Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Learning to Love Yourself

These signs hang in a small park in our neighborhood. It's a good example of why I love it here. We see stuff like this all over the Portland/Beaverton area. People trying to help each other feel better. I love it. I love trying to help people feel better about themselves just like I love being around people that try to help me feel better about myself. I feel fortunate to be surrounded with many people like this and want to return the favor.

Feeling good about yourself is key to a happy life. As someone who has suffered and recovered from anorexia, I can tell you first-hand the horrific impact negative thoughts and feelings can have on your mind, body, and soul. They can ruin you, in the worst ways. Those thoughts are like poison, maybe you'll live through a little but once it spreads throughout you, it can kill you, or at the least make you very ill. After being sick and miserable for years from my self-loathing, I learned this was no way to live, and if I wanted to recover and thrive, I'd have to change my way of thinking. 

It's no easy feat to change your thoughts. But it's like any other bad habit, if you truly put your mind to it and work hard, you can overcome it. I would love to help others in their journey to feeling better about themselves. I won't pretend for even a second that I'm 100% positive all the time. I've come a very long way from my worst, but it is definitely a battle I still fight daily. But I do think the progress I've made and how I've made it could help many others. I have written several posts about bodylove, but there is a lot more to be said on the subject of loving yourself. So I will start writing more regularly on this topic, with any tips, happy thoughts, or stories I think could help.

It's time to build ourselves up instead of constantly tearing ourselves down. 

It's time to believe in ourselves, our capabilities and aspirations. 

It's time to be the people we know we can be, the best versions of ourselves. We'll never get there by being negative. 

It's time to love all of ourselves for who we are right now, and to see what can happen in our lives when we do.

I hope you'll join me on this journey to loving yourself!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Life is Suffering

Many of us struggle with pain. Pain is a part of being human. Even Buddha said "life is suffering." And he was right, sometimes in life, we have to suffer, to learn something, to appreciate life, whatever the reason, suffer we must. Thankfully it's usually temporary and things get better. But for some people, their entire life has become suffering. I'm talking about people that struggle with chronic pain or illness. I'm sure you know at least one person with this problem, as it sadly, seems to be much more common lately. I wrote a letter to someone I know and care deeply for, that is having this struggle. It was published on The Mighty. If you also know someone like this, give this a read and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Almost 16 years ago, I walked into my first day of Algebra II. A nervous and self-conscious 15 year old, I immediately scanned the classroom for a friend to sit next too. I spotted Brian near the front, who I only knew from a few, short conversations we'd had the year before. Thankful to see someone who didn't suck, I took the seat next to him and said "hey Brian." Quiet and shy at the time (believe it or not), Brian gave a small smile back and said "hey." He might've been blushing, too.

Where you sit in class your Sophomore year of high school...such a seemingly insignificant decision in the grand scheme of things, but turned out to be a crucial moment in my life. We spent the school year flirting and getting to know each other, and then started dating. And so began our journey together, and what a journey it's been! I could write a nice, long book about our relationship, but in the interest of time, I'll give you the short version mostly through pictures.

A little over 15 years ago, I took a chance on this guy:
 And he took a chance on this girl:
Yep that's a cat in my jacket
And we fell in love:
And we ended up getting married 13 years ago today:
More Awwwwws
And created a nice life together, including creating a couple of beautiful, little lives:
Sebastian- 2 weeks old

Oscar- 2 weeks old

And now we're one big, happy family. 

And we are living happily ever after. :)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Food Not Lawns

I love gardening. You just can't beat the taste and nutrition you get from growing your own produce or the beauty of growing your own flowers. It just makes so much more sense, too. Instead of wasting precious resources (water, land, time) growing lawns, we should be growing food! Grass makes little sense. If you live somewhere dry, like Nevada, it requires a ton of water. And even here in the Northwest where we have tons of water, it gets completely overrun with weeds, crab grass, clover, vines, blackberry bushes, pretty much everything except the grass you want. The only way to keep it nice is to spend hours pulling weeds or spraying it with toxic crap. I'd much rather spend time, money, and water on a garden.

Mini Calla Lily
For years we've done what we could with container gardening. We've done okay but still had the urge to grow more. This year we got approval from the landlord to build a raised bed in the front yard. It turned out to be a very easy and cheap project. We read a few tutorials, but I think this one helped the most. We spent about $25 on wood and had them cut it to size at the store. We spent maybe $20 on several bags of organic soil and mixed it with soil we found for free off Craigslist.

The finished bed
May 9th

This weekend we added a drip system to save water and make our lives much easier. Figuring out what to buy took a bit since there are a ton of options, but we went with the simplest and cheapest and it turned out really good. If we hadn't done this in the heat of the day it would've been easy!

Drip line through the bed
A dripper for each plant

Homemade trellis for pumpkin plants... made out of sticks... because we're cool ;)
June 29th... grow baby grow
I just love coming home to see my garden instead of a tiny patch of weed overrun grass!  So next time, think twice before you buy sod or grass seed, and make sure your lawn wouldn't actually be better off as a garden!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Love is Enough

A few weeks ago I was chatting on the phone with my dad.

"You both are doing such a great job with the boys," Dad said happily.

"Brian is, not sure about me. Most of the time I feel like I'm a bitch to them. I don't have Brian's patience, ya know," I admitted.

"No you're not. You're doing a great job and I'll tell you why. You love them. Some days that's all I did right with you girls, was love you," Dad said.

Wow! I've said more than once that I might write a book of all the (mostly crazy) things my dad says, but that one tops them all, and not for being crazy. It really hit home and reminded me of the most important thing you do as a parent: loving your children.

In today's world, (or maybe it's always been this way), parenting has been turned into some twisted competition. Let's see who can do everything for their children and have them turn out perfect! Give me a break. NOBODY! That's who. Parenting shouldn't be treated as a contest to see who can do it the best. Some of the shittiest parents in the world end up with amazing children, and vice versa. Parents love to take all the credit for their children's accomplishments but also all of the blame for their failures. You know what I think? What we do as parents matters, it does. But it's not everything. Our children are their own, unique human beings with free will and the ability to use it! Every mistake we make as parents will not necessarily ruin them as people. They're here for their own reasons, their own journey, and they make their own choices, even as children, that shape who they are and who they will be someday. That's something we parents need to keep in mind when we want to blame ourselves for every little mistake they make or take credit for all the awesome things they do. Some of those things may be our doing, but many are not.

Sometimes we feel like a shitty parent for nagging too much, missing a school event or milestone because we had to work, or missing dinner because we stole an hour to ourselves to go to yoga. All things that currently make me feel like an imperfect mother. But when I'm feeling less somehow, if I remember to flip that around I instantly feel better. I do all those things because I love them with all of my being. I nag because I want them to learn what I'm trying to teach them! I work because I want to feed them healthy food and give them a safe place to live. And I steal time for myself because I want them to have a sane and happy mother. I love them and put them first in everything I do, even when it might look like I'm doing something selfish or being a bitch. Don't get me wrong, I'm still working hard on getting them to listen without being a bitch, but it would be nice to feel less guilt during the learning process.

The other thing this reminded me of is the importance of love over everything else. New toys, the latest technology, glamorous vacations, and expensive higher education... parents feel like this is all our responsibility and we worry if our kids don't have the best of everything. But I can think of so many other things that are much more important. Spending time with them. Teaching them what's really important in life. Letting them be a real part of your life, and not something you're always too busy for. If you love your children, really love them, and take the time to show them that, that is worth more than anything you could ever buy them.

So some days, loving your children is all you do right. But that's ok, because it is definitely the most important thing you will ever do as a parent.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Depression After Your Child's Diagnosis

I have been seriously slacking on blog posts lately, but for a good reason. I've been working on another post for The Mighty about dealing with depression after your child receives a diagnosis, not just for NF, but any medical condition. Parents don't often like to talk about the depression they might experience over their children, but like all mental illness, I think it's important we all start discussing these things. So give it a read and let me know your thoughts!

Last day of Kindergarten

Tuesday, May 31, 2016