A week of Fear: Underwater City

Hurricane Harvey was what nightmares were made from.

With warnings came fear. It was going to make landfall and it was going to cause pure destruction. Evacuate. Prepare.

A city with 7 Million people in the path of Hurricane Harvey….where was everyone to go? Houston is home to 45% of Texas’s entire state population. There was not enough time in a day to truly prepare.

Friday August 25th in the dark of the night, Harvey made landfall. 145mph winds decimated a town of 11,000 people in just a matter of 60 minutes. But as light began to shine, Harvey had no intention of slowing its path of destruction. Houston was its next target.

Over the next 4 days, Harvey shed One Trillion gallons of water onto Houston and its surrounding towns. A town of hustle and bustle, a city of power, a capital of hope was nothing more than an underwater nightmare. Water uprooted families, sunk homes and brought on the worst devastation in decades.

Imagine the sounds of water rushing down homes, the cries for help, the sirens, the fear in 7 million peoples voices as they realized there was no escaping this beast.

They heard Us. America heard Us. Hours following, our City was filled with 5,000 military, countless volunteers with helping hands and at that moment, all the Hate from politics, race and religion didn’t exist. People existed. Hope Existed.

Has anyone ever explained what the sun looks like after a storm? I’ll tell you first hand….the first spot of blue sky that appears after a Hurricane is the most beautiful color  blue you can ever see. Dark, black skies were the only colors in the skies for 7 days. The second that blue sky appeared on day 8, everyone in our now underwater city was looking up. I walked outside, looked up and took a long pause. Just for a moment, amongst the chaos all around, there was Life after the storm.

The days will go on, people will move on but our city will rebuild. We are Houston Strong.



Italians don’t like pepperoni?? FALSE!


Funny story about our Exchange Student from Italy…..

So we went out for some pizza at our local pizza joint. Just before ordering I asked our ‘bonus child’ what she does NOT like for pizza toppings. She made a sour face and said abruptly “Pepperoni!!” I paused and thought for a minute. An Italian who doesn’t like Pepperoni? Okay, who am I to question so I ordered a supreme pizza with no pepperoni and then another pizza WITH pepperoni for the kids.

We sat down to eat and I noticed she quickly grabbed a slice of the pepperoni pizza and gobbled it down. Now I was confused. But didn’t she say no to pepperoni? I’m eating my slice and watching her out of my right eye. She picks up her next piece, the supreme, and gracefully starts to remove the bell peppers from her slice. Then it dawned on me.

“Chiara, what do you call these in Italy?” as I hold a pepperoni up with my fingers.

She looked a little confused but politely says “Salami!!”

“Okay, now what do you call these?” as i now hold up a bell pepper piece.

“We call those pepperonis. I hate them!”

I couldn’t contain my laughter and explained what the mix up was. I explained to her my confusion on why she was picking off the bell peppers but eating the pepperoni after clearly explaining she dislikes pepperoni.

In Italy:

Pepperonis are called Salami

Bell Peppers are called Pepperoni

We all busted out laughing as I got out my google image and showed her the difference of names for those food items here in America. She embarrassedly admitted she was also confused on why I ordered “pepperoni” after she clearly asked for none.

She definitely learned something new today! 🙂


How to Live outside of your comfort zone: Part 1


It all started on a mild spring day in February……

If ya’ll know me personally, You know this past year has been anything but comfort but hey, I’m getting there. Its all gone by fast but I want to take the time to tell some specifics about this past year and tell ya’ll HOW it all started…
So the kiddos and I always greet daddy Mike at the front door when he returns from work. But this day, He called to say He was coming home early! So with much excitement, the kids and I waited out curbside for him. We gave him hugs and the kids talked his ear off for the next 10 minutes explaining the various bugs we’ve caught, what they ate for lunch and how many times they pooped. But I noticed Mikes face not as ‘joyful’ as usual so I asked “How was your day?” His lip trembled as he took in a deep breath and said “I have something I need to tell you. My entire dept was laid off today, including me. We can either look for another job or move out of state but stay with the company”.

Ummm what!!? I felt sick to my stomach immediately. I got defensive immediately and said “NO! We’re not moving. My whole life i’ve lived here. I don’t know anything outside of Arizona.
Literally. We were still living on the same street I grew up on. In fact, my next door neighbors were my parents. And his parents lived just 5 minutes down the road. I could drive a car blind folded and backwards and still get from place to place perfectly. I spent 29 years in Arizona and could be a tour guide for that state. I never saw myself living outside of Arizona. I had no reason too. My entire family line lives in Arizona. I had everything I ever needed there.

We sat on the couch hand in hand, tears down my face while his remained confident that this would only be a small hurdle easily fixed with a new job. I was a stay at home mom with a photography business on the side however we survived on his income. At this moment in time, neither of us had a job but we still had a house, two kids and two cars that needed income in order to sustain them.

Within 24 hours, Mike had 3 calls from his company, all 3 were out of state, offering him great secure positions. Interviews were set up and it seemed to be pointing to an out of state move.

I was devastated. In denial. Angry. Scared. I was mad at his company so why would I even consider him taking an offer WITH that same company??!!

I hid in my room for hours. Even the thought of saying goodbye to my childhood friends made me puke. We were months away from buying a new house in Arizona. We had just registered our Son in Kindergarten days prior. In fact, to the same school I went to as a child. I was set to stay my whole life in Arizona. And I maintained my defense, making excuses on ‘why’ we HAD to stay and how horrible it would be to leave.

I called my parents bawling my eyes out. They let me vent my frustrations and my fear of leaving Arizona. Thats when they said these next few words that changed me forever, actually, my life.
“You need to live life for your Family, not for your comfort zone”. They were right. There are many things in life that are out of our comfort zones but when it comes down to a stable living for your children, us parents would do anything for that, right? Our kids depend on us. Sometimes we have to steer right instead of straight in order to keep our family and kids secure. We walk around with blinders on, too scared to ever try anything  new. Its the fear of the unknown that can possibly hinder us from even more amazing opportunities.

I walked out into the living room and into the arms of Mike. He wrapped his arms around me, kissed my forehead and let me soak his shirt with tears. I looked up at him and said “Lets start this journey.” I could feel him take a deep breath, hold me closer and say “For better or for worse…..We will be okay”.

With that said, March 1st 2016, just 3 weeks after that mild February afternoon…..We packed up all of our belongings into a 28 foot truck, said goodbye to our childhood memories, familiar sights and smells, Sunday family dinners, coffee dates with our best friends and drove 1,000 miles to Fort Worth Texas. An entire state of “unknown’ where we would now have to call Home.