Previous month:
October 2012
Next month:
December 2012

November 2012


Thanksgiving 2012 ... was spent with family.
This was the first year in nearly 17 years that I haven't cooked anything for Thanksgiving.
And it was...
Probably the most relaxing and bountiful Thanksgivings I've had.

(Above) We had lunch at Mama "O" and Papa "P's" , Rudy's grandparents from his mom's side. These are all "Great Grandkids" together.

We devoured an imu baked turkey and ham. It was the first time I've tried it and we all agree, we could not get enough.


(Above) The boys with their Great Grandfather.

After a fulfilling lunch, we all took a nap for a few hours, just in time to make it to Thanksgiving Dinner with their Great Grandparents from Rudy's dad's side, The Barut side. This is such a large side of the family, that to this day (nearly 20 years later) I am still trying to figure out who's who.


So, yes there was an ample amount of eating, celebrating, and a whole lot more to be thankful for.

This was also the first year I've spent Thanksgiving without my mother.
There was indeed an unexplainable emptiness I felt in my heart as I looked around and saw people with their mothers, fathers, grandparents... I looked at them and wondered if they made this Thanksgiving "count" because life, as we know it, is filled with unknown.

Although my heart continues to hurt for the loss of my mother, there is also a tranquil feeling that comes over me, being back home with my brother... as if she is constantly looking down at me and smiling. She would've wanted this, her only two children bonding with their families. With the Holiday Season just around the corner, the sadness I feel will become more apparent with each day.  November was my mom's favorite month. Her birthday is this month, Thanksgiving always fell on a Thursday, her day off. So it was the one holiday I knew I'd have her home. And although her choice of feasting was "lechon" (pig) with a side of "pancit" (noodles) we always made sure we had ample amounts of food to celebrate. By Thanksgiving they always put up the giant Santa at the Ala Moana Mall, that always put a smile on her face, no matter how many times we've seen the same "Santa". Her eyes were always full of wonder this time of year. It was the season of giving.. and if you knew my mother, she was a "giver".  She always "gave" more than she received. November was also the month her first grandchild was born, my first born, Caelan. I can't even explain the bond she has with this child, with his birth, she was transformed into twice the mother she was. She always says, "Caelan" was the best gift she could have for her birthday...

So on this Thanksgiving, my first without her, I remember all the things she taught me, all the things she stood for, and all the things she hoped my brother and I would be. It was a Thanksgiving, where I wasn't gonna spend it locked up in my room, rather the opposite. I was gonna make the most of the day, despite how "unfair" I felt life has been. Because through her passing, I've learned to lean on others, to open my broken heart to my husband, all of which I've never done before. I've learned that blessings come in many forms.. and maybe this trial in my life.. has only taught me to shine brighter, to have faith, to trust what cannot be seen, to live my life to the fullest, to draw closer to God, to love my husband without walls, to cherish my children and to really be present in their life, to make time for family, to open up to my brother, to live with passion, and to make each day count. 


We put up our tree this weekend, and like my mother, I love this time of year.. just ask my kids, I could stare at our Christmas Lights all night. Even though I did not have a lot growing up and as a child, this time of year, was a reminder of what little we had under the tree.. it also was a reminder of how full my life was. So every year, I tell my kids story of the "empty" boxes under the tree for my brother and I.


Kai seems to be mesmerized by the lights too.. (No, Izzy put a treat on the tree) so I could get the "shot".

After our tree decorating, we went out for "Sahbu-Shabu" dining.

And look at my little photographer... What can I say, "She got it from her mama!"

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving..
Although my kids seemed like they were more Thankful for the internet... I know they are Thankful for "Family".

Celebrating Seventeen & Blessed.


For his birthday, Caelan wanted a yakiniku style of restaurant. Where you can grill your own food. This restaurant had probably the best Korean Food I've had in a long time. This is the first time I've tried a kim-chee pancake.. YUM! And my all time favorite, the bibimbap !


Photo 1

I am so blessed to be back home and being with family again.
When you are gone for so long, you get "used to" living on your own. You forget what it feels like to have family knocking on your door. Or family over every weekend. At first, it took me a while to adjust to all the "love". But I've learned in order to "heal" I've got to let people in.

When I lost my mom, I always said "Now I have no family, no mother or father!" And I quietly built walls, believing that I was truly all alone. Without even realizing that "family" is right outside, willing to come in whenever we let them.

Truth is, I still have a "mom" and "dad" I've been with Rudy since I was 15, I've been a part of his family for over 20 years. They have been there for us, with each birth of our three children, always making it a point to fly to wherever we are, even if we were on the East Coast or in Alaska. And my sister in law, has always been there for me and my kids.


So every weekend or in this case every celebration, we get together, as one big family. Either at a restaurant or in our living room watching Walking Dead over Margaritas... I enjoy it all.



My brother and his wife also came by on Sunday to hang out all day. Every time I get together with my brother and Maggie, I can feel my mom looking down at me and smiling and thinking that this is all she wanted for her children.. to be happy with their family and making each day count. It's crazy but I see her spirit in my brother's wife.. She's very upbeat and her eyes are still look to this earth like everyday is a new adventure. Just like my mom did, she always had a reason to smile.


Having somewhere to go is what we call HOME.
Having someone to love,
Who loves us in return,
Is what we call FAMILY.
Having both is a BLESSING.

Renner & Levine.

Thank You SNL for making my night.. complete.
Little did I know (I found out via Pinterest, out of all places) from a trusted Jeremy Renner fan who I follow religiously because she seems just as obsessed with Renner as I am.. that he hosted SNL on Saturday with musical guest... (wait for it) Adam Levine, I mean Maroon 5! 



Can you imagine the "high" I was on. Believe me everyone in my house knew that Renner & Levine were in the "hiz-house".

Some awesome skits, I loved the monologue.. never knew Renner could sing (sigh, my heart just went 'pitter-patter'.  I loved his spoof on The Avengers "I ran out of bows .." I could not stop laughing. And my favorite skit was the "Stand Off" skit. Hilarious.

I felt like I was at a Maroon 5 concert when they came out to play.


Love that song...

Speaking of Maroon 5 and music..
I bought their "Overexposed" album back in July and still listen to it religiously.
Maroon 5 - Overexposed

The entire album is pleasing. From the quick hard beats of "One More Night" to that sweet melody of "Daylight" I loved it all. "Sad" and "Beautiful Goodbye" are also my top faves..  "Payphone" is a bit overplayed so I tend to skip that when I listen to the album. But all in all, I enjoy Maroon 5's latest album on my playlist.

The latest album I purchased was the latest P!nk Album, The Truth About Love.  This is the one that I'm currently listening to and on repeat. I'll have to save another post about that one... all I can say is you will not be disappointed.. True Love feat Lily Rose Cooper is by far my favorite of that album!  Pink defines "True Love" the best way she knows how. 

The Kid is Seventeen.

Happy Birthday to my firstborn, my boo-boo, the one first one who has shaped my life into the kind of woman I am today.

Photo 4-1

Photo 1-1


17 years later, he never ceases to amaze me with his wit, charm, humor, and his smart-alec ways. I am in constantly in "awe" at how amazing this kid has grown to be. With all the changes in his life, he still remains to seem like a pretty grounded kid with all his priorties in focus.

Photo 3-1

As he begins to close another chapter in his life (high-school) I am eager to see what this world has to offer him, more like what he has to offer this world. He's such a dreamer, a wanderer, and I can tell he was meant to travel and soak up all this life has to offer him. He's also a hard-worker and extremely bright. I can't say I had AP Calculas when I was 12th grade. He's a mathematical genius who happens to love science. English and Reading, he could do without. Give him a puzzle and he'll solve it in no time. Problems are fun for him to solve. His brain is literally like a sponge, I am so envious at how he can soak up information in a matter of minutes. While it takes me diagrams or drawings to even help me to comprehend.


He also has a way with music.
When he sings, I don't know if he realizes, he melts my heart with each chord.

So much talent all bundled up in one child, our child.
I see both Rudy and I in his chracteristics...
I'd like to say he's got his creative edge from his mama and all the brains and the analytical, pay attention to detail from his father.
He is clearly the "firstborn" and I always thought of him, even as a child, a kid with a old soul.
He steps in to care for his siblings when he needs to.
He's headstrong, strong-willed, tough on the exterior, but a heart that will love you with everything he's got.

Photo 2-1

We are so proud of him and all he has done and continue to do.
I hope you knows how much his siblings think so highly of him, natural as the born leader.
Everything he does, is the right way..
From the way he dresses to the songs he downloads, the other two are quickly to follow.
That's how much impact he has on them.


He's continued to flourish here in his new home of Hawaii.
He's made some amazing friends and I feel so blessed that he gravitates towards the "good" crowd. I never have to question his judgment. I trust him.


Last weekend, a bunch of friends came over and I was more than ecstatic to have them over. I was humbled to know he was just as eager for them to meet us.

I look at him and I just know.. God is good, he continues to bless this family and we couldn't be more thankful. At times it's hard to believe I have a 17 year old.. just the other day the lady at the store asked how old my brothers were.  I reached over and gave her a big hug.. LOL!  She made my day.

Happy Birthday to my "boo" he loves his mama so much. There's something about "mama's boys" that will always melt my heart. I love you son... And I promise, I'm not sitting at home listening to my "Caelan's Slideshow Songs" (he's having a big graduation party in May)  I don't have Kenny Chesney's "There Goes My Life.." Trace Adkins "You're Gonna Miss This" and the tear jerker, Reba's "You're Gonna Be"..... (wahhhh) 

Lady Antebellum (was) Here.

I never got around to writing about my experience at the Lady Antebellum Concert...

Seems like ages ago (only a few months) but I'm getting around to scrappin' about the day and I just wanted to recollect my thoughts.

When I first heard about the concert, I was ecstatic. I love Lady Antebellum. One of the first songs I remember, was their famous, "I Need You Now.." I can remember Izzy singing the lyrics "It's a quarter after one, I'm a little drunk and I need you now .."

Surprisingly, I love a little bit of country music in my playlist. It stems from living in San Antonio for a while and I think that's all they played :)  My faves are still, Tim McGraw, a little of Kenny Chesney, a touch of good ol' Dixie Chicks, of course you gotta have Reba in there. Some Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins, oooh Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks.. Oh Shania.. man I could go on and on.

Lady Antebellum was for me a country with a touch of pop. And I loved that.


I didn't buy their tickets right away.. (After that concert, I wish I did).  But mainly because my hubby was due to be out of town and being new here, I really didn't know who would go crazy over them like me. Or wouldn't think I was crazy when they came out on stage. So I bought 2 tickets anyway, knowing I would go.. just not sure with who. It turned out that hubby didn't have to TDY just yet and he was my official date for the night! And OH WHAT A NIGHT IT WAS.


Before I go into how amazing the concert was.
I do want to share the minor "obsessive" side that I have with music.
So .. my husband, who maybe knew 1 or 2 songs from them.. had to go thru a "Lady Antebellum" Crash Course. That's right you read that right.


So I purchased their very first album and their latest. (The thing with iTunes, it gives you the ability to just buy a little here and there..)  And that was the only thing playing in the house, the car, outside, at night while we were asleep.. I kid you not. I drilled each melody into his head (and mine) till we were humming them subconsciously. And that was how we prepped for this "glorious" night of good music.


The actual concert, bear with me, I haven't been to one in ages. (Alright, the last time I went to one was when The New Kids On The Block was here when I was like 10.. ha ha ha, are you done laughing now.. I swear, I thought I was gonna be Mrs. Jordan Knight)

But the concert was amazing.
I was going absolutely crazy and even lost my voice singing (yelling) every song they performed.

(Evidence below, warning.. turn your volume down, no infact, turn it off!)



I loved ALL the song choice they picked to perform, a little from each album, and quite a bit from their first album which was AWESOME!

One of my all time favorites, well there are SO MANY, "American Honey" And Hilary gave me goosebumps! 



All in all that concert was amazing, love my hubby for tagging along and probably developed some sort of hearing loss from that night, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Till the next concert (cross my fingers, Mumford & Sons)
Embrace music, crank up that volume, and sing your heart out!!!

Project Life 2012 | Week 45

Photo 1

Photo 2

I'm catching up faster than I can blog them. I make sure I do the current week and then jump back to finishing up the weeks that I've missed. So far I covered Weeks 12 (from where I left off) to the 20's. I jumped around a bit because I printed a bunch of photos from Costco a few weeks ago.

So far, leaving everything scattered on my dining table seems to do the trick. I tend to scrapbook more.. I just have to ignore the mess and eat dinner around it. 

The Weekend.


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas?

Yes.. it is the decorations are going up as I type. This Christmas my kids will be singing Mele Kalikimaka, and although we miss the snow that we relate to the holidays... I think we will be enjoy celebrating it in 80 degrees by the beach. I just need to teach them the Hawaiian Christmas Melodies.



This weekend we celebrated the weekend with family. We attended an early Thanksgiving Celebration for a foundation that my in laws are a part of.


Since my kids found this party so "entertaining" I gave them the camera to help the time pass by.
Caelan had fun learning about apetures, ISO's, shutter speeds, and all things photography. I think he actually listened to me. He loved the chapter I gave on "focus points".


I was smiling when I saw this pic on the camera, very clever!  *Note to self, I need to try this.


Our weekend seemed like it flew by. I had a great time just laying low with my sister in law and her family. I got to spend some quality time with the neices and my sister in law made me the cutest bracelets. (Which I will take pics of).

I guess it's time to get my Holiday Decorations out..

What Amuses Me.

Some TV shows I take full delight in.....

Okay, where have I been for the past 7 years?


Definitely not at McClaren's with these guys...

Because I have been missing out on one of the most "legend" (wait for it) "dary"  TV shows of all time! Yes, a slight exaggeration, but seriously, I have become quite obsessed with this show. Much like anything I invest my time in, I become quite consumed by it for a while. Like it's not enough to just get a little bit of something, I need to know all about it.

So one week, while I was sick to stomach and laying in bed, unable to do much but watch tv. I came across an episode. More like I was to tired to get up and changed the channel, I left it on. I saw a few back to back episodes and laughed my sick butt off. Since then I was hooked and needed to know more about this show.. from the beginning. I found the show on Netflix and realized that it was getting ready to air it's 8th season!  That's 7 seasons, 7 years! 

I'm not even ashamed to say that it took us just a month to watch 7 seasons (7 years) of How I Met Your Mother.  If that is not "obsessed" I don't know what is.

So now we are all caught up and our family is excited to actually watch it on regular television with the rest of the world.

So being that I have become completely fixated with this show, I've also dug a bit deeper and read more about each character's real lives as well. And yes, I'm totally following them on Instsagram and Twitter! 

Right now our entire families' vocabular contains a bit of "Slap-Bets" a lot of "wait-for-its" in between each word, and when we are getting ready, we like to say we are "suiting up".


Just a little bit of  I keep myself entertained in the media world. I admit I love diving into different kinds of tv shows and movies.

Just before this show, we watched all 4 seasons of Prison Break.

And it was "so good" kept us on our toes the entire time. I mean how many times can one try to escape prison? You think you couldn't make a show about "breaking out" of prison in 4 seasons.. but you can!

But one of our family favorites... is Zombies!!!!

The Walking Dead!!!  We are huge fans! Every Sunday is a "Zombie" day in the Barut house!

My DVR also contains:

  • Hawaii 5-0
  • Once Upon A Time
  • Grimm
  • Revolution

I have to say the list has gotten a lot smaller ... Netflix has become more prevalent since it's become so easy to access from any device in this house.


I hope everyone enjoys their Veteran's Day Monday :) We are still enjoying our weekend together and gearing up for a drive on the other side of the island :)


Encounters + Moments = Life Well Lived.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.
It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.
We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
Albert Schweitzer

When I read this quote, I visualize random people going about their day to day business, without even realizing, a simple smile, a pleasant "how's your day", or a nod of the head.. would send some kind of "spark" and ignite us in our normal day. I think without even realizing it, or stopping to recognize how significant a little smile can warm another person's life.. we touch people's life daily, with our actions. Whether  it's a dear friend, a new encounter, or a complete stranger.

I am still amazed at the phenomenal encounters I have in my life. I am in awe of the many who have come, stayed, or left in my life. Life was simply meant to be lived thru special connections and the bonds we make along the way.

Having to start all over again, with another move in a new but familiar town.. I find that my door is swung open once again to opportunists to meet new people or to reconnect with old friends.  "When God wants to bless you, he sends people into your life..."

From meeting another fellow photographer, my hairdresser, or an old friend of nearly 20 years, they are all significant to my life. Through an amazing lady's life, I've learned so much about life, what it means to "fight" for your life, love, and faith. Through countless others, I learned the importance of family. I learned about counting my blessings, and shifting my gratitude from things to moments. And most importantly, a reminder that life was meant to be lived with the human bonds we form along the way.

As much as I like the solitude behind the walls of my home, I take the risk and venture off from time to time, and make it a point to meet new people or reconnect with old friends because it is these relationship we build along the way and the memories we make with them that will count in the end.