2017 One Little Word® : celebrate

So...I wasn't sure that I was going to choose a word for 2017. 

I pretty much abandoned my word in 2016. I realized the other day that I never even blogged about it! My word was and...meant to honor all the parts & pieces of my life, to encourage inclusion, and to replace "but" in decision making. Anyone who has been to my house knows that ampersands are prominent in our decor. Maybe that even made it a little too everyday for me...didn't give me something to reach for? Anyway...

I hadn't really given much thought to OLW for 2017. And then a word started showing up. I've found that those are the words that end up having the most impact for me...the words that I don't look for, the words that find me. What's my word? 


We already have a lot of celebrations planned for 2017...the "usual" birthdays & holidays, D&K get hitched (hint: aloha!), seeing friends & family, neighborhood parties, etc. I want to celebrate the little moments...the quiet mornings, small victories, date nights, family adventures, my tribe...all the pieces of our life. Celebrate is also choosing to see the good in the challenging moments...I'm sure I'll be asking "what can I celebrate in this?" often. It's about finding the fun, and continuing to create a life that I love. 

Here's to a year to Celebrate - bring it, 2017! 


saying so long to 2016...

This year was a whirlwind...travel, moving, changes, more travel, Landmark, little kids, big kids, many (many) bottles of wine, laughter, a few medical pauses, friends, family, and so much love. There were parts of 2016 that were, well...not so lovely (ahem)...but all in all? It was a pretty awesome year. 


January : hola Mexico!


February : we got engaged! (that's Mackie's "oh, you're kissing, aren't you?" face)


March : we moved into #thepalace, and traveled to Los Angeles for work (Kat) and the Advanced Course.


April : Hopey came home for a visit! And Mackie started looking like a teenager...


May : we visited Bubbe & Disney World and Austin came home!


June : back to California for work (and good friends), and spending summer nights with my favorite.




July : what a big month!! Bubbe, beach days, Barb, and the Bigs! Plus...Vegas, baby! 



August : my brother came to visit, Mackie got ready for kindergarten, and Austin headed back to University with Emily & Nate...


September : Dan celebrated 42, and we celebrated 2 years...in Baltimore, where we met.




October : I visited the 'rents (+ more) in Texas/Oklahoma, we celebrated Halloween with a fabulous neighborhood party, and the Littles continued to entertain us.



November : #BarbandKatsExcellentAdventures in Chicago, plus a trip to British Columbia & Los Angeles for me & Dan.



December : (not pictured) an unexpected trip back to British Columbia, a Caribbean cruise, and celebrating Christmas with Bigs and Littles. 

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!  

old san juan : december 2016

Our December adventure started with a couple of days in Old San Juan...


We loved the colorful buildings & interesting architecture - and learned that the colors are assigned by applying for a painting permit. How fun is that??




We took a walking tour of Old San Juan - our tour guide, David, was terrific...and funny. "Come here. Look at this!



He proceeded to feed the birds - uhm, no thank you.



So grateful to travel with Dan's Mom, Iris, and her friend Don.





this Christmas...

St Thomas

Wishing you all the merry this Christmas. Dan & I are spending Christmas Eve in San Juan, and will travel back to VT in the morning to join the Bigs for Christmas Day. The Littles will join us early in the week, and we'll celebrate Hanukkah & Christmas with them. The entire month has been a bit untraditional for us...unexpected travel, medical concerns, choices/changes, and guess what? It's all okay. We are happy & healthy, and will soon be all together for a few days of love & family. Sending y'all love & light...and all our best. xoxo

British Columbia : part two (the unexpected story)

Squamish bc dec 2016

This is a story that I didn't expect to tell, about a trip that I didn't expect to take, about something happening that I didn't expect to happen...

Dan & I had spent American Thanksgiving weekend in British Columbia, visiting with Austin. We stayed at a beautiful AirBnB and spent some time in Vancouver & Whistler Village. We headed to Los Angeles after that...work for me, running on the beach in Venice for Dan. I'll get to those posts at some point. 

I was in a meeting at work last Monday, when I got a call from Austin. Those with University-aged kids can attest to the fact that when you get an actual phone call instead of a text or email....well, it gets your attention. I excused myself from the meeting, and heard this news, "Mom, please don't worry, but I had a seizure and I'm in the hospital." Here's what happened...

Austin woke up on Monday not feeling particularly well. He went to class, and was in the cafeteria on a mid-morning break. While paying for his food, he had a seizure. He was taken to the local hospital, and observed for several hours. He was in the process of being released when he had a second seizure. After being re-admitted, he had a third. At that point, the decision was made to transfer him to a hospital in Vancouver. At some point, he had a fourth seizure. 

I arrived in Van on Tuesday evening, just as Austin was being released. A CT scan showed no evidence of brain tumor (the scariest possibility, for sure). We spent Wednesday back in Squamish, allowing Austin to get a little more rest before flying home on Thursday. We still don't know what caused the seizures. We start follow-up appointments later today. 

Through all of this, I have been really grateful for our community of friends & family. So many of you reached out with messages of love & support. So many of you called on your higher power & faith to send white light & healing. I'm eternally grateful to Austin's girlfriend, Emily, for being his advocate at the hospitals and keeping me informed (seriously, she is a ROCKSTAR). Y'all are my favorite.

hard things & lessons.


It has been a FULL week...and I mean full as in so many things, not full as in seven simple days. I feel like I have finally caught my breath. And then I read this article and was finally able to exhale.

Last week, Dan & I showed up & stood for ourselves, our relationship, and our family. It wasn't fun. It didn't feel good. It wasn't my favorite. *And we survived...grateful for each other, and grateful that we can do hard things. Then I got on a plane Saturday morning, and the adrenaline wore off...and my mind started to spin a bit. Just a bit, b/c I spent the weekend with Barb, and y'all already know that she can stop the spin with wine, laughter, and all the talking. And then I flew home, and sprinted through the Detroit airport, and landed in VT more than a little physically & emotionally drained. We headed to Montreal that night for our (almost) weekly Self Expression & Leadership Program. Brutal truth - tensions had flared just before we walked into the course, and I kinda lost it during the course (kindly referred to as a breakdown). I cried on the way home. I raised my voice on the way home, and yet still couldn't find the words to express what I was really feeling. The bottom line? I was feeling raw & hurt by the hard things from last week. 

By the time we were back home, after all the talking...all was well. I still felt a little beat-up by life, but I also felt loved by Dan.

Today, I opened up Feedly, and read the above post from Hands Free Mama. So effin' much of that post resonates with me. "That hurtful person can teach you how to be a more compassionate human being who someday makes someone else’s life better with that knowledge." Yes. The *situation that was hurtful last week can teach me to be more compassionate. 

The post talks about making a pledge. "Whatever they did, make a pledge. Promise yourself that you’ll never treat anyone the way they treated you. This is how you become a kinder and more compassionate person. This is how you learn from their mistakes."  Wise words. Today, I'm pledging to be an unapologetic "bonus mom." I'm pledging to trust in the life that Dan & I are creating. I'm pledging to be gentle with myself. I'm pledging to acknowledge my strength. I'm pledging to be vulnerable & authentic. 

*I know...it's one of those annoying cryptic blog posts. Rest assured, this post is NOT about me & Dan. We are happy, healthy, and planning on becoming Mr & Mrs Holtz. Just wanted to clarify for those of you who worry!


on doing the work.


"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light." 

Brené Brown

Just grateful for doing the work today. Grateful for creating a life that is a stand for freedom, ease, lightness, & strength. Grateful to be surrounded by love (seriously, I have the best friends & family). Grateful for my four awesome kids. Grateful for this awesome life.


#startandendhappy : mindful happiness


Some of you may have seen Elizabeth Gilbert's Facebook post last week, pointing to Sarah Trimmer's Ted Talk. I'm a fan of any/all exercises that encourage hitting the pause button on life & remembering the good. Over the years, I've relied on gratitude/happiness texts & emails with my friends when times are tough. It occurred to me while listening to Sarah's Ted Talk that I tend to get a little lazy with that practice when times are terrific. I feel grateful, but I'm not incredibly mindful about it. I have a LOT of happiness in my life, but I don't always pause to celebrate that. Make sense? So...I love the list the Sarah describes in her talk. Wanna play along? Share in the comments!


Flannel sheets. The right to vote. Texting. Coffee. My lunch (made by Dan...thanks babe!).


Being encouraging. Practicing generous listening. 


Laughing with co-workers. Remembering Dan laughing (hysterically) about a squirrel story. The fact that it's cleaning day, and I'll go home to a sparkling house tonight (HSJ - you rock!). 


About 2 story podcasts that the Littles might like. 


Practice mindful happiness.

currently 10.27.16


drinking more & more coffee. It's my winter transition...my consumption creeps up, and then I start to balance out with hot tea. 

wearing this Garnet Hill skirt often. It's so comfy. I'm perplexed about a winter capsule wardrobe. Needing winter clothes at home, and warm-weather clothes for a lot of our winter travel. 

getting excited about visiting Barb & Austin next month. Sadly, not at the same time. I'm headed to Chicago in a couple of weeks, and then Dan & I are heading to BC for (American) Thanksgiving weekend. 

wishing that Hope could be there, also. 

eating far too many carbs, and craving all the cheese. My commitment to follow an 80/20 paleo split has been a dismal failure. #cheesefries 

listening to the sound of rain (that was snow earlier). I'm not a fan of winter. 

preparing for an onslaught of Halloween activities this weekend. Parties upon parties. I'm not a huge fan of this holiday, but I'm rallying in support of Dan's enthusiasm, and the Little's excitement.

wanting a few more hours of sleep sprinkled in my weeks. 

feeling the pull toward scrapbooking again. Likely Project Life. 

wondering if I still know how to make pretty things with paper. 

healing from a minor incision a couple of weeks ago. All clear on the biopsy. Be diligent about #selfcare, friends!