Friday, September 25, 2015


I wish I could have complete control over the choices of my children sometimes. Sometimes the effort to get them to make good choices and have them completely resist everything you are trying to ingrain into their little minds is humorous.

Most of the time it is exhausting and frustrating.

Have you ever seen a harried mother in a grocery store? I am sure you have. I am often that mother and I can tell you that it is as embarrassing and shameful as it looks. There is such an immense pressure to get your children to behave and be polite and courteous and a majority of the time your efforts are there and they just don't measure up.

I try to extend as much grace and mercy as possible to those around me that often I forget to extend it towards myself. Of course I want to raise children who are kind and good and polite, but it is a process and there will be trying moments where you will be completely humbled by your children. When your baby is climbing out of the cart because the seat buckle is always broken (ALWAYS!) and your preschooler is running in circles knocking candy bars off the rack and you haven't had a decent nights sleep in a year and you are just trying to get out of the store quickly because your preschooler also notified you that he has to pee and it is much easier to accomplish that at home than to maneuver yourself back through the aisles to the bathroom. I calmly try to keep the baby seated and calmly try to urge the energetic child to slow down and listen to my hiss to stop.

I feel insane. Once I manage to get us all back into the car safely after treading through the parking lot with a baby on one hip and the child by my side and bags on my arms, I take a breath. I breath to calm my heart and mind. To try to discern where I went wrong. What could I have done more to not be THAT mom, the one everyone side eyes with pity or contempt and sometimes even facebook posts.

I could have prepared better yes. I could have paid more attention the carts and given my toddler clearer instructions on behavior ahead of time. Given him some sort of choice to help him feel like he had control over his own will. There is a lot I could have done and that I will probably do in the future, but most of all at the end of the day, I rely on mercy.

I am one person, one imperfect person who is TRYING. Trying to raise good and kind children in a world with a lot of competing values of judgement and selfishness and contempt. Where I fall short, He steps in. There will always be things that are overlooked and mistakes made, but if I am trying with a sincere desire to do right, I KNOW He will fill in those gaps and shortcomings. I know because I have seen Him do it before in my life.

 I hope that when you see that mother in the grocery store that you will extend grace. That you do it through kind words (I once had another mother look at me and say, "You are doing great." My eyes swelled with tears from that earthly angel. Some days are HARD). You can do it by offering assistance. If you have no children and grab a cart, look at the buckles! Are there two straps? Are the buckles intact? Give it to the next mom who walks in heading towards the carts with a baby or toddler. If you don't know what else to do, smile and buy her a candy bar (trust me she WILL eat it!).


Max's laughter lights up the world.

Daniel waiting for someone to open the door.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Saturday Outing

We all feel asleep during Daniel's nap on Saturday and when I woke up I was charged! I shot up out of bed and all the busyness and disconnectedness of the week, all my frustrations trying to get Max to listen and Daniel to sleep piled up and I marched into the living room.

"Get up!" I declared to Kyle. "We are going outside! We are getting out of this house and doing SOMETHING!"

We had spent the day doing chores, mowing the lawn, vacuuming, laundry, catching up on overlooked areas of the week. It was necessary but frustrating. 

It is easy to get trapped in your own surroundings; to become so content with the daily to do list that you never explore or connect with anything beyond the four walls of your home. It is extra work but getting outside for me ALWAYS pays off. It restores and brings a peace that is so deeply healing.

So out we went!

I don't want to waste this life constantly worried with those to do lists. They are necessary and important but there is wiggle room. Wrinkled clothes, dirty dishes in the sink, a floor needing to be swept; these are far less important than rocks to be skipped, water-skimmers to be caught, and memories to be made and cherished doing it together. I want my ordinary days to be filled with these moments.

Grateful for the escape of the outdoors and the perspective it provides.

Friday, September 18, 2015


Ever since I was little I cannot remember taking my time reading a book. I was always swept into stories and excitedly tore through the pages, grasping for the finish. I am still obsessed with that transportation and the way it makes me see the world with fresh eyes.

It however does not go well with my current lifestyle. 

As a child and teenager I could easily read all day without interruption and fairly late into the night with little consequence. During the summer I turned into a nocturnal creature appreciative of the quiet and coolness that came with the night. I loved most assigned reading throughout high school and college (there are always exceptions of course) and even while a nanny in Seattle I immersed myself during nap times and happily finished once I got home. 

But now, my binge reading does not work very well. To carve out time I ignore and distract and hide away trying to eek out another chapter. The house gets messier and everyone is crabbier. 

Except for me of course. I am contentedly reading away; lost in another world for a few moments before I am inevitably forced to snap back to reality. 

A reality that I LOVE. 

It's funny, because as much as I love diving into the fairy tales and epic sagas, I like the story I am writing with my life best.

Now if I can just figure out how to read like a normal person....any tips on how to read without ignoring the world?

Snapshots from this week:


 Baby blues.

Friday, September 11, 2015



I am so excited. This weekend I get to see some of my closest friends from college. The last time we were all together was before I was even married!!! Luckily two of us live in the same town which so happens to be about smack dab in between the other two. So grateful to get to stay up late catching up and spending some time with them.

We are finishing up family birthdays (with my mother's being today! Happy Birthday Mom!) and settling into a routine of keeping house and preschool and pursuing goals and whatnot. It feels all very grown-up and I didn't expect it to be so hard to be away from Max during the day. He is going to a full week half-day preschool and although I relish in some uninterrupted time to write and plan and play with Daniel, I find myself missing him terribly. He is doing amazing though and is so excited to tell me about the new lessons he is learning and all the special rules. Max LOVES rules and structure and little things like "No, no Mom. You have to push your chair in BEFORE you put your lesson tray away." Doesn't matter that he NEVER pushes in his chair at home....

Also, on a more reverent note, I want to take a minute to talk about the anniversary of Sept. 11th. May peace and comfort be with all those who were directly affected that day. It had an impact upon us all, and I think often about how my worldview changed that day. I had never questioned the safety of living in this country and of hardship hitting my personal life. But Sept. 11th was the first chip at a greater understanding of our global community and my place in it. To know that ultimately there are things we cannot control but we can choose to be good, we can choose to be kind, and we can in the face of trial and adversity still choose love.

Photos from this week:

Thought process facial expressions.

He is going for the books. They were promptly, one by one, chucked off the side table and onto the floor. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Baby Danny Turns One!

This boy! What an absolute joy he is to our family. Daniel is a very independent child. When he was a baby he would be content to just lay there on a blanket while I read or cleaned or cooked. At first I thought, he must just be a docile baby, but as he gained access to mobility, I quickly realized he was just happy doing his own thing. He explores and wanders without a care in the world. This also means he is not a very snuggly baby, but he is improving on that each day.

He is happiest outside. If he does not get adequate outside time, he gets really cranky. 

He adores and is terrified by Max. Max isn't exactly soft with Daniel. He likes to steamroll Daniel when I am not looking or fight him with his sword. Daniel always wants to do what Max is doing and Max never wants to include Daniel unless they are wrestling or playing chase (Daniel is a very speedy crawler).

Daniel is tough. He figured out that when Max is near it is best to lay low to the ground. It is pretty hilarious and a little bit sad to watch your baby plank completely parallel to the ground waiting for a roll to be over. His cries of help are rare though and he seems to just be happy that Max is including him. 

Daniel loves baths and kicks his legs making great big waves and splashes until his eyes are red. He never wants to get out. 

Daniel is a happy boy. He likes simple baby things like mirrors and pulling books off of shelves. He loves finding sticks and eating bananas. 

Here is a look back on the first year in the life of Danny boy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

On Birthday Wishes

I remember my tenth birthday the most.

My mom, swamped with taking care of four other children had promised that I could have a birthday party, as long as I planned it myself. I fretted the entire summer over details, watching old reruns of Martha Stewart hoping to gain some helpful tips for the perfect party (I was a strange child).

I decided on a Hawaiian Hello Kitty theme. Hello Kitty hadn't reached its glory quite yet, but I was obsessed with it from visits to the international district with my grandma up in Seattle. I settled on Hawaiian because my birthday is in August and it felt like a nice fit. We would go swimming at a local pool, have pineapple upside down cake, and have hula skirts as party favors. I selected streamers and planned out the rest of the food. I was so excited.

The thing about having your birthday at the end of August, is that you never know what the weather will look like. It could still be 100 degrees or blustery and windy, preparing for colder Fall weather.

The part would be held on my birthday and I prepped all morning, helping my mom to make the cake and decorating the backyard with pink streamers  and hanging pineapples. The wind rolled in gray clouds and I was a little worried. Then only five of the people I had invited showed up. My heart sunk a little, in my mind there were thousands of my adoring friends flocking to celebrate me (Oh the mind of a ten year-old!). We pressed on with the party. The pool was deserted with the forecast of rain and so we enjoyed the slide on a continuous loop of no lines with rain sprinkling down. It was awesome.

We arrived back to my house and plopped in my new B*Witched cd and danced in the front yard to, "Don't Blame it on the Weatherman." We made a sign for all the cars that passed to honk because it was my birthday. We ate delicious cake and ran around in our hula skirts and all I remember was it ended up being so much more fun than I had expected. It ended up being more fun because it had rained.

I turned 27 on Sunday and I realized a couple of weeks before that I was holding expectations for this birthday. Turning 25 happened in the wake of James death, there was no celebrating. I was miserable and depressed. Turning 26, I was 38 weeks pregnant and the day before my birthday was stuck in the hospital because they wanted to induce. My fluid levels were low and I was wracked with anxiety and just wanted Daniel out and safe. He could have been a birthday baby, but the fluid issues resolved themselves (rather the person reading my fluid levels had mistook them for being low and they were normal the whole time) and I spent my birthday upset and anxious and disappointed. There was a lot going on and it was hard to enjoy anything.

So this past weekend I had expectations, and for a second I thought that they might be crazy or high or whatever and then I realized they were normal.

I wanted a birthday without anxiety, depression, worry, or sadness. I just wanted a happy birthday. I wanted to be surrounded by those I love and take in how grateful I am, despite the rain that has fallen in the past couple of years.

My 27th birthday was a happy one. It was a birthday that offered perspective to see that all my birthday wishes have come true.

To me, there is no better gift than that.