Category Archives: Uncategorized

Beware of the troll under the bridge and ghosts in the tree.

Halloween is my favorite time of year. From costumes to decorating the yard to Taj’s birthday, it is all one big whirl of fun.

We all know I miss living on an island, however I like to highlight the benefits of living in Suburbia and trick-or-treating and decorating your yard definitely ranks up there.

We are just starting to compile the decorations and this year, we added up lights on the tree and red lit graves. We also were in need of a bridge over the gut in our yard. When it rains, it gets a little muddy and we didn’t want trick-or-treaters to have to endure this. Besides our mailbox is over there. It became the troll bridge. Taj tells us they are make believe, but he does warn us that they live under there. Note the plastic bag ghosts in the tree.

homemade turtle shell costumehomemade Leo TMNT costume

This is the first year that Taj is totally ‘in’ to Halloween. He not only chose his costume, he got us to join along.

family ninja turtle costume

And the best part of Halloween is that it is Taj’s birthday next! It was a little more difficult to convince Taj to give up his candy for the pinata this year 🙂


40th Birthday Surprise Weekend to California

I’m overwhelmed and amazed at all the birthday wishes. As much as I’ve been steering clear of FB for a while, the birthday wishes are awesome.

My fabulous hubby surprised me with a trip to Cali for the weekend. Grandma Gayle came in for the weekend before heading to her highschool reunion in Virginia and we took our firest trip without Taj since well, since before he was born.

Taj even made a picture of us on the airplane to Cali in his birthday card.

#fortyandfabulous #bestbirthdayever


San Fran karaoke bar with island friends.

We got to spend some time with Rob and Tanya, then went to Napa and had brunch with Sam and Trint (fresh off the rock the week before) in Sonoma, then to San Fran with Kate and Russ and meeting Max and Dorie for dinner.

crucians in babylon

Brunch with Sam and Trint at Fremont Diner in Sonoma.


greetings from sonoma


cheese tasting with wine tasting

Tasting in Napa at Sterling Vineyards.




last boarding group on southwest flight

We had so much fun, we forgot to check in for our flight. And if you are flying Southwest, that means you get back of the plane and most likely not together.



Driving driving driving

I like road trips, I do. It’s fun to drive through middle America and see other peoples’ normal.

I can’t say I enjoy the subpar motel stop and trying to keep my child from crawling under the bed. Maybe my suburban self has caught up with me. The Peace Corps gal in me would have called that luxurious, right? Ick.

Taj is a trooper. We spent 14 hours in the car yesterday with 3 stops. We did jumping lacks at pitstops to get the wiggles out and despite some lady telling me, “that’s what Mountain Dew is for,” which I didn’t understand, we mostly made it with no major breakdowns. Healthy snacks free flowing throughout the ride, two movie showings on the MacBook (Wall-E and Ice Age) and some Pandora Children’s Indie for some singalongs, we did it! Day twos 5 hour drive is so nothing. We got this down.

There was a major accident involving two semis during a construction section of Ohio I-80, leaving traffic to a standstill or very slow crawl. We crawled to the rest stop at a whopping 10-15mph for a much needed peebreak and the camaraderie and easy-going ness of the thousands that joined us at that stop was a good distraction from moving 10mph on the highway. Back on I-80, we were of the first group to sneak through on the left. Felt a wee-bit bad to watch the people stuck in the partitioned right lane tailgating, but luck was on our side. This time.

We chose to not eat lunch at the rest area but instead to stop in a small town. If you choose non-chain restaurants, you might get something fabulous but you also run the risk of finding complete mediocrity. We chose Mexican because of the outdoor patio and the large bike riding parking lot next door for Taj. Food was mediocre so I won’t call them out, but the patio, weather and wiggling-getting-out bike ride were a perfect lunch stop.

We’re looking forward to visiting lots of siblings, cousins and family friends and then heading down to NC and GA and then back to IL.

Stefie likes fishing but not when Mr. Fish swallows the hook.

Thanks mom for Taj’s fishing pole. A great gift, however you neglected to do one thing; take him fishing! He’s been talking about it non-stop since your visit and I haven’t the foggiest idea of how to fish. So, Steffie and I decided to take him to the stocked Plainfield Fishing Resort (and one of the most dated, DIY websites I’ve seen in a while, thanks for the chuckle). An interested onlooker advised us to trade in our nightcrawlers for the grub-like white worms instead and once we actually got through getting them on the hook, we were lucky enough to keep Taj’s attention for a dozen or so very small fish.

I dunno, I think someone that loves to fish should teach him because I don’t think I did the ‘sport’ justice. Sister Leah and Casey might have to help.

Look, I got one!



We started another project. Corn hole boards with an island twist and two silly ladies 🙂



Uncommon Mama

Yes, I’m that girl. I’ve got my Macbook open at our campsite on the Mirror Lake State Park picnic table making a definite decision for the Uncommon Mama to finally come out.

And the guy that drove by and mocked me publicly for having my computer open, I tell you sir, “I am Uncommon, I don’t care what you think!”

The Uncommon Mama was hiding for the past year hiding, stifled in trying to set up shop on the mainland and overly busy being busy; she was however secretly planning her escape from the common life of suburban Midwest mom; the life that keeps home, husband, child, work, gym, yoga, grocery shopping, after-school activities, visitors, visits out of state, ahhhhhhhh.

I like to consider myself an UncommonMama. You probably are too. In all of us is a desire to break out of the normal and do something challenging, daring or a little less common, something that chose us or something we choose.

And we all do, we all have a sense of the uncommon and this site serves to see how little things like “car cramping” in a Wisconsin State Park or living in the Caribbean for eight years or still being able to speak a little Samoan make me feel a little less common.

There are other people in my life that make me know that “uncommon” is a goal and isn’t weird or totally irresponsible. It’s something we discuss together to help keep in check and make sure we aren’t being irrational or naïve. We all share friendship yet our experiences and expertise vary tremendously. In essence, we keep each other sane together.

They too will share their experiences of the uncommon kind from return Peace Corps volunteer stories, unique or uncommon relationships, stories of overcoming situations or amazing change, graphic details of parenthood and so much more.

My thought is that there is a lot of world out there to explore and we need to experience as much of it as is humanly possible. We can’t live in the routine of ordinary; we need to feel a sense of uncommon.
But, for now, I’m grounded again.

And I just want to write. I write a lot of content for work and I want a chance to talk in my voice. So here goes.

We’re camping now, here’s how we put together our in 3 days. Read Mirror Lake blog post.