Thursday, December 30, 2010

Through the eyes of a child...

I often tell myself that I need to take a step back and look at life and the events within it, like a child does. That innocence, cleanliness, and pure thought process they have is priceless.

As most of you know, Malakai recently had a birthday. My baby turned 6. More to come on that later. Anyway, a few weeks before his party, he was taking a shower, and I heard him calling for me. I went in there and he says "Mom, don't forget to send an invitation to Connor. Do you know the address to Heaven?" Immediately, my heart sunk. All the times Josh and I wonder if how or what he thinks about the whole situation, then he says something like that. Out of the clear blue. I mean, he talks about Connor all the time, and he prays to him every evening, and every evening he asks him to make sure he watches over Charleen, Lonnie, and Anna (Connor's parents and sister). But the fact that he is such at peace with the loss of his best-friend just melts my heart. It's like he doesn't even question it...he accepts where Connor is.

So, after some discussion, we decided we were going to attach a birthday invitation to a balloon and release it to Connor in Heaven. It was such a beautiful moment.

On the morning of Malakai's party, we got our first big snow of the season. I wasn't even awake before the emails and phone messages started with people that weren't going to be able to make it. Which I totally understood...I was just really emotional for some reason. Then I got a text message from one of my besties, Melissa, and she tells me "looks like the snow is Malakai's present from Connor." Duh! Why didn't I think of that! Of course it was!
It turned out being a great day, and Malakai is truly blessed with all the people he has that care about him in his life.
More to come regarding birthday celebrations...I want to spread them out :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fall Fun

I realize it is almost Christmas, however, I couldn't not do a post about our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. We managed to fit it in before I left for Boston.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Christmas List

I enjoyed so much reading my friends' Christmas lists, that I thought I would create one of my own. Some practical, some not so practical...but it's my list and I can put on it what I wish. I suck at buying things for myself! Josh and I don't even exchange gifts...we just fill a stocking for each other. The point is not to spend a lot of money, but make it thoughtful...he just loves it ;)

1. A kindle...or any e-reader. I am sure I am the only person on the planet who doesn't have one of these, I just can't bring myself to spend the money. I don't mind books...I just think it would be more convenient.

2. A curling Rod...When I was in Boston, one of the girls' did a demo of this thing in class and it was amazing! Love it!

3. My nephew Alex to know who I am and to know his cousins...they just adore him!

4. New Sunglasses! My Ed Hardy's finally broke...but I can't find any I "love" yet :( Actually, I am just waiting on Colleen to pick my next pair out for me since she did such a fabulous job on the last 2...

5. A Cricut. Again, something I have wanted forever...

6. Ballroom dancing lessons

7. A tropical vacation with just Josh

8. A $1000 gift certificate to Sephora...I need everything!

9. Josh to spend a week in my shoes at work. I don't think he really has a clue as to what I do all day. I think he would find it interesting :)

10. Plastic Surgery...the end.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful and Blessed

Two words I have thought a lot about lately. I can honestly say that I am so thankful for everyone and everything in my life and I couldn't be any more blessed. Even with a random, very short-lived stomach bug sweeping through the house, affecting us and our guests at different times, we still had a perfect holiday.

Usually Josh and I go to Kansas City for Thanksgiving, especially since we don't go home for Christmas. However, things got flipped around this year and my dad, Lisa, Kiera, Grandma and Grandpa ended up coming to St. Louis. All stayed at our house, and I was in heaven hosting. Everyone got here Wednesday night and we spent the evening just catching up. My grandpa and I made a big breakfast Thursday and none of us got out of our PJ's ALL day. I ordered our dinner from Dierbergs, but this did not mean NO work. I still had to heat everything up ;) Dinner was DELICIOUS!! I would HIGHLY recommend it. As much as I love to cook, I did not want to spend ALL day in the kitchen and miss out on the opportunity to visit with family whom I don't see enough as it is. We ended the evening with some board games and wine next to the fire. It was devine.

After a full day of looking through ads, there was NOTHING that I needed or wanted that was worth fighting for this year. However, Lisa, Grandma, and I still got up and got to Target when it opened. By the time we got in there, the line to check out was FOREVER long and there was no way I was standing in it. So, we went to the cafe, ordered a coffee, and people-watched for over an hour. Very entertaining! We never did buy anything...I did do some online shopping that evening.

Even though we were missing a lot of family this year, having a few around is better than none. I don't have ANY pictures to share, so I'm hoping that Lisa will have a few. I have been AWFUL with picture taking lately! Here are a few...just not from this weekend.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Just a fare warning, you are going to see some pretty OLD blogs pretty soon. I still have some updating to do from September and October, that I don't want to be left out of my blog book :)



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's that time of year...

You know what I'm talking about! I know all of you are thinking about what you are going to do for your Christmas/Holiday cards this year. Were you able to capture that perfect picture? Are you running around taking pictures like a mad woman/man still trying to get that perfect picture?

The question is...what do you do once you get it? There are a TON of photo sites available to get your adorable cards from. I don't know about you, but I go for the WOW factor. I want people to open my Holiday Card and say "OMG! How stinking cute!" or "How freakin adorable!" There is one site that I feel delivers these type of cards and that would be....drumroll please....

The one and only SHUTTERFLY!!! I have been uploading my pictures to shutterfly for about 6 years now. I have ordered everything from photobooks, to thank-you cards to t-shirts!

Take a look at some of the cards from Miller Family History :) You can pick your own for 2010 by clicking right HERE!!!!

No sneak peak for what I have chosen this will just have to wait till you receive yours through snail mail :)

I will tell you though, that I will also be getting some of the ADORABLE gift tags. There are so many designs to choose from and they add a nice personal touch to your gifts. You can find all the options Shutterfly has to offer right HERE!!!! These are a few of my favorites :)

And last, but definitely not least, why not get some of your gift shopping out of the way while you are visiting!!! People SWEAR that the best gifts that they ever receive are THESE photo calendars! They are perfect for grandparents and out-of-town relatives! I usually follow the same rule every year. I will make a 2011 calendar and the January picture will have been taken in Jan 2010, the Feb picture will have been taken in Feb 2010 and so on. That way it is easy to see how the kids have grown throughout the year :)

This year I plan on trying the Calendar Poster so J can hang it in his office :)

So head on over to and check out all the fabulous gifts they have to offer. Remember, photos last a lifetime!!
If you are interested in getting 50 free photo cards, just check out THIS LINK!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I'm Baaaaaack! Yay! I actually missed cooking while I was gone...what is wrong with me? Here is my menu for the week. As always I am going for a quick/easy menu week since it is filled with activities. I am linked to

Monday: Beef and Bean Taco Casserole

Tuesday: Chicken and Broccoli Fettucini Alfredo

Wednesday: Alphabet Pot Roast

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
Surprise Pancakes
Crockpot Apples
Sausage Links

Friday: Volleyball Night...dinner out :)

Saturday: Upside down Pizza Casserole

1.5 lbs lean ground beef

1 (15 oz) can Italian-style tomato sauce

1.5 C shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1 (10 oz) pkg refrigerated biscuits

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, cook ground beef until brown; drain. Stir in tomato sauce; heat through. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Flatten each biscuit with your hand; arrange biscuits on top of cheese. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until biscuits are golden. Yields 5 servings.


I hope everyone has a great week!!



Thursday, October 28, 2010

Secrets of Happy Moms?

I have to say that I have learned a lot since I became a mother 5 1/2 years ago. One of the biggest things I have learned is not to sweat the small stuff! Life is way too short. I pick my battles, when something doesn't go as planned, I try not let it ruin my day. If Leila wants to wear her tutu and rain boots to Malakai's soccer game (which she did last weekend) whatever. Who is it hurting? It makes her happy and it isn't going against any moral parenting beliefs I have, so be it. If Josh forgets to tell me he has to work late, when I am expecting him to be somewhere with us that sucks! But, does anyone really benefit from me being so pissed about it I can't even enjoy an evening with my children, who are not stupid and will be totally effected by the fact I am in a bad mood. Am I still guilty of this...yes? However, I am aware of it now and do a much better job of putting myself in check.

I learned throughout the years, and I've said it many times before, that I (the mother) set the mood for the entire house. That's a lot of pressure for one person!! But it is so true...If I am unhappy, grouchy, annoyed, etc. so will the rest of my house. Now this doesn't mean I'm never allowed to feel like this, but I just make a more conscience effort of evaluating the reason that is making me feel this way and asking it really worth it?

I will be the first one to say that I am FAR from perfect....what is perfect when it comes to parenting anyway? I think one of the biggest steps I have taken is I have stopped comparing myself to others. Who cares! My social anxiety still has A LOT of work to be done on!! I have HORRIBLE OCD when it comes to things being done a certain way which constantly interferes with my parenting. What can I say, I'm a constant work in progress...

What sparked this? I came across an article written by about the secrets of happy moms that I would like to share with you below. She makes some great points!! It kind of annoys me how she uses the term "Smart Mom" but oh well :)

I've added a few of my own little comments along the way....

Have you ever noticed how some Moms seem to be very contented and confident in their role as Mothers, and others seem chronically stressed and approaching burnout? Why are some Moms unflappable and able to keep their sense of humor, while others overreact to the slightest stressors in their day?

I’m currently observing and interviewing these happy Moms as I conduct research for an upcoming book. While all Moms are different, these women usually have several of the following traits in common.

1) They keep it simple.

I know one Mom who grocery shops every two weeks and buys the exact same thing every time to prepare the same menu of 14 dinners. Why does she do this? She’s picked the family’s favorite meals for her menu to save herself time and arguments at the dinner table. Anyone with kids knows they like to eat the same things over and over! This Mom has decided not to reinvent the wheel twice a month. This is just one example of keeping it simple.

2) They teach their kids to be independent.

This doesn’t mean they leave them to their own devices all day. But a smart Mom knows that a 2 year old can put a dish in the dishwasher, a 4 year old can prepare his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and a 7 year old can sweep a floor (albeit imperfectly!). Call it “outsourcing” for Moms.

Ummm, the thought of Malakai making his own sandwich gives me anxiety...definitely could work on this step...I totally have the thought of it is easier if I just do it....probably why he can't tie his shoes ;)

3) They drop the SuperMom complex.

Not sweating the small stuff seems to be a common trait of happy Moms. They learn to pick their battles. Getting buckled into a car seat? Not negotiable. Pink paisley pants with the orange plaid shirt? Fashion creativity.

Happy Moms also realize that being an awesome Mom doesn’t mean being a perfect Mom. ‘Nuff said.

4) They can often be overheard repeating the phrase “This too shall pass”.

It doesn’t mean that bothersome behavior in kids should be overlooked, for discipline is a huge time saver in the end. It means that Moms realize that children are…well, uncivilized creatures, and that much uncivilized behavior will simply go away on its own as the child matures. Smart Moms are also keenly aware of their child’s development and don’t expect more of them than they are able to give.

Doesn't really make a 2 year old temper tantrum in the middle of Target any more easier to get through...

5) Smart Moms take care of themselves.

They don’t blame the baby for their extra weight when the baby in question is potty trained! They put emphasis on good nutrition, avoiding too much by way of stimulants (caffeine, sugar), they get adequate rest, and daily exercise. They realize that you can’t pour from an empty bucket.

I least the caffeine part...and the adequate rest part...I guess I have the exercise going for me :)

6) They live in the moment.

Happy Moms realize that the days are long but the years short. It’s not that they are impervious to stress, it’s that they have learned to lower their expectations and be in the moment when things get difficult. When your toddler is puking all over the house, this is not the time to reorganize the hall closet. A sick day then turns into a time to create sweet memories of hours spent reading and cuddling on the couch.

Work in progress...

7) They don’t worry about what others think.

Whether it’s the disapproving glare from the old lady in the checkout line, the Mother in law who is convinced you’re starving the baby by breastfeeding, or the Pediatrician whose medical advice strays into parenting advice, happy Moms learn not to give too much weight to the opinions of those who don’t live in their home.

In other words, they trust their instincts.

Whether it’s taking the baby to bed with them so they can get more sleep or taking a bullied child out of public school, smart Moms know that they are the expert of their own babies.

9) Happy Moms have “something else”

It may be a part time home based business or a hobby like belly dancing. These Moms know that some day their babies will fly the coop, and they make sure they have a passion that will give them purpose when that happens.

I'm pretty good at this one...

So, I would LOVE to hear your opinions :)


Monday, October 25, 2010

Wonderful Weekend + Small Confession

What a fabulous 36hrs I had at home this past weekend! I didn't turn my cell-phone on and I just soaked up the time with Josh and my babies. My mom is also in town, so I even got to squeeze in some quality time with her.

Unfortunately, Josh had to work ALL day on Saturday, but the rest of us had a perfect day filled with soccer, gorgeous weather, eating dinner on the deck, and playing outside. When Josh got off, we all spent the evening with my fabulous friend Charlene and her beautiful daughter Anna (who for a 2nd grader had amazing patience with Leila) at the St. Paul Trunk or Treat. We all had such a great time! I promise there will be pictures to add once I get back in town.

Now for my confession....

I love business travel. Now, I’m lucky that my need to travel for business is very rare. In fact, once or twice a year is about all it calls for. Which is why I don't feel AS guilty for the need to confess.

When I am traveling on company business, I’m not a mommy. I am Karissa. I am a highly-respected colleague. I am a contributor to a team. I am a problem-solver, a solution provider, and a subject matter expert. I feel like I’m Super-Woman instead of Super-Mom.

The “Mom” in me is put on the shelf for a few days. I don’t have to juggle. I don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner. I don’t have to wipe any butts. Business travel is a luxurious break from my day-to-day reality.

I can have room service every night. I can eat cheesecake for dinner and drink a little more than I should — and not have to worry that a crazy 2 and 5 year old will be waking me before the sun rises.

I can sleep for only 5 hours each night but feel more rested than when I sleep for 7.5 at home.

The airport doesn't stress me out and my anxiety levels while traveling are at an all-time low. I don't have to worry about anyone but myself, I am on no ones schedule but my own. It’s so nice to only be worried about leaving enough time to drop off the rental car.

When I flew in on Friday night, I was greeted by HUGE smiles and two children sprinting towards me for a big bear-hug. For a split-second, I think that maybe I should travel more so that I get a greeting that like more often.

As much as I love being away on business travel, nothing beats the feeling of coming home.



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

10 things I did in Boston....

1. Rode the Subway for the first time EVER!!

2. Toured Harvard! This wasn't really on the top the list of things to do, but everyone insisted that we needed to do it. I am SO glad we did! There were so many interesting facts regarding the campus and the buildings. SUPER COOL!

3. Visited and ate at Cheers! There are two locations in Boston. We ate at one and drank a beer at the other.

4. Partially walked the Freedom Trail. Melissa did the entire Freedom Trail on Friday while I was in class. However, I did see it and walked along it for a little bit while headed to other places. I think that counts :)

5. Sat at the bar and ate oysters at The Union Oyster House. This restaurant is known as the OLDEST restaurant in continuous service in the US! We became friends with the workers at the Raw Bar who were very entertaining! Jimmy is the one shown below. Melissa got a good picture of them together, but I didn't so I pulled this one off the web :)

6. Walked into The Bell in Hand Tavern. We didn't stay here long because it was CRAZY busy and filled with 21 year olds. We wanted to see it though. The Bell in Hand is the oldest, continuously, operating Tavern! Daniel Webster, Paul Revere, and William McKinley were known to frequently visit the tavern and the only time it ever closed was during Prohibition!!

7. Next stop...The Green Dragon. Established in 1654 The Green Dragon was a favorite haunt of Paul Revere and John Hancock (who’s brother lived next door!).

8. Last but not least, Durty Nelly's. This place wasn't even on our list, but our friends at the Oyster House recommended we stop by there. So glad we did! It was filled with locals and was such a quaint little bar. On the website is says "Overflowing with Irish charm and hospitality, this is just the place to take a break from a hectic day or spend the night with good friends passing away the hours in great conversation." This describes it PERFECTLY!

9. SALEM!!!!!! So cool!! Obviously we couldn't have asked for a better time of year to be there. The place was just jumping! We walked the cute cobblestone streets and went in all the witch-craft shops. The street performers were super-cool as well. Again, no pics since I can't get them off my camera :(

10. The Salem Witch Museum. This gave us a lot of history on the witch trials. Pretty cool!

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend!!! Thanks Melissa!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm not even sure what the date is...

I am SOOOOOO tired!! Which means, this blog is probably going to lack a lot of creative writing. I hope to replace it with pictures :)

I had a GREAT weekend discovering Boston this past weekend with my girlfriend Melissa. I will update you on those events with my Ten on Tuesday tomorrow....ooohhh, the anticipation. Ha Ha...not really, most of you saw a lot of the pics on facebook.

Here are some pics of the kiddos and their adventures throughout the week :)

May the force be with you....

Aunt/Grandma Suzy with all the kids while the mom's drink Margaritas...thank goodness for DS!

Lego Dragon...


Malakai and Poppy

Stunt Car Show...

Notice the earplugs...good thinking Tutu

Leila at the Zoo..

They built a Halloween Candy House...


Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 5...a little late

My days are filled with classes! When I'm not at class, I am still working! It's been crazy, but I am SO looking forward to the weekend!

My girlfriend Melissa flew in today, and we are SO ready to explore Boston! Tonight was pretty quiet since she had quite the adventure. Her flight left STL at 6:15am, she got to Boston and the luggage was backed up so she missed her reserved ride to the hotel!!! So, what does she do? Hops on the Silver Bus, takes it to the Commuter Rail, and many hours later she ended up at the correct station in Westborough. I picked her up when I got out of class and there she was...sitting outside the station with her luggage, reading Harry Potter :) Totally chill!!! We both agree that when you have kids, traveling without them is a BREEZE!!! When your on no one elses schedule but your own, your golden.

Since she had a long day of traveling, we went to dinner and headed back to the hotel for some wine and Greys Anatomy.

Malakai's flight to Orlando was this morning and he made it safe and sound. My mother-in-law also made it to St. Louis and Leila is having a GRAND time with her.

Here are some pics I have received on my phone today :)

Orlando or Bust!

Amazed by the Clouds :)

Lego Land!

She is Crazy!

Till next time!