10 Tips to 10 Years

It’s so crazy to me how quickly the days, weeks and years go by. Blink of an eye and we’re celebrating a decade of marriage already. Two kids, a dog, a mortgage...and so much more!

How did we get here? How did our love make it this far? Through life’s trials and tribulations, how did we remain strong and love even harder? 

Here are 10 tips to 10 years that the hubby and I feel were important for our survival not just as a couple but as parents too.


Often times we forget all about good ol’fashion communication. Why though? We did so much of it when we were dating. What’s different now? When we were dating we spoke for hours at a time. We went on dates and got to know one another, we asked each other deep questions so we could know each other on a deeper level. Why not now? Is it because life gets in the way? We’re so busy worrying about everything and everyone else that we forget to check in with one another. It happens doesn’t it? Next thing you know, weeks upon weeks have gone by and you haven’t said more than two words to each other that didn’t involve the kids, the dog or “hey what’s for dinner?”. 

We need to go back to those days when talking to our significant other was the most exciting part of our day. The hubby and I will call/text/video chat all day long or as often as our work schedule allows. We check in and ask how the day is going. We ask about the kids too, we are parents now after all. If the day doesn’t allow you to do that, then save these treasured conversations for the end of the day. Tucked in bed, side by side. Open up about the good, the bad and the ugly. Touch base with one another. Dig deep into each other’s thoughts. Don’t hold things back. Heart to heart conversations about anything, big or small, makes for a healthier relationship in the long run.


Patience is bitter, but it’s fruit is sweet”  ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau~ 

By far one of the most difficult tasks to achieve for all humans everywhere! Our instinct is to quickly react to something that didn’t go our way. Someone says something and without allowing them the chance to explain, we go in for the kill. If we continue to be this way...we might as well kiss our marriage and those around us goodbye. We have to put ourselves in the other persons shoes. How do you feel when someone reacts to something you said or did just because it wasn’t done their way? You hate it. It makes you feel awful right? So why do we continue to do this to our spouses and even to our kids? We immediately lose our patience because the kids are being loud or they’ve made a mess in the living room. We need to learn to calm down and take a step back and give them the chance to lower their voices and clean up their mess. Sounds reasonable right? So let’s get in the habit of practicing patience. Patience is what creates a happy, healthy marriage.


 To be grateful for everything you have and everything you’ve built together is such an amazing feeling. Seeing and appreciating life together and the journey you two have been on brings a change in perspective. It allows you to appreciate even the smallest of things. Most importantly, gratitude for one another. How wonderful does it feel when you feel appreciated and loved? Amazing right? So let’s remember to reciprocate that back. Say thank you-when he takes out the trash, when she cleans the house. Say thank you for the long and hectic day she just had with the kids, thank him back when he gives you a night off to be with your girlfriends. The smallest of things makes the biggest difference. 

Sometimes the unspoken words are the most powerful. A soft and subtle hand squeeze or a genuine hug speaks volumes in any relationship. Remember to be empathetic, you don’t always have to speak back. Sometimes just the comfort of knowing someone values you, hears you and is here for you is gratitude enough.  


Honesty….just as important as breathing. If you stop breathing, life is over. If you can’t be honest in your relationship, that too will come to an end. There isn’t much to say about this except that this is a huge one for us. No matter how big or small, honesty is the best policy. It’s something I try to teach our kids every single day, above all never lie to us. If there is something heavy weighing on your chest, talk about it. This goes back to communication right? Talking about everything, even things you don’t want to talk about. Being open and honest about even the silliest and smallest things. There is nothing we keep from each other…and that will forever be true.


I can’t tell you enough how important teamwork is especially when you start growing your family. From day one, we have always looked at our life as 50/50. Everything from cleaning the house, grocery shopping, cooking, finances and now rasing our two girls. Everything was always based around how we could help each other. Sure, some days I might do more than my husband and many times its the other way around. At the end of the day, we are grateful for everything that was done…we don’t dwell on who did more. When we had children, I needed him the most. During those early stages with a newborn, its a given, a mothers job never ends. But neither should a fathers. As part of that teamwork, he should be there right next to her if she needs anything. He should help with things around the house that his wife can’t get to. When you see your partner as your other half, you take pride in helping each other out. A successful marriage is when you realize you are on the same team. 


“The greatest gift you can give someone is the space to be his or herself without the threat of you leaving”

This couldn’t be any truer. Allow each other room to breath and to grow as an individual. Give each other the support and confidence needed to strive. Not only will this boost ones self confidence but also make your relationship stronger. Give each other space to have a night out with friends, escaping from all the responsibilites. No guilt trips, no questions, no interruptions. A night out with friends can be just what the doctor ordered to help you de stress and  refresh you mind.


“It’s better to bend a little than to break”  

A relationship that is able to compromise and reach a common ground will flourish. Realizing that your partners happiness is just as important as yours is key to a successful marriage. You give a little to get a lot. That’s how it should be. Now, this doesn’t mean you compromise your morals and values for the sake of another person. I would hope you wouldn’t be with someone who asked you to change that. But, find things your willing to bend on for the sake of your relationship, find that person that will bend with you. At the end, you both will have gained much more than you realize. 


Go back to that first date, that first kiss...do you remember how badly you wanted to be there? Can you remember the feeling and the emotion of that moment? That’s the passion that should always be there in a relationship, from day one till the very end. That’s the passion that allowed you to open your heart and soul to someone. It made you fall in love, over and over, with the same person. Don’t lose that passion just because “life” gets in the way. Okay, so maybe you can’t always have crazy, wild spontaneous sex...maybe it has to be a little planned. We have kids now and kids come with distractions and chaos. They interrupt and snuggle right next to you in bed. What are you suppose to do? Ask them to go back to their room for a few while you finish what you've started? No. You find the time and you make time. Perhaps wait till the kids are sound asleep...light some candles, play some soft music and set the mood. Plan date nights. Go to dinner, have a few drinks and come back home, remember that first night, no one could pull you two apart. It should always be that way. Ignite the fire over and over again. Also, step out of your comfort zone. Try new things and talk about things that perhaps makes you uncomfortable...you just might surprise yourself. Most importantly, remember, a marriage requires work. It has needs and cravings. It needs a reminder every so often that you are here and that you are ready to work your ass off for it. It wants to know if you’re still here, hot and heavy. Passion is all of those things that make the heart go Bidi Bidi Bom Bom (tribute to Selena) for that other person, even after so many years. 

Never Go to Bed Angry  

This! I will be up all night, tossing and turning and probably crying myself to sleep because we fought over something and didn’t resolve it before bed. I fear a lot of things in life. More so after I had kids...yikes!  I’ve become such an anxious person. I just always wonder what if something goes wrong, did you tell your loved ones how much you love them? No, because you went to sleep not communicating and angry at one another. Aside from the crazy side of me that is anxious all the time, I truly believe going to sleep with happier and more positive feelings results in a happier you and a happier marriage in the long run. Holding on to something without any resolution only makes things worse. Going to bed with unresolved issues makes for sleepless nights and even harder mornings. At some point this becomes a habit, every time there is an argument, we rollover and go to bed. Repeat this pattern over and over again and eventually you’ve built a wall of resentment  so high, it’s impossible to fix. No one wants that! So please, talk to each other, communicate, compromise and love each other wholeheartedly...let nothing stand in your way! 

Life is Short 

At the end of this journey, we want to be able to say that we lived the best life we knew how. We loved with all our heart, we worked hard to make our relationship work. We never gave up on each other. We were committed to sacrifice and compromise. We want to enjoy our days together and with our kids. Now please, don’t get me wrong, our days are tough too. We are after all, normal. We’ve gone to bed angry before, I usually end up crying, he hears me and finds a way to cuddle next to me...we will eventually talk about it but till morning at least I’ll be ok. 

Make every moment count! 

Volunteering at your child’s school. Why is it important?

I always teased her, “What are you doing now?” SHE’S involved in practically everything! Her husband and I have an ongoing joke, “all that’s left is the janitorial position!” Then one day SHE asked me to volunteer at the book fair at the same time SHE was so we could be together and maybe grab some lunch before the kids got out of school. I knew it was time for me to do a little something at my child’s school, so I signed up to volunteer. I never thought that this was going to be a life changer for me. Read on...I’ll tell you why!


She looked at me and said “mommy

you’re here!”She was so excited! 


We picked the lunch time hour to volunteer. My daughter knew I’d be there. I was excited to see her during school hours but didn’t think too much of it. The bell rang...all the kids flooded into the library. Here came Olivia....running in, arms out and with that sweet beautiful face. She looked at me and said “mommy you’re here!” She was so excited! All her friends ran in after her and gave me hugs too. I just wasn’t expecting all of this. I was the familiar face they needed to see that day. My daughter was on cloud 9...her mommy was there. She went about searching for the best book to buy and kept looking back, probably to make sure I was still there. When it was time to go back to class, she gave me the biggest hug and with tears in her eyes she thanked me for being there but also didn’t want to leave me. By the end of that week, I had volunteered a few more times. I formed a relationship with the office staff, the Liberian and other parents and teachers. By the end of that week, SHE took on the role to run our Book Fair moving forward and appointed me as her co-leader. All of a sudden I was getting fingerprinted to be an official volunteer at my child’s school and I was reading books and helping out my daughters class every other Wednesday!

I mean what is happening? I never thought I’d be “that mom”...like what does that even mean anyways? “That mom?” A mom who is involved in her children’s school life? A mom who is now taking pictures for the class and yearbook, hosting and speaking at her first fundraiser. Oh “that mom” huh?


Well, I don’t know what came over me but I know it’s all because SHE knew what was best for me the day she dragged me along. 

Who is SHE, you ask? SHE is a mama friend I met when our kids were in kindergarten together. For the last three years, our friendship grew and became stronger. Sometimes I forget it’s only been 3 years! I am most grateful to her for getting me involved even when I fought it. This is probably a good time to ask me why I avoided all of this so much! I mean who really knows why...I just felt like it was just more stuff on my already very full plate. I always just thought those few hours alone without the kids could be some time for myself. Boy was I completely wrong! Oh silly mommy, those days of alone time are far and few these days...

SHE always said “I love volunteering because my kids love seeing me here”. SHE is so right, dang it (Please don’t tell her I said that)! Seeing my child’s face when I walk into her classroom, or surprise her with a big hug on her lunch break. Seeing how her friends react to me being there, the staff and other parents. 

If your schedule allows it, I highly recommend volunteering at your child’s school. If even just for field trips (which you can plan ahead). When I worked full-time, field trips were all I had. I’d do my best to be there for those and Olivia loved every second of it. I know it’s not easy...especially if you work full time, Monday-Friday. I consider myself fortunate because when I did work full time, I worked retail...which meant I could have days off during the week and just work weekends. Now, I work part time and I’m so grateful for that because it allows me more time to be active in my child’s school, something I never got to do before. Quite honestly, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be working part-time...so I’m making the most of it! 


Aside from the good vibes my volunteering brings to my children, it also allows me to feel safer and more comfortable with my child’s school. Being involved now allows me to be in the loop, it allows me to be familiar with the staff, fellow moms and people walking in and out of our campus. I’m suddenly recognized now by other students, “Hi Olivia’s Mom” and I’m on a first name basis with the school staff. Next year, Aleena will be in on all of this too! That’s when this might get a little out of hand LOL!  

Being involved also allows me to understand our school better. Who runs things? Where do we get funds from? Who’s pays for this and that? Why is parent support so critical? It allows me to understand the importance as well as appreciate fundraisers and extracurricular activities to raise more funds for our children and our school. It gives me and my children a sense of pride in our school.  


Do what you can. Do what makes sense for you. Whichever way you can be involved is going to be something special for your child. If you can attend Field Trips, great! If you can  volunteer in the classroom, awesome! Heck, if you can help the teacher by taking some papers home to sort through and staple...do that! No matter how big or small, volunteers are always needed and appreciated. 

 And, lets be honest here? Everything we do, we do for our kids. They might not always tell you directly how much they appreciate it but I can hear it in my child’s voice when she is talking to her friends. She has this sense of ownership and pride when she talks about mom being involved in her school activities. I know deep down inside, it truly means the world to her, even something as simple as stapling some papers for her teacher.

I still want to find balance between my #momlife and my personal life. Many times, mom life exceeds personal life and well...it is what it is right? While SHE wants to tap into as many things as possible, I’m there to rein her in a little bit and when I’m tapped out and want to drop everything I’m involved in, she’s there to remind me why it’s so important. I guess that’s what friends are for, especially when their both moms. We balance each other out...

There SHE is....LOL 😁 

There SHE is....LOL 😁 

Fun Fall Events for the Entire Family

I can’t believe it’s October! My favorite time of the year is here! The cold, crisp air. Big cozy sweaters. The leaves are changing colors and the holidays are near!

It’s time for pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin patches and fall decorations which involve pumpkins! Of course!  

It’s also time for some fun and festive activities with the family to bring in the season! 

I put together a list of events in or near Los Angeles (since that’s where FHL is from) that are popular amongst our family and friends. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: www.billbeaverproject.com and www.kidsguidemagazine.com

1). Calabasas Pumpkin Festival- October 20th & 21st from 10am to 5pm offers tons of fun activities for kids of all ages (and parents too). We’ve experienced this festival a couple times when the kids were younger and it was great. They also provide shuttle service because parking can get a bit crazy, so that is a big help when you are lugging strollers, diaper bags, the kids, etc. Some of the activities include:

  • Contests and Saturday morning costume parade

  • Live band and DJ

  • Rides and Bouncy House

  • Reptile, bugs and nature show

  • Youth Halloween parade

  • Car Shows and exhibits

  • Food, drinks, pumpkin pie and BEER!

  • Jewerly and crafts

  • Face painting and so much more…

Tickets are on sale now for $5 (advance purchase price) at www.calabasaspumpkinfestival.com

2). Underwood Farms Fall Harvest Festival- Open now till October 31st from 9am to 6pm. There is always something to do at the farm. During the harvest festival every weekend has a different theme. Some of those activities and themes include:

  • 1st Responders; Fire Trucks, Ambulances, Police Cars, Swat Members and Bomb Squad…

  • Country music from local country bands in Ventura County

  • Western Weekend; wagon rides, stunt ropers, music and magic

  • All About Pumpkins; live entertainment, decorative pumpkins designed and carved by staff members, a huge selection of pumpkins at the pumpkin patch

Of course all the other events and activities at the farm are always available as well. Fruit and veggie picking, corn mazes and animal shows! Check out their website for details and ticket prices www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com.

3). Oak Glen, Orchards and Farms- 5 mile loop of 30+ ranches, farms and businesses! About a 90 minute drive from Los Angeles, but this one comes highly recommended by some of our closest friends. We will be adding this to our Must See list this fall season! Oak Glen is the perfect place to escape to when you want that cold crisp air with some of the most beautiful spots to see. During the fall season it offers:

  • Apple, raspberries and pumpkin picking

  • Make your own cider (yum!)

  • Country music, dancing and dinner (sounds like my kind of party)

  • Beautiful hiking trails and historic museums

  • Horse drawn wagon rides and so much more!

Oak Glen gives you that good ol’ wholesome family fun! Sounds amazing to me! Check out their website for more details www.oakglen.net

Photo Credit: www.latimes.com and www.highlighthollywood.com

4). Los Angeles Zoo Lights- Begins November 16th-January 6th from 6pm to10pm

This is one you might want to purchase and save for Christmas because on select dates Santa and his reindeer are there to visit! It sells out fast and is absolutely amazing to see. We went a couple of years ago and the kids loved it. We brought our own thermos of hot chocolate, bundled up and enjoyed the beautiful lights under the stars. Imagine giant illuminated snowflakes, a disco ball forest, colorful and whimsical animated elephants and swirls of colors everywhere! This is a definite must see! Go to their website for tickets and detailed info www.lazoolights.org.

Photo Credit: www.localparent.com

5). Kidspace Children’s Museum Pumpkin Festival- Who doesn’t love Kidspace? Did you know they host a pumpkin festival at the park right in front? I didn’t! But I do now and its been added to the Must See list!

  • Petting zoo, pony rides, bouncers and carnival games

  • Costume parade, face painting and seasonal crafts

  • Pumpkin patch and picnic treats

Entrance is free, tickets can be purchased to enjoy activities and food! Check out their website for all other information www.kidspacemuseum.org.

There it is folks! Some of my favorites and a couple of new places for me to check out too! Hope this list helps in creating fun memories and traditions with your family. Any fun and memorable events you know of? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section, down below. We’re always looking for new things to do with the kids.

Have a great day. Talk to you next week!


To My First Born Child...

I took a picture of you today, you were helping dad work on his car and I asked you to smile for me. You posed for the picture like you’re a pro at this! That photo took my breath away. I realized (after staring at the picture 20 times) that my once baby girl was now a beautiful young lady. I guess I never noticed it before, in my eyes I will always see that sweet blonde little baby laughing and giggling with me. Sucking her thumb when she was exhausted. Wanting to sleep next to me first before being put in bed. I will always see my first born, my first love, the one who made me a mother. I will always remember leaving the hospital without a clue…but somehow figuring it out with you. You were my trial and error. You were my mistakes and my biggest accomplishments. You were and are everything I am today.

To my first born,

With you I learned the most about myself. I learned how strong I was even when I was beyond exhausted. I found emotions within myself I never knew I had. I felt love, fear, sadness and happiness all at the same time. I learned what unconditional love meant. My love for you made my love for your father grow deeper. The way he looked at you, made me fall in love with him all over again.

When you were sick, I was sick with you. When you were sad, my heart broke into a million pieces. Oh but when you’d smile at me….that beautiful big smile of yours, you will always be a ray of light.

Sweet child of mine, the day we made you an older sister…I knew you’d be a good one but I never knew you’d take your new role so seriously. You fed her, you rocked her, you watched her grow. You sang to her and told her stories. You POTTY TRAINED her!

In a blink of an eye this cuddly, affectionate little girl has become a determined, funny, Miss Know-it-All. Sometimes you give me a glimpse into the future, you ten years older and me pulling my hair out!

As I look at the photo of you AGAIN, I notice that same baby-face looking back at me, telling me that everything will be just fine. All the worries I once had for you, you’ve surpassed with flying colors. Now, I know my worries and sleepless nights will forever continue…but I will take it a day at a time. I will savor every second with you and your sister. I will take more pictures and capture these memories because it all passes so quickly.

I want you to know just how proud I am of you. You’re creative and caring. Your energetic and smart. You’re hilarious and stubborn. I love everything about you even when you’re being dramatic and sassy and you talk way too much! I love that you are motherly and loving. I love that you love to read! Honestly, you’re just a mini me and everyone knows that!

I want to thank you for all that you have given me. Everything I have learned and continue to learn. I also want to apologize because I made mistakes and I made them with you. You are my first born, my first time for everything. You paved the way for your sister.

Always remember that I always had the best of intentions and I gave you all of me, every single time and I will continue to do that.

Olivia FAITH, the day you came into the world, changed my life forever. I wish I could freeze time and keep you and your sister little forever.

I want you to continue to love wholeheartedly. Always say your prayers and put God first. Be kind and stay humble. Continue teaching your sister everything you know, minus the eye-rolling please! Be the best version of yourself and chase those dreams!

I love you beyond words little one. You will always be my first. You will always be the one who made me a mother.

With All My Heart,


7 Tips for Picking the School That's Right for Your Child.

Isn’t it crazy? It feels like just yesterday we brought this sweet child home from the hospital and now here she is about to start school! How quickly the time passes…

The time has come to start looking more closely at your child’s future. Finding that “perfect” school for your children is yet another roller coaster of emotions. Will it be the right fit? Will he/she be happy? Will they do well and make friends? Will I be okay letting them go? The answers to all your questions may never be 100% to your satisfaction but we can at least find some comfort in the information we have gathered. Here is a checklist of things to help you chose the right school:

1). Understanding your child

  • Figure out what is best for your child. What does He/She need more of? Perhaps they need something more structured? Maybe a school that will work on his social abilities? Maybe your child needs something that is academically more challenging? Does your child have a learning disability or require an extra push? Are sports and a sense of belonging to something important to your child? These are all important factors in picking the best place that best fits your child. Not all schools are tailored the same. A school might have a prestigious name and background, but it might do nothing beneficial for your child. Remember this is their future.

2). Private or Public

  • Of course if we’re talking preschools, private is usually the only option. Unless it’s a TK program or a government funded program, at least to my knowledge. Since preschool is not mandatory, it’s considered daycare. But, we still have to pick the right one!

    • The biggest factor for us when deciding on keeping Olivia at her private school or switching her to public was money. At the end of the day, you have to be honest with yourself and what is realistic for you.

    • Evaluate the pros and cons of both sectors. Private schools give you smaller classes, more one on one. They might specialize in a particular lesson plan. Are you choosing it because of religious affiliations? Maybe that’s the most important for you. Private schools may or may not have teachers with actual teaching credentials, just ones who focus on subjects they know. Private school classrooms may offer better textbooks and technology (for the most part) but with that, comes a hefty tuition. What are you comfortable with? For me, what I enjoyed most was how safe and secure I felt at the private school. Knowing my children were/are in a smaller more tight knit community (my views on this shift a bit, keep reading) meant the world to me. Public schools have their own pros and cons to say the least. Are you ready for a huge school for your little tiny human? Eventually, it doesn’t feel so huge anymore, but you know what i mean! Consider that there will be larger class sizes and limited access to learning materials (depending on the type of school and how it’s funded). On that same note, public schools may offer more extra curricular activities that a private can’t. Will your child get the attention you think they need? Its all part of the process of elimination.

3). Make a list of all the features you want the school to have

  • Are you looking for a specific extra-curricular activity?

  • Does the school offer after-school programs? Sports, clubs etc.

  • Does the school feel safe and clean?

  • Does the school offer programs such as; music, arts, computer lab and library time?

  • Convenience? Is it near your home? Can you volunteer your time?

  • Is it a supportive environment?

***This list can go on. You have to figure out what are your must haves***

4). Collect as much info and visit schools

  • Ask around. Ask neighbors. Go in and talk to the principal. Try to get as much information as possible. I prefer more honest and candid opinions versus just what I read online.

  • Set up a time to go visit these schools. This way you can see things in action. You can talk to students and staff (if they allow it). You can get a more visual one on one observation.

5). Test scores

  • Though I don’t think these scores are an accurate representation of a school and everything it may have to offer, it does help you to see how well the students test and score academically.

6). Apply to many schools

  • You are not limited to just the school you are assigned to. Of course, I’m referring to public schools. You can go to any private school, no matter how near or far. In our case, we were linked with a school we absolutely did not want our children to attend. We asked around and did our research on the schools that were up to our standards. We applied to all of them.

  • Here is where it becomes a bit tricky. By applying you are entering into a lottery. Hoping and praying that they pick your child’s name. That is why applying to as many as you can is a plus. For us, if Olivia was not chosen for any of the lottery schools then private is where she would continue. We would find a way to afford it because the school in our neighborhood was not an option.

  • Don’t panic, they will call. You have to believe it will all work out. The school we were hoping for called us the very last week before school started to tell us Olivia was chosen. I screamed so loud, I felt like we really won the lottery!

7). Trust your gut and go all in!

  • Soon as you step foot into a place, chances are your gut is telling you yes or no. There is a reason for that. Go with it! Don’t second guess yourself because that only makes this process harder.

  • Get your children involved. Take them with you. Let them get a feel of their new school. This will only assure them that their best interest is your priority.

I would also like to add that when you finally do find the “perfect” school for your child, remember that its just as much your job as it is theirs to make friends and get acclimated. Drop offs are great and convenient but make it a point to go on campus and meet new moms. You’ll be surprised on what incredible friendships can be formed there. You have one major thing in common with these parents, your love and concern for your child. What an incredible feeling it is to know you have a team of moms/dads who love and support your children like they are their own. Put yourself out there as much as you can. Get involved and be present. Find a group that you can connect with. I can’t tell you enough how blessed I am for the group of moms (and dads) I have in my life. They saved me time and time again when I couldn’t make it to drop-off. When I’ve had to rush in the mornings. When I needed something picked up or dropped off because my kid was sick.

Our first two months in public school were awful. Olivia cried everyday, she was angry and bitter and frightened. I cried just as much soon as she walked away. She had to make new friends all over again. She brought home those same feelings of withdrawal and unhappiness. Making home life unbearable at times. By the grace of G-d, I was sent a group of women who somehow felt my agony and my desperation. I had found my group, my safe-haven. We were all new to this world. We all felt a certain way. We came together and made each other stronger! Open yourself up. Knowing you have a trustworthy team looking out for you and yours make this whole process so much easier.

We have all come through for one another in some shape or form. We’ve been together since kinder and its been one hell of a ride. I’m grateful beyond words…

Good luck and stay calm. Everything always works out in the end.