Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Driven To Tears

I received a call yesterday from a little girl who participates in the New York Road Runners Youth Programs, which is funded by Team for Kids (the organization I'm raising money for). I wasn't able to take the call when she called, so I was listening to her voicemail as I was in the car (hands-free through Bluetooth, of course!). Her name is Keara and she is a sweet little girl. She wanted to talk to me and thank me for raising money for Team for Kids as I train for the New York City Marathon. She said she couldn't imagine how hard it was to train for a marathon. She wanted me to know that she would be rooting for me, and cheering me on every step of the way. I was brought to tears.

As I'm crying my way home, her words are dancing in my mind. She can't imagine how hard it is to train for a marathon. Honestly, I can't imagine how hard it is to be a kid now. I mean, it was hard to be a kid when I was growing up. I was bullied, made fun of because of my skinny legs, my pipe cleaner arms and my chicken neck (that was a personal favorite), among other things kids are so cruel about. But there weren't things like blogs and Facebook and Twitter where my bullies could broadcast my shortcomings to the outside world (they just chose to write lovely things about me in the bathroom, on my locker, etc). I can't imagine what kids go through now, where it seems everyone knows your business. Sure, some kids put more of their business out there than they probably should, but that doesn't mean they deserve to be bullied. My point in bringing this up, is that I handled my being bullied through running. Those skinny legs and pipe cleaner arms got strong and have carried me through so much. If it weren't for joining track in the 8th grade and continuing with it each year, I don't know how I would have gotten through the torture that was high school. Running gave me confidence. It helped me see that I'm more than what the bullies pick on and my real, actual friends, don't care that I have skinny legs or pipe cleaner arms. My track coaches took a chance on me and were certainly glad they did because those skinny legs helped me eventually win races :) Ok, maybe the coaches had something to do with it too.

But not every kid has a track team to help them. Not every kid has the opportunity to meet people that believe in them and value them for what they already are. That's what Team for Kids provides: a chance for kids to build confidence, to build friendships, to live happy, healthy lives. I want to help these kids so much. They deserve to be happy and live their lives feeling good about themselves. I can still hear the gratitude in Keara's voice when she thanked me. It brings me to tears every time I think about her. How she is cheering me on when she is the one that needs the cheerleader behind her all day, telling her how much she is loved and how much we believe in her. But at least she has the programs provided by Team for Kids to be a part of.

That's where you can come in and help. Team for Kids, which through the New York Road Runners, will provide free running programs to kids and teens throughout our country and South Africa. They have already helped thousands of kids, and ultimately their families, get the information they need to be healthy. These programs help kids feel good about themselves, feel like they matter and feel like they are able to achieve greatness, whether it's in school, in sports, or just in life. Without these running programs, there's no telling where these kids would end up. 

Please help me help these kids. There are 5 weeks left until my fundraising deadline. I've already raised over $1600, helping 33 kids participate in these free programs. But there is so much more to do, so many more kids to help. For me, I still have over $900 to raise before October 5th. I know times are tough right now. I know the economy sucks and every cent is hard to part with. I get that. Which is why NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL. It will mean so much to the kids and families who receive your support. And your contribution is pretty much instantaneous: all of your contribution goes towards providing these programs. It's not so much about helping me, but helping them!

You can read more about my goals, what Team for Kids and the NYRR Youth Programs do and to donate to our cause by going to my personal fundraising page here: No amount is too small and EVERY bit helps! Please forward this email to anyone who you feel would like to give back to a wonderful organization. The more people we reach, the more kids we help. Thank you to ALL of you who have already donated. You can still help by forwarding this email to everyone you know!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Today marks 3 years since we lost our second baby. I can't believe it's been 3 years already.

We have conflicting emotions. We are still sad. We still think about what "could've been." It's especially hard when Keller says he wants a brother. He had a brother.

But then we think that because of that loss and the year it took us to get through it and try again, we have our girls. Had we not gone through that horrible period, they wouldn't be here. In fact, so much of our life would be different. I don't think we would be here in California. I think we would still be in Maryland. I'd probably be still working as a government contractor. Life would be so different from what it is now. Would it better? I don't think so. I don't know. Like I said, it's conflicting emotions.

I think about that first anniversary. We found out we were pregnant the day before. We didn't know then we were having twins but it was so strange that we found out we were expecting so close to the anniversary. There was definitely divine intervention involved to ease the pain of that day. And then to find out we were having twins? It isn't that our lost baby was "replaced" and we were suddenly over it. But we were given a gift when we thought all was lost. In fact, we were given two.

I will try today to not dwell on what we lost. It still hurts and I still cry but I am grateful for what I have. I know how lucky we are to have 3 beautiful, healthy children. I will focus on that and look to our future together.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I have officially lost my mind. Huh. I wonder how many times I've started a blog post saying that.

Anyway, I have been on a cupcake kick since a friend of mine was here over Memorial Day weekend and we visited the one and only Sprinkles Cupcakes in La Jolla. It isn't THE original Sprinkles, but it is the original recipes, style, etc. that you find at all the Sprinkles. Sprinkles is the very first cupcake bakery and it started the whole trendy cupcake business. I know, my obsession is late in the game, but better late than never.

Sprinkles pretty much rocked my world. I haven't been able to get cupcakes really out of my mind. I told you, I'm insane. This has been going on since Memorial Day, so well over a month. When we went to Disneyland, we had to make a pit stop on the drive home to the Sprinkles in Newport Beach. Yes, we had to make a pit stop (notice the bold and underline!). Then I decided to try every cupcake place I came across. You know, in order to make an informed decision as to who makes the best cupcakes. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. Below is a list of what I've discovered so far, including some cupcake places from back in Maryland. For comparison purposes, of course.

Sprinkles (La Jolla and Newport Beach, CA): Hands down, the very best cupcakes in the world. I've sampled quite a few varieties. You know, to be sure I am making an informed decision. I've had the coconut, milk chocolate, peanut butter chip, peanut butter chocolate, red velvet, strawberry, vanilla milk chocolate, chocolate marshmallow (my favorite so far).

Little Cakes (Vista, CA): We happened upon this place when we went to a waterpark that's down the street from the bakery. They had a sign out front that said they were winners of the Food Network's Cupcake Wars. I hadn't seen that episode, so I was intrigued. We worked up a great appetite at the waterpark and headed to Little Cakes. It's a really cute place and the people there were super nice. I met the owner, Don, who was on Cupcake Wars. We sampled The Norman (named after one of their dogs), the Cannoli cupcake and the Strawberry Milkshake (that one rocked). It was hard to choose which ones to try as they have a pretty extensive list

The Danish Bakery (Carlsbad, CA): Now, this isn't an official cupcake bakery. But one day when I picked Keller up from his summer camp in Carlsbad, I was jonesing for a cupcake. Thanks to my Yelp app, I found the Danish Bakery was around the corner from where we were. I had the carrot cake cupcake and Keller had a white cake with chocolate frosting. Both were decent. I'll leave it at that.

Cupcake Love (Solana Beach, CA): I haven't yet had the pleasure of going into this shop, but I've sampled some of their goodies at a couple of events. Because it wasn't in the shop, I don't know which flavors I've had but they were gooood. I'm looking forward to going there and eating everything.  

Georgetown Cupcake (Georgetown - Wash, DC and Bethesda, MD): I have to be honest. I'm not a huge fan of Georgetown Cupcake. I know, I'm in the minority. When I lived in MD, we went to Georgetown Cupcake a few times and I tried really hard to like it. I enjoyed the flavors we had, but it didn't spark an obsession fueled with the fury and heat of a thousand suns (ahem, Sprinkles, you dirty mistress). We have sampled a good variety of offerings, including the chocolate, milk chocolate and vanilla birthday cakes, chocolate ganache and others. Again, not bad by any means, just not obsession-inducing.

Lilly Magilly's (Gaithersburg, MD): This is a cute, local cupcake place that opened right before we moved. I was pretty happy we had the chance to try it before we left. In fact, I got a nice assortment for John's birthday a couple of months before the move. Honestly, I don't remember the exact flavors we had, but I do remember really enjoying them.

That's about all I can list for now. I'm not going to list various cupcakes I've sampled at restaurants because they aren't cupcake specialists. I'm trying to stick with just cupcake bakeries, or bakeries that also do cupcakes. I know there are a lot of cupcakes in my future. I feel I am definitely up for the challenge!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Teach Your Children

You all know about the crazy year we've had: having twins, John getting a new job, moving across the country, etc. It's been a whirlwind but we're feeling a little more settled everyday. Part of what has helped me get back on track here in California is exploring the roads and trails as I run. Running has always been my therapy and a way for me to connect with life, and it has been no different here in our new home.

As I was looking ahead to what races I wanted to do this fall, I realized that my fall marathon will be my 10th! I am pretty excited about this, especially since it's been so difficult training with everything we have going on. I decided I wanted to do something special.

I decided to make the ING New York City Marathon my 10th marathon. It is, by far, my favorite marathon and there isn't any place else I'd like to celebrate this goal. I'll get to see my family and some friends and go all out. But I felt this wasn't really enough. So I decided to do some fundraising for the New York Road Runners Youth Programs and Team for Kids. Team for Kids are volunteers who raise funds for critical services provided by New York Road Runners Youth Programs. These programs combat childhood obesity and empower youth development via running and character-building programs in low-income schools and community centers in New York City, throughout the country, and in South Africa. You know how helping kids has always been a constant in my life, whether it was through my work with Girls on the Run, coaching kids privately, volunteering at kids races, or helping my own kid become more confident and empowered through running.

I'm asking you all for your help in bringing much-needed youth programs to the kids who really need them. These are kids who live in low-income areas and don't have access to free programs aimed at helping them live healthier lives. And what these kids learn in the programs will go back to their families, indirectly helping thousands more people be healthy. This isn't just about providing fun sports programs. This is about giving them the tools to make healthy choices, while keeping them safe and off the streets.

You can read more about my goals, what Team for Kids and the NYRR Youth Programs do and to donate to our cause by going to my personal fundraising page here: No amount is too small and EVERY bit helps! Please forward this email to anyone who you feel would like to give back to a wonderful organization. The more people we reach, the more kids we help.

Whether you have kids, work with kids, or know a kid, I hope you'll join us as we change lives through running! Remember, running changes everything!

THANK YOU and happy running!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

P.S. I Love You

Dear Ellen Joanna and Brenna Jane, on your first birthday,

We made it, girls! Today you are one whole year old! It was quite a year, wasn't it?

You were born on a Friday. Ellen Joanna, you were born first. You arrived at 8:34 am, 5 lbs 4oz of perfect. The name "Ellen" means ray of light. You were the first baby I saw when we had our first sonogram and you filled my life with light from that very first moment. Your middle name, "Joanna," was given to you by my mother, your grandmother, Joan. She is the strongest, most wonderful woman on Earth and we hope you grow up to be just like her. The name "Joan" is a variation of "John," and it means God is gracious, and you're a gift from God.

Brenna Jane, you are our youngest baby. You arrived at 8:36 am, 5 lbs, 5 oz of perfect. The name "Brenna" has 2 meanings that we know: little drop of water (you were so very tiny in that first sonogram, we barely saw you! Just a little drop of water. We cannot live without water as it gives life and you, dear Brenna, gave us life.) and raven-haired maiden (we could see your hair on the sonogram!!). The name "Jane" is also a variation of "John." While Ellen's middle name came from your grandmother, your middle name came from your Papa. You are named after the most kind, wonderful man and father in the world. And you too are a gift from God. 

Who knew our lives could be filled with such joy and happiness with two little bits that weighed less than 11 pounds combined?? :)

I just wanted to let you know how much your family loves you. When you two arrived, you opened some doors in my heart that I thought were closed forever. I never in a million years thought I could be as happy as I am right now. And I know it's because of you and the light you bring into our lives. You complete our family.

You girls are my little partners in crime. Boy, do we have fun together. Just going to the grocery store is fun when you're with me. Let's see, in your first year of life, you've already seen some pretty awesome things that some people will never do in their lifetime like watch the Royal Wedding (hey, it was a big deal! And watching it live with you two and your brother was silly fun!); you've been on 6 airplanes already (and you travel better than most adults!); you've lived in two states on opposite sides of the country; you've been to the beach and put your little toes in the Pacific Ocean (some people go their whole lives never having done that!); you've seen whales, dolphins and seals swimming in that ocean; you've completed your first 5K (the first race in a loooong running career, I hope!).

You've already been there for your family in big ways. You've been to your Papa's new lab where he's going to discover ways to improve our health and lives; you've been to your brother's baseball games, saw him graduate from Kindergarten and start 1st grade at a brand new school, smiled through his belt tests at karate, watched him run almost 120 laps (which is 30 miles!) at running club and so much more. And you were there when I completed my first California race. I can't imagine how we ever got through life before you two arrived!

We are so excited for what lies ahead for you and for all of us. You two are the most gentle, sweet souls. One can't help but smile and feel good when you're around. I start every day of my life seeing the smiling faces of my three beautiful children and it just fills my heart with light and love. There is no better way to start a day! Watching the three of you play together, hearing those squeals of delight, it makes me feel like my chest is going to burst. I hope you always know how much you mean to us and how much we love you. There is nothing you can't do and I will always be your biggest cheerleader.
Happy First Birthday, Ellen and Brenna!

Love always,

P. S. I love you!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Girl

My little, tiny 5 lb babies turn one in one week.

Needless to say, I have been an emotional wreck. I don't know why I'm having such a hard time with this birthday. But the past couple of weeks have been particularly emotional for me. I even had a crying jag in Target one afternoon. I was looking for outfits for them to wear for their birthday party and saw all the tiny little newborn clothes and it just slapped me in the face that my girls are growing up. My kids are all growing up and I hate it.

I look at Keller and he's such a big boy. I mean, I have to remind myself that he's only 6 because the way he acts, how incredibly smart he is and how tall he is all point to him being much older than 6. He is doing well in school and learning so much, we have actual conversations about real things. He isn't the little boy he once was and it breaks my heart. Yet, I am excited to see the young man he is going to become. He says now that he wants to be an anatomy professor. We'll see what happens, but I see only great things ahead for him.

And really, I don't know if I can write about the girls growing up. I'm already crying as I type this. If you see typos and poor grammar, just chalk it up to the fact that I can't see through my tears. It feels like they were just born yesterday. They are now walking (while pushing something, not by themselves). They wave and clap. They laugh and squeal. They are quite possibly the happiest babies in the entire world. Being with them makes me feel so good. I walk someplace with them and am in awe of how many people smile and stop to look at them. It makes me happy to know the girls make people smile. And now they are no longer infants. They are still little but they are growing up way too fast. It hurts sometimes just thinking about it.

When Keller was born, literally the day he was born, I cried to myself because I knew someday he would leave and be his own man. I don't know why but for some reason that thought came into my head. I was overwhelmed with love for this tiny being and I couldn't imagine a single day without him by my side. And then I realized that he wouldn't always be by my side. He would have a life to lead and become a great person. And I guess I'm coming to the same realization with the girls. They will have their own lives to lead and be great people.

I know that's a long way off. Trust me, I get that I'm being irrational. But if this first year went by so fast, it's only going to go by faster as they get older. I mean, Keller is 6 now! It's just all happening so fast for me. But I am definitely doing my best to savor every moment I can. I love them all so much!

Happy birthday Ellen and Brenna!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Orange Crush

Six months ago today, I became a Californian. I cannot believe how fast time flies. I feel like we've been here longer, like we've been here all our lives. It's amazing how quickly we have planted some roots. It's definitely starting to feel like home.

On a completely different note, I started juicing again. You may recall I went on a juicing frenzy a few years ago when I was going through a particularly bad bout of insomnia. One night when I couldn't sleep I saw an infomercial for a juicer and it all went from there. I haven't juiced in a while since we had packed up the juicer for the move and I hadn't brought it out yet. Between the CSA we joined and the farmer's market down the street, I have all these fresh vegetables. I brought the juicer out and I am seriously loving it. I've tried some interesting combinations:

Juice 1: apple, beet, carrot, strawberry (yum!)
Juice 2: grapefruit, orange, lemon, apple, basil (a little tart)
Juice 3: celery, fennel, carrot, cumin (I was wary at first but it was actually quite good)
Juice 4: celery, tomato, beet, basil, lemon, cayenne (yum!)

So, I guess it has all come full circle. My true granola tendencies have surfaced. I wrote the other day about becoming a California cliche. I guess juicing can be added to that list. But, in my defense, I started juicing loooong before we moved here! I've always been a Californian at heart, I guess :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


January 25January 1January 2Janaury 3January 4January 5
January 6January 7January 8January 9January 10January 11
January 12January 13January 14January 15January 16January 17
January 18January 19January 20January 21January 22January 23

Picture a Day January 2012, a set on Flickr.

At the beginning of the year I set a challenge for myself to take a picture everyday for the month of January. This is the result!

Monday, January 30, 2012

California Love

I was driving around in our new Prius the other day and I asked myself this question: when did I become such a California cliche?

I'm not saying that being a Californian is a cliche in and of itself, but I wonder if I should be concerned about myself. Now, I've always been a granola at heart. My dad has always told me that I was born in the wrong generation as I'm more Hippie than Yuppy. I think that's why I never felt at home in Montgomery County. Don't get me wrong, I definitely appreciate the finer things in life. But I think I'm more comfortable being barefoot than wearing stilettos.

Anyway, back to my revelation. Should I even reveal this? I don't want to open myself up to ridicule. Oh wait. I keep a blog. Let's carry on...

Yes, I've fully embraced the California lifestlye/philosophy. I have drank the Kool-aid. What do you think was the final clue that led to the revelation...

  • Was it the aforementioned Prius? I tell you, it's a pretty freaking cool car. And since John does a lot of driving in his commute, it's worthwhile for us to have. In addition to his commute, we use it for all errand-running and trips that do not require the entire family to attend.
  • I shop at Trader Joe's (I am Obsessed with TJ's. Yes, that's obsessed with a capital 'O'), Whole Foods, and local natural foods stores called Jimbo's and Sprouts.
  • My new favorite magazine is Clean Eating Magazine.
  • The only closed-toe shoes I prefer to wear are my running shoes.
  • My most-used makeup item is my sunscreen.
  • I put beets on my salads. Which are usually kale or spinach-based.
  • We now belong to a CSA (not that this is typically a California-based thing, but they are pretty much standard here).
  • We are a now Mac- and iPhone-using household. Again, not necessarily strictly a California thing. Apple just happens to be based in California, hence, more of a California thing then, say, a Nebraska thing.
  • I can see the ocean from my house. 
I could go on but I wouldn't want to bore you anymore than I already have.

I have fully embraced the California lifestyle. I think it's done wonders for my outlook on life, my disposition, everything. People here are just nice and it rubs off on you. You never wonder if someone is out for themselves in some way. You never wonder what their angle is. You just want to have a conversation with the people you meet. I'm happy to say I'm a Californian!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Let's Get It Started

You all know I started a business here in San Diego that specializes in running programs designed for individuals, groups and businesses. Well, we're getting ready to start our first program here! Here's the info: 

Sole Health and Wellness is pleased to announce our first program for Spring 2012: the Beginner 5K Running Program in San Elijo Hills! 

“I’m not a runner,”“I can’t run,” and “Running is just not for me” are common phrases we hear. But we feel ANYONE can run as long as they go about it the right way. In our program you’ll learn all the ins and outs to help you be successful!  

The program is specifically for new and inexperienced runners. The program starts Feb 14th and will meet at the fountain in the San Elijo Hills town center every Tuesday at 10AM. Strollers are welcome and it's truly a beginner's program. No running experience is required. It's a fun, laid-back intro to running and we'll gradually build up to run a 5K at the end of the program. We're training for the San Marcos Fitness Roundup 5K on April 21st. The program is 10 weeks long, includes weekly coached runs, information sessions, weekly newsletters, a detailed training plan and more. The cost is $85, which is $8.50 a session! 

People can email me with questions at, they can learn about the company at and they can register for the program at

Can't wait to see you February 14th!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Short People

It never ceases to amaze me how negative people can be. I will never understand what makes people tick and I try to put myself in other peoples' shoes as often as I can. But sometimes I just don't get it.

I just erased this whole long post about this stupid incident that happened between me and some "friends." I deleted it because, frankly, it's just not worth it. I've changed a lot over the past 2 years. Going through a very painful and horrendous situation helped me become much more appreciative and grateful for what I do have. I learned that being negative, pessimistic and unhappy will get me nowhere. Instead, focusing on what is truly great in my life, finding the positive in my situation and surrounding myself with others that bring light and happiness into my life is more important than anything. Sure, there are times I'm unhappy and there are times when I do not feel positive. But overall, life is a lot more fun when you find the joy around you. Complaining, bitching, gossiping? Not worth it. When something unpleasant happens, I give myself room to be upset about it, complain, and then it's over.

I've posted several times about some pretty ugly people I've come into contact with, some strangers, some not strangers. You can read my most recent posts about that here and here. So I don't need to go into again now since it would basically just reiterate my feelings in my previous posts. I'm only talking about it now because I a) promised I'd blog more in 2012 and b) this is a blog about my life and, well, this happened in my life.


A couple of weeks ago I saw this news piece about being positive. For some reason it stuck with me, I don't know why. One particular point that was discussed is called "negative downcasting." I think that's what it's called, perhaps it's called something else. It really doesn't matter. Anyway, it's when you're in a bad situation and you just automatically find the positive outcome. So, when our flight was diverted the other night due to poor weather conditions, instead of doing the usual "Oh woe is me, why does this have to happen to me?" thing that so many of us do, I just said to myself that I was thankful we didn't try to land the plane and potentially have some serious issue arise. We landed safely in Las Vegas and avoided a potentially serious situation. Sure I was not happy we had to land elsewhere and find alternative means home. John and I were tired and the kids were not happy. But we were all together, we eventually got home safely and we all got to sleep in our own beds that night. Thinking about it in that way made the situation so much better. That's how I dealt with moving to San Diego. Sure I miss my friends and family and it was crazy for us to deal with after just having twins. But if I fought it and thought about how awful it was going to be, the move out here would have been that much more awful. So I didn't fight it, I went with it. I even enjoyed it. And now I'm in the happiest place in years.

I'm not writing this to say I'm better than anyone because I try to avoid drama or think positively. I'm writing this because if thinking this way has helped me get to a really great place mentally, physically, emotionally, etc., maybe it could help someone else that's maybe not as happy as they may lead us to believe.

Just saying...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Funky New Year

Happy New Year! Another year over and a new one's just begun. I seem to be getting my songs mixed up... Maybe that's because I just had the longest trip of my life.

Let's rewind back to Christmas. It was fantastic. Our first Christmas in California was everything it should have been. We had Christmas Eve dinner with friends and Christmas morning we spent opening presents. I made pancakes and we had our breakfast outside (along with some pretty yummy mimosas!). Keller spent the day playing with all that Santa brought him and the girls spent the day playing with their new...well, we were glad all their new toys came with wrapping paper and boxes or they would have had nothing to play with. It was a wonderful day.

The day after Christmas we flew to New York to my parents' house. The trip went very well and was nicely uneventful. We had an early flight out of San Diego. When we made the reservations, the thought was that we leave on the earliest flight out so we get to NY with time to hang out. Well, somehow our connecting flight in Baltimore of all places was changed and we ended up having a 3-hour layover and didn't get into NY until 7:30 or so at night. If I wanted to get in that late, I would have chosen that flight instead of getting up at the crack of dawn. But, I digress.

Our time spent in NY was great. We saw lots of friends and family and had the girls' christening. That was wonderful! My brother is the girls' Godfather (he is also Keller's Godfather) and my wonderful friend Lynne is the girls' Godmother. It was so good to see them and have them be a part of the ceremony. The Deacon really delivered a wonderful service, made it super personal, included all the grandparents, and just was great. Really, we didn't do much other than spend time with everyone. There was the christening and party afterward, then the rest of the time was visiting with friends and family. We went to a holiday lights show which was fine, I guess.

New Year's Eve was quiet. My parents went to their annual party and we stayed in with the kids. When I was a kid, that's essentially how NYE would go: parents would go out and the kids would stay home. Then when the parents got back we would all have ice cream sundaes and watch the ball drop. So we started the tradition with Keller. We made ice cream sundaes and watched a movie. We tried to stay up to ring in the new year but it didn't happen. What do you expect? We have 9-month old twins and a 6-year old. Regardless, it was a fun night! And now it's 2012!

Out of all of us, I would say Lola had the best vacation, though. She stayed with friends of ours who happen to have a pool. And Lola has never been able to pass up a pool in her life. Plus they have 2 dogs of their own, so she was in heaven playing with her friends. Needless to say, she hasn't moved much since we've been home.

The trip home from NY was not as uneventful as the trip to NY. We flew out of Long Island and had a connection in Chicago. I was worried because the layover was short and it was going to be tight getting the connection to San Diego. But we got into Chicago early and there was really no worry about getting that flight to San Diego. But...San Diego was having some fog and visibility issues and closed the airport. So we were diverted to Las Vegas. This would have been fine if we didn't have 3 kids with us. It was a mess. I'm too tired to go into every last detail but we got into LV around 9:30. We decided to rent a car and drive to San Diego instead of trying to get on another flight (we overheard that there weren't any flights until Wednesday....I didn't want to stay in LV for 2 days). We rented a car from Dollar and I'm only mentioning it because they have hideous customer service. Unfortunately, they were the only ones that had a van and that we could rent car seats from, so we were stuck. But going to pick up the car was a pain. They have a huge lot and basically said, "Go pick up your van yourself." They weren't rude but just indifferent. Then they left us to our own devices to install the carseats ourselves. After about 30 minutes of us struggling and the babies literally screaming their heads off, someone came over to see what was going on. She was extremely unhelpful. But despite her, we got the seats in and took off. And arrived in our home at about 4:15am this morning. Ugh.

The kids really handled the whole situation well. They are good travelers. It wasn't until we were sitting in the parking lot for almost an hour that the wheels started falling off the operation. Once we were moving and everyone could fall asleep, it was all right. We still have to go to the airport here in SD to get our luggage, return the van and pick up our own car. Well, as I've come to say: we may not always have peace but there will always be joy! We made it home safely and slept in our own beds and that's the most important thing.

Happy New Year!