Miss MacGyver Teaches Me How To Sew

When my Big Young’un was just a Baby Young’un, I was talking to my out-of-state cousin on the phone about Motherhood.  The whole Motherhood thing was new to me, and she had 3 under her belt (and they were all still little), so I knew she could relate.

There’s nothing like talking to another mom while she is still in it.

I’m convinced that as soon as our kids start getting bigger, we forget the timeline of baby development.  Perhaps I’ve heard too many stories of babies who could sing the ABC song at 12-months-old.  I’m pretty sure that didn’t really happen, but someone really told me that.

When my own 12-month-old couldn’t even point out an A, a B, or a C.

When Young’un #2 was born, there were a whole lot of times I said to myself, “geez, I forgot all about this part!”  And my girls are only 22 months apart!

S’ok that parents of adult children remember things differently, right?  I’m sure it’s mother nature’s way of ensuring a future generation.

My cousin made a recommendation that would turn out to be some of the best advise I’ve ever been given in my lifetime.  And I thank my lucky stars everyday that I made the effort to do as she suggested.

Her advise?  Sign up for a Gymboree class.

My cousin assured me that I would meet tons of other moms there, in the same boat.  If nothing else, it would be a way for Baby Young’un and me to get out of the house. [Read more...]

Motherhood: 5 Things I Wish I Knew 5 Years Ago

My oldest young’un is gonna be 5-years-old soon (whoa!!!).

Denise Holding The Little Young'un

5 years ago this month (August) I officially left my career.

This time 5 years ago, I was executing a plan 6 months in the making to move a complete data center from one city to another for Nokia.  It was a large project in terms of “this isn’t something companies do every day”.  But a small project in terms of my previous experience and capabilities.

There were lots of suits pacin’ around, wringing their hands and looking for reassurance that there wasn’t a single hiccup (and there wasn’t).  I sat quietly as I always do in front of my Cisco gear typing away until the very last piece of iron was hummin’ and passin’ packets.

My 7-month baby bump barely noticeable.  The only butterflies in my stomach was her dancing to her own rhythm just as she does now.

Denise Pregnant With The Young'un

In a period of 6 hours we (me and a bunch of big muscle-y types) had moved about 15 racks packed with network gear, servers and patch panels from a data center in San Jose to a data center in Mountain View.  OK…the muscle-y guys did most of the heavy lifting while I gave the thumbs up on pulling plugs and moving copper.

via Google Images

I am proud to say it was a very well-orchestrated move and my users were offline for about the amount of time it took to physically drive the equipment from one facility to another.

[Read more...]

Our Monterey Bay Aquarium Adventure

I am still reminiscing about our vacation.

Monterey is one of my favorite places on Earth.

I love the scuba diving.

I love the fresh air.

I love the mild summer days.

And I love the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

We saw a kelp forest.

Monterey Bay Aquarium - A Kelp Forest

We saw Silver Dollars.

Monterey Bay Aquarium - Silver Dollars

We saw Anemones.

Monterey Bay Aquarium - Anemones

[Read more...]

A 5-Day Art Project For Kids

Monday I showed you how I made a A Guest Suite Spa Retreat – On The Cheap.

On Top Shot Tuesday, I shared one of my favorite shots of The 40-Foot Tall Dancing Lady at Treasure Island in San Francisco.

The guest suite was fun to put together.

Seeing the 40-foot tall statue took my breath away.

But the most memorable moments of our vacation is the time I spent with two 5-year-olds and two 3-year-olds making beautiful masterpieces on canvas.

Picasso, eat your heart out.

Art For Kids - Painting

I love watching little hands hold a paint brush, dabbing the tip in a bowl of paint then squishing it down flat onto canvas.

Art For Kids - Painting

Gears are turning and fingers are moving as one to make circles, squares, lines, dots, squiggleys and splatters.

Art For Kids - Painting

While planning the one-week vacation, I came up with this idea to have a paint project that we would work on a little each day until the final day, when we would complete our paintings, and everyone would have something special to remember our time together.

[Read more...]

Miss MacGyver Pops Corn

Eight weeks into motherhood I met Miss MacGyver.

She had been mothering twice as long and that made her an expert.  We became instant friends and bonded over the joys of post-pregnancy hair loss, never-ending sleepless nights, baby weight, breastfeeding and surviving life after a career.

I have Alexander Graham Bell to thank for our flourishing friendship.  Motherhood is Those early days of motherhood are isolating and lonely with no sleep, nursing around the clock, exhaustion that only a new mother understands and the abrupt absence of work friends.

Miss MacGyver was always a phone call away and I dare say that our young’uns have been raised in the presence of the other mother glued to an ear.

Miss MacGyver can make a dinner for four from two beans and a mushroom.  The Mister never comes home to leftovers.  And I’m sure The Mister thinks I’m certified crazy because every time we all get together I remind him of how great his wife is and how lucky he is to be married to such a wonder woman.

And Miss MacGyver knows how to date kid-style.  Recently my girls and I went to her home for an amazing afternoon play date.  We The young’uns made homemade pizzas and while that was baking, Miss MacGyver pulled watercolors out of her ear for the young’uns to paint a special picture.

Her timing couldn’t have been better.  The last stroke of color was on the paper when the bell rang for the pizza to come out of the oven.  Just as we were setting the watercolor art aside to dry and wiping up the last of the paint, the artists had their hot and steamy pizza art ready to munch.

After lunch, as we cleared away the last of the pizza bites, Miss MacGyver whipped out an entire play-doh set complete with the play-doh factory and mentioned out loud that this was store-bought play-doh (oh, the horror!!!).

For the first time in almost 5 years, play dates are becoming more doable because our youngest kids are getting a little older with more flexible schedules.  But I still cling to the phone for sanity.  After all, who else in my life would still love me after hearing me laugh, cry and sit through my blabbin’ on about all the scary stuff.

All in the same phone call.

Only Miss MacGyver is woman enough to brave this territory!

It was during one of these random afternoon phone chats when some kids were sleeping, some kids were bouncing off the walls, some kids were mesmerized by a movie and some kids were sticking fingers into light sockets that I began hearing a popping sound.  Ummm, Miss MacGyver, what are you doing over there?

“Oh, I’m just popping some corn.  On the stovetop.”

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Remembering Yoda

In 1994 I came to California with a duffle bag and a dog.  I had $22 in my pocket because my Grandpa couldn’t let me get on a jet to a faraway land with only $2 to my name.  I am pretty sure that $20 was all he had at the time.

Yoda was still a young whipper snapper with a whole lotta spunk.

Unfortunately I don’t have many pics from his early years.

It would be another 4 years before we would meet his paparazzi.

In fact, all the pics on this post were shot by The Hub.

Except for the out-of-focus and slightly crooked ones.

Those are mine.

Yoda and I were great pals.

When I wasn’t at work, the two of us were hanging out doing everything together.

We were a pack.  Sometimes I was the pack leader and sometimes he was the leader of our pack.

OK, most of the time he was the pack leader…he just let me feel in-charge now and then.

[Read more...]

A Very Cherry Day

How’s everyone doing?  We had a weekend of family fun.

Our friends had the great idea to go cherry pickin’ and invited us along.

We went in search of these beauties.

Cherry Goodness

I can’t believe we are just now going cherry pickin’!

After all, The Hub and I love cherries so much, we served them with our wedding cake.

Our Wedding Cake

Our journey to cherry goodness was a very scenic one.

We drove through miles and miles of windmills.

Sticks Of Windmills

and more windmills…


[Read more...]

10 Things I Learned From My Father And My Husband

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there.  I love having this opportunity to write about the first man I ever loved.


He’s gone now, which is still hard for me to believe.  Lots of times I have a question that I think only he can answer.  And for a split second I almost reach for the phone.

Daddy’s spirit still lives on in how I view the world and how I interact with those around me.

He was the first man I ever trusted.

About To Walk Down The Isle

Daddy’s humility helped me to understand what is really important in life.

Daddy’s courage fueled me with tenacity.  His confidence in me as a little girl was just what I needed.  Under his watchful eye, I explored the world more freely because he was there.

When I met the man I would eventually marry, I felt an immediate connection to him after learning he had a passion for cars and loved to drive them fast.  Somewhere in my subconscience, I was looking for things he had in common with my Daddy.

As a kid, we spent a lot of our weekends at race tracks or impromptu races with other “fast cars” on country back roads.

My brothers and I stood for millions of hours huddled around hot rods with the hoods raised discussing the finer points of carburetors, the love hate relationship with fuel injectors, small blocks vs. big blocks and high-performance transmissions.

Let’s not forget shiny valve covers.

The shinier the better.

When I was a little girl, my goal in life was to rebuild a carburetor faster than a boy blind-folded.  Just like Daisy did in one episode of Dukes of Hazzard.

via Google Images

Yes, these are all influences from the first man I ever loved.

There’s only one person I know who perfected the freezing time for soda to achieve just the right icy consistency to have small flakes of ice without loosing the bubbles while taking care not to burst the bottle.

Yes, only my Daddy, with his eye for precision could pull off such a maneuver.  And he did it well.

Every detail was important.

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Summer Nights – Blackhawk Style

Today was a normal day. Went to the market for dinner ingredients. Couldn’t find curry leaves for my recipe. I became delusional and figured we could go back out for them after the young’uns had naps.

I’ll skip to the punchline.  That didn’t happen.

But it was definitely a night to remember.

Do you ever wonder what times in your life will be at the forefront of your memory when many years have passed and the day-to-day routines blend and fade?

Tonight was one of those nights.  A night that started like a lot of the others. We’re headed to a restaurant for dinner because my original dinner plans were sabotaged didn’t work out.

But little did I know a magical evening was in store.

You know the kind.

When nothing goes according to plan and then you realize that the spontaneous activity was way better than anything that could have ever been planned.

The weather was near perfect.

I’m not asking for sympathy here, people, but to put it in context, this is what we were dealing with just 2 weeks ago.

Girl In Gown In The Rain

In California, this is not supposed to happen in JUNE.

Yes, that is my young’un walking in the pouring rain in her nightgown.

It was 55 degrees.

In June.

Did I mention it was June?

At least one of my young’uns accepted the offer for an umbrella.


What do you do on a rainy day or sunny day or hot day or cold day or?… [Read more...]