All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


Caking is my Therapy

A friend asked if she could pay me to make her son’s birthday cake.   When you post pictures of your cakes to FB, that happens a lot.

I always say no.

I don’t like the pressure of being paid to make something look good (I’m a perfectionist and can’t stand mistakes with my cakes), but I do love making a cake. So, I went to her house and made it there while our kids played and she learned basic fondant skills.  It was the perfect way to spend a Friday morning… So relaxing!

(The cake isn’t “done” in this photo… She will add a fondant trim to the bottom once she transfers it to her serving plate.)




Me and Mine

I have a very vivid memory of watching Ronald Reagan debate Jimmy Carter on our tiny black and white TV in our kitchen (8-10″ screen, I believe) in the fall of 1980.  I was four and a half years old.  I didn’t know what I was watching, but I knew that it was very important given my parents’ tone and interest (we never watched TV during dinner).  I heard two words, “democrat” and “republican,” that prompted one very important question from my 4-year old brain.

Daddy, what’s the difference between a Republican and a Democrat?

My dad’s answer stuck with me until I was in college:

Well, Court, Republicans make people work for their money.  Democrats give money away.”

From that day forward, I was a Republican.


My older sister was the black sheep in the family.  She defied my parents’ every command (and they were, most definitely, commands), she spoke out against social injustices, she had S-E-X long before I thought she should have, and she despised my parents’ way of life.

We were raised in a very privileged lifestyle – my dad was a “big fish in a small pond” and we had the things kids around us only dreamt of.  My dad drove a Porsche, we belonged to the country club, we belonged to elite dinner clubs, my grandparents hosted George H.W. Bush in their home during Reagan’s run for the presidency, we took elaborate trips that landed us in the highest-rated resorts around the country, we girls drove BMW’s, and we went to an elite all-girls Catholic high school.  We were given EVERY opportunity there was to succeed, and by “succeed,” I mean to surround ourselves with people like us so that we could inherit a similar situation once we grew up.

My older sister fought our upbringing, tooth and nail, at every pass.  I remember getting so angry with her for “not appreciating the things Mom and Dad have given us.”  My dad would literally say, “my job is to worry about me and mine,” and I championed him.  I could not understand her defiance.  I could not understand her anger.  I could not understand her.

But how could I understand her?  I was a carbon copy of my parents.

I said things like, “I fully trust our government,” “People need to take care of themselves,” and the most cringe-worthy, “People are in bad situations because they put themselves there.  PERIOD.”  I didn’t just say them, I believed them.


I’d like to say that I started changing my views in college, but I’m not sure that I did.  I think that’s when things started to come a little more into focus for me, but I graduated a registered Republican.  I voted (cringe) straight ticket Republican (cringe) in my first election in 1994 in the bluest county of Iowa for God’s sake.

My sister wept for me.

I think my move to Chicago, a move that was not planned nor dreamt of, is what made me start thinking outside of the Republican box that my parents very carefully constructed around me.  My parents were as Republican as Republican got, back in the day when abortion wasn’t a big part of the platform.  We were raised being told that if we got pregnant in high school, that we would have to have an abortion.  And I, being so good and compliant, agreed that that was how it would be (I made damn sure I didn’t get pregnant in high school by staying a virgin past graduation).  But when I moved to Chicago in 1998, abortion was seeming much more front-and-center for the Republican platform and it bothered me.

I believe in women’s rights to choose.  I do.  I don’t think I’d ever have an abortion or want my child to have any involvement with one, but I think it’s a right that needs to remain with women.  It is so important to me that when I lived in Chicago, I changed my registration not to “independent” … but to “democrat.”   Because, as I still say, “taxes rise and fall easily with each administration.  People’s rights, once taken away, are very difficult to return to them.”

My sister rejoiced.

I didn’t dare tell my father.


When I met Hottie, we had lengthy, wonderful conversations about politics.  We were 98% on the same page and I learned that I wasn’t a Democrat or a Republican, but that I was a textbook Libertarian.  I am fiscally very conservative and socially very liberal – and I believe that most decisions belong at the state level and not mandated at the federal level (except, of course, when it comes to abortion and the right to marry whomever you want.  Yes… hypocritical).  When the 2008 elections were coming up, we latched onto Ron Paul and, because we were BOTH registered Democrats, changed our affiliation to Republican so that we could caucus for him.

And caucus we did.

We were delegates to the state convention for Ron Paul and we took this honor seriously.  Hottie wore a suit and I dressed in a professional skirt and top.  We arrived early so that we could figure out, exactly, what we were there to do and how it would be done.  The day took forever, and we had to vote on the “prongs of the party’s platform.”  Imagine being on the state convention floor as a “Ron Paul Republican” as the group is voting on the Republican platform of gay marriage and abortion.  It was very uncomfortable and strange.

Ron Paul, obviously, did not win in 2008.


I’m not a Democrat, I’m sure that’s obvious by now.  I’m not a Democrat but I love President Obama.  I think he’s a wonderful human being and even though I wasn’t thrilled with his election, I sure was happy knowing that the man at the top was a presentable, nice person.  My wish for him going into the office on January 20, 2009 was that he would leave the office on January 20, 2017 as decent a man as he was 8 years prior.

I truly believe that President Obama will leave the office of the presidency maybe even a better person than he was back in 2009.


This election cycle, like for so many others, has been painful for me.  I was one of those people who laughed when Dona.ld put his hat in the ring.

“It will never happen,” I’d say.

I enjoyed his early idiotic statements because it made for good reading while running on the treadmill.  I couldn’t believe what he was saying, but I found comfort in knowing that there was no way the American public would elect him President.

No way.

I vowed to stick to my party and vote for “the Libertarian,” not even knowing who that was.

Xenophobic statements were made by DT, and I’d think, “this will do him in, thank God.”  But his support went up.  Racist statements were made by DT, and again, “this has got to be the thing to do him in.”  Nope – he won the Republican primary.  Sexist and misogynistic statements were made, and my thoughts were, “there it is – FINALLY.”  And nothing.  Well, more than nothing… his support grew.

With the hot mic incident, I started thinking about my status as a swing-state voter.  At first, I was still committed to Gary Johnson and thought it was ridiculous of Democrats to expect people to change their minds to vote against every fiscally conservative bone in their bodies.  I mean, if you’re fiscally conservative, it’s pretty hard to vote for a Democrat.


“taxes rise and fall easily with each administration.  People’s rights, once taken away, are very difficult to return to them.”

On October 24th, I posted this to FB with a link to Michelle Obama’s speech in support of Hillary Clinton.

“Shared humanity,” YES!

My friend posted the same speech on her page and it spiraled into a hate-filled conversation amongst many women (and a few supportive men) and one man who didn’t believe in male privilege, white privilege, or that DT’s heinous statements were wrong.  We women were told we were too sensitive, that “cat calling” isn’t sexual assault (none of us said it was), and that our safety is our responsibility alone (“carry a knife, hit him with your keys.”).  That man made us so angry that we started, very graphically, describing our own sexual assaults (from attempted gang rape to full-on rape), asking him if our experiences “count as” sexual assault.  After hours of this, he went away.

That was what I needed to realize the impact of my vote.

“Shared humanity,” YES!

I told Hottie that I was voting for Hillary, and he completely understood my reasoning.


My older sister and I don’t talk often.  We like each other, but she works during the day so there really isn’t time to sit around and gab.  I’m not sure how or when I told her I was voting for HRC, but she knew.  We had some great text exchanges and laughs that, “he’s not going to win, and this will all be over soon.”

I wasn’t hiding who I was voting for.  Once my decision was made, I almost wore it like a badge of honor.  I told my conservative younger sister I was voting for HRC and she seemed to be leaning in the Johnson or HRC direction because of the disgustingness that is DT’s spoken words.  I felt good, like the three of us had, miraculously, escaped the grasps of our “me and mine” parents.

Election day came, dragged on, and then… complete devastation.

My white privilege caused me to be absolutely, 100% stunned.  I could hardly speak.  I cried a lot.  I held my breath and texted my friends.  I called my sister and asked, “What in the absolute F*** is going on?!?!”  Hottie came home from a work road trip and just looked at me, sitting on the bed in tears, and said, “I didn’t think this could happen.”  We went to bed around 2:15.  The election was called, I’m told, around 2:30 AM.

I woke to the reality that it wasn’t even a close race.  I woke to the reality, a reality I feared was coming, that we don’t live in the country I thought we lived in.  I woke to the reality that my parents voted for this.


A long text exchange transpired between my father, sisters, and me on election night.  My dad started it.

Of course he did.

He started it when Virginia went blue and he wrote, “Virginia!  Rats!!!”  My older sister lives in Virginia.  I responded with, “Did they call it for Hillary?”  “Yes.”  And this is how my dad found out that his baby, his little rank-and-file mini-me, voted for a Democrat, “THANK GOD!”

His response: “Very disappointed Courti Bear.”

My statement of “I hate Trump” was met with “I think that is rather hard.  But oh well.”  My little sister responded with, “I hate Hillary,”  and that wasn’t called ‘rather hard.’  I then, after more conversation, decided not to settle.

“Dad, please say you think it’s ‘too hard’ for L to ‘hate Hillary.’  Last time we spoke, you, Dad, said you ‘hated’ her.”


Me and mine.


The morning after the election, my older sister texted the group asking that we not talk politics.  My younger sister responded with, “sore losers. 😉 ”  Not smart nor kind, L, not kind.  My older sister fired back with “Utterly disgusted by the American people.  I hope you all get exactly what you deserve.”  That transpired into my two sisters slinging insults at each other, with the use of the F word, and me sitting by just watching.  Until…

“I am ashamed of both H and Courtney.  This is not how we behave,” came through from my dad.

Who’s the ‘we’ he’s referring to, and more importantly, what, exactly, is he ashamed of?  He wouldn’t answer my questions so for the first time in my life, my dad saw this from me: “FUCK YOU!”


This was not just like any other election.  This election brought out all the things that many people want to say, but didn’t feel comfortable saying.  People’s freedoms and safety are being dismantled more and more every day.  If a child of any color other than white could go to school last Monday without even thinking of seeing a swastika on the bathroom stall, but sees it the following Wednesday, that child’s freedoms and safety are being (and have been) dismantled.

My family voted for “me and mine.”

I voted for “them and ours.”

I truly did.

I will likely save money on taxes under DT.  Great.  Everyone wants more money.  But do you know what people want more than money?  Freedom and safety.


I had to post my position on FB so that those who may think I vote and think like them know, that most certainly, I do not.  I had to post so that my friends with families that don’t look like mine know that I have their backs.  I had to post so that when my kids read our family books later that I print directly from FB, they see that I did not condone this or the direction that DT has already taken this country in.  My post brought out a person who was my parents’ best friend growing up.  She is in the top 1% of income earners in this country and I heard her and her husband, several times in my childhood, speak of “me and mine,” just like my dad.  My friends didn’t stand for it, and she called them coddled.  Unreal.  The good thing to come of that thread was that my friends, the ones who I chose long after high school and college, saw exactly how I was raised and where I came from.  That… that was priceless.

I’m pretty sure 80% of my FB folks have already blocked me, because I post WAY too much stuff about my life and kids (because, you know, mysocialbook), so if a few more block me because of recent posts, that’s fine by me.

But I can’t not post. I can’t let people (or more importantly, my sons later on when they’re re-reading our family books) interpret my silence as acceptance or approval of what has happened since Tuesday night.
People close to me have told me that they’re ashamed of me for crying over this election. Let me be clear – I did not cry over the candidate losing. I cried over the things that the majority of our voting citizens chose to allow or ignore. I cried over the gigantic security blanket that DT gave to those in this country who used to hide their hatred, sexism, and racism but don’t need to hide any longer. I cried for every family that isn’t a mirror image of mine that now needs to have an even deeper discussion about staying safe in this American climate. I cried over my grief of losing the America that I thought I lived in, but clearly do not. I cried for the things I feared would happen, and happen quickly. For anyone to think I cried over a losing candidate, a candidate that I don’t even like in a party I don’t affiliate myself with (registered Republican here), is ignorant and lacks any understanding and empathy.
I don’t cry when I lose.
I cry when I hurt.
The things I most feared just two nights ago – well…. they’re happening. My eyes are WIDE open. Ignore my posts, ignore reality, ignore the vetted articles. Blow them off, say it’s not a big deal, turn the other way. That’s fine.
But I am not joining you.
Let me say it again…


My dad and I had to clear the air in some way after my enraged “F you” text.  I called him after he left me a voicemail.  I was so upset that he couldn’t even understand what I was saying.  He had no idea what this election meant to me.  He thought I was just “another crazy liberal” voting left because that’s the progressive thing to do.

No, Dad.

As I told him, I don’t know who my kids are yet, I don’t know who they’re going to choose to love.  I’m trying to teach them to love everyone around them, while being aware of their differences (because being “color blind” does no one any favors), and to love themselves.  To vote for a man who hates everyone who doesn’t look like him sends my children the wrong message.  It tells my children that I am willing to overlook his hatred so that I can save some money.  I’m not willing to do that.

What I wanted to tell him was:

Dad, I’m trying to raise better, more embracing children than you raised.  I’m trying to teach them that it’s about them, us, and ours.  I’m trying to teach them that they are elite only because of their race, but that I won’t let them act elite as I was allowed to act.  I am trying to teach them to value love and compassion over YOUR almighty dollar.  I am trying to teach them to never say, “me and mine.” I am trying to teach them not to be like you.

My dad can be ashamed of me all he wants.  His approval is not something I’d be proud of.


Blogger Friends ARE Real Friends

Once or twice a year, I get to meet up with blog friends who have become some of my favorite friends IRL.  Some of them live relatively close (3 hours) and some are a quick flight away (1.5 hours) and some are overseas.  Somehow, though, I see them in person quite a bit.  And  because we talk so much via text, FB, etc, it doesn’t feel that unique anymore when we do meet up.  Sometimes, it feels like we’d just seen each other so recently that a hug seems too formal.  And this year, it has felt so incredibly natural seeing everyone that I’ve forgotten to blog about it when in the past, I would have posted immediately.

It’s wonderful!


I met up with a few of my girls for a half marathon in July.  We talked via text multiple times a day, encouraged each other to train hard, and had good laughs about our kids and husbands leading up to our trip.  I hadn’t met one of the gals in person which seemed so strange to friends here (“you’re meeting her for the first time at the airport and then you’re traveling for a few days together?  Isn’t that weird?”) but it felt 100% normal to me.  Looking back, sure, it could have been a disaster but we’d become such good friends over the prior year that I didn’t even think it could be awkward. She and I spent two nights in Estes, hiking and running together, before we met up with two other friends in Denver.  We then spent two nights in Denver and ran a half marathon together that Saturday morning (in perfect weather!!!!).  It was super, super fun!  If they’d do it again, I’d be up for it again next year!  No matter what happens in regards to running together, I bet I see these friends again next summer!

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Steph and I get together a lot.  She lives a short drive away and our kids get on very well together (not to mention our husbands, who are as different as night and day but have a great time together!), so it’s just ridiculously fun to hang out!  I think the last time we saw each other was in March on my 40th birthday, which was without kids.  Going 6.5 months between visits is not normal for us – we usually meet up every 3 months or so.  My aunt lives in the same area as Steph and so does a friend of ours who moved there from Iowa, but with the passing of his wife and changes going on with him, we didn’t make it down at all in the spring or summer.  Being perfectly honest, it just felt weird to us to head down there and not see our friend who was wanting to adjust to his new life very privately – so – we didn’t make a trip down.  I really missed our trips to see Steph and her family.

Last year, we met in Omaha to visit their insane pumpkin patch and we decided then to make it an annual trip.  I was so excited for the big trip to roll around because it had been forever since we’d all seen each other.  When we did meet at the zoo, it was just like old times – like we’d seen each other just the week before.  It was terrific fun!  We got separated on Sunday at the pumpkin patch which was where we were both heading home from, but I thought enough to get a picture of our kids together.  Steph usually thinks of this, but I was all over it this year!  The best part about our friendship is seeing our kids grow together in their friendships.  Matthew and her daughter are great buds – unbelievable fun is had between them!  Bryson and her son will hopefully notice that the other one exists the next time we go to the pumpkin patch!  😉


Next up… hopefully a trip to St. Louis to see my ex-pat blogger friend and her family!

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Halloween Paint Night

I painted another Halloween painting last night! My friends and I have been waiting for a good one to be added to the calendar and we found it! The class was sold out, and the painting was harder than we thought it would be, so we were glad it wasn’t our first painting rodeo. The three of us together didn’t require the amount of help that a single new person needed, so we’re making progress. Ha!



Juror #9

Anyone who knows me IRL at any level knows that I am deep into the Adnan Syed case via the Serial podcast.  Yes, I’m way late to the party (recorded in 2014) but with recent developments, I find it riveting and to call myself obsessed is probably an understatement.  I cannot get enough of it – I’ve been getting on the treadmill sometimes twice a day just so I can play the next episode of “Serial” or “Undisclosed” (I am now done with “Serial” but have plenty of “Undisclosed” to go).  I have always been skeptical of our judicial system, and truly believe that many, many, MANY people are in prison because of false convictions, but to have a real case to follow, dig into, think through, and discuss with others has really reinforced my concerns.

We need to be doing better.


About a month ago, I got that dreaded letter in the mail – a jury summons.  Back when I had no kids to take to and from school and to care for before and after school, I would have celebrated that letter. But now with the responsibilities of a stay-at-home mom, that letter stressed me out.  I filled out the potential juror questionnaire and was honest, but did list my family member in law enforcement and mentioned that we speak very regularly and get on well.  I was hoping that my relationship with him would get me out of jury duty.

It didn’t.  Ha!


As I got more and more into Syed’s case, I started changing my attitude about jury duty.  I was getting a bit excited, just hoping that it wouldn’t last longer than the designated week.  Hottie planned to change his schedule to cover much of our childcare and my in-laws were on deck to fill in when needed.  The stress of taking care of the kids was gone, and I got pumped about playing a role in the judicial system for someone’s case – someone’s case that may mean EVERYTHING to them (and little to others).

I went to jury duty this morning and enthusiastically sat through the video and judge-in-person orientations.  I found it fascinating.  I hoped to be selected for an important case.  I thought that I was the type of juror that a defendant would want on his or her jury because I truly believe that one is innocent until proven guilty, and I know that charges and arrests do NOT equal guilt.

After orientation, I sat out in the hall waiting to be called (there were 250 of us there – there were 11 jury trials just on Monday).  It took forever for the court clerks to come out and call their jury pools, but I was finally called for the 6th case.  I was so excited and hopeful that I’d be selected, but chances were slim considering the pool of potential jurors for the case was 24-deep.

The attorneys asked us questions, some to the group, some to individuals.  I had to answer one individual question about the responsibility of “burden of proof.”  After one person said it was the attorneys’ responsibility, when I was asked, I said, “it is not the defending attorney’s job, it’s only the prosecuting attorney’s responsibility.”  We were asked if we had any personal or familial experience with child abuse and the hair on the back of my neck stood up.  We were told we’d be shown evidentiary photographs.  My stomach hurt.  But, I reminded myself that the man in front of us was simply charged with crimes – and that I needed to be shown that he was guilty.

I was selected.  I was so pleased!

Before lunch, they had opening statements and the prosecuting attorney presented basically everything.  I kept waiting for the big bomb, but there wasn’t one.  There was an argument in the home between the defendant and his wife, the defendant was holding his 1-year old child, the 15-year old attacked him by sucker punching him in the face, and he dropped the baby.  We were told the baby’s mouth bled and that he had a bump on his head, but that he was never taken to the hospital.  I waited for him to tell us that the defendant then went off on the teen.  But he stopped with the injuries to the infant and the teenager was unharmed.  The police arrived, and the defendant was later charged with child endangerment and bodily harm done to a child.

The defending attorney was truly awful and seemed very unprepared, but he put it in simpler terms than the prosecuting attorney.  There are no eye witnesses because the teen and mother won’t testify, the 911 call is hearsay per the presiding judge, the police officers who will testify are not eye witnesses to the alleged crime, the baby did not have any injuries requiring medical attention, and the defendant contained his anger against the teen when this all happened.

It sounded so simple to me.  And I was anxious to see if my opinion would change as the trial went on (my opinion wavers a lot!).  I did not discuss the details of the case with Hottie over lunch, but I did say, “these aren’t the most awful charges, and if he was guilty, I’d think he would have pled out by now.”

We were all brought back into the court room to the judge, who was not wearing his robe, and to the clerk and recorder.  The lawyers were not present, nor was the defendant.  The judge was very kind and explained to us that the teen showed up over lunch when the witnesses were being prepped and stated exactly what the defendant had said, that he attacked his step-dad with no warning causing him to drop the baby.  He went so far as to say that the defendant never struck him back (the prosecutor said the same thing in his opening statement).

The state dropped their charges immediately.

I was so hoping to serve a full trial, but I’m much happier to see this man not have to go through it.  He took a gamble opting for a jury trial.  We were told that he was offered a plea deal of a simple misdemeanor charge (I think it was disorderly conduct) and passed because he knew he’d done nothing wrong.  He took a gamble, and he won.

We did see the family outside the courtroom before we were told that the charges were dropped, and the defendant was holding his baby and hugging the baby’s mom and a teenager.  I assumed that they had come just to be in the courtroom for him, but it turns out they were celebrating the conclusion of the trial.  Looking back on it, it was great to see even if I didn’t know at the time what I was seeing.  The charges, even from the prosecutor’s mouth, just sounded ridiculous.

Justice was done, even if it wasn’t done in the way that most trials play out.

It was a great experience for me and the timing was perfect given my latest interests.  😉

I did speak with several jurors on the way out and we all felt the same way after opening statements – the charges sounded loose, at best, and like the prosecuting office just wanted to charge without giving a damn about the situation.  It is infuriating, and even more infuriating that the defendant appeared to have a horrible court-appointed attorney, but in the end, it worked out.  And I think it worked out the way it was supposed to.



School Has Begun….

… Thank God!

Summer camps ended on August 12th and the final pool closed on August 21st. Turns out, all of those camp counselors and lifeguards want a few days of relaxation before returning to school the week of 8/22. When you parent kids who start school after Labor Day, you don’t think of such things.

The final 3 weeks between camp-end and school starting were rough. We were all pretty tired of each other and it was too hot to do outdoor activities after 11:00 AM. The kids watched too much TV as my fuse got shorter and shorter. Next year will be better since Matthew will start kindergarten the same week as the lifeguards and camp counselors!

This morning, we were ALL ready to get back to business as usual. Matthew proclaimed his excitement with smiles and laughter and Bryson was upset that he had a delayed start rather than starting at the same time Matthew did. Everyone went into their classrooms happily as I drove off happily to listen to a podcast (too hot here to run). Structure and routine are so wonderful!

Both boys had great days and Bryson had so much fun, he fell asleep on the drive home. They’re already making me promise that they get to go back tomorrow! 😁



A Needed Change

Hottie makes his own soap.  He’s pretty into skin care and questions the things we put on our bodies.  He’s told me for years that I need to find a skincare regimen that works for me and that I should be taking better care of my skin in general (“it is your largest organ, you know.”).  I’ve always been told that I have great skin, that it’s the “peaches and cream” skin that people wish for.  I don’t really understand what “peaches and cream skin” really means and although I know that my skin isn’t horrible, I also wouldn’t consider it great.  Others disagree with me, especially when they ask what I do for my skin and I say, “Nothing.  I don’t even wash my face at night.”

My grandma had great skin.  When she died, she barely had any wrinkles.  My aunt swears I have her skin, and if I do, that would be terrific.  But I do know that my grandma took great care of herself and probably nurtured that fabulous skin of hers. It didn’t just miraculously end up that way.

Hottie had made some face soap that I was using and just about two months ago, I said, “we need more face soap made.  We’re out.”

“We’ve been out for 6 months.”

“What have I been using every day?”

“What?  You’re using that on your face?  That’s straight Dr. Bronners.”

And so began my quest for a skin care regimen all my own.  Hottie told me it was time, time to do the research and figure out what I needed for my skin type.  He was right, but damn… I didn’t want to take the time!

A month ago, I went to my sister’s house for a visit and she had a friend there.  Her friend kept mentioning some skin care product that she sells and I blew it off because I despise nothing more than a multi-level marketing product.  We talked about all sorts of things and I realized that we were pretty similar in our approach to health (eat pretty clean, don’t drink much, lots of exercise, made all of our kids’ baby food from scratch, want to be dairy-free) and wondered, “what is she selling?”  Right before she left, she asked if we wanted to see her stuff and I said yes.  She gave me some samples and was on her way.

That night, I researched.  I dug deep into the safety of skin care products and re-enforced my decision to avoid the ever-so-popular skincare product out there that is nothing but chemicals and things you can’t pronounce.  My cousin actually sells that stuff and when I said that I don’t want chemicals on my face, she said that her product was not for me.  We joked about giving yourself a daily chemical peel with her products.  HA!  I found an incredible cosmetics safety website that I used to look up every makeup item I use on my face as well as our sunscreen and body washes.  It was enlightening.  It was scary.  It was time for a change.

The stuff my sister’s friend sells is so incredibly safe, and after a week of researching it and other alternatives, I jumped in and bought the standard skin care regimen.  I absolutely love it and my face has never looked and felt better.  All this time, we thought I had my grandpa’s rosy cheeks but it turns out my skin was just irritated.  I still get some acne but it’s nothing like it was and when I do get it, it doesn’t hurt like it used to.  It clears up quickly and leaves no trace.

Replacing my makeup was a different story.  There are so many items out there and finding them locally is difficult.  My powder and eyeshadow scored well/safe in the cosmetics database so I kept those.  I had to replace my blush, foundation, and lip gloss and did so with products from the maker of my skin care regimen.  I also needed new eyeliner (both liquid and pencil), an eyebrow pencil, mascara, and additional eyeshadow.  After a lot of research and review-reading, I settled on a few cheap products (but scoring very safe) for the eyebrow and eyeliner pencils, and high-end mascara, liquid liner, and eye shadow.  I just got the eyebrow and eyeliner pencils yesterday and love them!

I now wash my face every night before bed and every morning with a very gentle cleanser.  I use various moisturizers depending on my needs and the time of day, and I use my eye makeup daily.

I feel so much better about what I’m doing.  I feel good knowing that the products I’m using are deemed safe by a highly-regarded non-profit rather than the vendors of said products.  My face just feels better, not a size too small like it used to feel.

Change… it’s a good thing!


No foundation, no powder… just eye makeup, lip gloss, and a touch of blush.

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THIS Moment in Time – Roadtrip Sleep

131156197902446144Vacations aren’t a time for sleep. As the mother of two young boys, I know this.

We’re at my sister’s north of Chicago right now and last night was a shit show.  Two kids in a queen bed with me, one of them very likely to roll out of bed. I didn’t sleep. But tonight…. all of the kids are sleeping in the living room and I’m banking on a few hours before anyone wakes me up. Good night!



Family Trip!

We took a family trip this past week and it was terrific!  We rented a cabin at Mahoney State Park in Nebraska and it was like being at summer camp.  I can’t wait to go back next summer!

Here is my photo collection from 4 days with limited TV, hot weather, and an abundance of activities with the kids!  They’re in reverse order, but it doesn’t matter  🙂

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