Crater Lake

Our family went down to Crater Lake a few weeks ago to do a photo shoot for Softstar shoes. To say I love Softstar shoes is an understatement. They are made in good ol’ downtown Corvallis by the loveliest people. The kids love picking out their own colors (which include sparkly leather). Our kids were a little on the naughty side this day, but I have never in my life been to Crater Lake with 60 degree weather. It was insane watching people snowshoe around in their t-shirts in February! Of course we went down and had a good time with Grandma and Abuelo as well.

sharon - March 5, 2015 - 7:18 pm

Oh I love those shots with the mountains in the background . . . and LOVE when we get to see you guys in person too :)


Chris is a huge fan of Disneyland. He grew up going often so he likes the idea of our family going often. I wouldn’t say that I am a Disney scrooge… but more like I just would rather spend vacation money on different trips. So Chris was very surprised when I suggested that we spontaneously go to Disneyland in November. The stars aligned and it was  great to see Chris’ Grandma who lives in Southern California as well as be able to stop to see Jeremy and family both ways. Chris had to promise that he would not bring up Disneyland again for at least 4 years, which means that we can focus on other family trips. We had a great time, and it’s hard not to have a great time at Disneyland when your two older kids literally skip miles around the park holding hands and when your 3 year old is a dare devil and wants to go on every single ride (and just happens to be tall enough too). Since we decided to go on the trip just days before, it was so fun to pick the kids up from school one day and announce that we were leaving right that second for Disneyland. Fun memories!

Free Spirit

I love my little free spirit!

sharon - December 26, 2014 - 8:29 pm

Oh I especially love that picture of Miriam jumping in the puddle!

Our Happy Little Dysfunctional Family


I’ve been telling Chris for awhile that we need a good family picture. I’m getting my Christmas on, and part of getting my Christmas on means sending cards out with a family picture each year. Last Sunday I told Chris that after church we needed to get something set up in the studio so we could get a few pics of the family. Well that never happened. The kids were extremely whiny and ungrateful on this particular day and I think that I mumbled something to Chris about how it really sucks being a mom some days as I marched my way up the stairs to have a good cry (a good cry really does help so much every once in while). So yeah.. the pictures didn’t happen that day.  Then I started thinking maybe it would be best to not even send anything out this year, because it has been a hard year in many ways, and I don’t want to send out a “perfect” happy Christmas card that makes our lives to appear to be all sunshine and roses, when that’s not how it feels sometimes lately. Many things I am, but fake is not one of those things.

Don’t you ever wonder what in the heck you are doing wrong as a parent sometimes? Like why does at least one kid have to heartily whine on almost every “fun” family outing? I think that I have been extra on edge lately, because it seems that our kids are ungrateful quite often lately and spend a lot of time quarreling with each other. When I get overwhelmed sometimes, it is hard not to question everything I am doing, trying to pinpoint where we went wrong. Maybe we spoil them? Maybe they our picking up on my own stress and anxiety that I have been feeling lately? Maybe we don’t give them enough responsibility? Maybe we don’t give them enough quality time? I sometimes feel like it must be all my fault, forgetting that they are their own little people who came to this earth with their own strong personalities. Oh yeah, and also forgetting that they really are mostly really great kids with amazing hearts. Basically I spend way too much of my time lately beating myself up for my shortcomings (or perceived shortcomings). But I don’t have to have too much time pass before I am reminded that my kids really are pretty special and sweet.  And if I’m perfectly honest, I know that a lot of my emotional feelings lately have nothing to do with my family but some of my own things that I am working through.

I thought that today we would have one last attempt to get a family picture before I decided to throw in the towel at the idea of a card going out this year, and that is where these pictures came from. These dorky/silly pictures that fit us perfectly. I am getting emotional as I look at these pictures right now. Emotional because I love my happy little dysfunctional family so much. I have been in a bit of a weird fog lately and so much in my life doesn’t feel clear right now. But as I look at these pictures, I can feel the fog lifting a little, and I am reminded of what I sweet family that I have and how blessed I am. I have a kick booty husband who loves me and the kids so much and shows it every day by his actions. I have Sofia who has the most tender heart and is trying so hard to be a good person and in the process is making me a better person. I have Gabe, who is  constantly running and dancing around the house with this amazing zest for life, and he makes me smile pretty much every time I notice his adorable missing front tooth. And last but certainly not least is Miriam. Miriam’s intensity and zest for life can leave me feeling very confused sometimes as to how we ought to raise this spunky personality. But every day she also leaves me laughing and smiling so big, wondering how a child that has been on this earth for less than 4 years can have such a vocabulary and such an old soul.

So, news flash: my family is far from perfect. But I think that everyone who knows us well already knew that :). You might get a Christmas card with a viking,  an angel,mariachi member, piggie, and king this year in place of the perfectly posed card that I originally hoped we would be sending, but this card will be the truth. Life isn’t always easy and our family is far from perfect, but we have so much love in our family and I wouldn’t trade these people for anything in the world. I have so much to be grateful for in my life, and sometimes you have to have things not always go the way you wanted/imagined to help remember you remember how good you really do have it.


sharon - December 8, 2014 - 7:08 pm

Kara, thanks for keeping it real. I got teary too reading your post. (I guess that isn’t news coming from me:). One of the hard times I had in my life was the weekend Chris took that amazing picture of Carlos and I with 8 grandkids at that time. It was not an easy time for me then and I remember thinking the pictures would be horrible and my smile would look fake… . Chris saw the pictures first since he was editing them and he commented, “Mom, pictures don’t lie.” He was right. Somehow the love and joy of Carlos and I for each other and our family came threw despite the difficult circumstances I was in. I love that picture so much and so do so many others who have seen it. It makes me smile, gives me perspective, and helps me remember the sweetness of life despite trials. Thanks for helping me to remember again. Love ya!

Gabe is 7

Even though we have an in-house photographer, I still think it is fun to get some school pictures. I always have a good laugh and sometimes cringe when I look through my old school pictures, so how could I deprive my kids of that same experience?

Gabe celebrated his golden birthday on October 7th. Man oh man, I just love this kid so much. He is at such a great stage right now. Here is what is happening with this little cutie pie!

  • Gabe played soccer in the fall and loved it. He is a quick little guy, and I was impressed with how hard he tried. I was expecting 1st grade soccer to be slower paced, but Gabe was sweating hard during every game.
  • I just had his parent teacher conference, and he is doing great at school. He loves to read, write, math, and playing soccer at recess. His teacher said that he is helping kids a lot, and he is a good friend.
  • One of the things that I find most endearing about Gabe right now is his love for little kids. He loves loves toddlers. Whenever we get together with friends who have toddlers, he spends a lot of time following them and being buddies with them. So much so that most of his little friends yell his name when they see him. He is just such a tender and sweet little guy, and it is so sweet to see how nurturing he can be. He sometimes forgets to be this loving with his little sister, but I would say that for the most part, he is pretty sweet with Miriam too.
  • Gabe loves legos and Ninjago. He can literally put together legos way faster than I would be able to.
  • Gabe loves to have dance parties. When we turn on good dance music, he dances his little heart out. Are you seeing what I’m talking about people? This kid really is so much fun. He is also a good little singer.
  • After a long day of school, there is nothing Gabe loves more than to run straight to the playground to get out some of his endless energy.
  • We got a trampoline at the end of the summer and though Gabe still loves to swing a lot, he REALLY loves to jump on the trampoline.
  • One hard thing about Gabe is his selective hearing. He is really good at ignoring you when he doesn’t want to hear what you have to tell him. Like when you tell him to turn off a show, clean his room, or come in from jumping on the trampoline.
  • Gabe still loves to be read to. He likes Calvin and Hobbes and other comic books and he is starting to read books like the Magic Tree House series.

That is all I can think of for now. I feel so lucky to be this kid’s mom. He is a keeper!

sharon - November 3, 2014 - 9:00 pm

Love that Gabe and that cute school picture.