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Everything and nothing.

14 Nov

So… there was a presidential election (in case you’ve been under a rock and to whomever is under said rock please scoot over because I’d like to join you indefinitely).  I started writing this post the day after the election to spew my frustration with the onslaught of Facebook wars and media coverage and to say that the sky is falling and yet, wait… it might be just an acorn.  Also I was going to express my frustration that I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I’ve opened a link to an “acorn throwing” post that either came from a source with a fundamentally bias agenda and/or was posted by someone who didn’t even take a moment to read the very link they thought was substantial.  If posters actually read the link, in their own post (like I took the time to do, not to counter-argue, but to honestly support and try to understand their viewpoint) they might realize that they themselves are part of the problem and not the solution- false information by headline/meme reading and sharing spreads like wildfire and it’s really hard to put out a wildfire no matter how it started.

Fun fact- the Internet and the modern media as a whole can manipulate anything and everything to make a mountain out of a mole hill AND conversely, it can also keep a mountain at a far distance making it mole hill. Don’t give them that power of manipulating what you know and what you don’t know.  Be aware that for every one link that argues one way there are 10 to counter argue it and for every video shot from one perspective, there is one from another perspective capturing a different version.  I get it though, in some instances right is right and wrong is wrong and there are no blurred lines.  Just be sure to use your filter before you sip the tea.

So know your stuff.  Read articles that not only support your stance, but also read those that you think might knock you off your feet.  I took the time to read your link and fact check it and ponder about what it means to you.  Sometimes it turns out to be a moment wasted because it’s an old post or it’s an engineered post and it’s already been debunked, but sometimes I’ve walked away with a bit of knowledge.  If it’s a moment wasted, rarely do I point out in a comment to the poster that the link should actually be read or fact-checked by the poster, but I promise you that mostly I’ve just rolled my eyes and have decided that said poster is either a headline reader or had a moment of soon-to-be regret and just scroll right past any of their future posts on the topic.

But this is my blog… my personal diary… my safe place where I can type my opinion and have the option to publish publicly or keep it for my eyes only (I don’t actually have private posts because if there is one thing I know for certain, it’s that I either say it publicly or keep it all bottled inside, but if I wanted to hit “private” I could).

So here I am a few days later, still feeling as though the 2016 presidential election will go down in history as the election that meant everything and yet, nothing.  Beyond the fact that historically every president EVER has not been able to fully reign over the United States.  I recently watched an eye-opening video about the electoral collage (which I’ve never fully understood, have been frustrated when it worked against my personal vote, and frankly, just wanted the public to do away with it).  I’m questioning my stance on doing away with the electoral collage now.  Our founding fathers really thought things through to the very last detail as far as fundamental government structure goes (including the prediction that party affiliation would be detrimental, but unfortunately, they never figured out how to work that kink out).

Part 2:  My opinion- “you get what you look for”

There are really good days, too.

22 Mar

So we missed Jaxon’s Bowie High Swim Team Banquet tonight.  To be honest, somehow I wasn’t even aware that they were having a banquet.  Bummer!  Anyway, much to our surprise we were visited by a responsible parent of another swim team member after the banquet.  He stopped by to drop off Jax’s varsity letter and a plaque that reads:

Bowie High School

Swimming Team

Freshman of the Year


Jaxon Trader

Shut up!  How freakin’ awesome is that?!  I’m not going to lie, I got a little choked up.  I hope he’s as proud of himself as I am.  He smiles and blows off his accomplishments, but I hope that he’s just being humble.  I hope deep down inside he gets how big of a deal Freshman of the Year really is and is just masking it under a goofy grin.  I hope that he continues to grow as a swimmer and begins to really enjoy the sport.  Most of all I hope that he stands a little taller and speaks a little louder knowing that he’s capable of so much more than he ever thought.

Don’t just dream bigger Jax, dream broader.





I love you and am so proud of you.


Back in business! (meant for another blog, but because it was and considering it’s content… it’s amusingly ironic, so it stays)

26 Oct

Dear old free website,

Thank you for not abandoning me as I abandoned you!  I left you for someone very high-maintenance and have regretted it all along.  I am so glad that you welcomed me back with open arms and accepted all of my high-maintenance web content accept for the super cool store page and some awesome widgets and the fact that I think I see a lot of double posts that I think I’m going to have to spend a lot of time clearing up.  Booooo!  I hate love really love you free website.

Yours truly for eternity,


Stupid Hurricane

26 Oct

For a couple of weeks, I have been planning and coordinating and shopping for a wonderful fall family photo shoot.  Coordinating outfits, the perfect setting, free time… all of these things and more were needed for the “perfect family photo”.  This weekend was it, until mother nature decided that everything was in place for her “perfect storm”.  Darn you Sandy!!!  You will bring clouds, rain and wind and a giant damper on a few dozen photos that I was gearing up to hate (i.e. “Ugg!  I need a new haircut.”  “Why do I have a double chin in almost every freakin’ photo?”  “This one’s not bad, but Phoebe’s not even looking at the camera.”, etc…).  Honestly, whatever!  I didn’t have time to dye my hair today anyway.  I had to beg Leila to watch Tess today, so that I could jump in the shower for a quick rinse.  And here I am, wanting to type about something really cool that the kids have done this week, but I am at a loss.  What did happen this week????   I sold a few pairs of baby boots on Etsy and cancelled my old website.  Yup!  That’s it… that’s the real reason why I wound up here.  The brain circles back around eventually.  I was transferring content from my old website to my really-old-soon-to-be-new-again free website.  Phew!!!  Tessa’s falling asleep next to me while she nibbles on a bottle.  The kids are in the front yard chasing each other in circles while daddy blows leaves at them with the leaf blower and here I sit, not knowing what I was even doing, nor caring.  As long as I’m avoiding the table that needs to be cleared of a pile of school papers, opened mail and unfinished lunch plates.  There is also a pile of mail on the kitchen counter, the fireplace, my sewing desk, the coffee table, and a giant pile to be sorted next to the filing cabinet.  I have a new-found hate for the mailman.  Maybe he’ll get swept up in the hurricane… again, I run full circle.


Oh, ok, so I don’t hate him that bad!  Just the mail… I hate mail… may the mail and only the mail get swept up in the hurricane.  There...

…and a 4th one flew in almost 2 months ago

2 May

I didn’t blog very often this past year. There are many excuses. (i.e. I wasn’t feeling well/ pregnancy sucked; I was in the process of starting a major fashion empire ( aka “crash and burn”); since I was pregnant with my 4th, I decided to devote more attention the the first 3; I started to notice that my not-so-subtle blog was offending people that I had no intention of offending; I had to take a poo; I was growing tired of repeating myself and ran out of things to say; etc, etc)
Either way, I was super busy. I hope that I can muster up enough photos and comments from Facebook to throw on here soon, so that the year 2011 won’t end up a blur.

Tessa Braden Trader born on March 7, 2012 @ 10:15 AM, 7 lbs 8.8 oz, 19.5 inches

Tessa with big sister Leila

Tessa with big sister Phoebe

Tessa with big brother Jax

Phoebe wanted to try on Tessa’s hat.

Tessa didn’t take long showing us her first “real” smile.

Phoebe with her “congrats on becoming a big sister” balloon.   (She’s wearing a dress that I was able to make her 2 days before Tess was born.)

Hi, Tessa!  I’m your big sister.  I love you.  Do you want some gum?

In lieu of Christmas

13 Jan

This Christmas wasn’t really celebrated appropriately.  It all started with the Christmas lights that never made it on the roof.  We always wait until about 2-3 weeks before Christmas to even think about decorations.  That’s precisely when an unseasonably cold weather front came rolling in.  Way too cold to put lights on the house, so we settled for a couple of small lit trees on our front step and a wreath on the door.  Then we kept forgetting to get a Christmas tree, until the week before Christmas.  By then all of the decent trees had been sold, so we settled for a tiny albeit expensive noble fir, on which only half of our ornaments would fit.  Luckily, Santa was at the nursery that we bought our tree from, otherwise the kids would have never been able to make their requests (because, yes, I forgot to mail off their letters to him… like they asked me to… a whole month ago).

As soon as Phoebe spotted him she screamed, “Santa!  It’s Santa!” Like, OMG!!!  I just poohed in my diaper!  This is the best day ever!  He landed his sleigh right in the middle of this store and I can’t believe it…  he’s here… right in front of meeee!  What is next?… The Easter Bunny?… The Wonder Pets?… Elvis!… OMG!  OMG!  OMG! So, she was super-excited to sit on his lap… right until, I called her name and took her picture.  Figures.

Leila was all smiles to get to talk to Santa.  In fact she was so smitten that she could only giggle at him and say “Squinkies” a dozen times.

Can you believe it?  I mean, no, he’s not sitting on his lap, but wow, Mr. Too Cool For School is actually standing next to Santa telling him that he wants a Lamborghini for Christmas (To which Santa turned to me, looked me straight in the eye and said, “He means the little ones, Mom.  I’ll bring him some really cool miniature Lamborghinies.  *wink wink*” To which, Jaxon looked Santa straight in the eye and said, “No, I mean I would like a REAL Lamborghini!  A yellow one.” To which, Santa said, “Do you keep your room clean?” To which, Jaxon said, “Not really.” To which, Santa said, “Then, you’ll get the really cool miniature Lamborghinies.  Next!”

So, Santa totally rocked!  But then we all caught the flu and spent the rest of the week drowning in phlegm.  I had such difficulty with last year’s Christmas card photos that I couldn’t bear to send this year’s photos with black circles under our eyes and green slime hanging from our noses.  So there were no photos to put in our Christmas cards.  Oh, but wait… there were no Christmas cards, anyway because… did I mention that we had procrastinated all-things-Christmas until we were snot buckets and couldn’t do anything anyway?

On Christmas Eve, Leila began vomiting… you know, because coughing up lungs and annihilating entire boxes of tissues within 10 minutes wasn’t enough fun.  She managed to stop throwing up in time to open up presents.  And then it was Christmas morning and all of the tissues used and vomit scrubbed and wrapping paper picked up didn’t hold a candle to the joy of basking in the time spent with my little family… even though we were a pretty gross little group.

Rememberance and reflection

19 Dec

I love facebook dearly.  It’s the reason why blog posts have been so far and so few for over a year now.  Why take the time to post a paragraph when I can post a 2 sentence blurb?  Usually, facebook is where I go for a LOL moment; something silly a friend’s child said, a photo from a recent get together, cute baby pictures, and occasionally, discovering a friend who needs a prayer to get through a tough time.  But, I never suspected when checking my facebook Saturday morning to come across a status post about an old friend’s very sudden and untimely passing.  It seemed as though posts were too fast, too soon.  Emotions don’t move as quickly as technology allows.

I’m finding it difficult to put the right words with the right emotions.  Such a shock leaves me at a loss for words.  A memory of her pops into my head here and there and tears fall.

Long ago, in a distant land, there was cheerleading and tennis and parties and camp and the summer that we lived together in OC (aka “the time of my life”).  There was a pregnant me sitting on a bar stool at Johnny’s ready to surprise her for her 21st birthday party.  And then time and distance stepped in, but there were still letters and surprise packages in the mail, and Christmas cards with pictures to keep each other updated and then there was facebook.  All this, and yet, just a tiny-tiny fraction of the memories she created with the world.  My heart is breaking for her mother, for her closest friends and family, and for her babies… Oh My God… her babies!

So many have memories with her, so many loved and adored her, so many people are in pain and shock right now.

So many people left asking, “Why, God?  Why?” She was entirely beautiful.  She never complained about anything, she was always sweet and cracking jokes, she loved everyone and brought happiness and a smile wherever she went.

I’m not kidding guys, she was a freakin’ walking rainbow.

She was the type of mother I wake up every morning aspiring to be.

I’d love to list my favorite memories of her, but the tears and the giant lump that forms in my throat just won’t let me.  These are the types of memories that should be shared, not told via blog.

Those of you reading this, that were close to Nicole at any point in your life… I’m so sorry.  *tear* I’d love to offer more than sorrow.  I’d love to offer a hug or a hand to hold or a cup of coffee and an ear to listen to you and your memories.  To Mandi and Angela:  I love you!

Which brings me to reflection… I definitely don’t say it enough to all of my friends:  I love you more than I care to admit. I don’t really have “family” or co-workers…  besides my germ-bucket kids, you guys are it for me.  (Please think of this as tributary and not pathetic.) “You’re my touchstone.”  (…and now that I’ve added Terms of Endearment to the pot, I’m a sobbing snotty mess!)

Yes, we all shine on… like the moon and the stars and the sun…

… However, some of us shine a little brighter than others.

P.S. I love you, Nic!

P.P.S.  Yes, I have better pictures of you.  However, we seemed to only pick up the camera when we were in party mode, so almost all of them were incriminating.  Honestly, I’m going to have to hide that album away somewhere.  I had forgotten just how much fun we all had… but, by God, was it fun!!!

*In case you can’t tell… the albino girl, standing in the middle of the first picture, is Janice.


29 Nov

Ah Thanksgiving, the time of year when my grandmother is missed in collective sighs around dozens of dinner tables.  She was the-best-cook.  No lie, she could give all of these fru-fru Food Network chefs a run for their money.  For years, I’m talking at least 20, I’ve tried to mock her recipes.  I hovered around her almost every holiday meal to see what she put in this and how much of that she put in that.  It was impossible, as I was more interested in taste testing than actually getting the ingredients and measurements right.  Every last one of my family members swear that she just had this magic touch that no one else will ever be able to mimic.  When she came to parties and brought a dish, usually my favorite, potato salad, everyone would gasp as they gobbled it up and they all asked who made it.  She was able to get her grandchildren to love, adore, even drool over, her pickled beets.  I mean, really, if you can get a child to beg for a beet as though it were candy, you are one damn good cook!  The funniest conversation that I had with her in her kitchen one Thanksgiving was one about her yummy string beans.

Me:  Mom Mom, I can’t get my string beans to be as mouth-watering, to die for, as yours are.  I don’t think that I’m cooking them right.  Do you just boil them?

Mom Mom:  *confused* Yes.

Me:  That’s what I did, but they don’t taste the same.  Well, how long do you cook them.  Maybe that’s my problem.

Mom Mom:  Oh, I don’t know… until they’re done?

Me:  Hmm… mine were done, but they didn’t taste the same.  Do you add anything to the pot then to make them taste so good?

Mom Mom:  Just some butter and salt.  Sometimes I add chunks of ham for a little flavor.

Me:  No, I’ve tried that, too and they don’t taste the same.  Maybe it’s the brand of string beans you use.  What brand is it?

Mom Mom:  I just buy the A&P brand.  (Back in the day, that was Safeway’s store brand.)

Me:  Jeesh, well, I don’t know why I can’t get them to taste as good as yours do!

Mom Mom:  *looks at me puzzled*  What?!  You can’t cook string beans?!

Hilarious!  She thought I was a complete idiot.  Stand in line and join the club, Mom Mom.  I’m not a moron in the kitchen, but I just don’t have her magic touch.  I love and miss you dearly, Mom Mom!  My heart aches and my stomach grumbles an “I miss you, too!” every holiday.

Mike & Carol as Dick & Jane

26 Oct

Oct 26, 2009

Mike & Carol

Since I have no time to type about the past 3 weeks of my life, I have decided to summarize in classic “Dick & Jane” form. 

See Carol.

See Carol cough.

See Jaxon.

See Jaxon with a fever.

See Leila.

See Leila’s snotty nose.

See Phoebe.

See Phoebe cry.

See Phoebe grow teeth.

See Phoebe grow teeth and catch the flu.

See Jaxon cough.

See Doctor.

See Doctor 4 times in one week.

See Doctor charge Mike & Carol a lot of money.

See Doctor try to give Leila shots.

See Leila scream.

See Doctor say, “Leila has the flu, Phoebe has the flu, Jaxon has pneumonia.”

See Carol moan and cry.

See Phoebe awake.

See Phoebe awake and screaming.

See Phoebe awake and screaming for 5 nights in a row.

See Carol moan and cry some more.

See Carol cough and blow nose.

See Carol get the flu.

See Carol want to run away from viral ridden home.

Run, Carol, run!

See Carol try to clean her home.

See Carol sleep instead.

See Jax, Leila, Phoebe and Carol blow their nose simultaneously.

See Carol tell Mike that she does not want him to fly to California for a softball tournament.

See Carol beg.

See Carol beg Mike to stay home and help his diseased family.

See Mike not get on a plane.

See Mike pissed.

In memory of Pooh Bear

4 Sep

Sep 4, 2009

In Memory of Pooh Bear


Pooh Bear was Jaxon’s 2nd birthday gift.  After being puked on, peed on, and pooped on the entire 2 hour drive from the breeder’s, Pooh Bear finally made it home.  Welcome home, baby! Now… I need a shower!

During his first year, Pooh was never without a pillow.  I can’t tell you how many he ripped to shreds and from which he drug the stuffing all over the house and the yard, but it was many… many, many, many!

Jaxon instantly loved the idea of having a brother around.

And Pooh seemed to like his new brother, too.  He was always so gentle with Jax.

He was my little-BIG-baby!  Whenever I was on the couch he was in my lap or laying on my chest.  As he grew, I felt more and more as though my ribs would collapse under his weight, but I let him nap there anyway.

Pooh Bear loved bath time and would come bouncing down the hall with his tail wagging when he heard the tub water running.

What a face!


Pooh’s favorite spot in the world… the purple couch! (Yes, I had a purple velvet couch!  It was a relic collecting dust in my grandmother’s house that I reupholstered in purple velvet.  I was eco-friendly before it was cool… but, back then it was called poor.)

*sing-song* People let me tell you ’bout my b-e-s-t friend…



Growing, handsome, and curious!  (and in case you are curious… that is a pile of laundry waiting to be folding on the loveseat… it’s folded now!)

Pooh Bear’s first Halloween!  He went trick or treating with us every year!  He usually dressed up as a pumpkin or a glow in the dark skeleton and one year, when Jax went as a cowboy, Pooh went as his horse.   People would hand out candy to the kids and then they would notice Pooh all dressed up and say, “My goodness!  Well, I must have something in here for him, too!  Hold on a minute.  I’ll be right back!”  And then they’d give Pooh one of their dogs bones or doggie treats.

Going for a ride!  By the time we would get anywhere, Jaxon’s head would be soaking wet!  Ewww… sorry, Jax!

Pooh Bear eating his first birthday cake!  I made him a doggie cake out of a can of wet dog food and dry kibble for decoration with with a chew stick on top as a candle.  It was just what he wanted!

Pooh thought that snow was awesome… and tasted great, too!

My mother painted this potrait of Pooh.  More than ever, I’m thankful that she did!  You can almost touch him!

Leila meets Pooh!  Again, he’s my kid loving, gentle giant!

She’d crawl to him and sit in his lap(?).

And he’d gently hold her.

She always had to be near him.

But he didn’t mind because she shared.

And he’d let her play doctor with him.  “How do my ears look?”

He always got a cow for Christmas and Easter!  It was his thing.  “Go get your cow, Pooh Bear!  Where’s your cow?”

Playing tag!  I’m not sure who was chasing who.

Umm, the pumpkin costume doesn’t fit anymore, mom!

I’m so glad that Phoebe got to meet Pooh Bear!  I know she won’t remember it, but I will!

I’ll miss you, baby!  I’ll miss you with all of my heart! I’m sorry if I didn’t give you as much attention these last few months.  It was soooo hard to hear you whimper every time you stood up.  I’ll never know if I did the right thing and I will always feel guilty, but please know that I loved you… you were everything to me… much, much more than a pet… just so much more *wiping tears from eyes*

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