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