Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Then and Now

Same boy. Same gravel road.

What a difference 5 years makes.

Then (2006) and Now (2011)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Do you buy a gift for your child's teacher?

Yes, it's that time of year again. The holidays are upon us and that means buying gifts for the people that are special in our lives.

Teachers are probably the most important people in our children's lives - besides parents that is.

But what do you buy a teacher? How much do you spend?

Do you make the gifts?

Do you buy for the aides and the office staff too?

I recently compiled a list of gift ideas for teachers as part of the OC Moms Gift Guide. Some you can make at home and others are under $15. Take a look and leave a comment on the article.

Do you have a favorite gift that you give teachers at Christmas?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Say It! Saturday - Home Again

It's that time again. My new reason to love Saturdays.

My son and I took a little vacation over the Thanksgiving holiday to visit family in Northern California. This vacation was much needed on a variety of levels, but this is not the place to go into details.

Today is all about saying something that just needs to be said. So, although I had a wonderful time and was able to see my son take joy in things he has never done before like standing on the muddy edge of a lake fishing in 50 degree weather, shooting his first BB gun, and watching deer walk out of the woods only to stand 10 feet in front of him and eat the corn that was thrown out for them ... I need to say something that only one person has said better.

The originator of this Say It! Saturday, Dorothy Gale, knows exactly what needs to be said ...

There's no place like home.

It doesn't matter how much fun you have or what your destination was. There is nothing like your own bed, your own bathroom, your own couch, your own coffee ... all the little things that make your house your home.

Join me and Roxanne - Say what you need to get off your chest with Say It! Saturday. Link up on her blog and see what others are saying this Saturday. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's OK to Say Stop

What does it take for a person to say enough is enough? How many sleepless nights and anxiety attacks does it take before one realizes that we are, in fact, only human?

Personally, I don’t have that answer because it is different for everyone. However, the warning signs are there and we must recognize them. For those people like me, with type A personalities - you know who you are - the ones who must have everything in order, be in control, and don’t have the word NO in their vocabulary – it takes drastic measures. I thrive on stress and sleepless nights. To just sit and relax … why this thought is absurd!

I have 10 balls in the air and I am quite good at juggling them. Take one of those balls away and I go into a panic. Well, that is until recently. When I got down to only 7 balls in the air, I realized that I was even better at keeping them up. I could throw them higher – and maybe even do a little trick.

I found the anxiety attacks were less frequent. The sleepless nights - not so much. My son actually enjoyed talking to me and I enjoyed spending time with him. I had time to just sit and watch a movie or read a magazine. This gave me a wonderful idea.

What if I tried to only juggle 5 balls at once?

Half the amount I was accustomed to, but if I could juggle 7 balls and have time for a trick, imagine what I could with only 5? 

Slowly, I began to let some things go

… and you know what?

I was even better than before!

My life is better. I am happier. I sleep at night. Anxiety attacks are pretty much a thing of the past. I have time to “Stop and smell the roses” (yes, it’s a cliché, but you know it’s true)

Bottom line is I learned to say Stop and you can too.

Stop trying to do everything. Stop trying to outdo your friends and co-workers. Nobody likes a name-dropper or a person who says I do it all. Find what you love and hone in on those talents.

For example, if you like to bake and want to start a baking business, then bake. Just don’t bake pies, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, tarts, and anything you think others will like. Find the one you like most and perfect it. Bake the perfect cookies and the world will flock to buy them.

Why do everything just to be average when you can do one or two things and be AMAZING!

If you are reading this and think I am talking about you, you may be right. However, I had nobody in mind when I wrote this except myself. It took me almost 2 years to realize it was OK to say Stop … and if reading this makes you think about yourself then maybe it’s time you said Stop too. 

Five on Friday - Thanksgiving

This week I have decided to combine my Five on Friday with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are thankful for and for some reason, possible the same reason most people are more loving and joyous in December, we don't think about these things throughout the year. Why is that?

Did someone write it in stone that we are only allowed to be thankful during the month of November? Is it written that we can only be loving and joyous during the month of December?

Well, I guess that is for another day and another post.

In no particular order, here are 5 things I am thankful for ...

Family - Can't live with them and can't live without them. That seems to be the summation of most families and my family is no different. Family gives support and picks us up when we are down. Family gives us a reason to celebrate and a reason to rush home to the comforts and confines of our own home. Family has stories to tell that have passed down from generation to generation. Family is home.

Work - I don't know how many people can honestly say that they 100% love their job, but I do know that most of us (including myself) are simply thankful to have a job. I happen to be lucky, as least I think so, because I have a job that I love. I get to write. This job is not my full-time job, but just having the opportunity to work with a wonderful team of writers at OC Moms is a blessing.

Nature - Now this may seem strange, but I truly am thankful for the beautiful world we live in. I can drive less than 10 minutes and sit for hours watching the waves crash against the shore. Contemplating life and the mysteries of the vast oceans. I can travel to places where there is not a single sound of traffic. Where nothing can be heard but the birds chirping, the squirrels collecting acorns, and the deer eating corn that has been thrown out for them. Nature is the best way to connect with what is important in my life.

Health - I have been lucky and thank God every day that my family is happy and healthy. Sure we get the occasional cold like everyone else, but it goes away in a few days with rest and sometimes medicine. I have no serious health conditions that would make a simple cold a matter of life and death. I have no allergies that require me to carry an epi-pen, and I have the ability to get medicine when I need it. This is something that so many people take for granted and we need to be thankful that we have healthy families ... and give aid to those that are not as fortunate.

Dylan - Bob Dylan, Dylan Thomas, and Dylan McKay (yes, from 90210) ... without these men, I would not have a son named Dylan. The best thing that God has ever given me - and although I have listed this last - the one thing in my life that I most thankful for. My son gives me joy and hope. He makes me laugh and he makes me cry. He is so much like me and in some ways, he is everything that I always wanted to be.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Help Local Schools by Recycling

File Photo - The Orange County Register
If you are anything like me, you want to help your child's school - but writing a check for $100 just isn't in the budget. Sure, you can buy a magazine subscription from the school fundraiser - but do you really need another magazine delivered to your home?

After doing some research I found that many local schools, including my son's school, have community recycling days. Cans, plastic bottles, newspapers ... some even have plain old paper recycling (the junk mail and envelopes from bills)

You can read my article from The Orange County Register on OC Moms website. There are some great ways you can help local schools raise money for science, art, school gardens, and so much more!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Change is Good

You may have noticed that things look a little different around here. The blog Life with Dylan is going through some changes, but change can be a good thing.

When I started this blog 4 years ago, the main purpose was to inform friends and family of what Dylan and I were doing. Many family members who live out-of-town appreciated this and still do.  However, things have changed over the years - I changed - my life with Dylan changed ... and so must my blog.

I will still write about the places we go and our visits to LEGOLAND, but I will also be adding more articles from OC Moms, more thought-provoking blog posts, and a few surprises along the way.

Mondays will have a new feature on beauty and makeup.

Wednesdays of course are Wordless Wednesday.

Fridays will be a mixture of Fill In The Blank Friday and Five on Friday

and my newest favorite ... Say It! Saturday

The focus of Life with Dylan will be changing from Dylan to me, Michelle. My thoughts, put into words, to tell a story. Sometimes the story will be heartfelt, other times it will be funny, and sometimes it may simply be about my life with Dylan!

So stick around ... I think you will like what comes next.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Say It! Saturday - Cooperation

It's that time again. Another reason to love Saturdays.

Recently I have been wanting to say this so badly to a variety of people in my life. It's something that we have all heard, we've all said it at one time or another, and we all hate it when someone says it to us.

I never really understood it until I worked for a company that prided themselves on teamwork. The quarterly sales bonuses were not based on how much was sold alone, but on the entire process of the team. Did the order ship out on time? Was the invoice mailed on time? Was a customer service follow up call made? All of the aspects of teamwork and cooperation play a role in the final sale. If one person on the team didn't do their part, then nobody made bonus.

So this Saturday, I would like to say ...

There is no "I" in TEAM.

It may be cliche and some people say it way to much, but it's the truth people.

Learn it.
Live it.
Say it. 

Join me and Roxanne - Say what you need to get off your chest with Say It! Saturday. Link up on her blog and see what others are saying this Saturday. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Thanksgiving Means ...

Yes we love the turkey and the pumpkin pie, but what does Thanksgiving really mean to you?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Do Your Kids Eat Vegetables?

I don't know about you, but I have the hardest time getting my son to eat vegetables. When he was younger he loved vegetables. Squash, sweet potatoes, yams, green beans, peas, carrots ... you name it, if it came in a glass jar with a Gerber label - he devoured it. He loved vegetables so much that his skin actually turned orange! He was like Rudolph, only he had an orange nose.

Don't believe me ... check out this picture.

Did I overload the vegetables wen he was little? Could that be why he doesn't like them now?

Or maybe it's a texture thing. I know I don't like certain foods simply because of the texture.

Well, I tried sneaking vegetables into his food, I even pureed them. No luck. Then I thought let's just put them in the foods he already likes. I started simple by adding tomatoes into the pasta sauce. Ok, he is eating them. He loves all Italian food, so I thought I would try putting vegetables in the lasagna. Thinly sliced zucchini and spinach. Yeah, that didn't go over to well. "What's the green stuff?"

Recently he started asking for soup and to my surprise he loves vegetable soup! So if he loves the soup in a can, surely he will love homemade soup even more. After a shopping trip together and learning about all the vegetables his class in growing in the school garden, we made our own vegetable soup.

I tried to choose vegetables that I knew he liked - green beans and peas, added some little pasta stars for fun, and then tried to sneak in some other vegetables that I wasn't to sure about. The red bell pepper was diced small enough that he really didn't notice it. The yellow squash was questionable, he ate a few pieces. The zucchini, yeah, not so much. Even though I chopped up the squash and zucchini in small quarters, he didn't care for the texture.

This meal may not have been a total success, but it wasn't a complete failure either.

Don't get me wrong, he does eat some vegetables, but I know he's not getting all the nutrients his growing body needs from peas, green beans, corn on the cob, potatoes, and spinach tortellini.

Do you have suggestions for ways to get children to eat more vegetables? What do you cook with vegetables that your children love?

Leave a comment below and share your ideas. I'm always looking for new recipes to try.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Say It! Saturday - Slow Down

My good friend Roxanne has started a new blog theme for Saturdays called Say It! Saturday and I absolutely love this idea. (Why didn't I think of it?) The idea is to say something you've been meaning to say, or say something that you always say and want to say again. You can find out all the details on her blog over at On the Rox

Sometimes it may just be a picture that says it all. Other times it may be a phrase. For my first Say It! Saturday I am going to do both ...

Slow down. Enjoy the simple pleasures in life.

Sometimes I am so rushed or doing too many things at once that my coffee is just a means of caffeine and waking up. It's nice to just sit and actually enjoy my cup of coffee every now and then. 

As with everything in life - Slow down, take it all in, and enjoy.

Will you join me and Roxanne with her new Say It! Saturday. Link up on her blog and see what others are saying this Saturday. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why Veterans Day is Special To Me

Many people think of Veterans Day as just another day that schools and banks are closed. An extra day to sleep in and get some things done around the house ... but how many people does this day mean something more to? How many families are affected by this day on a personal level?

While I was growing inside my mother's womb, my father was fighting a war in Vietnam.

This week Dylan has to write a report, A Veteran's Story, and interview someone he knew that fought for our country. He interviewed his grandpa and learned about life as Sargeant in the United States Marine Corps.

Explaining what a veteran is to a child can be difficult, depending on the age of the child, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to teach Dylan more about the men and women who fought and are still fighting for our freedom. Along with his report, we visited the Lyon Air Museum where he got a first hand look at the military history of our country.

We took this opportunity to share our experience with the readers of The Orange County Register and OC Moms with an article about how you can teach your children about Veterans Day too.

Do you have a special family member that you honor on Veterans Day?

If so, take a minute and say Thank You today and let them know how much you appreciate them.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Am Who I Am ..

Day turns to night and the months pass by. Seasons change and the years seem to go by faster as I get older. I change. I evolve. I am not the person I was 5 years ago, nor am I the writer I was 5 years ago. I have changed.

However, one thing remains constant in my life. My son. My life has evolved, but for the past 8 years one person has remained by my side giving me the support and love I could not find anyplace else. My son - Dylan.

Although I am a me, Michelle, and I have a life of my own as a grown woman, my life would not be the same without him. That is why this blog is called Life with Dylan ... not because my life has no meaning without him, or because I want to continually talk about my child, but because this is what I choose.

I am many things ...

I have been a Beach Baby since I was old enough to walk. Therefore, my twitter handle is @bchbby
I am a makeup artist. Maybe not in the business sense anymore, but I will always be a makeup artist.
I am a Mom. Some may say I am a Mommy Blogger.
I am a college graduate who made sacrifices for 2 1/2 years to get my BS in Psychology.
I am a writer who loves to tell stories.

 ... and right beside me through these sacrifices, triumphs, challenges, and life is Dylan.

We have a bond that cannot be explained. There is no Dad in the picture here. We are together 24/7 with the exception of school and work of course ... and I always find time for me because I know that is important for both of us. I am going through a lot of changes in my life right now. My career is changing and who knows, maybe one day I will change the name of this blog ... but for now this is one thing that will not change.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Did You See That Tail Fluke?

What another surfer was almost swallowed by a whale off the California coast?

Hey, did you see that guy in his kayak that almost got toppled over by the blue whale?

Oh, and don't forget about the blue whale that came so close to a boat in Dana Point that passengers got an eye-to-eye view.


Yes, it seems that everywhere we turn someone is having a close encounter with these magnificent creatures of the ocean. I recently wrote an article for OC Moms about whale watching and now I want to go on another trip. Read my article and find out where you can go whale watching along with some great tips for taking the family out for the day on a whale watching cruise.

'Thar she blows ...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Is it a Slump or another Mountain to Climb?

We've all been there. The feeling of listlessness, completely unmotivated, sitting on the couch ... in a slump.

Some slumps only last a few hours, others days. My slump has lasted about 4 days and frankly, I'm tired of being in a slump. Mostly because I can't pinpoint why I'm here. What has caused me to be so tired and unmotivated to do anything?

I managed to go through some paperwork last night and create some reasonable to-do lists. I feel like this is something I can accomplish this weekend. I have enjoyed relaxing and watching some of my favorite TV shows at night. I'm not feeling stressed out and I'm not getting sick.
Then it hit me like a book in the head. Just like the stack of books I have cherished for so many years that sit beside my bed.

My slump is caused by the realization that my life as I have known it for over a decade is ending. My life as a makeup artist is no more.

TGIF - Fill In The Blank Friday

I Love Fridays with Lauren ~
  1. My favorite thing about this week was... the feeling of contentment and personal satisfaction with my decision to close Shel Cosmetics.
  2. Colder weather makes me... want to stay in bed until I feel like getting up, not when the alarm clock says to get up. Crave coffee more than I usually do and wear big sweaters.
  3. Three things that make me terribly happy as of late are... Starbucks red cups, my new iPhone 4, and writing for OC Moms.
  4. If I could only wear one kind of shoe for the rest of my life, I'd choose... my flip flops. Simple and comfy.
  5. My personality type is... really? I'm a Gemini - I have like 100 different personality types. 
  6. I have a serious problem resisting... my son's big blue eyes when he wants something. 
  7. My favorite color to wear is... probably black because it goes with everything and instantly shaves off 5 lbs. but I really love wearing ivory and olive green. 
Share your random thoughts in the comments below 
or with Lauren over at the little things we do ...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Dark Side of Halloween

This Halloween was one of the best we have had. We started celebrating in early October by decorating the house and getting in the ghostly mood. Then it was time to start making the rounds ... visiting the Irvine Railroad Pumpkin Patch, previewing OC Zoo-tacular, attending the ENC Fall Faire, and finally some Brick-or-Treat fun at LEGOLAND California! Whew, I'm exhausted just writing all of the things we did.

But it didn't stop there. We still had a pumpkin to carve and some trick-or-treating to do!

Pumpkin carving has always been something I look forward to doing. It's another outlet for my creativity - this year, I let Dylan be the creative one. I know, so selfless of me huh?

He chose a simple design that he thought would be just scary enough for the neighborhood. Evil eyes, no nose, and a monsterish looking mouth filled with sharp teeth.

The initial cut is always exciting because you never know what you will find inside. Will it be filled with seeds and "guts" that will take major elbow grease to get out, or will it be a hollow pumpkin that only takes a few scrapes to clean out? Dylan's pumpkin was just about in the middle this year and it didn't take too long before we started carving away.