Sharing my adventures, thoughts and occassional jokes. Sorting through laundry, and a little bit of life…This is How I Train My Dragons…

Just Another Wrinkle From Time

In the last couple of weeks, I have read a few really good and inspiring blogs and Facebook updates written by and about women. About our appearance, weight and just over all body image.

My favorite of these blogs, was a woman writing about how she doesn’t mind her sons seeing her naked because she wants them to see what a body of a real woman looks like…not the modified versions in magazines. I love that!! And it really got me thinking about how hard I am on my own body and the way I think about it.

I remember being mortified when Emaleigh first noticed my stretch marks. Yeah, unfortunately I’m not one do those lucky women who’s skin shrunk right back to where it was pre-baby. When she was about 2 1/2 years old she walked into the room when I was changing and said, “Oooooooh Mommy! I like the color of your tummy!” I asked her what she meant and she sweetly replied, ” You have stripes!” Yes. Yes I do. All the Vitamin E in the world will ever change that.

Although that was probably the nicest way that an almost 3 year old could point out my flaw…it kind of hurt. I will never look like Pre-Baby-Caiti again. But, I soon realized it’s not a flaw at all. It’s me and it’s what I’ve been through.

But lately, I have realized that it’s not even my body that I am the hardest on.

Sometimes I catch myself looking through old pictures and noticing how young I looked. My face looked so soft and smooth! I know that sounds silly since I’m only 32 years old…but the Caiti then looks way different from the Caiti now. But, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, right?

A few months back, Ray and I were headed to church (he was driving) and I opened up the visor mirror. For some reason, those mirrors seem to magnify everything! Even my nose hairs were magnified! (Too much?) I immediately noticed and began nit picking every little thing on my face. I slightly moved my mouth and noticed a huge wrinkle on the side…right where I smile. I moved it over and over to make sure it really was there for good, and sure enough it’s not going anywhere. I pointed it out to Ray and his response is what made me begin to start looking at all of my “flaws” differently.

“Honey, I love that line on your face. You know why? Because it only shows up when you laugh or smile!”

Wow. Let me just say, that is one of the many reasons I love my husband. It was then that I realized not all of the lines (wrinkles) on my face are something to be ashamed of. Or something that needs to be hidden with concealer and powder.

You see, that line was formed from the time that I smiled so hard when I first met my kids. And the time that Ray made me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants (I said almost). And, maybe all of the times that I have smiled and laughed with countless friends and family.

Being happy is the reason for that “wrinkle”. So, if that’s the price I have to pay… I’ll pay it 1,000 times over.

Oh and the sun spots under my eyes? Those are from the many hours playing outside with my family. That was fun.

The lines under my eyes? I remember many late nights holding and rocking my babies to sleep…that’s where those came from.

The scar on my forehead that I conceal with makeup (and even cut bangs to help hide it)? Yeah, that wasn’t so fun, but it’s part of who I am.

I’m ready to quit looking at my wrinkles, gray hair and stretch marks with such a negative attitude. Every single mark tells a story. My story.

As women, we tend to judge each other on appearance. Why?
We are all different. It would be a pretty bland, boring world if we all looked the same.
Let us all just be comfortable in our own skin! Embrace what we once thought were “flaws” and just love ourselves. Our bodies are amazing, it’s time to recognize that.

So, the next time you start being a little hard on your face (or any other part of your body) remember what special times brought you those marks.


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Nineteen Eighty Eight


Wow. 1988.

Twenty-six years ago I was having the time of my life in Disneyland.
It was my first ever family vacation and it was something that I am able to look back on and just smile. This trip embodied many “firsts for me”…

We took a road trip. This might explain why I love road tripping with my own family now. Anyway, with this trip we traveled to Nevada, Arizona and California. It’s kind of funny the small details that I remember of this trip, but then they were huge to me.

We drove through Nevada and we stopped at Circus Circus. I’m not even sure if that place is even around anymore, but I toted a sweet pink Circus Circus fanny pack for the longest time. Loved that thing. That was my first time in Vegas. First (and probably last) fanny pack? Score.

Back in the motor-home we celebrated my Grandma’s birthday. She stood there opening presents as we travelled down the road. I couldn’t tell you what she got, but I can still hear the rustle of the paper as she opened her gift. I glanced up at her and saw a smile that could light up a room. We were together.

We got to Disneyland. The very first thing I remember is walking up to the ticket gate. My mom was walking (and videotaping as in VHS) and she walked right into the brothers and I laughed so hard. And yes, it’s recorded.
Laughter. I remember a lot of laughter.

I remember riding a ride that I didn’t necessarily want to so I pretended to fall asleep. My mom held me tight…I remember begging my dad not to spin the tea cups too fast because I was a weenie. I think he then rode with my brothers so he could spin fast.

I remember It’s A Small World being my favorite ride and almost being in tears because I loved it so much.

We watched a parade that night and I remember Oliver and Company was the big movie at that time so all of the characters were dancing on a float. Man, I’m getting old!

I remember going to Sea World, Knotts Berry Farm and Universal Studios. I thought I was going to get swallowed by a tsunami and eaten by King Kong at Universal so I try to block that out. My mom was super pumped to get her picture taken by Tom Selleck and his Magnum P.I car. (Don’t worry mom, I won’t post that picture)

Then we went to the ocean.

I remember screaming. No, I wasn’t scared, just incredibly excited. Literally, I screamed the entire time…and it wasn’t a “oh I was so cute!” scream, it was a “why didn’t someone tell me to zip it?” scream. (Seriously…we have a video of it.)

I was 6. It was the first time I had ever seen an ocean and it was HUGE! I can remember drawing in the sand and I looked back and saw my dad in his jeans and tennis shoes. It was November, but that didn’t stop me and my brothers from getting barefoot and running (and screaming…lots of screaming) through the sand and letting the salt water splash our legs.

The end of our trip was celebrating Thanksgiving with our family in Arizona. Being grateful. That’s what it’s all about right? Family, friends and just being together.

I remember lots of things. But none of them were what I got that trip (except the fanny pack). All of my memories are of how I felt. The laughter, smiles, screams (oh the screaming) and all of the fun that I had with my family back in November 1988. I can only hope that Ray and I are able to create some of the same memories for our own kids now.

In 1988, I learned that it’s not about how much money is spent or what I had and didn’t have. I learned that what is important, is how much TIME we spend together.
So let me just say…Invest in your kids! It is something you will never regret spending! (You might regret the fanny pack.)




That Feeling…

The first Sunday of every month, our church calls Worship Sunday. It’s where our kids stay with us for the worship portion of church. I love this. It gives our kids a sense of what worship (with music) is like.

Today was Worship Sunday. And for me, it was one I’ll never forget.

My son, Elijah, stood in front of me for all 3 songs.
You see, he is my snuggler. He is 8 years old and still never flinches to hold my hand. In parking lots, down the hall at school, and today at church. Standing in front of me, he held my hands around his neck the whole time. Well, actually not the whole time. He started off clapping, but I think he quickly got frustrated because he couldn’t get the beat (definitely got the rhythm genes from me). So, he held my hands. He held my hands so tightly to his chest that I could distinctly feel his heartbeat the whole time.

It wasn’t until the second song, that I felt it. I could feel Elijah worshipping God.

Let me explain. Since he was standing in front of me, I couldn’t hear him singing. The only thing I could feel was the vibrations of his voice on his chest, and his sweet heartbeat acting like the metronome…keeping beat for him.

As hard as I am trying to explain it, it was almost an indescribable feeling that came over me. I have felt the presence of God during worship before. You know, that peace that just comes into the room? But today it was different…

I could feel the presence of The Lord...through my son. His son.

If we just open our eyes, open our hearts, and allow God to enter…it is then we will feel Him. Even when we don’t know it…He is there.

He is here. He is all around us. He is the whisper in our ear. The nudge at our back.

That’s Him.

The amazing feeling I had today. Remembering that He is in our kids…we just need to help them to allow Him to make a home there…in their hearts.
All you have to do, is look into the eyes of your child…or any child…and that’s HIM.



When Words Don’t Come Easy

My Rocky Parenting blog for today…

Rocky Parenting

Ever feel like you have so much to say, you just don’t know where to begin? Like you just vomit on all of the words that are in your mouth but they are just stuck?
Or, you don’t know what to do other than just…cry? So many questions that you want to ask, or know the answer to. Yet we can’t. Maybe we won’t ever know the answer.

Yeah. That’s kind of where I’m at.

I’m not great with words. Sometimes, I find myself crying. Not because I am necessarily sad, or mad…just because. Because that’s my release. That’s my way of communicating my feelings. And that’s when I write.

Life is hard. To be honest, there are times, life flat out sucks. And it’s in those crappy times, our own life seems to be put into perspective.

What matters.
What doesn’t.

Last week some very good friends of ours…

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Getting the Big “W”

My blog last week for Rocky Parenting 🙂

Rocky Parenting

Well, it’s official. I’m a soccer mom.
As a matter of fact, I’m probably THAT soccer mom. And, no, it’s not because I now drive a van.

When Elijah first began playing soccer at the age of 4, it was more of a cuteness factor. All of the kids running after the ball causing constant pile ups, shin guards and socks that would constantly fall down because their little legs were still too small, and no goalies.

As he has gotten older, he has learned that he really enjoys soccer. He gets it. Elijah is usually my quiet, a little bit timid, A-LOT-like-his-mommy child. But when it comes to soccer, I see a spark in his eye and he comes alive on the field. He is not afraid to get in there and be aggressive. I live for that. It’s amazing to watch your kids realize that they are really…

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Rescue Me…

Here’s my blog for Rocky Parenting. Enjoy!!

Rocky Parenting

The other night, I woke up to my 3 year old crawling over me saying, “Mommy, I had a bad dream.” Thinking nothing of it (as this has happened before) I assured him that he was safe and to go to sleep.

That next morning, he mentioned his bad dream again. Normally, Eydan doesn’t really remember his dreams.

“I fell in the water!”
I could hear the panic in his sweet little voice.

“You were there…you should have grabbed me Mommy.”

Those words stuck like peanut butter on the roof of my mouth. He fell in the water and I didn’t rescue him? He then proceded to tell me that there was a bat (the kid is obsessed with Batman, so of course there is a bat). After he fell, he flew into the sky and was rescued. So, not sure what part of this dream was actually what…

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More Than A Wrapper

My Rocky Parenting Blog from yesterday…enjoy!!

Rocky Parenting

Our senses can do some pretty miraculous things. Not only do they let us see, smell, hear and (sometimes) taste the world around us…they also let us remember what the world around us used to be like for a brief moment.

For instance, the smell of fresh cut grass takes me back to summer in the 90’s. Or the song Kokomo by the Beach Boys and the smell of licorice takes me back to rollerskating around Warnoco West. Any of my Greeley peeps remember the Snowball skate, or the Birthday Bear?

Anyway, I remember when my Grandma passed away, I kept one of her sweatshirts so that I could always remember the way that she smelled. There’s no words for me to explain what the smell is like (it’s gone from the sweatshirt now), but whenever I get a large black trash bag and open it up…the smell is there…

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A Woman I Know…

My blog for Rocky Parenting today. Happy Birthday to my beautiful mom.

Rocky Parenting

There’s this woman that I know…

I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of a Proverbs 31 woman, but when I read that scripture I can’t help but think of her.

She is the most loving, sincere, selfless, woman that I know.

She celebrates her great days, and she finds something to celebrate on her bad days.

This woman is my Mom.

My mom.

I remember a time when I was younger, I wanted green colored contacts.  (Yes, I was in my awkward early teenage years and yes, I wanted contacts to color my eyes the same color that they already were!) Anyway, her response could have been a number of things but she simply said, “Caiti, be happy with what God gave you.”

I have carried this statement with me since the day she said it.  I’ve done my best to practice what she “preached”  and today I have come…

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Goodbye Blonde Curls…Hello Ears

Today was a MONUMENTAL day in the Mondragon household.  I mean BIG…HUGE. We finally did it.

We cut Eydan’s hair.

If any of you know Eydan, you know that his hair walked into the room first.  Really, especially if you saw him in the mornings! His curls…not much more I can say about them.  They kind of spoke for themselves.  It’s almost as if his hair had it’s own personality (not bigger than Eydan’s of course).  Kind of like Elvis and his hips, or Colorado and snow, or even J-Lo and her butt.  Eydan’s hair was his signature “thing”! It’s who he was. He was the little boy (who got called “girl” a lot) with the most adorable, blonde curly hair.


 For the past year, if anyone ever asked Eydan if he wanted to cut his hair, he would immediately say, “NO WAY!”


But today, he didn’t.  When asked about his hair, his response was different.  Today it was, “I want to cut my hair like Bubba’s.”

Wait.  What? You LOVE your hair. (Yes, he might have always been brushing his locks away from his face, but who cares?!) We LOVE your hair.  Everybody LOVES your hair.  I caught grief from so many people for letting his hair get so long.  I shouldn’t say everybody loved it because that’s not really the case.  Seriously, it was cute.  I loved it.  But, when I think about it…it was about more than just his hair.  Ray and I weren’t ready to cut it because we weren’t ready to let go of that part of Eydan…I wasn’t ready to let him grow up.

But, it was time.


“Mommy, I want to cut it.”

It’s just hair, right? So why in the world is the first hair-cut so difficult?

I remember being emotional with Emaleigh and Elijah too…but Eydan, he’s my baby.  So this time, it IS a little different. The first haircut makes it somewhat—final. And yes, we cried.

 I never knew a hair-cut could be so emotional until I became a mom.  It means that they are no longer a baby.  They are growing up, just like the rest of us.

That first haircut trims away the last bit of baby that you know.  I sat there watching locks of his beautiful, blonde hair fall into his lap and with tears in my eyes I couldn’t help but think of how fast the last 2 1/2 years have flown by.  And, within a blink of an eye…with a few trims of the shears, I watched my baby turn into a handsome young boy.  What a difference a haircut can make.  I almost forgot what Eydan looked like with ears! (Seriously) He’s even more handsome than before…especially with ears!

I love being a mom…and even more, I love being able to witness all of these stages that my kids have  gone through, and those stages that are still yet to come.

Although letting go and letting them grow up can be hard, it’s also amazing.   Cherish your memories.  But don’t be too focused on the past, or you might miss out on the present. In other words, don’t let what your kids used to be outshine who they are becoming.

Here’s to first haircuts…and new found ears!eydanhair


America The (could be so much more) Beautiful


In 1906 the slogan read, “The Great National Temperance Beverage”.

In 1948 it was “Where There’s Coke There’s Hospitality”.

One of my favorites (only because I have a music box that sings this very song) was “I’d Like to Buy the World A Coke”.  Anyone else remember that song?

I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony.

I’d like to hold it in my arms, and keep it company.

I’d like to see the world for once, all standing hand in hand.

And hear them echo through the hills, for peace throughout the land.

Those are all great! All ways that I would like to picture the world that we live in.  Hospitable.  Welcoming. Peaceful.

Well, if you got a chance to watch the Superbowl on Sunday, I’m sure you saw the latest Coca-Cola commercial.  And, I’m sure you have read many comments and blogs about it. Some in support, and some in complete, distasteful backlash.

I saw it, and it immediately became one of my favorite.  Wow, I thought.  What a great country we live in where people can sing such a beautiful song about America, in their own beautiful language.  That’s why we are so unique…a melting pot right? People from all over the world come to visit this great country of ours because we are envied by many as the land of opportunity and promise…to chase whatever dream you have.  Not one of us has the right to take that away.  I don’t care if your family sailed over on the Nina, the Pinta or the Santa Maria…it doesn’t make you any better than someone trying to live out a dream for their family.

Boy, I was way off in thinking that our country might be a little further along than we were in the 1950’s.   Maybe I am just as naive as those that are in an uproar because they think that they were singing our National Anthem. (I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but America The Beautiful is not our National Anthem.)  But it didn’t even cross my mind that people would actually get upset over it.  People turning off their t.v’s in disgust.  Really? I fail to see what was SO wrong.

I’ve seen some of the most hateful comments come out because of this commercial.  Am I wrong to have thought that we live in a world that should clearly be more accepting of people’s differences? Posts on Facebook saying things like, “Our soldiers didn’t risk their lives for our freedom to have a song of our country sung in a different language”. Hmmm. The last time I checked, the United States doesn’t even have an official language!  And, instead of causing an uproar over it, shouldn’t we be proud to live in a place where people WANT to sing about how beautiful it is?

I’m sorry, but this is not America being beautiful.  This is America being hateful, cruel, judgmental and hypocritical. And, WE, as Americans are totally missing the point.  But Coca-Cola? They are spot on.  Kudos to them for recognizing the dream of many people.  And shame on the Americans who are in an uproar over this. (And yes, I am shaking my Mommy finger at you!)

I’m not sure about any of the rest of you, but this is not something that I am trying to teach my kids.  I don’t want them growing up in a society where differences are viewed as wrong, or bad.  Maybe we should stop putting so much focus on the outcome of a football game, and begin to focus on the outcome of our beloved America…who has the potential to be A LOT more beautiful, if people would just open up their minds.




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