In Memory – Memorial Day Thoughts

Perhaps it seems a bit ironic that I sit here writing this while living in another country. But it’s absolutely relevant and important.

I am a daughter of the American Revolution. I have used genealogy to trace my roots back to Virginia in the mid 1700’s – before the American Revolution began. Which means I had ancestors that fought and died hoping they were fighting for something better than what they had. They died not knowing what would come next. They died bloody awful deaths not by machine gun weapons and drones – but by blunt swords and by gaping wounds that medicine didn’t yet know how to heal. And these men and women didn’t know when they died what would become of the loved ones left behind. But they must have thought it was better to die fighting than to leave the world they knew as is.

I have prayed and thanked them today. I pray they hear me and I pray they see their lineage now and know that our lives ARE better for their sacrifices. That the world they fought to create – while it isn’t perfect – it is safer, more just, more loving, and free.

Free enough that I can choose where in the world I want to live. And though I don’t choose to live in the United States at this time – the mere fact that I have such a freedom, and by being American am welcome in most parts of the world, speaks volumes to sacrifices made by so many.

I watched this sunset last night and thought of you all. Pondered what it must have been like to die in battle. Wondered if you feared. Wondered if you felt loved. I watched this sun set and wished you peace and harmony wherever your soul lies today. I watched and wondered what your last sunset was like.

So, to my fallen family, to my grandparents before me, to the family of every fallen soldier that ever fought:

Thank you. I hope you hear me. I hope that not only on this day, but all days, as we drive our cars to work and make 1000 choices every day, as we eat food we choose, as we raise our children in safe neighborhoods – that you see us. That you see us and know your painful sacrifices were worth the price you paid. Those children laughing and dancing and playing ball are only because you made way for freedom.

To my grandmothers who were left widows to raise gaggles of children on their own – I salute you too. You sacrificed too – I see you. And as a mother I cannot imagine how you went on. I can only hope the village of widowed women gathered together. But I know you went on with courage because our family would not exist today if you had given up. You give me strength. You give me choice. You give me hope. The 1700’s were no joke. I can’t begin to fathom the challenges you all faced in a world so tough. Thank you. Thank you for kissing your husbands and brothers goodbye as they walked away to certain death. Thank you.

And to the hundreds of thousands of men and women that fought in following wars – your sacrifice it seems cannot be repaid. I suppose the only way to “repay” is to vote and continue to advocate for peace and make the best choices we can to further our free America. I think as we drive through our safe suburban neighborhoods, and drop our kids off at large expensive schools and then -without hesitation or worry of being hurt- take ourselves to work to earn money to support our lives that we ought to remember more often those who gave their lives so we could live ours in peace today.

Personally, I only knew one soldier that was killed in action. Marine Sgt. Byron Norwood. Seeing up close the devastation his family endured after his death was heartbreaking to say the least. It gave to me a new understanding of sacrifice and began my journey to learn more about my own family’s wartime sacrifices. Thank you Byron. The enemy killed you that fateful day – but you have not died. Your family makes sure of that. You live on in your nieces and nephews to come. You live on in conversation and dreams and in your mother’s heart. As do all the fallen.

America may be littered with inequalities, lingering racism, corrupt government, and a host of other indecencies. But it is America. It is a place of continuous change and development. It is a place where votes count (no arguing on this one, its not perfect, I know) and voices can be heard without lives being lost. This would not be possible without wars before us and fallen fighters. My prayer is that we can continue to seek justice in our country while less and less lives are lost or tortured or maimed in the process.

Thank you for my freedom to choose where I live. Thank you for fostering a better world for my daughters and their daughters to come. Thank you for being courageous. Thank you for watching over us. I see you in the stars at night and in my dreams. I see you in my children’s laughter as they play in the streets without fear. And I see you in the American flag.

Thank you.

Big (Thankful) Love

5 Big Reasons I Enjoy Living in Belize

The question was asked on Quora recently “Why do American’s enjoy living in Belize?” I thought it woud also make a great blog post for you all to read.

This American likes living in Belize for 5 main reasons. I recommend everyone live somewhere outside their home country for a little while at least. Its eye opening.

1. Life is more simple. Less traffic. More kindness. Less hurry. More friends and family. Less stuff and more doing things. Life here connects you to what really matters – people. Not things and prestigious awards like we are taught in the US. You make real connections and it feels good.

2. The food is better. A whole lot better. Cleaner. Easier to get fresh local food than in the US. And it’s often cheaper. (The imported boxed stuff from the states that is expensive.)

3. If you have kids – you have a village to help raise them. My village has taught my kids more than any suburb could ever about the real world and real people skills. They can fish. They can make tortillas. Speak Spanish. Speak Creole.

4. People are more friendly and genuine. You wonder less if someone is your friend for their own personal gain. Friendship is given and reciprocated without expectations attached.

5. The last one is hard to explain. When I go back my home town for a visit I am instantly reminded. But the US is a media freak fest. You don’t realize how intrusive all the marketing is until you leave it for a while. From the commercials on television to the number of stores to the billboards to pressure for everyone to perform at a high level for more income – it’s a real pressure that you can feel. It’s a vibe we don’t have here in Belize. It’s a pressure I don’t feel here. Every time you turn on the TV in the states you’re being sold something and told you’re not adequate enough. Every magazine cover and every ad target to our kids is selling something you don’t need and making you feel inadequate so you’ll buy it. If you don’t wear makeup you’re never going to be a cover girl. If you don’t have the newest little blue pill you won’t be confident enough for sex. If you don’t buy ABC mouse software for your kids they surely won’t ever be smart. And we can’ t have junior behind now can we? That would mean you are not a good parent. When you walk into a store (And I love my Target, don’t get me wrong) but when i walk in there now I see a bunch of shit I don’t need. I used to walk in and envy all the things I couldn’t buy. As Americans we are ingrained to think we need more stuff all the time – because if you don’t buy that cool stuff (you know the pillows with the cool lobster on them for $40 a pop) – well your house won’t be decorated right and what will the neighbors think? Or maybe I will even feel bad about myself because I don’t have all I want.

Living in Belize you learn to think differently about what really matters. When I see a cool set of something for the house – and I see that its $500 or $600 dollars – do you know what I think now? I think – you know – I could send three kids to school in Belize and change their lives with that amount of money. Suddenly that new whatever it was has no value to you anymore. Because buying it doesn’t create anything but a few dollars profit for a big box store anyway.

So those are the bare bones reasons my family and I like living in Belize. And other expats tell us similar things. Come down and see what it’s all about!


Birthday Shopping – Or Should I Say Hunting

I went to the city today to get stuff for Sabrina’s birthday party on Saturday. She’s going to be 4 ya’ll! Don’t you get tired of parents saying every year how they “can’t believe junior is __ years old already! Where does the time go!”

Yeah. That’s me.

Because the days sometimes seem to crawl by – but the years fly by like shooting stars. And every year my kids gets older- means I too am a year older. And sometimes I think that’s the part that gets me. I’m getting older … fast!

But back to the shopping. So this will be the first year Saby will have a party in Belize. Usually all her friends are gone during the summer but this year all the kids are here on the island – about ten of them -which hasn’t happened since she was born. So we decided it called for a party!

So I go into town to the store called Celebrations. I’ve been here before but only to the reception part of the store to buy New Year’s hats and little party favors but never to by all the whatnots for a kids party. And since you never know what you’ll find in the city – or should I say not find – I didn’t have any specific theme chosen. She asked for pink icing on her cake and lots of balloons and more pink things. I went in flying by the seat of my pants. Well. This was stressful. I will never do this again. Hopefully. The entire store I learned, is about half the size of a Target women’s bathroom. {Did I ever mention how much I miss Target!?} The store had a surprising amount of inventory though. But you have to have a helper. A girl who gets things out for you based on what your theme is and what kind of party – because otherwise you’d NEVER find it on your own. Ever. She’d pull out eight rows of paper Princess cups and tablecloths to reveal these cool light up party favors.

It’s like a hoarder married a party planner.

The way I wanted to shop is what I’d like to say “is what I’m used to” – which means if I were in the states this is how it’d go. Even though I’ve lived here four years and SHOULD be used to the way things are here. I know shopping here is more like hunting. I’m just still in denial I guess.

This was definitely a hunting experience. I wanted a zoo experience. {I drank three beers after I left.}

I wanted to, you know – walk in, mosey around look at options. Take my time deciding what to buy. But this was question and answer and yes and no kind of quick shopping. I either wanted what she showed me or I didn’t. The woman was quite helpful actually. It’d been so long since I had a kid party I forgot all the fun things you could do! So for $90 bucks we got all the goods – her first piñata and all the fun treats to go inside, table deco, all the stuff for eating and drinking, goodie bags, birthday girl gear – you know the drill. We went with the multi Disney princess theme. When I came home and told Sabrina what kind of piñata I got – she threw hear head back and started crying “I wanted a doll shaped one!”. She not ever once asked me for a doll shaped piñata.

So we’re already off to a good start.

I really wanted to make this cool sand pudding and put it into little mini beach buckets with tiny shovels. Thought it would be fun for the kids to play with after. But I couldn’t find anything remotely close. Well I found large and regular sized buckets for the beach. But I know Hobby Lobby or Michael’s has them. Too bad we don’t have those. Not here. Oh well, next year. I bought extra cupcakes instead.

Sure hope the weather cooperates. Our house is too small for everyone to fit inside. Plus 6-8 boys and a few girls running around eating cake and hitting piñatas seems like something that needs to happen outside. I’m a little crazy but not that crazy.

Wish us luck! 🙂  Big Love ❤

Level Up

Guys – I’m trying to come back! Its been a long three weeks and I haven’t had any time to write – but certainly gaining a lot of experiences to write about 🙂

I was definitely bummed because at the launch of the blog I had about 2,000 visitors a day which was rapidly growing. While my entire goal of the blog is not to solely gain visitors – it is a passion and something I have set as a goal. Mostly because it challenges me. { And I like that } The time is now.

My visitors have dropped off tremendously – but a big thanks to those who continue to read and listen to me bitch.

{ I mean watch me learn. }

I have been in Texas for the past two weeks. The week before that I was not feeling well. And Sabrina has been sick since before I got back to Belize. I have been home three days. I am exhausted. My body hurts from traveling. I miss my family already. Now Barry isn’t feeling well and I haven’t left the house in 36 hours. Its stormy and windy and Sabrina has a terrible cough so we have needed to stay indoors. Sigh. I was so ready to come back here – but I am also mourning the loss of the freedom to get in a car and go somewhere.

The duality of my living situation is a constant tease.

Cars and freedom of mobility. Beaches and freedom of noise. My reality is terribly out of whack :/  And I am very behind on work.

Texas was great. It wasn’t what I expected. But it was more than I ever could have hoped. I was present and attentive for Emma when she really needed me. I am ever thankful for the struggle and positive outcome I was there to be a part of. Growth is painful. But we leveled up last week. My siblings and I got together and laughed around the table for hours. We have never. Ever. Done this before as adults. It was epic. Thanks Mom for giving us kids the gift of each other.

The Kardashians have nothing on us.

So leveling up is a term we use in our house which means someone has mastered something new. Outsiders may not notice the level up happening – but Barry and I do. Sabrina levels up when she gains mastery of new language or new physical skills like hitting a ball with a bat. The big girls level up in their maturity emotionally or perhaps their understanding of life and people or even by mastering a new skill at school. Barry and I level up when we learn from unexpected circumstances and maintain our cool when all signals point to “it’s perfectly normal to freak out now”.

We all leveled up while I was gone. And now it’s time to take some deep breaths and appreciate the community and family of love that surrounds us whether we are here – or there. It is time to stop and be grateful for people filled with patience who support us and hold us when it may have been easier to just let go. For those are the people who make love tangible. Real. Unconditional. And unimaginably good.

Big Love to those in my life who stand so tall and proud next to me and my family.

Keep moving forward – today is a new day.

Big Love ❤


Stop Contributing To Abusive Families By Watching Reality TV

Why are you suddenly shocked the Duggar girls were abused?

What show have you been watching?? Because the one I know about has always been abusive. Maybe they don’t chain their kids to the wall or beat them – but they family beliefs are oppressive and abusive.

I don’t watch the show. I’ve seen it. Never cared for it. But hey America, you’re the ones that should feel guilty because you’re part of the problem here. You want this family to be perfect so you can keep watching them be the coolest family yours will never be. You like being a fly on their wall because it entertains you. And if you’re a fan, you’ve been contributing to this families abusive mind controlling ways all along.

I loathe reality TV.

Except HGTV. But lawn renovations hardly ruin people’s lives. Reality TV families more often than not end up in shambles. It’s your fault. Quit watching it.

I’m given dirty looks when people find out I let my teenager watch Game of Thrones. At least it’s meant to be fiction! At least I’m not contributing to real families making fake drama and living fake lives so she and our family can be entertained.

So get over it. Quit posting articles {after this one of course} about how bad you feel for the Duggar girls or how much you loved the family until this or how you don’t agree with how the father handled it with authorities. Do you also agree with their other family and life teachings? Like that women are meant to have twenty babies and not allowed to have any say or control over their bodies?

Those poor teenage girls you talk about have been indoctrinated with lots of beliefs that leave them helpless – yet you’ve been contributing to this abuse for ten years now by watching their show and now watching them have baby after baby of their own. Those women are not given a choice. They’ve been brainwashed!

Women only allowed to wear skirts? Women have NO say in anything that goes on in that cult. Their opinion does not matter

Once Jill Duggar was asked what kind of man she wanted to marry . Do you know what she said? “Go ask my dad. He knows what kind of man I’m looking for.”

Not allowed to fraternize with unwed mothers?

The family has openly called all transgender people pedophiles!? Are you shitting me? Your own son is a fucking pedophile.

And now it is apparently okay for the men of the family to play with little girls but I dare to ask what would happen if it was a female child of their caught playing with a boy. OR worse, one of the boys playing with another boy.

They are never allowed to befriend anyone outside their cult system.

Older girls are forced to raise and home-school the younger children. They may say they like it – but they have no other choice! Once Jill talked about being a lawyer on TV and the episode was said to have been “deselected” by the family because they cant have their girls thinking outside the box like that. They’ll be teachers and midwives. And that is all their choices. If that’s not abusive – then I don’t know what is! I pray that these girls find loving husbands who chose not to control them in these awful ways.

Josh Duggar and the parents have been longtime supporters of the Family Research Council. Have you ever looked into what they support? It’s abusive. I think you might find it appalling. They are an anti gay hate group. Well they are a hate group for anyone outside man/woman relationships and God forbid you have an abortion – they’ll probably kill you too. It’s a hurtful group with the sole purpose of keeping women under the control of men. Gross. *throws up in mouth*

The whole family cult is abusive. Stop acting like you cared. They also abuse little girls on Dance Moms. I don’t see you throwing a fit about those kids. And don’t get me started on Honey Booboo. It makes my heart ache. These are REAL children not given the choice to be put on public display for your entertainment.

Do you really care?? Then make a difference NOW!

So if you really care – stop watching these kinds of shows altogether. Stop setting your DVR. Stop thinking it’s ok. It’s not. You’re actively contributing unhealthy lifestyles. And in some cases abuse. Mental. Physical. And certainly emotional. I’m sure that’s not what you set out to do.

Game of Thrones is on tonight 🙂 Just saying. They might portray rape. But it’s fiction peeps. It’s not a real family.

Do the right thing and stop supporting online TV families.

Do another right thing and love and support your family even if you don’t agree with their beliefs. We ALL need love.

Big Love ❤


Southwest Ticket Sales to Belize Begin May 14th

Hot off the press!

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly announced today at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders that ticket sales to Belize will begin Thursday May 15, 2015 at 3am.

Visit to purchase.


If anyone gets a ticket let us know how it went!! Our readers are anxious to know! 

Southwest Airlines CEO and Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
Southwest Airlines CEO and Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

The CEO also announced Wednesday that Southwest Airlines will add Liberia, Costa Rica, its 97th destination, on Nov. 1.

Although Southwest is based out of Dallas’ Love Field – International flights will depart out of Houston Hobby. Currently federal law prohibits nonstop International flights from Love Field. Interesting fact I didn’t know.

Big Love ❤




Seven Days With A Three Year Old


The last seven days have been great! Our nanny lives on the island with us for 3-4 weeks then goes home to her family (sisters and nieces and cousins) for about a week. I always think I’ll be able to get my work done during these days. Even though I am never able to get my work done during these days. I tell myself during the day that I will get to it when she goes to bed. But I’m too tired to think after she’s gone to bed. So at night I tell myself I will make time during the day while she watches tv. By the time she watches tv I’m just trying to take a shower because I’m covered in marker and glue and glitter. Which is kinda fun, I must admit. There’s something cool about getting in touch with your inner artist with a preschooler’s perspective.

IMG_2517  IMG_2520

But, dang, three years olds are flat out demanding – I tell you – if you don’t already know first-hand. Three is by far a harder age than two. Why? Because they ask why. They have more reasoning skills. Two is hard because they are learning independence and we’re used to them being babies. They begin to defy us. Three is harder because they’re learning to manipulate and lie and avoid consequences. They are devious little things! AND they are the cutest sweetest things on Earth! All at the same time. JUST LIKE TEENAGERS! I have a unique vantage point with Sabrina – I’ve done this twice before and am also through the toughest part of the teenage years. So this Momma knows ALL the tricks. And cherishes all the snuggles.

We watched a great sunset together at the pool.
We watched a great sunset together at the pool.

I love my days with Sabrina because every few weeks kids change and learn and have more to say. They can jump higher. They can swing on their own suddenly. Their feet are bigger. So I really enjoy being on her level and connecting with her during this time. It is ALSO completely and utterly exhausting! See, babies are physically exhausting because they need you to physically do everything for them. Teenagers are emotionally exhausting as they deal with hormones and real life – you’re constantly wondering what to say. One wrong word and you’re toast. Three year olds are both physically and emotionally exhausting making for a unique period in their childhood.

This was ALL her doing. I swear.
This was ALL her doing. I swear.

They make you question yourself and they are constantly moving. And not just moving – jumping, climbing, traversing. Often in the kitchen near heavy plates and hot stoves or flipping on beds while you wash dishes. Sabrina cried real tears one afternoon “because I don’t have any pretty shoes.” Are you freaking kidding me!? I own four pairs of shoes so she didn’t learn this from me. I’m baffled. Another day when I wouldn’t do what she wanted right away she frowned and said “Then you’re not my best friend anymore! Hmph!”  And as soon as I sit down its “Mom, I have to go potty,” and then telling me “You look old” on the way to the bathroom. Thanks kid. Now let me wipe your ass. Maybe next time I won’t catch you as you flip off the bed. That’ll teach you!

But I will. Catch her.

Three year olds also love unconditionally. And -no matter what they say – you are the center of their world and they want to please you. Their hugs are the tightest and best! Their little breath when they fall asleep in your arms – its SO good. They enjoy helping with the chores. See below picture. I’ve got a great dishwasher 🙂 She asked me to read her poems this week. ‘When We Were Very Young’ by A.A. Milne. A book I used to read to E & L.  And she laughed when it was time to laugh and asked for specific poems. It’s pretty amazing to watch things click in their little brains. One day they don’t get it. The next they do. Just like that. The brain cells connect and suddenly they can ride that bike or read that word.

She loves washing dishes!


There is something great about every age children are. They are pretty amazing. I love being a Mom to all my kids at every stage. Even when they call me old 🙂

Big Love ❤

Flying kites with Daddy :)
  Flying kites with Daddy 🙂
Kayaking with Mom and Dad. She can name at least 20 different kinds of marine life.
Kayaking with Mom and Dad. She can name at least 20 different kinds of marine life.