We’ve Moved!

27 Jun

Hi awesome people. On Monday I launched Uncovering Bliss. I’ll be importing everything on Bringing Up Bronwyn over to that site at some point.

I would appreciate it if you would follow me over to my new venture, and thank you for the support over the last 2 years, whether or not I was regularly writing.

See ya on the other side.


Hi! I know it’s been FOREVER. And instead of vomiting all over the page I thought I’d share something slightly disturbing.

Last weekend the hubs, Bronwyn and I went to BerryFest in Roseville. It’s a Strawberry Festival which included a kid’s fun zone. I saw a giant inflatable slide and thought “Bronwyn would love that”. Until I saw its theme.



Let’s just say there was no sliding for us. I refuse to let my child play on something symbolizing that much death and destruction.

What’s the most inappropriate item geared towards kids you have come across? And am I being over-sensitive, or was my reaction justified?

Growing up, I remember a book that my Mom had called All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.  I’m sure everybody’s Mom had it back then, it was a pretty popular book. At its core it reminds us that all life lessons rooted from Kindergarten.

Be kind to others.


Don’t pick your nose in public.

Try to stay in the lines for the most part, but if you color outside occasionally, it is ok.


To me the overall message seems like, life is simple, enjoy the small things, don’t sweat things too much, because after nap time all will most likely be forgotten. Have you ever seen two young kids arguing one minute, and laughing together the next? Most kids don’t hold grudges. As adults we really do have so many lessons we can learn from kids. I think that is one of the secret benefits of being a parent. Those lessons are thrust in our face on a daily basis.

The other great thing about kindergartners is that one wrong decision doesn’t have to determine the outcome of their life. A bully can learn to apologize and be a kinder gentler person. The bad traits aren’t so deeply ingrained and woven into their personality yet. A shy kid can make one new friend that brings out the inner version of them for the world to see. Maybe that new friend gives them just enough bravery and self-confidence that the next time they don’t feel so shy. Life is open and exciting.

Adults are so quick to allow the path they are already on decide everything. We fear that if we step off the path we are already on, no matter how broken that path is, we won’t find a new path.  Kids ignore the path. They hop, skip, leap around until they find a place they are happy.  When do we lose this?

As an awkward adult, I may need to take remedial kindergarten. I think I missed the day of school where they taught us how to make and keep friendships, and not take life so seriously. I almost always feel like it is the first day of school and I’m trying to impress people, make them like me. Instead of just being me and knowing that someone will relate. I get so stuck on my past indiscretions and awkward moments that they bog me down the next time, and it becomes an endless cycle of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My path is bumpy and I think it is time to start forging a new one. Not far from this one, maybe right next-door.

Or maybe I’ll just go back to kindergarten.

This is FINALLY my 100th post. Yes, that took forever. I’m just excited to hit 100!



To Kate:

4 Jan

I have a friend. Her name is Kate. She is a bright spot among the world. She knows how to fight for what is right, not only for her, but for those around her. She has a way of squinting her eyes when she smiles. She has a laugh unlike any I have heard. It is glorious. It is a joyful laugh. It comes from the deep recesses of her belly. Not unlike those laughs I hear from my daughter, the laughs I relish.

I have a friend. Her name is Kate. A week ago she went out with her family. Her husband, her brother-in-laws, her daughter, her mother-in-law. Things did not go well.

I have a friend. Her name is Kate. She went up in a small plane. Piloted by someone close. Something happened. The plane crashed. Thankfully the pilot, her brother-in-law, was able to get the plane to the ground sparing all four lives. However, when the engine quit there was only so much he could control.

Kate is laying in a hospital ever the fighter. Healing. Recovering. Rebuilding.

This week I received news about a friend. A friend I met through twitter and social media, but a friend that became a real life friend. Someone who I got to share laughs with, exchange stories, and enjoy company with. A friend that not only attended my daughter’s first birthday party, but was kind enough to photograph, without me asking. The news I received shook me to my core. I knew she had been at an airport, family enjoying a plane rental, piloted by the capable hands of her brother-in-law. But no one could have foreshadowed an engine quitting mid-flight.

As the front passenger, she sustained the worst of the injuries. The pilot, broke his neck, but miraculously they both survived, along with her husband and other brother-in-law. Her daughter was not in the plane.

Kate used to live in the Sacramento area. That is how we became friends. She moved far away, and I have missed her, but not as much as I miss her now. Knowing she is in a hospital room, so far away. Fighting.

All the news from family and close friends has been uplifting, yet I am awake late into the night thinking about Kate. Kate will fight this. She will survive, and heal. Even knowing the extent of her injuries. Brain bleed. Lacerated kidneys, spleen, and liver. Broken radius and ulna. Fractured hip. Fighting infections in her leads and lines. I know that she will heal at my core, but I can’t shake the wakeup call it has imprinted upon me.

I have always worried about what would happen to my family, Bronwyn and Steven if something so sudden occurred. I have done my best to be sure they would be ok on a survival sense, physically, monetarily, but emotionally? What can I do to protect emotions?

My only answer is to be in the moment. Present. Aware. Because I never know if that moment may be my last with them. It is something I struggle with, but if I am struggling, I know I am trying. Because all I can leave them with is a sense of love. I know this love is what is getting Kate’s daughter, who is younger than Bronwyn, through. Kate set her up to love family. That family is taking care of her daughter now.

If you know Kate, from twitter or elsewhere, or if you just want to help, please leave a comment. I’m purposefully not publishing her twitter name, or linking to the story, or naming current locations etc to help protect Kate and her family, but I know her husband wants her story shared. I have the information, as do others who know her, about how to donate, all anonymously to her relief fund.

My only other call to action is for prayer. And if you don’t believe in prayer please send good thoughts, vibes, and best wishes through the universe. Kate will receive them all.

I have been hearing around the interwebz a lot of people talking about their one word. The one word they want the new year to encompass.


It got a great start yesterday. Bronwyn hasn’t been napping well on the weekends, but yesterday she went down without a fight. We had a great morning and when naptime arrived she laid down, looked at a book, and went to sleep.

At this point I picked up the copy of The Hunger Games  I had purchased that day, crawled into bed, sipped on mimosas and played music on my awesome new iHome that you can dock your iPhone/iPod. I laid there among the music and soaked up the words.

I had not sat and read a book in ages. Longer than I could remember. Especially one with real pages and not just electronic words on a screen. Feeling the crisp paper turn under my fingers was like coming home.


While I relaxed, and read, and sipped a mimosa, I realized in that moment I was the happiest I had been in ages. And it was all within reach. I did not have to go on an immense soul-searching journey. My family was in the house, husband relaxing in the living room, tot napping, me reading, and realizing we were all taking a moment to recharge ourselves. I even dozed off for a few minutes.


I awoke to Bronwyn making sounds over the monitor and walked into her room, to the happiest little girl.  She wasn’t trying to escape her crib as she usually does, which reminds me that we’ll be doing the big girl bed transition any day now. The joy just radiated off of her.  She was laying in her crib, just humming and singing. She got up and was in such a good mood.


Steven and I got Bronwyn bundled up and put on her helmet. We gave her the Radio Flyer trike for Christmas. Finally big enough to really run and climb, we pushed her to the park.  She wanted to swing, and they have the swing seats for the little ones, and the regular swing seats adjacent. Steven pushed Bronwyn up high, like she likes it and I started pumping my legs on the bigger swing. Exhilaration, bliss, happiness is what I felt again in that moment. Hearing the deep belly laughs of my little girl right next to me as she yelled “Higher, Mama, Higher!” Feeling freedom in that moment. Once again such a simple moment brought me such great joy.


Along with a word for a year I have found my anthem. My song for the year.

I had heard snippets of the lyric “But it’s always darkest before the dawn.”  I bought the whole album and was so pleased. Florence’s haunting vocal sound and these words are just what I needed to hear.

I would love to hear all of your words or anthems for the year, live a link in your comment if you’ve written about it, or just share here!

“Shake It Out”

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to playAnd every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues strong
It’s always darkest before the dawnAnd I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse aroundAll of these questions, such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues strong
But it’s always darkest before the dawnShake it up, shake it out, shake it up, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it up, shake it out, shake it up, shake it out, ooh woaaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
Cause I like to keep my issues strong
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a fine romance but it’s left me so undone
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Oh woah, oh woah…

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark and right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, for the devil in me
Looking for heaven, for the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

A New Year Upon Us

30 Dec

As 2011 winds down to a close and 2012 starts to peek out from the horizon my nature is to get introspective. Thoughtful, deep, and contemplative. But I don’t have much to think about. At work someone posed a question on a whiteboard. They asked us to name the most memorable part of 2011. I couldn’t think of anything. While there have been wonderful moments, hard moments, challenges, joys, sadness, and every other emotion you can think of, nothing stood out exponentially.

This made me a bit sad. Yes, seeing Bronwyn’s joy brought me immense happiness, or having a great date night with my husband was fun, or etc etc etc, nothing STOOD OUT.

This is my greatest regret for 2011. However this may just be a natural consequence of not having a huge life-changing event for the first time in a long time.

2005- my life turned upside-down, and then right-side up again when I met my future husband late in the year (maybe someday I’ll write about this year in my life, it’s a rabbit hole that I don’t know if I will ever be prepared to fully explore).

2006- fresh into a whirlwind romance, but plagued with health troubles culminating with being diagnosed with a faulty gallbladder the night before Christmas Eve (oh yeah, after an ER doc earlier in the year told me I was wasting his time, the one who didn’t find the 9mm gallstone at the neck of my gallbladder). Started speaking with my family again after we had a falling out, my older sister got married and probably the biggest factor was my last remaining (and the one I was closest with) grandmother passed away.

2007- fresh off gallbladder surgery, I headed off to Hawaii for the first time 6 days post-op, yes for reals. I got engaged in Hawaii, setting off a year + of wedding planning and settling into my new role as fiancée. We moved into a new apartment shortly after coming back from Hawaii.  Oh and I started a brand new career in an entirely new field.

2008- the BIG one. In the midst of wedding planning we decided to oh BUY A HOUSE. Yeah that would do wonders for one’s stress levels. After a lengthy delayed closing we had ONE day to move. Keys acquired April 29th late, and we had to vacate our apartment April 30th. Oh and in August we got married, no big deal. If that wasn’t enough of a roller coaster of excitement we decided to adopt a dog one month after marriage.

2009- rolled in with a bang. We had a fab time celebrating new years. We made big plans to start working on a family in May of 2010. Planned trips to San Francisco, Las Vegas, and San Diego. Realized after a wild Cinco de Mayo our family planning was off by a year and we were pregnant a full year ahead of schedule, shortly after Steven turned 30 and I turned 28. We were 6 weeks pregnant and due in late January 2010. Spent the rest of 2009 growing a human, while attending my 10-year high school reunion, celebrating our first wedding anniversary with my parents (we were visiting them for my reunion so we had a great dinner out with them that night), and everything else to prepare a small human to enter your world.

2010- HAD A BABY. Stressed the eff out over a natural/not-natural birth/breastfeeding/formula ETC ETC ETC. After a traumatic birth I returned to work and had a traumatic pumping/breastfeeding saga. But really? HAD A BABY is probably enough to explain 2010. Oh yeah and I hosted my Mother-In-Law for 5 weeks (with a 5-6 month old) (the first time I had met her) and my Brother-in-Law and his wife for the first time for 4 weeks at the end of the year.

2011-???? I can’t think of a single thing that was as monumentally life-changing as the above events. I didn’t lose a body part, gain a new relationship, have anyone close die. It’s like I don’t know what to do with myself without an insane amount of stress going on.

Now that I have laid it all out there maybe not having a memorable moment it is not a regret. This was year I started taking back little pieces of me. I don’t exactly know who I am after all that has transpired in the past few years. Would anyone after 7 years of insanity after insanity? I picked up a dSLR at the end of 2010. I’ve started learning about photography and plan on exploring this as a hobby for a long time to come. I have started realizing that whether I’m blogging regularly, writing is an essential life function. For me it is like breathing or eating. I need to do it. I crave the act.

I have a new project in the works, in my head, that I am not ready to share all of, but at the core will facilitate bringing out the me that is buried under all the roles that I hold. It is something I can’t wait to share with everyone, but I need to flush it all out and bring it to fruition first.

I’m looking forward to what 2012 might bring and my only wish for now is that YOU might go on the crazy journey with me. Because although 2011 may have been mundane, my history proves that this is the outlier, and excitement is burgeoning on the horizon. Lets do this together.

Thanks to Duncan Hines for sponsoring my writing. There’s no limit to the baking possibilities, so grab your favorite Duncan Hines mix and Comstock or Wilderness fruit fillings and Bake On! www.duncanhines.com.

Once upon a time Girls’ Night In had a completely different meaning for me. It meant drinking games and gossip, pulling pranks and talking about boys. Now I find myself looking forward to a whole new kind of Girl’s Night In. Filled with Christmas classic movies and baking. And with a little helper instead of my sorority sisters or best girlfriends. One thing remains constant though. Camaraderie and laughter will continue. And I know these nights will bond Bronwyn and I for years to come.

Tradition is very important to me, but as I grow up with the family I have created I find myself creating some new traditions. But bringing some of the old right along. My Mom gave me a great love for old movies. The classics. I really hope as Bronwyn gets older she loves them as much as I do. I cannot wait for her to be old enough to appreciate Holiday Inn and now you see why I put In(n) in the title, wink wink, and White Christmas. There is something about Bing Crosby that just screams Christmas. Right around this time every year those movies, starring Bing, were on repeat on the VCR and on Christmas Eve, Bing was on the record player. Not CD, not cassette, on a turntable.

It will be a few years before Bronwyn is ready for these movies, but there are a whole slew of classics to brainwash expose Bronwyn to in the meantime. This weekend will be full of A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (ahem the 1966 animated version, as if I would even entertain the notion of a ::cough:: remake with Jim Carrey or somebody), and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1948).

If you ask me now what Girls’ Night In means, I’ll ask you to pass me the eggnog while I bake Snowman Cakes (I just remembered I bought the cake tins last year on clearance), build a Gingerbread House with Bronwyn, and snuggle up with her to watch my favorite Christmas Classics.

What are your favorite holiday movies? I would love some suggestions to help create this new tradition with my best girl.

Remember to check out Duncan Hines’ website www.duncanhines.com to find some great recipes for your holiday get-together! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.

I have found the cure to “the funk”, it is outright ANGER. It is your ideals and utmost core beliefs being challenged. Today that happened.

My mama taught me some really good advice. Religion and politics have no place in polite conversation. I try to abide by this even within the blurry lines of online communication. I bite my tongue when I don’t have anything nice to say. I stick up for what I believe in WHEN, AND ONLY WHEN, I can do so in a respectful manner. On the few places my “political affiliation” is requested, I often make a tongue in cheek remark about being a “cynic.”

If I don’t feel 100% sure in my beliefs, I hold back. Because I will not, and cannot, allow myself to be caught up in a fight that is not my fight. For the record? Fiscally conservative, socially liberal. That fiscal conservatism is pretty damn conservative. That social liberalism, pretty DAMN liberal. I am a woman of converse beliefs. And I will fight to the death for them. And this is the FIRST time I have laid it all out there. I’m so willing to lay it on the line I’m about to reveal that I voted for Bush. Two times. In a row. That is what happens when someone tries to rock your beliefs. All of a sudden you want to shout them from the (excuse my French and frankness) MotherFuckingRooftops.

So you are probably asking yourself right now, what could have possibly brought this out in Eileen. If I hadn’t lived today, I’d be asking myself the very same thing.

It all started with a post my friend from Tara Bites Back posted on her personal Facebook page. It was an AHMAZING editorial from the Huffington Post. It was titled My Gay Lifestyle. Please read it. Or the rest of this post may not make much sense. I found it a completely amusing satirical editorial on the state of affairs of Gay rights and culture. I posted it to my personal (not blog) Facebook page with the commentary of “Giggle giggle. Love this little piece of satire.” I posted it with the “satire” disclaimer only because I KNOW people follow me on Facebook that do not share my liberal social beliefs. I often think twice, although I should not, about these sorts of topics because of those people. I won’t name them, but I can rattle off easily the exact people I know do not agree with certain beliefs I have, and that causes me to hold back sometimes. Or put disclaimers on things I post. That will be no more.

The response I got from a High School classmate was for me linking the editorial was, and yes I quote, “yuck.”

I will not use all of the expletives that went through my head when I read this. There was a subsequent conversation between friends of mine and this person that further proved that the person meant their ignorant and hateful comment in exactly the method I was afraid it meant. They then proceeded to say further rude things. They’ve been DELETED since this.

Later, since I had made this link and post public, someone else decided to expand upon “yuck” with a “this is disgusting.” Yes, another quote. After an entire comment string about how if you can’t disagree respectfully, keep it to yourself, this second person had the BALLS to say that the article was “disgusting.”

You know what is disgusting? Ignorant sumofabitches.

I fully respect and honor the rights of people I interact with. I respect their right to remain quiet and not divulge their beliefs. I will not force them to reveal what they are uncomfortable in revealing.

I fully respect and honor the rights of people I interact with. I respect their right to shout from the rooftops what the believe, even if I do not agree or support them.

I fully respect and honor the rights of people I interact with. I respect them when they share quietly, or sporadically, what they believe with me, even though I do not agree or support their beliefs.

What I do not respect or honor? When you come to a person’s space and spew hatred and ignorance. It is okay to disagree, but do not go to one’s home and throw stones. Do not say off the cuff remarks that are hurtful to that persons friends and family.

I posted this on Facebook after I decided I had to block the commenters that brought out the anger in me.

Until today I have never out right blocked someone. I have unfriended or hidden them, but today I have had to.

If you disagree with me, fine. If you want to share your disagreement, fine. But if you come to my page to spew hate or share disgust with others you don’t agree with? I will not hesitate to block you.

We all have our opinions, and that is what makes us each unique, but don’t forget we have to live with each other. And I would NEVER spew hate on another person’s page for their life choices when they are within the confines of the law (ie I’ll spew hate about Jerry Sandusky all day long), and would ask that anyone who is friends with me, or knows me in any way does the same.

I will continue to share things about gay rights as I see fit, and if all you can say to that is “yuck” or “that is disgusting” I will keep my finger on the block button without hesitation. Or feel free to click the unfriend button yourself. You don’t have to agree with me, but blanket derogatory remarks like that will not be tolerated.

When you disagree, craft a respectful and fact based remark. Otherwise, take it to your own space. Your own Facebook, or your own blog. If you don’t have a blog it takes 30 seconds to create one on a plethora of platforms.

And here in lies my lesson for Bronwyn. I will fight tooth and nail for you to have your beliefs. Even when they are not the same as mine. I will support your voice in any way you want it. Whether it is quietly, or as loud as you can shout. All I ask from you is to respect other people’s beliefs. You do not have to agree to be respectful. Just remember that part of your God-given right as a human being is to believe whatever you want to believe, but the other half is to not infringe on the rights of others to believe what they want to believe.

The lesson I learned for myself today was it is not okay to sit idly by while someone belittles your beliefs. I am proud of the way I handled the situation. I did not lower myself and call the person names, I merely pointed out that their derogatory remarks were not welcome in my space, but they were welcome to disagree with me respectfully. I know I have let things slide because I was afraid to speak up. Today, I did not let that happen. And I would be remiss to allow this to happen in the future.

And if any of my beliefs are in question? Just know this belief will NEVER waver. Gay is OK.


14 Nov

Hi. Yeah, I haven’t been around much lately.I feel horrible that my last two posts were sponsored, with nothing in between BUT they were totally posts about me, y’all know by now I don’t regurgitate anything or write about stuff I don’t really believe in. But still, yes they were sponsored. I made commitments and if I had blogged normally they would have fit in pretty normally, but I just haven’t been present.


I don’t know how else to describe what is going on with me other than a funk. Usually writing is my escape, but I have found myself avoiding it. I think a part of me is afraid of what I will uncover if I let myself write.

It seems like every other person in these days is doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) and I seem to be doing the opposite.

I do have a few things I want to share with you. Like how I went to Chicago and got to meet Abigail from skywaitress.com. The rest of the trip was a little rough, but meeting her? It was like I was hanging out with a long-lost best friend.

I also can’t wait to share a bit more of the Thanksgiving dinner I have planned. Originally I was going to go all out. I still am with food, but this funk (and travel) have kept me from really taking care of the decor. I talked about the menu here, but I can’t wait to break it down for you!

Bronwyn is reaching new heights and milestones. I don’t even know how to keep up with her. I’ll work on sharing some of the challenges I’ve found while raising an almost two-year old, and some of the high points, because really seeing this little person become her own girl is amazing.

So, please bear with me. I was loving the groove I had in the place through the summer and beginning of the fall, and I want it back. Meanwhile, I’m working through this funk. I’m hoping it’s mostly just a little Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but if I’m being honest with myself it started before the weather and time changed.

I miss you (all 12 of you) so I want to hear, what have YOU been up to? How have YOU been?

This post is sponsored by Tempur-Pedic, the brand millions of owners trust to deliver their best night’s sleep every night. Enjoy our Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer now and give the gift of custom comfort to someone you love.

Thanksgiving turkey


I gotta lay it all out there for you. I have guidelines when it comes to holidays. And for me? Comfort is found in my traditions. It’s a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving (how’d THAT happen) and so Turkey day is on my mind.

One of my biggest guidelines is NO December holidays until we’re firmly past Thanksgiving. So I’ll have to save my crazy list of rules for the most famous of December holidays a little later.

Thanksgiving is one of my most comforting holidays. You have the food, the family, not a lot of commitments to parties, and no gifts to shop for. You can light a fire and snuggle up with your loved ones while the tryptophan does its work.

This year my original plans fell through, but I’m seizing the opportunity. My parents were originally going to try to come up, so being an optimist I made plans for a fantabulous meal. Since they just couldn’t make it I have decided to bring some of that comfort to those who might not have it this year. I’ve done this for other holidays and have had such fun. I’m opening my home to extended friends that have nowhere to go this year. Usually when I have done this it also turns out that someone else’s plans fall through at the last-minute and the group ends up way bigger than original, and bigger is always fun. I make too much food anyway.

You know you want to eat this menu:

  • Herb Butter Roasted Turkey
  • Sourdough, Wild Mushroom, and Bacon Dressing (normally I actually stuff the bird, but this year I’m making an exception)
  • Sweet Potato Gratin
  • Creamed Kale with Crispy Shallots
  • Cranberry, Fig, and Pinot Noir Chutney
  • Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce

All that deliciousness will be in my mouth in two weeks.  I found it through Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain cookbook and I can’t wait.

What brings you comfort this Thanksgiving?

Comfort is the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday gift list, so be sure to take advantage of Tempur-Pedic’s Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.