as la nina comes, it's all "baby this" y "baby that".  Y, it sounds like it will get worse before it gets better.  Por ejemplo, we are hearing rumors of perros?!  And MAS NINOS?!

Ay ay ay, amigos.  We must take a stand!

- C

Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend Recap

First of all, can I just tell you that it got ABOVE freezing today?!  We're talking a whole 34 degrees!  Never ever thought I'd be so excited about those extra 2 degrees.  L and I celebrated by taking a walk, and even saw 6 puppies!  Safe to say it was a good day for us both...despite the fact that it was a Monday.
The weekend was jam packed, and uh, interesting.  We kicked it off with some homemade seafood scampi (delish) and "This is 40" (terrible).  Saturday we went to the gym, had an afternoon date - sushi at Kona Grill (also delish) and "Olympus Has Fallen" (also terrible).  We then volunteered to chaperone a 16 year old birthday party in a warehouse downtown with a professional DJ.  I have to say that the kids were mostly, disappointingly, polite and well behaved.
Sunday kicked off the rugby season for Ryan, where Lyla and I came thisclose to getting trampled.  You could literally see the peacock feathers ruffle on Ryan...all I can say is that guy is glad he didn't actually hit us.  We also had some new friends over for dinner, which was fun. 
A little bit of warmth and friends...maybe there is hope for us out here in this arctic wasteland after all.
- K

eating tomatoes like apples...and bedhead

they're my favorite

she's the cuddliest

bringing spring inside the house since it refuses outside
two new loves...mama's shoes and squatting
peekaboo in her "house"

she really loves this thing

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ponytails and Road Rash

We have some big news over here!  We are officially in ponytail territory.  And maybe even pigtails?!  Oh, the possibilities!

We also have our first face road rash from a little face plant into the driveway.  She handled it like a champ though.  Our tough lil cookie.

Have a good weekend!

- K

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Throwing Tantrums

The funny thing is when you read the title you probably thought I was talking about Lyla, am I right?  The sad part is I was actually talking about myself.  No, really.

So the other day I had the lofty goal of taking the perfect picture of L for Instagram.  I mean, we're talking big, important things here.  And I was immediately reminded that at 13+ months, this girl does not sit still.  For anything.  I see these other pictures of these sweet little babies sitting still in these perfect, elaborate settings and I always think how do they do it?!  Our girl is like a freakin bull in a china shop.  A colorblind bull that only sees red and flails about all day and night.  I'm serious.

Anyways, I digress.  So here I am desperately trying to get the perfect picture of her, bribing her with string cheese and animal cookies and the iPad, and spending way too much time doing so, with the only results being blurry photo after blurry photo.  I naturally started to get a little frustrated.  And then I gave up and started banging my fist on the floor and yelling "WHHHYYYYYY?!?!?!?!"  Seriously...I did it.

I've often said that I kind of can't wait for Lyla's first tantrum because I want to see just how dramatic and crazy it really is.  And in that moment I realized that it will probably look a lot like what I'd just done.  Not only because she is my blood, but because I literally just taught her how to have a serious 2 year old tantrum.

You'll be glad to know that I was able to pull myself together, and I did finally get a kind of perfect picture, which I happily settled for.  I mean the girl obviously has to live with a semi-decent mother, so I can deal with a semi-decent pic, right??  ;)

- K

P.S. Here's a couple of the outtakes:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dad's Turn- Fishy, Fishy, Fishy!

This is what I have been waiting for!  Not to imply, of course, that the first 12 months of Lyla’s life have not been extraordinary, and not that I ever openly admitted it.  Now that we are here though, I can say confidently that I have very much looked forward to this stage in my little princess’ life.
I have longed to chase her around, and play, and sit on the floor and read every book that she carefully selects from the bookshelf. 
Kassi, it seems, has found the seemingly overnight transition from baby to little girl very emotional, as if time is moving too fast.  I on the other hand seem to be falling in love with my daughter even more every day… and I never thought that possible.  Today she saw a picture of a bird in a book and pointed to her daddy’s new bird tattoo on his wrist.  I am utterly astonished on a daily basis.

She also enjoys the fun places we take her a lot more.  Mostly because she is awake nowadays for them, but also because she can run from one thing to the next, and scream her little heart out like she did at the aquarium on Sunday afternoon.  I wasn’t sure how much she would get out of it but when she would see a fish and squeal and make a pop, pop, pop sound (imitating the way a fish moves its mouth), I was once again left in awe.

I also almost punched a two year old boy this week when he pushed Lyla in the face.  So it appears that my protective instincts may be notching up slightly as well.
So to all the other new dads, expectant dads, and hopeful future dads out there; the first time some idiot says “boy you just wait until they start walking… then you are really in trouble!”  Just give em the old Bart Scott response… “Can’t Wait!”

- R

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Love Letters: Wonderfully Made

found this awesome print on etsy here

When I thought about my first official "Love Letters" post, I knew I wanted to elaborate on my first rambling session, but wasn't sure where to start or how to further explain myself.  Then as the week went on I stumbled upon a couple of perfect images that gave me a little inspiration.

This is the thing, we all know that a lot of girls have self esteem issues, and the world has unfair standards, and those pictures we all compare ourselves to are photoshopped, and yada yada.  Pretty much all my life I was definitely wrapped up in all that, basically basing my entire worth on looks alone.  One of my mom's favorite stories is from when I was 4 years old and started crying on the way home from church because "no one told me I was pretty".  True story...and so funny.

When I got pregnant it was like my eyes were open in a whole new way.  I felt amazing and strong, blessed, proud, and totally in awe of what our bodies are capable of.  It was like I finally recognized and understood what a miracle life really is.  Psalms 139:14 really sunk in...we all start as these little miracles in our mom's bellies, made wonderfully by God himself. And it's such a tragedy that most of us never see it that way.  Our eyes, nose, mouth, hair, legs, everything were created on purpose by the one that loves us most.  How could we ever hate something about ourselves if we know that?

one of our favorite books

Now, obviously I'm no Mother Theresa over here.  I still find myself nitpicking the smallest things, and sometimes wishing that what I see in the mirror more closely resembled what I see in a Victoria's Secret catalog, but I'm now able to stop myself from going down that mental path, and accept myself for who I am...and not expect myself to be what or who someone else is.  Which is a huge step forward from where I used to be.
Having gone through this, and realizing now how silly it was, and seeing how many years were wasted chasing the wrong kind of perfection, all I can hope and pray is that I can lead my beautiful little daughter down a different path. 
A friend of mine pinned this quote on pinterest, and it's so perfect. 
Kind of a cheesy picture, but still so perfect.  This is what I want.  I mean, ideally I would love to teach our kids to see themselves from God's eyes, in all the glory and perfection that He sees them in.  But, realistically I just hope that I can instill an understanding in them that they were made exactly the way they were on purpose.  That they are their very own version of perfection.  And, meanwhile, somehow, build their self-esteem so high that the world can't ever tear them down.
That's where it gets a little tricky for me.  How do I build them up without making them cocky?  Or compliment them so they are confident in their beauty, but not consumed by it?  Or teach them to be sure of themselves but maintain a sense of humility?
I can't answer those questions now, but I have faith we'll figure it out along the way.  Our baby L is just too precious not to.
- K

Wednesday, March 13, 2013



I remember when my sisters and I were kids we would go through these obsessive phases where we loved one particular thing, and everything revolved around it for a while.  For me there were Mickey Mouse, frogs, and then anything sparkly.  Savannah had an awesome "Lil Homies" fetish, and Jo loved horses and Beauty and the Beast. 

We're suddenly getting into the beginning of those stages with Lyla.  Girlfriend definitely has some obsessions these days.  For example, she cannot get enough cuties...a habit I happily obliged until the diaper situation went really wrong.  We've since had to closely monitor that intake, which means keeping them completely out of sight or she will literally freak out and not eat anything else.

She's also learned how to make elephant, cow, and fish sounds, and therefore is completely infatuated with any and all of those animals.  She walks around all day making that cute little elephant sound and bringing books with elephants in them to us to read, pointing out each elephant and making her sound.  (Have I mentioned how freakin smart she is?!)

I am having so much fun watching this girl grow up.  How can every stage possibly be even better than the one before??

- K

Monday, March 11, 2013

Little Helper

Tonight this pantsless girl and I were working on laundry, and it was just the cutest thing watching her pick up a shirt and shake it out like I was, or take whatever I'd folded and set down and put it in a new place.  Every move was so deliberate and purposeful, I would have given anything to know what was going on in that little mind of hers. 

I love how seeing the fascination and wonder in her little face can bring such joy to such mundane chores.

- K

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Love Letters: An Intro

So, I promise this is the last “introductory” post about the new series, but I finally came up with a name and wanted to give a little more background on what I hope it will be.

Growing up, my mom always said “you won’t know until you’re a mom”, and I kind of laughed it off the way you do with your mom and her sayings, but then I became a mom and suddenly I knew.  I had finally joined “the club” and could understand that love that is impossible to know until you feel it.  But then I started thinking about this series and motherhood in general, and I realized that while I may have joined the mom club, there are so many different kinds of moms that are experiencing things I may never experience - single moms, married moms, moms of many, moms of one, moms that could only become moms through adoption or surrogacy, and moms that chose to adopt in addition to the ones that came from their own bellies.  Moms that work full time or part time, or stay at home.  The list goes on and on.

Motherhood has surprised me in so many ways, but I realize that everyone’s experience is different.  We all have different stories, and struggles, and successes, and I think it would be kind of amazing to share those with each other.  So this series, “Love Letters”, will be just that – love letters to ourselves, our babies, our other wonderful mama friends…and don’t worry dads, you won’t be excluded since I’m sure Ryan will want to add his two cents, as he tends to do.

Anyways, I’m really looking forward to the series because I just love gushing about my baby, and hearing other moms do the same.  But I also like the idea of sharing our hopes and dreams and fears and struggles, and being comforted in the fact that others are going through similar things.

So, here’s to moms, dads, babies, and finally getting this thing going…this week…maybe.  ;)

- K

Friday, March 8, 2013


It's hard to explain what this photo does to my heart.  To see that big, tough guy love his little girl so much.  It just makes me swoon

Photo creds to MJ Aguilera Photography, of course.

- K

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Oh, Hey Snow

one year old!

yes, that snow bank IS as tall as that house

Anyone remember the beginning of winter when I was so excited to finally get our first snow?  I knew at the time that we had it coming, and I would probably regret the day I ever wanted it to snow.  And here we are.  It pretty much won't stop snowing, and it's always cold.  Always, always, always.  But instead of complain, I'm going to keep it positive:

Way to go, Minnesota.  A+ for consistency.

Anyways, L is a little obsessed with puppies these days.  She'd be content to stand at the front window all day long just to lookout for "puh-puh-puh"s.  Yesterday we'd both been inside all day, so after work I decided to bundle us up and head out in search of any and all puppies. 

We ended up at the neighborhood park, where I quickly realized there are no paths shoveled, and also that I did not wear foot-deep-snow-friendly shoes.  Needless to say, my ankles froze quickly and we did not last long at the park.

On the way home we finally met one pup.  The owner told Lyla, "her name is Cassie!"  I laughed and told him that was also my name, not thinking twice about it or being offended in the least.  The poor guy though, he was stumbling over himself with an apology, totally embarrassed about it.  I'm pretty sure I ruined his day, just by having the same name as his dog.  I felt a little guilty leaving, like maybe I should have stayed to make sure he was OK.  But, you know, frozen ankles.

All in all, I would say not my favorite outing, but we did find a puppy and that equals major success in Lyla's book.  Which is really all that matters in my book.

Oh, and that blue thing in L's hand?  A toothbrush.  She's also a little obsessed with dental hygiene.  Or maybe it's just the bubblegum flavored baby toothpaste?

- K

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

I was starting to believe you when you said I already have too many toys...until mom took me to the toy section at Target.  I have three words for you: you. are. wrong.

So, for future reference, here's a list of things I need:

A puppy that barks
A puppy that you can take on walks
A puppy in a fancy carrier
A purse
A puzzle
An elephant
A guitar
A barrel of monkeys
Pretty much any of the pink things pictured above

mmkay, thanks.



Sunday, March 3, 2013


Last week I had to go to Virginia for work.  The first time in more than 3 months that I've gone more than 2 waking hours without my sweet little girl.  So, in a way, I kind of like these quick trips - they allow me to get out and about and remember what my pre-baby life was like. 

HOWEVER, I do not like coming back after less than 3 days - 65 hours to be exact - and seeing HUGE changes in her.  I kid you not she had more hair, was walking LIKE A PRO, could finally do the arms in the air "so big" thing, AND would put her one little finger in the air when you ask her how old she is.  She also apparently became a chocoholic, the way she practically jumped out of my arms to get the chocolate chip bag when I opened the pantry.

Sorry to get all "capsy" on you, but seriously, not fair. 

Also, for the record, we have the absolute best nanny ever.  EVER.

Also, also for the record...she couldn't stop saying "mama" once I got home.  And that makes a girl feel gooood.

- K