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Six Months

0569F8DE-B5DB-4260-A064-76D872B57B88Dear Mom,

It’s been six months. I know I have been busy and haven’t written in forever, but I haven’t forgotten. I’m still looking for you – I thought I saw you in a butterfly, but I’m just not sure. I’m not sure about a lot of things these days.

Please do me a favor and watch over us. Christmas was always YOUR holiday. The missing you sometimes hides behind the craziness of the day, but it’s always there – a constant ache. It’s stronger now with Christmas coming. I really wish you were here. We all do.

There’s so much I want to say. To ask. To know. There are so many times I feel the urge to pick up the phone and call you. I think of all the people in the world missing someone the way I miss you. I’m sure I can figure this out. But right now I just feel like that statue of Atlas – carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. My mind is overflowing. My lungs and heart heavy. Sleep brings some peace, but only when it’s not filled with crazy dreams I can never recollect.

I miss you. I’m trying really hard to be strong. If you have a chance, please send me a sign for Christmas. I could really use it.

Miss Kriss


Posted in parenting, Uncategorized

Do-Over #NaBloPoMo2016

Today’s BlogHer Promt is a great one:

If you could redo one moment in your life, what would it be and why? How would it change who you are now?

Ah, one moment?  It’s a toss up for me.  In my left hand, I have the story of the first time I met a girl who I’ll call “K” who was dating the older of two brothers.  In my right hand, a story of bottles.  Today, I’m choosing my right hand and keep the other story for another day.

Bottles?  Yup, bottles.  Baby bottles, to be exact.  When I had my first daughter I was certain I was going to bottle feed, and and any doubts I had went out the window when my cervix tore and I lost a lot of blood and was a little MORE out-of-it post-birth than the average mama.  We purchased fancy Dr. Brown’s bottles and my baby girl drank and grew and was mostly happy and healthy.  The bottles were treated with care – sterilized prior to each use and replaced at the smallest sign of wear…you know, first time parent awesomeness.  When she was weaned off the bottle, I knew we would try for more children, and I carefully sterilized and packed up the bottles to save for the future.  It was the same thing I did with clothes, blankets, infant toys.  I was being a good mom.  I was pleased with myself.

Two and half years later when we welcomed our second daughter into the world, I weakly tried breastfeeding and fell back into bottle-feeding quite quickly.  I was second-baby tired and happy I didn’t have to buy new bottles.  They worked and were cared for in the same manner as with my oldest.  I never thought twice about it.  Until about two years later when she had her first non-fever related seizure.  Already knowledgeable about epilepsy and seizures, I dove headfirst into the murky waters of “online research” searching for answers that my brain knew didn’t exist.  I wanted the cause.  The definitive cause for my child’s seizures.  I read a few articles suggesting plastic with BPA.  The bottles I cared for and lovingly saved were made before the “BPA-free” plastic revolution in all baby and children’s products.  Those bottles that my daughter drank from every day had BPA in them.  They were warmed and sterilized and USED frequently.  I asked our neurologist who told me I was crazy, but still, I wondered.  The unknown is what gets me every time.

And so it is for this reason, that if I could redo a moment, I would have thrown away those bottles.  I would have purchased new ones (I would also tell the younger me that she should really stick with breastfeeding/pumping – cause it can be done).  Perhaps the person I would be now would NOT have a child who had seizures and the challenges related to those seizures.  Or perhaps I would be the same mom in the same position, but without the guilt associated with a “what if.”  I guess we’ll never know.


Posted in parenting, Uncategorized

Playing Catch Up #NaBloPoMo2016

Scheduling is something I have always struggled with.  It’s easier at work – although I readily admit I will choose students over a non-urgent scheduled meeting every time.  But, scheduling my life is a constant battle.  It comes because of many Blessings – a busy husband, three active children, a commitment to be a healthier person and exercise regularly, and a love of many things like cooking, reading, writing and learning.  I really should be scheduling writing time to fully participate in  #NaBloPoMo2016, and yet, I probably won’t.  I’m not good at lying, anyway.  Playing catch up is a reality right now, and I pray I have my priorities in order so at the end of it all, I the things I’ve missed I won’t miss.  You know?

So, it is in perfect form that I play some catch up on the lovely #NaBloPoMo2016 prompts provided by BlogHer that I missed last week.  Cheers to a better Week 2, and as always, thanks for stopping by!  XOXO

Nov. 2: When was the last time you did something brave? What happened?

Bravery is not a word I usually associate with myself, and I can’t think of a good “deep” example at the moment, so I’m going to go with my recent trip to Austin, Texas to attend the Association for Middle Level Educators (AMLE) Conference with a team from my school.  Just GOING on this trip was, for me, a huge act in bravery considering that I felt sick with panic when it was time to leave.  But I want to talk about our segway tour.  Holy nuts was I nervous!  You know I totally purchased the extra insurance from the company, used the bathroom moments before leaving and had to hide the sweaty palms and put on a brave face…and…it was AWESOME!  Lol.  Austin is a beautiful city.  I am thankful for this tour, as we got to see and learn so much about the city.  Riding the segway was scary, but super fun, and admittedly easier than I had feared.  So yes, I was scared  And yes, the peer pressure made me ACT braver than I felt.  And…I absolutely LOVED it.  Moral learned.

Nov. 3: If you could be completely honest with no regrets, what would you say and to whom?

Hmph.  My arms are wanting to fold in thought and contemplation of the perfect thing to choose to appropriately answer the question, but remain safely protected in my bubble.  But, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Right?

With that said, I would go back to my middle daughter’s Kindergarten teacher.  I would tell her that she ruined my confidence in being a mother of a school-aged child.  I would tell her that her harsh words and blind judgement have scarred me and our family in a way that is irreparable.  I would remind her that even at the very mature age of 5, children are still growing and developing and she is making an impact, for better or worse, by everything she says and does.  Little eyes are watching.  Little hearts are feeling.  Little minds are remembering.  I would point out that I did everything that I should have done as a parent who knew my daughter had special needs, and that SHE failed my daughter.  And I would remind her that each child in her classroom is someone’s everything – someone’s precious, irreplaceable gift and that she should be there to protect and nurture those children, no matter what.  And in closing, I would thank her – because I will NEVER allow that to happen again in my own life – not as a parent, and not as an educator.

Nov. 4: Which fall shows should totally be canceled already? 

This is the easiest of them all – I don’t know!  If Presidential Election coverage counts, then I’ll put in a vote for that cause I might not be able to take it anymore.  But, everything else I love on TV gets DVR’d, like Project Runway and Master Chef.  The TV is rarely on during the evenings except for the news or the 9:30pm time slot after all the kids are asleep, the time slot where “The Big Bang Theory” falls.  We just don’t watch a lot of TV.  Part of it is because of a desire to limit, but a bigger part is because our days are long.  So, I’m sorry, but I don’t know – so tell me!

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Ten Day You Challenge: Five Foods

First off, I apologize for taking a few days off.  I’ve been fighting a cold, and sleep was needed.  But anyway, I’m back and I’m ready to talk FOOD.

I grew up in a family of wonderful chefs – my Grandmothers, Aunts, and my mother.  I married into an equally food-tastic family.  I will not eat potato salad, stew or corned beef hash (among other things) that has not been cooked by my mother-in-law, I crave the Portuguese sausage of her father, Papa Caldeira, and I’m often spoiled by the marvelous baking and cooking of my sisters (in-law).  So to choose just five is a challenge for sure.

Today, at this moment my five top food choices would be:

1.  Grandma Peg and Aunt Ann’s Manicotti

2.  My mother’s (oh gosh how do I pick one?) Chicken Madeira with stuffed mushrooms

3.  Corned Beef Hash, made only by my mother-in-law (aka “Vovo”)

4.  Papa Caldeira’s Portuguese Sausage (put it in Aunty Brenda’s Gondule Rice and I’m in HEAVEN)

5.  CRAB.  Preferably King Crab with lots of melted butter and lemon

I know I cheated a teeny bit on #4, but oh well.

Please stop by the blog where I found this super cool challenge:  Say hi to Maui blogger/Mom/ entrepreneur Luana.  She has no idea who I am, but I’m sure thankful for this fun challenge she shared with me & her readers!

Posted in parenting, personal, Uncategorized


Pull up to any elementary school playground at recess and you will undoubtedly find kids playing tag, or “chasemaster.”  It’s a site to behold – children running freely with joy and excitement in their eyes, wanting only to tag or evade tagging by whoever is “it.”  Seems like a lot of us grow out of tag, but not the art of chasing.

I have been a chasemaster of lots of things.  In middle school I chased friendship.  High school I chased belonging and individuality.  In college I chased knowledge, independence, love, passion and my career.  These days I feel like it’s all I do…chase.  I feel like I’m biting at the heels of my life, barely keeping up.  And I’m tired, and ultimately I’m happy.  I’m so happy that I have a life so full that I need to keep chasing the TIME to fit more into it.  That’s really what it is that I’m chasing, isn’t it?  Time.

And sometimes I win my game of chasemaster.  This week, I won a few times.  I caught enough time to enjoy:

The way an 8th grade male student purposely placed these turtles.  If you are in middle school, this is pornographic and worthy of spontaneous and uncontrolled laughter by any other middle school student who sees it.

I caught an 8th grade middle school boy finish his lunch and then walk over to socialize with two of our female special needs students.  I watched how he made them laugh hysterically, completely unphased by the watchful, and likely judging eyes of his peers.  I watched him negotiate with the students’ skills trainer so that HE could push the wheelchair bound student out of the cafeteria and to her next class.  I watched and smiled, because this same boy has been in the office struggling with taking responsibility for a poor choice he made the week earlier.

I chased an unorthodox solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem at work.  It started with a question, loaded with the promise to solve the problem but potentially blow up in my face.  Miraculously my question was well received and answered positively.  I was even THANKED.  And just for the record, really good news travels just as fast as bad news sometimes.

And best of all, I caught enough time to enjoy hugs, snuggles, laughs, and quality time with all three of my children AND my sweet husband.

My house is a mess, I’m tired, we had frozen pizza for dinner, and I’m so wanting to cheat and have a soda (which I gave up for Lent along with juice and buying lunch on work days) right now.  But it’s all good…and I’m on the run.

TAG!  You’re it!

Posted in parenting, personal, Uncategorized


I have a new Kristin word to be added to my dictionary of made up, but totally cool and usable words: “Mammanoia.”

Mammanoia (n) – \ma-ma-noya\:  A condition of being plagued by exaggerated and sometimes unjustified worries concerning ones’ offspring, loved ones or other caretakees; often characterized by nervous behaviors like hovering, nail-biting, distractibility, and spontaneous grey hair growth.  Typically afflicts mothers and mother-figures, but has been seen in fathers, grandparents, aunties, uncles, siblings and school staff.

I suffer from mammanoia and have been for a long time, well before I became a mother.

These two boys I grew up with taught me a lot about worry and love and care.  Oh, sorry, they’re not boys anymore.  But I still worry.  And they are my “little” brothers in case you couldn’t tell. (You can stop laughing now)

Now my mammanoia has multiplied, exponentially.  I’m mammanoied about a lot.  Too much, I’m sure.  I’m mammanoied about my mothering choices, about school and learning, about the health of me and my family, about money, about life  – just to name a few things.  And now I am mammanoied about this tsunami warning we’re under.

Guess what?  A little over a year ago, I was stuck in a hospital room, separated from 3 of my immediate family members because of a tsunami warning.  This time we’re all together.  I’m praying that’s the only thing different about the tsunami this time around.  I’d like so much to wake up to reports of nothing more than some atypical ocean surges.

Stay safe Hawai’i.  Quick recovery Japan.  I’m working on a cure for mammanoia.