It's the first Wednesday of the month, so that means time for more IWSG. Today's question is: Win or not, do you usually fini...


It's the first Wednesday of the month, so that means time for more IWSG. Today's question is:

Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

More than likely your first question is, what's a "NaNo" project? NaNo for NaNoWriMo....don't worry, I didn't know what that was until recently either. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people participate in this writing challenge where they attempt to write 50,000 words during the month of November. The idea is to get a first draft going of whatever novel you want to write.

I have never participated in this challenge before. I have never tried to write a novel. So obviously the answers to today's questions are no and no. But this year, considering that burning desire I've been having to get my whole eating disorder story written, I've decided to join the fun. I signed up just yesterday and will start writing as soon as I finish posting this.

50,000 words in 30 days means I have to write over 1600 words a day. I'm not gonna lie, this sounds completely overwhelming and not really do-able at all, given the busyness of life right now. Do I think I can meet the goal? Yes. Do I think it will be a good first draft? Hell, no. It will be the shittiest of shitty first drafts ever, but if it gets me started, then it'll be worth. If it gets me writing more regularly, it will definitely be worth it. If I don't meet the challenge, oh well, the goal for me is really just to try. So as long as I put in an honest effort, I will feel like I succeeded. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself.

So...on this note, you will probably not hear much from me this month. I will be holed up at the computer each night, undoubtedly with a giant glass of wine and my vape pen full of CBD oil, seeing how many words are really stored up inside me. If anything good comes out I might share an excerpt here and there to get some feedback.

I'm scared and excited. This is going to be really hard. But I'm betting it'll be totally worth it.

Aug 7th, 2015 This week I'm at a nerd conference for work. While sitting through the boring introductions during a session, I made ...

Aug 7th, 2015

This week I'm at a nerd conference for work. While sitting through the boring introductions during a session, I made the mistake of checking Facebook real quick to fill my time. I saw the #metoo hashtag, and not knowing what it was about, I of course looked it up. After reading about this sexual harassment and abuse awareness, I went back to the Facebook search of that hashtag, which shows you first all your friends that have posted about this. As I scrolled for what seemed like forever, my eyes started to fill with tears. Now I'm not much of a crier really, especially not in front of anyone but a few select people, so I swallowed that lump and quickly put away my phone. That was not the time to think too much about that.

It moved me beyond words. It's not that sexual violence is news to me, it's the sheer number of women (and I'm sure men, but I only saw women in my feed) that have been hurt by this that hit me hardest. Since the movement is about both harassment and rape, I at first thought I shouldn't share any of my own experiences, because lucky for me I've never been raped. And really harassment doesn't seem like a big deal next to rape in my mind. But then I thought, that's not right either. Even if most of the people posting about this have only been harassed and not raped, that's still too many. It's still uncalled for and still needs to change. And the thought process behind rape is probably similar to harassment...the idea that the person deserves to be treated like they have no say in the matter. That it's okay to use your power to manipulate those under you. That it's okay to victimize someone. It's not. So here we go.

I remember being sexually harassed before I even knew what sex was. Some dirty pervert grabbed my ass in a grocery store one time when I was just a little kid. I had no idea why or what that was about, but I of course got scared and quickly ran back to my mom. I don't remember telling her what happened, but I do remember the fear and shame that immediately followed. Now as a parent my reaction to the memory is seriously appalled. Who does that shit?! If someone touched my kids that way I'd freak out! And I'm sure my mother would've done something as well if I'd told her.

As I'm now sure is a typical scenario for most young girls, I was harassed plenty growing up. Whether it was catcalls, whistling, inappropriate remarks, suggestions, or groping, there were too many times over the years to recall each one. I just know there were way more than should've been allowed, let alone normal. There were even a couple incidents in my teenage years that got dangerously close to date rape, but thankfully I was able to stop it before that happened. But I know way too many women that weren't that lucky.

I get that teenage boys are horny. But guess what? So are teenage girls. I know, I used to be one. So that is no excuse. But for whatever reason, not nearly as many guys get harassed by girls as the other way around. So why is this so one-sided? Why has no one taught guys that this is completely unacceptable behavior? Instead it was often written off with, well boys will be boys. Bull fucking shit. If my boys behaved like that I'd be outraged. I can't even think of what the appropriate punishment would be, but there's no way they'd get away with "it's just a guy thing." I think I've already done a pretty good job of teaching them boundaries, and will continue to do so throughout their life. I just don't understand why everyone isn't doing the same thing. But now that I think on it, teaching your kid boundaries is a whole other blog post for another day.

Or how about those excuses that "she was asking for it" by the way she dressed or behaved? This argument is old but still enrages me just as much as the first time I heard it. If a woman chooses to show off her body in public, that in no way means she's asking to get harassed. Maybe she is looking for attention, but I guarantee she doesn't want people to be rude or violent. Maybe she wants a compliment, like hey, you look good! etc. but not hey, nice tits! with an ass grab. NO! For goodness sakes can't anyone give a compliment without crossing that line? Yes you can. I know as soon as my boys start showing an interest in dating, I will be teaching them appropriate ways to pay a compliment without crossing any lines.

The even bigger problem with not teaching your kids boundaries and appropriate behavior, is they often grow up to continue that terrible behavior. And if you do this as an adult, the punishment if you get caught sexually harassing anyone, is much bigger...or at least we all hope it is! Realistically that depends on the situation as we all know too many people still get away with this bullshit, even in the workplace.

I'm lucky enough to work at a small company, thankfully full of respectful guys where I not only never have to deal with any harassment, but not even any disrespect. At previous jobs I did encounter plenty of sexism though, which often felt like borderline harassment. There's still more men in my field than women, although thankfully that's changing and I'm hoping within my lifetime I'll see it even out a bit more. But when I started, I was not only a minority, but was even called "an anomaly". I got a lot of weird looks, suspicion that I couldn't possibly know what I was talking about, being a girl, and very young. But as people gave me a chance, or in some cases had no choice but to give me a chance, they realized that I was not only smart, but was often more friendly than my coworkers. I had to go out of my way to be very nice and keep my mouth shut about those rude remarks to get some people to take me seriously. And while that was a frustrating experience, I know every woman who's been a minority in her field has had to face the same crap.

My goal is to do what I can to help ease the way for women in my field. And that's always meant I had to learn to deal with sexism and harassment. Speaking out when things are over the line is important, which I would not hesitate to do now if I encountered any harassment. But when I was starting out in my career, I was too afraid to speak up as I didn't want to fill anyone's stereotypical ideas of a woman in a man's field who cries harassment. That's really sad, and I wish I hadn't felt that way. I like to think if anything really over the line had happened, I would've said something. Thankfully it never did, so I don't know how I would've dealt with it for sure. But I do know I felt uncomfortable plenty of times and just kept my mouth shut. And it shouldn't have to be that way.

Ladies, and gentlemen, we should never feel like we have to keep quiet when we're harassed. You can't be comfortable in your job or life if you have to deal with harassment on a regular basis. It's better to say something. Yes if the person harassing you is an asshole, they might very well make it difficult for you. But so what? It's difficult being harassed too, so you might as well stand up for yourself and face the difficulties of that situation over staying quiet and feeling shamed. You owe it to yourself and to every other woman (or man) that's going to follow you. The more work we do on this now, the less our children and their children will have to put up with it. Think of how far the civil rights movement has come in the last 100 years! And think of how much farther it could go. But it takes everyone involved to stand up for themselves, and those around them.

Don't be afraid. Don't be ashamed. Don't be quiet. Help this end. Be heard.

Photo credit: Brené Brown I recently read the book "Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution." by Brené Brown...

Photo credit: Brené Brown

I recently read the book "Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution." by Brené Brown. I'd heard a couple of the author's Ted Talks before, but hadn't read any of her books yet. Then the chronic illness Facebook group I'm in decided to start a book club, and this was the first book they recommended. What an awesome book! I am so glad I decided to join in on the reading fun. Today's post isn't a typical book review, because I'm not a book critic. Instead it's about what I got out of the book, which was quite a bit.
"Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage."
For starters, this book is about why we should allow ourselves to be vulnerable. The reason being because it's the only way to live a full and authentic life. It's difficult for most of us, if not all of us, to do this. Being vulnerable means we will inevitably get hurt. Our instincts kick in and we immediately resort to fight or flight to protect ourselves. Especially if we were never taught how to correctly identify and deal with our emotions, specifically shame, we'll end up guarding ourselves over all sorts of things, even seemingly insignificant ones. Instead we need to realize that all this pain and discomfort is worth it so that we can truly live and love to our fullest extent.

Sebastian 10/03/2009
The first thing that came to mind when trying to think of a photo that represents vulnerability, was pictures of me with my babies when they were first born. I can't think of anything that makes me as vulnerable as parenting. It's the scariest thing I've ever done in my life, by far. Not like cliff diving scary, but love scary. True, unconditional love. Allowing yourself to love anything that much means opening yourself to endless hurt. We hurt when our kid's hurt, and growing up means lots of hurts. If you're anything like me, then simply the thought of anything bad happening to your kids causes you immediate discomfort. But we know it's inevitable, they will get hurt. They will experience pain, illness, heart break, and loss. And as their parents, we'll be right there suffering alongside them. But we'll also be there to teach them it's okay to hurt, feel shame and discomfort, and how to get back up.

Oscar 12/22/2013
"We own our stories so we don't spend our lives being defined by them or denying them."
The next big vulnerable spot in my life is of course my history with an eating disorder. Which leads me into the next topic in this book that really spoke to me. That was the idea of owning our stories. This section really helped my brain make a connection it had long been searching for. The answer to why, oh why, do I have that urge to share my eating disorder story? It's painful to recall, even more so to write down and share with the world, but I do it anyway. I always thought it was because I wanted to help others like myself, and that is true. But it's more than that. It's that desire to do exactly what that quote says. To not be defined by it or to spend my life denying it. I tried denial and avoidance for a long time, preferring to pretend I didn't have a problem, even after I was far down the road to recovery. I liked to tell myself the worst was in the past so there was just no point in thinking about it, talking about, or sharing it. But that never worked. It wouldn't stay bottled up. I could feel it in there like a time bomb. Either share it or it will explode and take me down with it.

So instead I shared my story. First it was just writing occasionally in a journal that no one ever read. Then it was little bits about it on this blog. And now it's the goal to write it all out, which will likely fill a whole book. And to figure out how to get the story to the people that will be helped by it the most. Then I think I will finally feel like I did it, like I shed myself of that definition and denial.

The rest of the book was about how to get our asses back up after they've been kicked. That's "The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution." part. The Reckoning is recognizing your emotions and that something is triggering them. And then being curious about why and how that is happening. The Rumble is the struggle to figure it out, the challenge and the uncomfortable part. The Revolution is the result of coming out on top of that struggle. This process will always change who we are.

Of course this part also brought me back to my own story, and how it followed that same path. I didn't know that's what was happening, and it sure took a long time. But once that real revolution part happened, the urge to share my story became too strong to ignore. Because I realized I had survived something really hard and there was no reason for me to feel shame over it. Instead I should be proud.

I've never thought of myself as a strong or brave person. I have as many fears and phobias as the next person and I avoid most things that cause a strong adrenaline rush. Whenever my fight or flight kicks in, my response is always flight. Run away and fast! This is really uncomfortable and there's no reason to go through it so run! But when it came to my eating disorder, running meant death. I had to stay and fight. And the fact that I was able to come out on top after a serious ass kicking, is something I am proud of. It made me want to be braver in more of my life. Because while every moment of it was insanely uncomfortable, in every way, it was worth it for the transformation my life has gone through. From a broken shell of a human being to one full of love, for others and finally, for myself.

So if you're looking for a little inspiration, motivation, or help understanding some of your emotions and struggles, pick up Rising Strong, or probably any of Brené Brown's books as I'm sure they're all wonderful. It will force you to think about things you'd rather not, but it will be so worth it.

For many years, I've had the urge to want to help others like myself. Others struggling through depression and eating disorders. I r...



For many years, I've had the urge to want to help others like myself. Others struggling through depression and eating disorders. I recently joined a couple of eating disorder support groups on facebook with this in mind. I quickly realized a few things. First, I was slightly overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who need help and this is just in these groups! It just breaks my heart that so many people on this planet struggle as I did, with something as vital as eating. Second, I have to limit how much time I spend on there because I can't help everyone and I won't be able to help anyone if I let it all drag me down. And lastly, I realized I was right. I do have the ability to help now. I am far enough in my recovery that I can be supportive. I can read people's posts and while I can remember back to a time I completely related, I no longer have that urge to be that person anymore. For someone who was told by my first therapist that I would never completely recover, it's really amazing to realize how wrong that was.

Today's post is mostly for the people in these groups, and anyone else who stumbles upon my blog that has an eating disorder. Today I am here to give you hope. The hope that you can recover. The truth that it is possible. I'm living proof of that. It's not just something the people in your life tell you to try to make you feel better. Recovery is real. I won't lie to you, it's not easy. No part of it is, it's always hard. But the farther on the path of recovery you go, the easier it gets. Some days are harder than others of course, and I still have days where I have to wrestle with my thoughts. But it's not like it was 15 years ago, or even 5 years ago. I have way more good days than bad. Even with more stress in my life now with work, family, kids, health problems, etc. you name it. Life has not gotten any easier but I have learned healthy coping mechanisms instead of destructive ones.

It all comes down to a choice. My father gave me the advice long ago when I was in the worst of it. I didn't listen then of course, but later on I realized it was actually great advice. He said, "you're complicating things. Keep it simple. Do you want to live or do you want to die? You want to live. Do you want to be happy or miserable? You want to be happy." After that is where we part ways on opinions, because as someone who has struggled with depression on and off for most of my life, I know that it's not as simple as "just be happy". Yes you have a choice. But when you're depressed, it's very difficult to choose happiness. Often you feel like you don't know how. And I think eating disorders are always the result of severe depression, so the two go hand in hand, often feeding off each other and making the cycle worse and worse. But you still have a choice. The choice to try. The choice to not give in to every evil your eating disorder whispers to you, but to instead tell it to fuck off. The choice to find the beauty in your life instead of only the pain. The choice to turn your determination to hurt yourself into determination to love yourself.


My current (and wonderful 😊) therapist has a great question you can ask yourself while you're thinking on this. "Do you want to do this for the rest of your life?" This type of self-examination can really help put things into perspective. When we're trapped in the depths of an eating disorder or depression, we get wrapped up in only our current pain without even realizing it. But if we can step outside of that and see beyond what we're experiencing right now, we can help ourselves. Try to picture yourself 5, 10, 20 years down the road. I don't know about you, but I always like to picture my future self as happy and past whatever my current problems are, not still struggling with the same bullshit.

Failure, imperfection, "I can't do it", none of these things have a place in recovery. Fuck all of that. Perfection is an illusion, move past that myth. Control is bullshit. You can't control all the shit that happens in your life. You never will. That's the hard truth about life. Learning to to let go of the idea that we can control everything is a huge step to recovery. Controlling your eating will not fix anything in your life. It won't fix your problems with your family. It won't fix your relationships. It won't help you achieve your goals. Eating disorders are not the answer. They are a terrifying obstacle, but you will be so much stronger once you come out on top.

Here's something that really helped me get started. I set a few real life goals for myself. It's good to write them down somewhere you'll see them often. Get your degree, get that job you want, travel, skydive, have a family, whatever it is. And add "happiness" to that list. If you really think about what you want in life, combined with wanting happiness, you'll know I'm right. The eating disorder is holding you back, it will not get you what you want. Don't let it stand in your way. Don't let it destroy you. I know you feel weak, but you're not. I know deep down there is strength in there. We all have it, we just have to find it and use it to rise out of the hell we've created for ourselves.

If you choose life and happiness, then you can recover. If you work hard and stay determined to recover, you will. I think the hardest part is that first step, that choice, that hard decision. That moment, or moments, where you decide, I WANT TO LIVE! I don't want to die. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom first to find it, and sometimes you don't. Everyone's bottom is different. Some suffer most of their lives, others only for a few years, before they find their bottom, their place where they realize what they're doing to themselves. Where the reality hits you hard that if you keep doing what you're doing, you will die. But whether you get close enough to stare death in the face, or just catch a glimpse of it, you'll see your choice, clear as day. Life or death? Will you succumb or will you fight back?

Choose to fight. Choose life. You CAN do it. You CAN recover. Don't let eating disorders claim another beautiful life. You deserve to live.


Just a couple hours ago, I read a friend's blog post that was for "The Insecure Writer's Support Group." It's a blo...


Just a couple hours ago, I read a friend's blog post that was for "The Insecure Writer's Support Group." It's a blog link-up (or blog hop) for writers to share their insecurities about writing. As soon as I saw it, I thought, oh my gosh I need to be apart of this! So today I am doing my first post.

The first Wednesday of every month, everyone on the link-up tries to post about their insecurities. There's a new question each time to get you started. Today's question is:
Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in??
Well I have to say, yes I have definitely surprised myself. And every time I have, it was by doing exactly what the second question implies, by trying something out of my comfort zone.

The first surprise that comes to mind is poetry. From my teen years through college, I used to write poetry regularly. It was part of my eating disorder recovery, so much of what I wrote was about that. Most of it stayed tucked away in a journal, but occasionally I wrote a poem for a class and shared it. I surprised myself the most with one I wrote for a creative writing class I took for fun in college. It was definitely the best I'd ever written. In that class, we would put our writing up on the projector and let every one take turns helping criticize it. It was a tough class that definitely took me way out of my writing comfort zone. I'd never had a group of people pick apart my writing before, but I learned a ton. Poetry was the last assignment of the class, and mine turned out well enough that no one in the class, not even the teacher, had any changes to make. I was amazed and proud of myself. The saddest thing about it though, is that I lost the damn poem! I've searched through all my files many times over the years and never been able to find it. I just don't get how I didn't save a copy of that! Maybe because I never found it, and never thought I could recreate it or top it, or just my general insecurities, but I quit writing poetry regularly. I help Brian with song lyrics on occasion, but that's as close as I get. Guess I'll have to move past this insecurity and give poetry a fair chance again.

The other surprise is this blog. I never thought I'd share my writing with anyone regularly, so the fact that I've continued to do so for over 5 years has surprised me. I think one of my favorite surprises was a post I wrote a couple years ago called Enough. That was when I first started to allow myself to be vulnerable here on my blog. It spawned quite a few more posts since then where I reveal many more of my issues, flaws, and general insecurities with life. If it wasn't for that post and the giant step behind it of breaking out of my comfort zone, I probably would have quit blogging completely.

I'm currently reading a book called "Rising Strong". It's about owning your vulnerabilities and picking yourself up after a fall. I'm not even halfway in and already I'm hooked. It's exactly what I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it. And the fact that I came across a writing group about insecurity while reading this book was just too perfect. I'll write more about the book once I finish it, but for now I'll leave you with my favorite quote so far:
"When we own our stories, we avoid being trapped as characters in stories someone else is telling." - Brené Brown in Rising Strong

So dear reader, don't be afraid to pick up your pen or keyboard, and surprise yourself.

As I stumble along the path towards recovery, I'm reminded of a very simple, but powerful fact. I am not alone. There are likely mi...


As I stumble along the path towards recovery, I'm reminded of a very simple, but powerful fact. I am not alone. There are likely millions of people out there also suffering from chronic illnesses that follow a similar pattern to my own. That pattern being, I'm feeling great one minute, and the next I’m sick again. Now I have to suffer for awhile and slowly creep my way back out of illness and into recovery.

This is a pattern I've struggled through most of my life. As a child, I was diagnosed with asthma, and I managed to catch every bug that went around school (and still do catch everything my kids bring home). Then as a teenager and young adult, it was depression and anorexia that plagued me and dragged me down into the depths of hell on a regular basis. Then as an adult, there was the illness that was both my pregnancies, several injuries including a car accident, and now, the fun of SIBO. Basically one thing after another. But don't feel sorry for me, it's just life. The good thing from a life of chronic illness is, I'm very good at getting back into shape. Because of this, I figure I could offer up some tips on how to get this shit done. Keep in mind, I am no doctor, physical therapist, or anything of the like. This is simply a lifetime of illness talking.
Yoga w/ Sebastian, April 2011
Making your health a priority is really the only solution. That means getting enough sleep, reducing your stress level, eating healthy, and exercising. Easier said than done, I know! But today let's just talk about exercise. Specifically for those of us suffering from chronic or frequent illness, because let's face it, it's a little different for us than it is for the healthy athlete who rarely gets sick. They can go run a marathon or push themselves to the max at the gym and not feel the repercussions those of us less fortunate in our health do. For us, exercise needs to be well thought out. If we push too hard, it can often result in an injury or making us sicker. If we don't push at all, we'll be stuck in the rut of no or too little exercise, which isn't good either.
Yoga w/ Oscar, May 2016
The first hurdle is that oh-so-fine line between figuring out when you need to rest and when you need to get off your ass and start doing something. It's easy to make the wrong choice. If you sit on the couch for one too many days, it's that much harder to get moving again. On the other hand, pushing too hard before you're well often means a longer setback. What I've found works best is to never allow myself to not move at all for too long. Even if that just means getting up and pacing around the house and walking up and down the stairs a few times when you're sick. And as soon as you're up for it, go for an easy walk or do some very gentle yoga or stretching. It doesn't need to be intense, it just needs to be movement. Our bodies were not meant to be stationary.

Kid yoga
The next hurdle is listening to your body. Pain is your body’s warning system, the “hey you're doing this wrong or pushing too hard” signal. The old adage of "no pain no gain" is simply not true, or not entirely. I would say a little discomfort is normal, even good because it means you're working muscles that haven't been used enough. But true pain is not good. You have to honor your limits. It's the only way to avoid injury. I injured my right knee when I was about 11. It's given me hell on and off ever since. Now with a weakened immune system, it doesn't take much to make it hurt. To keep from re-injuring it, I've had to learn to actually stop when it hurts. To NOT push through the pain.

Sebastian & me, 4/21/2012, after my first 5k
And finally, the big hurdle: getting off your butt and moving. Once you're feeling back to health, it's important to increase your exercise VERY gradually. I have a bad habit of pushing too hard too soon and it never ends well. But if you can do it gradually enough, you can get back in shape without pain, injury, or more illness.

Let's talk examples. Say I’m just on the mend from being ill. The first couple of weeks, I start very gentle. How gentle depends on how sick I was and for how long. But for the average illness that lasts at least a week, like the one I'm in the midst of now (damn forest fires kicking my asthmatic ass), I'd say it looks something like this:

Walk Yoga Run/Bike Rest
Week 1 1 mile, 2-3x/ week 15-20 min., 2-3x/ week 2x/week
Week 2 1 mile, 3x/ week 15-20 min., 5x/ week 1-2x/week
Week 3 1 mile, 2-3x/ week 30 min., 5x/ week 1-2x/week 1x/week

Then by week 4 I'm back to normal, except at a relatively low intensity. If I make it past a month without getting sick again, then I start increasing distance and intensity. I know not everyone likes yoga, and that is totally fine. If it's not for you, find something else that's equally stress relieving and can be done in a relatively low intensity matter. If all you do is high intensity exercise, you will have a much more painful experience of getting back into shape. I used to be that person so I get it. But at some point you just get sick to death of injuring yourself and realize, hey, if I don't listen to my body, this isn't going to change. After all, doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is indeed the definition of insanity. So be sane, be nice to yourself, and your body will be nice to you in return.

Sebastian & me, 3/5/2013, after my first 10k
Depending on your specific health issues, you might be thinking it's not even worth exercising because you never make any progress. I feel your frustration as I have the same one. Progress the last, over 2 years now, has been at a snail’s pace. But I've been in really good shape enough times to want to feel that good again. Everything in my body functioned better, so I know if I can get there again, it will help my recovery. And exercising even a little is still better than none. I bounce back from each relapse much quicker than when I'm doing nothing. So basically, I refuse to give up. And I wish the same determination for you too! 😁

Do you ever have the feeling that you were meant to do something great? Something big and important with your life? Like maybe you'...


Do you ever have the feeling that you were meant to do something great? Something big and important with your life? Like maybe you're not currently living up to your potential? But when you really think about it, you're not quite sure what that great thing is you should be doing? Or maybe you know what you want to do, but have no clue how to make time for it in your life right now?

Today I'm here to tell you... stop worrying about it. I don't mean to be uninspiring, quite the opposite really. I just want to help your stress level, the same way I'm trying to help my own. You see, I feel these things often. Like maybe I should be figuring out how to use my brain towards a better cause then just making websites. But you know what? I have no idea what that cause should be or how exactly to use my skillset for this undecided thing. I have some vague goals... for someday. But right now it's not something I'm actively worrying about. You know why? Two things: money and time.


Yep that might surprise you, coming from a hippy and all. I really hate money, and many things about capitalism, but that doesn't change the reality of our world. We need money to survive in it. We need even more money if we want to thrive. And as much as I dislike money, I hate worrying about it even more. It's much easier to have enough you don't have to stress about every penny. And let's face it, most world-saving causes don't pay very well, and many require a lot more than a normal 40 hour work week.

So I'm lowering my expectations of myself right now, and you know, I'm good with that. One because I truly like my current job, even though I may not be helping save the world. I still really enjoy working for a small company. And two, because I'm able to take care of, and spend quality time with, my family. That last one is more important to me right now than saving the world.


Seriously?! Yep, I know how selfish that might sound to some. Depending on your situation you may completely get where I'm coming from or think I'm a terrible person. But I am unwilling to sacrifice the security I currently have. I didn't have kids so I could neglect them, for any cause, I don't care how important it is. Right now, my main focus is making sure they're well taken care of. I would argue that should be every parent's main focus. Because, no matter how important your work is, raising children to be good people is just as, if not more important. You really want the world to be full of the "entitled millenials" we all keep hearing about? No thank you. We need the next generation to actually give a shit about the important things in life. And that won't happen if we're all neglecting our children, even if it is for a good cause. No, the world needs us to make more smart and caring people, not neglected and damaged kids or spoiled and entitled brats.


Don't underestimate the importance of being a good parent. Even if you yourself aren't damaged from your own parents, I'd be surprised if you didn't know a few people who are. We're all going to make mistakes as parents, but the overall job we do, consistency and love shown towards our children, will go a long way to them being decent human beings. I think we often downplay our importance as parents, feeling like friends, peers, teachers, coaches, etc. have more of a say, at least once our kids reach school age. But when I think back to my own childhood, that's simply not true. While all the people in my life definitely had a part in shaping who I am, my parents definitely had the biggest influence of all.


A lot of this comes back to mindfulness as well. When we try to stretch our focus in too many directions, we lose the ability to do a good job at everything, or anything for that matter. I get overwhelmed when I try to add too many things to my plate. And when that happens, the first to suffer are those closest to me. I can't be a good parent if I'm too busy worrying about everything else I think I should be doing. I have to concentrate on what's in front of me right now. And right now, that's my family. I have my whole life to worry about the rest, my kids need me right now.

So to all my readers that are parents, struggling with that all too familiar feeling of not enoughness, take a deep breath. Relax. Assuming most of us live to be nice and old, there's always time to achieve our other goals once we're through the first couple decades of raising kids.  And remember how much you are already doing. You have the potential for greatness inside you, or for many of you, you already are great. You're just using your greatness to raise children that will give enough of a shit to help turn this world around. That is your real opportunity to save the world, one you have time for right now. Because you're already doing it, you just didn't realize you were.


  Holy crap it's August already! And I haven't posted anything in over a month! Isn't it amazing how once your first ki...

 

Holy crap it's August already! And I haven't posted anything in over a month! Isn't it amazing how once your first kid is in school, summer's are suddenly insanely short?! I don't remember feeling so crunched for time a few years ago, not like the last couple summers. The school year really encroaches on the summer and the free weekends to get in all the fun stuff. I do my best to make the most of it by cutting back hours at work and taking as many Fridays off as possible. But still it is flying by. So today is a short recap of some of what we've managed to jam into the short summer so far.


A few short days after school got out, Sebastian flew to Nevada to spend a week with his grandparents. They took him and his cousins to San Diego, to the beach, safari park, and all that fun stuff. While he was gone, Brian, Oscar, and I went to the beach.

This is how we keep them in line...bury them!
Then we drove down to Nevada after they returned. We spent the week of July 4th visiting family, and as many friends as we could squeeze in (sorry to those of you we missed!). I was again rudely reminded how much I HATE Nevada summers and that intense, high elevation, dry as dust, desert heat! It shouldn't be 90 degrees at 9am. Ever. We'll be trying to schedule our visits in spring or fall from now on. Jokes on me now that it's over 100 degrees even here in Oregon this week! Breaking all sorts of records that are as old as me. Fucking climate change.

Adorable Arlie, our great niece
Did I tell you guys I'm a great aunt?! 
4th of Julying in Carson
Fireworks at a distance, the best way with littles
On the drive home we stopped at Salt Creek Falls in the Willamette National Forest. Just what I needed after all that desert. Trees make me happy in a way the desert never has.



And then of course our anniversary happened right after we got home. 14 years married, 16 together...we've officially been together over half my life. How weird is that to say?! Very.


The secret is to always be very serious
The weekend after we got home from Nevada, we rented a house in Seaside with some friends. It was a very lovely weekend. And quite a nice change in weather after all that desert heat.







The following weekend was the annual NF Walk. It seemed there weren't as many people there this year which was a bummer. Guess I'll have to get my butt in gear next year and help spread the word more. We still had a good time though of course. It's always great to see what awesome and supportive people we have in the NF community here in the Portland area. Thanks again to everyone who walked or donated!

Sebastian made it the whole way again!
NF Hero Ceremony
Damn my kids are cute!
The bear was thirsty
Buckle up for safety!
Just this last weekend we did some hippy camping in the Tillamook State Forest. Similar to last year's, but this time we went to the west fork of the Wilson River. And some friends joined us the first night. It was so peaceful and relaxing. I was reminded how much more I prefer this type of camping to campground camping. At a busy campground, it's all noise, chaos, and pavement. It doesn't really feel like you're spending time with nature. I find camping with kids to be a lot of work and not much sleep, which makes me not enjoy it nearly as much as I used to. At least this way was more relaxing and felt much more worth the work. I'm still tired though.

  



Brian will be attending pickathon this weekend while I spend some quality time with the boys. I'm hoping to take them to the beach one day and maybe the movies another. But they both just came down with a stomach bug! No fun! Here's hoping they get over it quick.

Oscar was tired after camping too
The rest of August is looking busy as well, with friends to visit and probably another hippy camping trip. I'm hoping to keep a couple weekend days free to just relax. I just hate feeling over-scheduled and constantly busy. I remember thinking summers were relaxing and somewhat boring when I was a kid. How different it feels from the parents point of view! Really I want it to feel like this...


Ahaha gotta love the 90s. You're welcome.

How's your summer going?

Welcome to the last post about our Belize trip. This post may look super long, but don't you worry, it's mostly pictures, as th...


Welcome to the last post about our Belize trip. This post may look super long, but don't you worry, it's mostly pictures, as they really are worth a thousand words, especially when we're talking ruins. After our amazing time at Caracol, we were excited to check out the ruins that were close to San Ignacio. First we headed into town for breakfast, at a local diner called Pop's Restaurant, which did not disappoint as it was delicious. One of the waitresses had a shirt on advertising organic Belizean dark chocolate, and being the addict that I am, we had to ask her about it. The place was super close by so we walked the neighborhood until we found it, a place called AJAW Chocolate. We were running low on cash at that point, otherwise I would've bought a ton of it. It's a good thing I didn't though since it would've all melted before I could've eaten or brought it home. But man was it good! They had a farm nearby where you can take tours and see the elaborate process that is chocolate making, but unfortunately we didn't have time. Next trip for sure. :)

Next we headed west out of town for about a half hour to Xunantunich. We were not expecting much from the sites on our list that day since we'd read and heard they were quite a bit smaller than the others we'd seen, but they did not disappoint in the least. They were still well excavated and impressive. 


While on top of the above structure we looked in the tree behind it and were greeted by an adorable group of Howler Monkeys. They keep their distance but we got a pretty good look. At least they didn't sling any snickers bars!

Howler Monkeys
Xunantunich boasts the second tallest building in Belize, "El Castillo", at 130 feet tall, second only to Canaa at Caracol. I didn't notice the 10 feet of difference though. Canaa was a massively large structure, tall and wide and really deep, so when you're at the top you don't feel like you're looking down a cliff as you have lots of space to walk around. El Castillo on the other hand is a bit narrower at the top, so it feels a lot more like you're standing on the edge of a cliff. For those who share my fear of heights, you'll understand the significant difference.

El Castillo front view
Side view of El Castillo
Other side view of El Castillo
All fears aside, it was awesome. You really feel like you're on top of the world up there. Brian was of course fascinated by the acoustics and wasn't afraid to sing both while he was in the center of the plaza and I was on top of the structures, and vice versa. He's convinced they were stages instead of the more popular theories of a nice place to chop off heads and chuck them off the side. I'd have to agree the music idea sounds a hell of a lot nicer than human sacrifice. But the more they decipher of their hieroglyphs, the more it sounds like, at least some of the Mayans, weren't very nice. But for a civilization that lasted about 3,000 years, they couldn't have been killing each other in mass quantities that entire time and survived that long, so I'm still holding out hope that they weren't always sacrificing each other. Or at least that it wasn't as gruesome as Apocalypto made it look. Either way, they accomplished some brilliant things.

View of the site from the top of El Castillo
White road in the distance is Guatemala border
We were so close to the border here, I really wanted to go the rest of the way and jump the fence just so I could say I made it to Guatemala too. But as Brian so nicely pointed out, I'd likely come back with a bullet in my ass. I laughed and said it's not the US/Mexico border! Anyways Guatemala is its own trip for us to make someday, as they also have a ton of Mayan ruins and rainforest to see.

Happy on top of the world
We finished the exploration with some iguanas and a quick walk through their museum. 


1300 year old skeleton
After this adventure, we headed back to San Ignacio for lunch. We'd passed a place the night before that had looked promising and while googling around for good food spots I happened upon it. It was called Guava Limb Cafe. The menu was the kind that you simply cannot make up your mind because everything sounded amazing. It was our kinda place too with lots organic and local ingredients. It was so good we both agreed before we were even done eating that we were coming back for dinner. And we did. And it was just as good the second time. Perhaps better because we had some amazing cocktails then. If you find yourself in San Ignacio, Belize, eat here. You will not be disappointed.

Next we headed to Cahal Pech, a ruin that is literally in the city limits. We weren't sure what to expect here, but it turned out to be really fascinating. Instead of super tall structures, they were elaborate, labyrinth-like houses. We also went through the museum which had a lot of good history to read. This site is one of the oldest in Belize, dating back to 1200 BC.









Then we headed back the the cabin and cooled off in the river, hung out with the host's friendly cats, and wished we weren't leaving the next day. It was a really good day. The kind of day that had us both saying to each other...why don't we live here? :D



Read the rest of the trip here!

Part 1: Orange Walk & Lamanai
Part 2: Beach Life in Sittee Point
Part 3: Caracol