This popped up on my Facebook memories on Dec 17th: Wow I don't believe it's been over 4 years since we first heard Sebastian m...

NF1: 4 Years Later

This popped up on my Facebook memories on Dec 17th:
Sebastian
Wow I don't believe it's been over 4 years since we first heard Sebastian might have NF1 (neurofibromatosis type 1). My memory of the day we first heard that word is still very clear. Brian called me at work not long after Sebastian's check-up. I stepped outside to take the call. I answered, expecting to hear all was well. But instead, I heard concern and frustration in Brian's voice as he told me what the doctor said. My heart immediately sank, before I knew anything about it. Not because I was convinced there was anything wrong. But because I had so been hoping for a good check-up for him, finally. But it just wasn't to be.

Re-reading that post now brings up so many emotions. It's funny to realize how much I just HATED all his doctors, even though they all turned out to be good. Like his pediatrician at the time. I had never even met her at that point but I was pissed she didn't give Brian more information (which I still think she totally should've). In retrospect, I think she just didn't want to scare him if she was wrong. And also general practitioners seem to be well trained, or maybe almost forced, to recommend a specialist for anything that ails us past the basics. I didn't realize at the time how incredibly lucky we were to even have a pediatrician who knew what NF was and recognized the signs. If anything serious had been wrong with Sebastian, catching it early could've made all the difference in helping him.

When reading this, I also feel immense sadness and compassion for the 2012 version of our family, and how perfect our lives had been going until that moment. The year leading up to this news was one of the most stress-free years of my life. We were enjoying living in Oregon and having Sebastian stay home with Brian and being well and healthy more often. I was loving my job and being debt-free after our short-sale had finally went through. I was finally feeling healthy myself, and running, cycling, and doing yoga more than ever before. We had even started trying for baby #2. Life was good.

Obviously the diagnosis changed our lives forever. I used to feel guilty for my depression from this, but as I progressed through my grief, I realized there was nothing for me to be ashamed of. It's hard to go from feeling like life is perfect in one moment to total shit the next. And it's okay to hurt for your child. It's okay to be depressed when you're left helpless. It's okay that I was in denial about it for a long time. It was a rough couple of months after this post as we worked through the process of getting the diagnosis confirmed, seeing all the specialists, doing all the research and educating ourselves as much as possible. But in the end, it all turned out well. We learned this diagnosis was not a death sentence, not even a guaranteed rough life sentence. It's just a label (and we know how I feel about labels). His condition has not worsened. Physical therapy is helping him increase his strength and coordination. He is smarter than ever, reading a full grade ahead and asking me a new math problem daily. He is perfectly healthy, despite the NF1.

I am beyond grateful for how well he is doing. I continue to choose to believe only the best for Sebastian. I'm confident in the knowledge that positive thinking and not worrying every moment is by far the best thing I can do for my kids, no matter what happens in their lives. But a piece of me still wishes I could just go back and hug myself 4 years ago and say the words I needed to hear and believe...

🎶"don't you worry, about a thing, cause every little things gonna be alright."🎶

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Today seemed like a great day to join in on a confessional link-up with my dearest Danielle over at Sparkles & Lattes . I confe...

Christmas Confessionals



Today seemed like a great day to join in on a confessional link-up with my dearest Danielle over at Sparkles & Lattes.

I confess that...

...I dislike most Christmas music. Some of it's okay, and I'll play it for my kids occassionally and sing along with them. But it gets overplayed to death every year and some of it is just so cheesy and terrible. Except Mariah Carey's Christmas album. I still listen that shit every year hahaha! (Yes I know it's cheesy and overplayed too!)

...I just love decorations, especially lights. I want to be one of those crazy people with a billion lights on my house. I just don't want to spend the money and time to do it.

...I hate shopping. No matter what it's for or what time of year, it's just not my favorite thing. Decisions have to made, money has to spent, and this time of year there's crowds and traffic and weather to drive in and I'd rather stay home curled up on the couch with a cup of tea. I've never been more thankful for online shopping than I am this year.

...Christmas is so much better with children. It's easy to get stressed and burnt out on this crazy, busy season but the kids make it worth it. They're so excited by the decorations and silly Christmas movies and baking and Santa and presents of course. Now if I could just get them to appreciate giving as much as receiving, we'll be all set!

...I love the movie Elf. And so does Sebastian. So we have seen it way too many times. But not as many as Home Alone 1 & 2. You've never heard a kid laugh as hard as Sebastian does while watching the bad guys get hurt.

...I really do enjoy giving gifts, even though I don't enjoy the shopping piece. My favorite gifts to give are homemade ones. I just wish I had time to make every present, but I would have to be making gifts year round for that to happen.

...Brian and I hardly surprise each other with gifts anymore. We're too practical to spend money on something we don't think the other person will like, so we always ruin the surprise and make sure we get the right things each year. He even bought his own presents this year, and already used it the cheater!

...I much prefer staying home to traveling during the holidays. It just saves so much time and money to travel in the summer when there are less holidays and no ice and snow.

...I haven't mailed out actual Christmas cards in years. I guess I feel like it's a waste of paper and postage, mostly cards just get thrown away. Just saving the planet, one card at a time. 😉

...the biggest thing left on my to-do list is to get pictures printed. I am procrastinating because it takes so long to sort through thousands of pictures and decide which ones to print! Plus I forgot to do it last year so it will be twice as bad as normal. Waaaa!

What about you? Have any Christmas confessions you need to get off your chest? Leave them in the comments below!

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It's official. I'm an adult now. I've been looking at college savings plans for my kids and this week I voluntarily went to a...

Define Your Own Unique and Genuine Success


It's official. I'm an adult now. I've been looking at college savings plans for my kids and this week I voluntarily went to a meeting about my 401k. It's time to make decisions about how to invest my money for RETIREMENT? Seriously, I'm not that old, but I have to worry about that now? UGH!

Fuck being an adult. I feel like I'm just now realizing that I'm all grown up. At this point in life, we're expected to already be well established in our chosen career, be making lots of money, buying a house, buying multiple new cars, investing wisely, getting married, having kids, taking expensive vacations, the American Dream baby! This is it, we're all there right?! Yeah me neither. You know why? Because the American Dream is bullshit. Because success isn't something defined by society or anyone but yourself. Success is what you decide it should be.

And success for me? You guessed it. It has NOTHING to do with money. Yes I have a good career. But I don't own a home. We only own 1 used car. At the moment, I have 0 dollars invested in anything. I don't own designer clothes or purses or anything like that. I shop at Goodwill. No joke. I don't give a single fuck about financial position or social status or any of that crap. Success in my mind is defined by how I feel about my life. What am I accomplishing? What progress have I made with my own issues? What am I giving back to the world? These define my success.

So do I feel successful? Eh, sometimes. Not like I've completed my life's goals or anything. I have lots of goals about lots of things and it will take my whole lifetime to complete them all, I'm sure. But I feel good about the progress I've made, the things I have accomplished, and where I'm at. Sometimes I don't, sometimes I'm downright depressed if I focus too much on what's ahead. But you know what helps me get over that? My children.

From the American Dream's standpoint, I'm nothing special. But when I look at my children, I think wow, I'm not a waste of space at all. Look at these kids! They are beautiful, intelligent, mostly polite, little human beings with good hearts! They talk to people. They care about people. They want to be friends with everyone. They aren't afraid to dance and sing. They aren't afraid to be goofy and laugh inappropriately loud at fart jokes. They give us hugs and kisses and say awww when they see a puppy or a baby. They say "I love you" to us everyday.

I'm not taking credit for all of their wonderful qualities. Who can say how much of these things are just their own personality and how much is what we taught them? No one knows. But I know that they came from me and Brian. I know that Brian is unique in his dad skills. And while he won't admit it, he works really hard and does an amazing job at raising these crazy little kids. I know that I try my hardest to do the best I can for them. And when they kiss me on the cheek and Sebastian asks me how my day was or Oscar gets excited to see me and yells "Mommy!" my heart sings. And I experience true happiness in those moments because I know that I am a successful human being. Even if I do nothing else worthwhile in my life, at least I helped create these amazing people.

That is not my intention of course, I intend to continue doing my best so that they continue learning all they can from me. But they are still my reminder to define my own success. To not get wrapped up in what the world is trying to tell me I need to do to be successful. Because that is what I want them to do for themselves. The best way to help our kids achieve their dreams would be to give them an example of how that's possible. What better example then their own parents?

Success should be a personal thing. It should be unique to your dreams and goals. It should be raw, real, genuine. It takes a lot of effort to come up with our own definition of success, create goals for ourselves, figure out our dreams, and plans for accomplishing them. Following along with society's definition is the easy way out. Anyone can put on a suit and go kiss some corporate ass if they want to achieve the stereotypical definition of success. But there's nothing genuine about that. And would you really be happy even if you had all that? Sounds like a life lived on the surface to me. I want to dive into the deep end of life and find all the hidden treasures. I'm not interested in staying in the shallow end.

So I'm going to keep defining my own success. Living life on my own terms. Setting goals that are MINE and no one else's. Figure out my dreams and how to achieve them. It won't be easy but at least it will be real.

What about you? How do you define success?

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These are all labels I have been called, by myself or others, in my lifetime. Do you ever think about the different words that have b...

Fuck Labels


These are all labels I have been called, by myself or others, in my lifetime. Do you ever think about the different words that have been used to label you in your life? There are so many. I'm sure if I thought about it longer I would remember many more, too. It's interesting to write them down and think about what each means. And how one person could be all these things. Well I'm not still called all these today, but I am definitely still many of them.

We LOVE labels in this country. We use them for everything, good and bad. To educate, diagnose, and inspire on one end and persuade, cheat, and manipulate on the other. But more often than not, people use them as insults. Society uses them to box people into groups and ideals. This is most obvious in high school I would say, with all the cliques. At that age it seems everyone uses labels to decide if you're cool or not, worthy of notice, or easy to ignore. They start to define your identity.

As many teenagers do, I spent a lot of time wrestling with my identity. I was called so many different things in those years, I couldn't be all of them. And how many of them were true? How many were just used because of people I hung out with? Because of things I was taught and repeated, without knowing if I believed it? By the time I was done with high school, I remember hating labels and the people who loved to use them to insult. I didn't like being told I was something, whether it was true or not was irrelevant. It was the idea that someone could describe me in one simple word.

I don't think I know anyone I could accurately and completely describe in one word. Except for the word "human". We are all humans. We all have basic human needs and rights that should be met, but being labeled is not one of them. I don't need society's opinion of where I sit in the great chart of cliques. As if life will always be a high school cafeteria, where no one ever changes. You think eventually everyone around you will grow up and it will quit mattering. And if you find good people to surround yourself with, it usually does. But then you'll be around someone who will say another one. I always cringe when I hear it happen. When will it end? Life should be about a lot more than that.

So grow up. Stop it with the negative labels. Whether you mean to or not, it is often insulting to slap a label on someone. It makes you sound like you think you're better than that person. Because why, they're different than you? You're not better than anyone. And no one is better than you. We are all equal. We're all human beings with differing opinions and beliefs that change as often as we do, which is daily! Today I sound like a pissed off crazy person, but last post I was an idealistic dreamer. That's just how it goes.

So society, fuck your labels. I don't need anyone to tell me who I am. I don't need you to try and define me. A label comes with a set of rules. I don't need someone else's rules. We all have our own rules (well most of us) that we live by. They are a personal thing and nobody fits 100% into just one label. Our true "label" is as unique as we are, every person's is different. No two people on the planet are exactly the same. And for that I am very thankful. Imagine how incredibly dull the world would be if we were all like that? I'll take this often chaotic but eclectic group of human beings over a world of easily labeled drones any day!

Keep finding the things that make you unique. Keep being different. Keep being "weird". Keep being you.

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On Friday night, Brian and I went on a date. We headed to a restaurant in downtown. When we got there, the waiter mentioned that it was...

Protest Hate


On Friday night, Brian and I went on a date. We headed to a restaurant in downtown. When we got there, the waiter mentioned that it was dead that night because everyone was avoiding downtown. I had completely forgotten about the protests when I chose the restaurant. Nothing crazy had happened on the block we were on, so we enjoyed our meal and didn't think much of it. Except that I could see the traffic on the road from my seat, and continued to notice more and more police cars driving by. Clearly something was still going on.

After we finished, we started to walk back to our car and heard the protestors nearby. We hung around, curious to see if the protests were indeed "riots" as everyone had been calling them. We saw no criminal activity, just people marching, some with signs, some with various noise-makers, some chanting, some just walking. My first thought was, the media has blown this way out of proportion. Big surprise.

At about 9 o'clock, multiple SWAT cars rolled into the neighborhood. The police got on a megaphone and started telling everyone they needed to clear the street or force would be used. Of course they didn't listen. We started to wander away because tear gas doesn't sound like fun or something an asthmatic should inhale. But then the crowd got much louder. Suddenly several incredibly loud bangs were fired off. I thought for sure someone got shot, but the flashes of light accompanying each shot told us they were flash bombs. The police were firing them, and followed them up with tear gas. And not long after, shooting rubber bullets. People were running down the streets to get away, but many would just circle the block and take the abuse again.

It was interesting (and disturbing) to see that what appeared to be a peaceful protest didn't turn into a riot until the police came. It was also eye-opening to realize that the whole group was basically being punished because of vandalism that had happened on previous nights. Regardless, all I could feel was everyone's anger, rage, and hatred. It was overwhelming and scared me. I just wanted to leave. Below are a few clips I got on my phone.


What I witnessed was anger and violence meets more anger and violence. The result being, no one won. Isn't anyone else but me tired of this division in our country? Each side is hating the other side equally, each just as guilty, but all the while blaming the other guys for the problems of the world. But guess what? The worst problems in the world spawn from everyone's hatred, prejudice, anger, envy, and fear. As long as we all continue to have these negative and destructive feelings about each other, nothing will ever really get better. The answer to our problems isn't in politics, in democrat or republican, activist or police officer, socialism or fascism. The answer is in how we treat each other. The answer is in love.

In my mind, the number one thing we should all be protesting is hate. Tragic events that happen from hate are worth our protest. Things like war and famine, those are worth protesting. But our protest should not include more violence and hate. Otherwise we just perpetuate the cycle and the hatred never ends. If we could learn how to forgive and move on, and even how to love each other instead of hating each other... how do you think that would look? Can you imagine a world where people loved each other equal to the current amount of hate in this world?

Yeah I know... I'm an idealistic dreamer. That's okay. I just hope someday we have enough dreamers in this world to make this a reality.

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Politics is not something I have ever written about. It's a forbidden topic you know, like religion. But since I don't write to b...

Believe in the Power of Your Choices


Politics is not something I have ever written about. It's a forbidden topic you know, like religion. But since I don't write to be popular, I'm going to embark on this forbidden topic. Yesterday's events have left me with so many emotions I feel I must get them out. Even if you are enjoying the results of the election, I implore you to stay and listen to my rant anyways, because it is for everybody.

Depending on how well and long you've known me, it may surprise you to learn that I have voted for people of almost every party. Republicans, Democrats, and many of the independent parties. I spent most of my adult life registered non-partisan, but this year I finally registered as a Democrat, just so I could vote for Bernie Sanders. I bet if he had won the primary I wouldn't be here writing this today! After he lost, I quit following any news about the election as I did not like the options I was left with. Yes of course I want a woman to be president, but Hillary wasn't it for me. No this year, I voted for Jill Stein.

Before you tell me I "wasted my vote", let me tell you why I voted for her. You see, I am sick to DEATH of this whole "choose the lesser of two evils" bullshit we have been taught to do when voting. I will not do it. If I don't like any of my options, I won't vote. Period. You tell me it's my civic duty to vote? It's also my civic duty to NOT vote if I can't sleep at night with my choice! And guess what ladies and gentlemen? I slept last night, even knowing that Trump was probably winning. Because I voted for someone that I agreed with on pretty much every issue. I voted for someone who was not already a corrupt and power-hungry politician. I voted for someone who appears to be a decent human being. And when I think about what I really want in a president, it's not being a member of a specific party. And it's definitely not who is less evil than the next candidate. It's if they are a decent human being! That shouldn't be such a tall order, but in our broken system, it sure is.

You see I like "3rd parties" as we like to call them (you know there's actually A LOT of different parties now, so technically it's more than 3, but whatever). They are full of REAL human beings. Ones that haven't been corrupted by power and money yet. Ones that are fighting hard, and without much support, for what they believe in. People that want to make an actual difference. That's what I want in a president. Someone who is truly looking to help, not some pompous, arrogant criminal. Not someone who's cheated in every aspect of life. Not someone who only cares about power. Not someone who's blatantly breaking the law, getting caught, but still somehow allowed to run for office?! Not someone who's trading favors with all of the largest corporations in the world. Not someone who's going to continue to wage war on anyone in the world who pisses them off a little. 

Yes I know you probably think I'm a silly, peace-loving, environmentalist, socialist hippy. That's okay. Those words don't offend me. I'd rather be foolishly optimistic about this country than to give up hope. Especially right now, when so many of us are feeling oh so very hopeless. Right now is the best time to fight. To use your anger, rage, annoyance, complete disappointment, and stand the fuck up for what you want. You realize that there are over 300 million people in this country? Not very many of them are politicians. They are totally outnumbered and yet we let them push us around. Stop feeling so hopeless and start realizing how much power we actually have to change things. We just have to work together instead of fighting over every damn thing. We all have the ability to love each other. It's time we start using it.

There are a lot of things we can do to help, things we might not even think about. Mindless, every day things. Things like what food we choose to eat. We can choose to eat good, healthy, local produce that's supporting local farms, or we can choose to eat junk food that's manufactured by large corporations, adding to the destruction of our environment and corruption of our government. We choose what kinds of products to buy. Nice, shiny, brand new crap that will end up in the dump? Or we could try reused or recycled first. We can floor it past that guy on the side of the street with a sign that we assume is a con-artist who needs to "get a fucking job already." Or we could have a damn heart and hand him whatever food or change we have on us. We can waste our money on materialistic shit we don't need, or we could help someone in need. We can drive our gas guzzling SUVs, by ourselves, on a long commute every day. Or we can move closer to work, ride our bikes or walk, take public transportation, buy a more economical car, or at the very least carpool.

We all have so many opportunities to make better choices. Choices that actually WILL create change. You think it doesn't matter if one person does things like that? You're absolutely right. But it would make a hell of a difference if the majority of us did these things. No change ever happened by sitting around and bitching. And definitely not by waiting for politicians to change it for us. No, if we want change, WE have to make it happen.

I don't care if you vote or who you voted for. I care that you realize that you can make a difference. What would happen if all of the people in our country that think they can't help, woke up tomorrow and realized that they could? Just imagine how things could change.

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Eating out when you're on a typical diet isn't such a big deal. You just take a "cheat" day or whatever and enjoy yours...

How to Survive an Elimination Diet: Part 4


Eating out when you're on a typical diet isn't such a big deal. You just take a "cheat" day or whatever and enjoy yourself. When you're on an elimination diet, it's not quite as easy to take a cheat day. If you do have food intolerances, then a cheat day often comes with uncomfortable consequences. You can of course take digestive enzymes, which I do take any time I eat something I think might hurt my stomach. But I don't want to take them all the time because 1) they're expensive, and 2) they mask the symptoms so I don't really know what my body's true reaction would've been.

So how do you eat out on an elimination diet? Here's a few tips I've learned this past uh...almost a year?!

Tip #1: Listen to your body
I LOVE going out to eat. We have a ridiculous amount of delicious food in the Portland area and it is near impossible to not want to eat it all! But when my symptoms flared up big time and made me very ill after trying to reintroduce, I went a long time without eating out at all. It sucked to be making myself food on a Friday night while the boys were eating pizza, again, ugh. But it was worth it to not make myself sicker. I had to learn to really listen to my body and honor what it was telling me to eat or not to eat. Just more self-love practice. :)

Tip #2: Set Limits
Never eating out is really hard. Aside from just not wanting to cook every day, there's work lunch meetings, traveling, visiting friends and family, date nights, etc. So what I've done this past year, is set limits for eating out when I'm not forced to. Friday nights are usually the only time I do, depending on how I feel. Can I just tell you not only how much healthier I feel from eating out less but how much money I've saved?! It's crazy shit dude. Add up your take-out bill one month and you'll be like WTF?!

Tip #3: Choose the Restaurant Wisely
Since you're not going to be eating out as much, you should be pickier about which restaurants you eat at. Don't waste it on places that are just okay or that you know only have food that will cause you pain. For me, that meant there are several types of restaurants I just don't eat at anymore. It's just not worth feeling sick. Thankfully my taste buds have changed significantly so now I can just sneak a bite of Brian's and it's all I need now. By the second bite, I'm already saying, that doesn't taste that good anymore. Instead I stick to restaurants that have healthy food, or food I’m pretty sure fits into my diet.

Tip #4: Know How to Order
Don't be afraid to ask questions. It was hard for me to ask questions like "does that have any eggs in it? Or diary? Or soy?" At first I felt stupid and snobby, but then I realized a few things. First, it's my body and I have the right to know what I'm putting in it. Second, it's much better to ask before you order it then to get the food and realize you can't eat it. Or worse, eat it and get sick. And lastly, at least here in Portland, they've already heard all these questions and none of it surprises them. Plus I’m not an asshole and I’m always polite to people in food service, as I remember what it was like to work in that industry. (In case you haven’t, it fucking blows when people are jerks.) To save myself some headaches (literally haha), I first researched many of the foods I liked to order to find out what they typically contain. Then at least I had an idea of what foods might just fit into my diet to begin with.

Tip #5: Try New Things
I love Indian food. It's one of my favorite foods. Before this diet, I would always order the same thing, a vegetarian dish that contains cream. But there are lots of vegan and dairy-free foods in Indian cuisine, so I had plenty of options. I have discovered so many other dishes I like now so I actually eat a better variety of foods then I used to. Don't be afraid to try new foods and new places. There are even some allergy-friendly restaurants out there, you just have to ask around.

Depending on where you live and what kind of lifestyle you're used to, eating out less might be a real challenge. But if you're suffering a lot of symptoms, it's best to just make whatever you want at home, where you can control the ingredients. Don't be afraid to get creative and experiment. I've discovered a lot of new recipes this past year from doing this. Which has just added to the reasons why this is all worth it.

Read more about what I've learned on my elimination diet journey at the links below:

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One of the big parts of this journey for self-love has been figuring out what's truly important. You know, setting some real prio...

The Unexpected Benefits From Loving Yourself




One of the big parts of this journey for self-love has been figuring out what's truly important. You know, setting some real priorities. Doing this requires ridding yourself of all the things you discover are just not important. This is wonderfully liberating and often has unexpected benefits that only add to your happiness. Below are a few of those benefits that I personally have experienced over the years during my journey of self-love.

Avoiding Destructive Media
Like many teenagers, I got into reading magazines and watching trashy TV. But my enjoyment of it all was thankfully cut short when my recovery started. I realized very quickly how destructive these things were for my mind. Beauty magazines and cable TV bombard you with non-stop advertisements, trying to make you feel like shit about yourself so you'll spend money on crap you don't need. And trashy TV shows are no better. Watching a bunch of girls be anorexic, stupid, or slutty on purpose for money? Maybe some people can handle that, but my recovering mind could not. I decided to steer away from anything that made me feel dumber for watching. I was surprised at how much better it made me feel to have less daily doses of bullshit.

Healthy Living
Exercising and eating healthier, which I think always come up on a journey of self-love. These have the very happy consequence of less illness. And also less side affects from a poor diet, like brain fog, skin problems, headaches, etc. Exercise increases endorphins and usually makes you feel better about yourself. If you wonder why people who adopt a healthier lifestyle are sometimes annoyingly happy about it? It's because of all of that. When you feel better physically and mentally, it's a lot easier to feel happy.

Positive Friends
Being positive attracts positive people. Constantly being around negative people is draining, but sometimes unavoidable. Having positive people in your life will balance that out and help immensely on your journey to loving yourself. I don't know how far I'd actually be on my journey if I hadn't had the help of Brian and several awesome friends in my life that were also trying to be positive and treat themselves better.

Minimalism
The wonderful idea of having less. Most of us, at least in America, have TOO MUCH FUCKING STUFF! The majority of which is unnecessary and just adding clutter to our lives. I'm constantly trying to rid myself of the things I'm not using and don't need, a never-ending (but worthwhile) project. Once you realize what's important in life, the first thing you know is that the majority of stuff just isn't even close to making the list of requirements for happiness.

Mindfulness
I first started learning mindfulness over 10 years ago in my first yoga class. At the time, I didn't realize how important this would be to my recovery. You also hear the term in regards to mindful eating, which has also been an important piece in my recovery. Being mindful of my diet and movements is just the beginning. Once I started this process it spread to the rest of my life and I started to be more mindful of all my thoughts and actions. Now I have begun to see my true impact, and potential impact, in the world. And it's bigger than I ever imagined.

These are just a few of the good things that have changed unexpectedly in my life since I started this journey many years ago. I still have a long way to go with all of them and everything else that goes along with loving myself. But I find it helpful to stop along the way and appreciate how far I've come and the happy surprises in my life.

2 comments:

Last week at 5am on Monday morning, Sebastian shuffled into our room with a little sniffle. He comes to my side of the bed and says, &q...

A Week of Pathetic Self-Pity


Last week at 5am on Monday morning, Sebastian shuffled into our room with a little sniffle. He comes to my side of the bed and says, "Mom, I threw up in my bed."

Uuuugggghhh! Brian went to assess the damage and Sebastian crawled in bed with me, which means I didn't sleep much after that. I had to be to work on time (early in my world) for a big project so I was dragging. Off to work I went to face 10+ hour days for the next 4 days. By Thursday night I was beat. Brian left to play music with his friend and I attempted to have a quiet evening with the boys. Ha! 

By then Sebastian was getting better, but now Oscar had a stuffy nose and what I thought was a cough. After dinner that cough turned into gagging and he threw up on the living room rug. I got him to the bathroom for the rest, but ya know how good a 2 year old is at aiming? After I got it mostly cleaned up, I got the boys in the bath so we could hopefully get to bed early. Bedtime consisted of me following Oscar around with a bowl trying to catch all of his throw up. Ginger kept coming upstairs and staring at me funny but I just told her to lay down. I didn't have time for her in the midst of vomit duty! 

Boys in bed, I headed downstairs to clean some more. I put away leftovers, fed Ginger, cleaned up toys, and then finally saw what Ginger was acting funny about. Poop all over the living room. WTF?! (And how the fuck did I not see it immediately when I came downstairs?!) I had let her out right before we went upstairs so she had no excuse. It wasn't Iike she was sick either so I was a bit pissed to say the least.

A bit later, I came inside from throwing away all the poop to see Oscar at the top of the stairs.

"Mommy, I threw up in my bed."

Awesome.

The view from my office that Monday...a foggy omen of the week to come

My kids get sick like all kids do, but usually it's colds. They don't throw up much thankfully. Ginger doesn't normally poop in the house. I don't normally work 10+ hour days. But all of these things happened in the same week.

Between working late and fighting off their bug, I didn't have the energy to exercise. I didn't eat the greatest either, not enough vegetables and one night I had way too much wine. By the end of the week, all my joints hurt. My face broke out. I had a headache that wouldn't go away. Many more physical symptoms of too much stress flared up. Forget about blogging as that requires more time in front of a computer which I just can't stomach after working that much. I was angry and irritable and just wanted to be alone.

I am very fortunate. My life is good, blessed, lucky, whatever word you want to use. I have it easy. When I have a rough week I get to spend the weekend recuperating (which I did). My idea of a rough week is many people's normal, and for many more people in the world, a dream week. I have NOTHING to complain about. That's why I was so irritated. Mad at myself for being such a whiner. Mad that I can't handle a little stress without becoming physically and mentally ill. Mad that I allowed shit (literally haha) that isn't important bring me down. Mad because this wasn't just last week, but is always my response to stress.

The road to self-worth and love is long, windy, rough, and lonely. Nobody but me can pull myself out of my own pathetic self-pity. I know exactly how to do it too, since I've done it a million times before. Get enough sleep, eat extra healthy, exercise, lay off the wine, cut back on caffeine, spend time with my family, spend time alone. Write. Write. Write. I was the only person in my way.

Part of seeking happiness is admitting that we cannot always be happy. It's ridiculous to expect otherwise. There are many worthy reasons to feel down and depressed. Part of recovery is learning to recognize when you're depressed for a good reason versus a bad reason, or no reason at all. This week...all bad reasons. That means suck it up and move on. When I have the knowledge, tools, and skills to pull myself out of a slump, then I know, no excuses. Just fucking do it.

Thankfully I took my own advice, and am feeling much better now. Which means, I've got a lot of half written posts waiting patiently for me to finish in the next week or two, so I hope you're ready to read. 😆

6 comments:

Monday was Sebastian's 7th birthday. For any of you with little kids, I'm sure you know how I'm feeling. It's somethi...

7 Years of Parenting



Monday was Sebastian's 7th birthday. For any of you with little kids, I'm sure you know how I'm feeling. It's something like...

"Holy fuck how is he 7?!"

For any of you with older kids I'm sure you're laughing at me and saying something like...

"Just wait until they're 18, then you'll really feel old!"

And you're totally right. I'm certain I will feel this at every single one of my kids' birthdays for the rest of my life. Their birthdays are the reminder of how quickly time moves, much more so than my own birthday. Maybe because little kids change more in 1 year than adults. Or maybe it's just because it makes me feel sentimental. Like a mother should be while watching her babies grow up.

While I may be in awe of how fast it's all going, at no time do I wish for it to stop. People often say things like "don't you wish they'd stay little forever?" No, I definitely do not. I love watching them learn and grow. I love seeing what each new phase will bring. And I love that they're still little enough to like spending time with me. But if they weren't growing, none of this would seem special. Like so much in life, it means more because it's temporary. It's always changing, giving you no time to waste. Only time to savor every moment you can since you know it's the only moment like this you will get. Your kids will never again be as young as they are right now. That's why they are so precious.

The funny thing about time is how it can feel like it's moving at the speed of light but also slow at the same time. If I think of everything that has happened in the last 7 years I realize, it does feel likes it's been awhile. We have done so much with him. We made many first child mistakes. We learned what it's like to have a baby and stay awake all night trying to get him to sleep. We both changed our work situations so we can be with him more. We had our hearts broken when receiving his NF diagnosis. We grew stronger in the aftermath, learning how precious and fragile our child's life really is. We had his brother and watched their bond form. We took them on many plane trips, road trips, camping, fishing, swimming, farm exploring, berry picking, beach playing, hiking, bike riding, stroller adventuring, park playing, and so much more.

I have learned what it feels like to fail as a parent and to succeed. I have enjoyed more hugs, kisses, and snuggles than I can count, and still hope for countless more. I have learned I can love and hate a thing at the same time. I have learned what unconditional love is and that I am capable of it. My experiences as a parent have made me a better person. Stronger, more compassionate, more patient (sometimes), and more complete. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

So here's to 7 years as a parent, and the 70 more to come. (Yes I'm living to 101.)

6 comments:

My eating disorder was a dark and severely self-destructive journey. One that I am, even now, uncomfortable sharing in detail. It's...

The Most Difficult Experience of My Anorexia Recovery



My eating disorder was a dark and severely self-destructive journey. One that I am, even now, uncomfortable sharing in detail. It's hard to find the words, to be eloquent enough to do it justice. But it is a story worth telling, as are all battles against mental illness. They help spread the awareness that our world is in desperate need of. And so I will continue searching for the words to tell my story. But for now, I will just tell you what I am comfortable discussing, and that is my recovery.

Of course, it did not happen overnight. Recovery took years and years, it was a slow process. One full of pain, anger, and the burning desire to understand WHY I felt this way in the first place. I started with the usual courses of treatment, antidepressants and therapy. But they didn't help much. I still longed for the answers I was seeking.

What I did know was if I was going to live, I wanted to be happy and enjoy my life. Not be miserable and struggle as so many others with eating disorders did. I couldn't be anorexic AND live a happy life. I had to choose. Life or death? Happiness or misery? I had chosen life, but happiness? Finding happiness meant I needed to find my self-worth and learn to love myself. But how? I hated everything about me. How could I learn to love myself? I had to make another choice. The choice to try, as impossible as it seemed. And so began the biggest challenge of my life.

So how did I start? By looking for reasons to exist and be happy. First, I had family that loved me and needed me to recover. Second, I already had this amazing man in my life who loves me to this day. He sees something worthy in me. I love and respect him and so I knew he couldn't be all wrong. I had to try and see what he saw. Then there was school where I was an excellent student. And then my career in which I have been successful. All these things gave me some feelings of worth, some reasons to be proud of myself.

Next and best of all came our babies. These beautiful little human beings that I love so fiercely. And they came from me! I couldn't be all bad and worthless if I was able to help create such amazing little people. Motherhood has never been easy for me, but regardless, I enjoy it and am good at providing for them.

Over the years I kept finding these little things in life that I was good at. Even if I had a hard time admitting them to myself at first. I knew that being good at things was not a requirement of loving myself, but it was somewhere to start. I also learned that I didn't have to be the best at something to be good at it or to find joy in doing it. I definitely wasn't good at loving myself at first. But all I had to do was keep trying. And in time, persistence paid off.

Life, as it often does, has thrown many more stressful situations my way over the years. I have continued to look for different and healthy coping mechanisms. I have tried many things, some that have made a real difference. Like surrounding myself with positive people, and eating and exercising in a healthy way. And even though it has been the challenge of a lifetime, I have not resorted back to anorexia for over 10 years.

Through more therapy, meditation, and lots of soul-search, I've finally found the answers to why. These answers have helped the most. And through them, the realization that, despite common thinking, I did not do this to myself. My eating disorder was not intentional. It was not my fault. It was how my young mind coped with the difficulties of life. But I had the power to change it.

This journey has taught me that I am not only in control of my actions, but my thoughts as well. It wasn't, and still isn't, easy but I can retrain my thoughts to be positive instead of negative. In so doing, I learned to change how I feel about myself. I learned to turn my weaknesses into strengths. I now use that perfectionism towards useful and constructive things instead of destructive ones. I'm finding all the things I'm passionate about in life and channeling that energy into them. I am learning to love myself and be happy simply by trying and not giving up.

And I will continue to succeed because I refuse to fail.

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Following an elimination diet is both a blessing and a curse. When you start reading the ingredients on any convenience food you'd n...

How to Survive an Elimination Diet: Part 3



Following an elimination diet is both a blessing and a curse. When you start reading the ingredients on any convenience food you'd normally buy, you'll likely get irritated. No matter what you're eliminating, it will seem like it is in everything. But the blessing comes when you start learning to make things yourself and realize that most things are better homemade, and many are actually easier than you think. If you start googling for ideas, you'll find hundreds of different recipes to accomplish what you need. Some will be unnecessarily difficult but not to worry as there is usually a simplified version. I've been collecting easy recipes, all of which I've modified to my own liking and the amount of effort I'm willing to put into each one. When you have to make basically everything from scratch, you learn a few shortcuts. So today I'd like to share some of those shortcuts with you. Whether or not you're on any kind of diet, I hope you'll find something in this list that catches your eye. Give it a try, come back here, and tell me what you think!

Homemade Nut Milk

Granola

Raw Trail Mix

Easiest Salsa Ever

Real Guacamole

Easy Homemade Hummus

Salad Dressings

Vegan "Butter"

Vegan Pancakes


Read more about what I've learned on my elimination diet journey at the links below:
Coming up next:
Part 4: how to eat-out (or not) on an elimination diet

0 comments:

I started this blog with very little expectations for myself except that I would at least try. Try to write something that didn't sta...

Don't Worry, Be Happy


I started this blog with very little expectations for myself except that I would at least try. Try to write something that didn't stay hidden away in a mostly empty journal. Be brave enough to step out of my comfort zone. Test my own abilities to write and effectively communicate my life and experiences. It proved to be quite a challenge to write about anything deep. But once I wrote a few posts on depression and other mental illness, I realized I had finally found some courage and confidence in my writing. It's never easy to admit how you really feel, especially if how you feel is depressed or crazy. But a fellow friend and blogger told me to be honest and vulnerable and people will be more responsive. She was so right.

Yet I still find myself cowering away from writing when I'm having a really bad day. You'd think that would be the best time to write but instead I write nothing or if I do it stays hidden in my notebook or deleted from my drafts, never to be shared. I always want to seem up and positive and try to write when I'm at least having an okay day. But now I realize that adds to the falseness that is social media and online presence and I just hate that. I never want to add to this fake layer we have added to an already fake society. I want this to be open and honest and real.

So here's how I'm really doing. I'm a depressed mess lately. I have loved ones that are truly struggling with a wide range of issues and it breaks my heart. I'm a fix-it person, in every sense. I mean it's even a huge part of what I do for a living is fix broken code! I have never been okay when a problem comes my way in life that I cannot fix. People are complicated and difficult. You can't fix people. People have to fix themselves. And often, the problems people have can't even be fixed! So sometimes, there is truly nothing to do for a struggling loved one except to simply be there for them. Listen, offer comfort, and no judgements. This is the hardest thing I have ever attempted in my life. I didn't even realize what an obnoxious fixer I was until recently! But with this awareness, I hope, is coming the ability to be that steady comfort for others in my life, especially those who have done it for me.

When I have a bad day of depression it's often not because of my own problems, but because of others' problems. I don't know how to separate out what is something I need to worry about and what is something out of my control and requires no stress on my part. I guess I felt worry was required to show you truly cared for someone else. The idea sounds silly when put that way but I know I'm not alone in this behavior. How will worrying fix anything, even if it is in your control? It won't, it can't, yet we do it anyway. It's a strange way of showing our love for someone, and I'm finally realizing, it doesn't have to be this way.

I don't have to be depressed about someone else's problems just to show my love for them. It doesn't mean I love them any less because I choose to push their problems from my thoughts and not let them fill me up with stress. In fact, I will be a much better friend if I don't let everything stress me out. Instead of always feeling emotionally exhausted, maybe I'll be able to feel strong and truly be able to hold space for the people in my life. And most importantly, maybe learning to not stress about everything will be the biggest step I can take on my journey to loving myself.

2 comments:

  As a follow up to Part 1 , I thought I'd share some helpful tips on food avoidance and substitutions during an elimination diet. ...

How to Survive an Elimination Diet: Part 2

 

As a follow up to Part 1, I thought I'd share some helpful tips on food avoidance and substitutions during an elimination diet. And like the last post, these tips may also be helpful for starting a "clean eating" program as well. So whether you got your list of foods to eliminate from a blood test or just a generic elimination diet, everyone's list is likely to be a little different. I'll just go over a few of the more common ones I did.

Eggs:
What you'll find it in: most packaged baked goods including waffles and pancakes, pretty much anything breaded or fried
Baking Substitutes: ground or whole flaxseed, baking powder, bananas, or applesauce. There are lots of egg-free baking recipes out there which takes the guesswork out of substituting.
Breaded/fried substitutes: try coating your food in flour and seasonings and baking it instead. Not quite the same but a lot healthier and easier.

Dairy:
What you'll find it in: the obvious (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.) plus a TON of packaged food, even things you wouldn't expect.
Milk substitutes: almond, cashew, and coconut milk. They're easy to make yourself even (recipes coming in future post)!
Cheese substitutes: not a lot of affordable, healthy ones, so I stick with leaving it out. For toppings use hummus or avocado instead. You can also experiment with goat cheese once you're feeling better.
Yogurt substitutes: doesn't matter if it's made out of dairy or a dairy-free substitute, most yogurt has too much sugar in it so I just quit eating it. In baking you can substitute with applesauce.

Soy:
What you'll find it in: EVERYTHING, no joke, pretty much all processed food, and the obvious (soy milk, tofu, tempeh, edamame) and most "fake" meat and "fake" cheeses. It can also be in other ingredients, some obvious like soy lecithin or soy protein, and others not so obvious like natural flavors and MSG.
Soy milk substitutes: any nut milk
Soy sauce substitute: coconut aminos
Tofu/tempeh/edamame substitute: whole white, black, pinto, or garbanzo beans
Substitutes for all the processed food you'll find it in: gotta make it yourself or hunt around your health food stores for soy-free alternatives

Sugar cane:
What you'll find it in: EVERYTHING, just like soy.
Substitutes: honey, maple syrup, dates, applesauce, or coconut sugar BUT for healthiest results, seriously reduce the amount of sweetener you use in everything. For tea, go unsweetened and for coffee try a tiny bit of coconut oil, vanilla extract, and nut milk.
Substitutes for all the processed food you'll find it in: same as soy, hunt around or make it yourself.

Yeast:
What you'll find it in: Bread, flatbread, pita bread, crackers, pastries, donuts, broths or stocks, many vegan foods (nutritional yeast), alcohol (see below), and anything fermented (don't go too far down that rat hole though as there's yeast floating around in the air so you can't avoid it all)
Baking substitutes: baking powder or baking soda & lemon juice. I found it best to use recipes that are already yeast-free so I didn't have to worry about substituting.
Bread product substitutes: There are limited options of yeast-free tortillas and crackers, but for the rest you'll have to do without or make it yourself.

Alcohol. 😭😭😭
Even if yeast isn't on your list, I think most healthcare professionals will encourage you to eliminate alcohol for at least a few weeks so you can see if it was adding to any of your symptoms. (And here's the sad ending to that story, it probably is!)
What you'll find it in: beer, wine, and liquor
Substitutes: Moderation is your friend if, like me, you find it makes all your symptoms come back full force, you'll learn to keep it in very small amounts and not very often. The best replacement I've found for alcohol is marijuana so you're gonna want to live somewhere it's legal or get a medical card. Hahaha seriously though, let's go get high and think about all the food we can't eat. 😉😂

0 comments:

What does it mean to truly love yourself? To me, loving yourself means taking care of you: body, mind, and soul. And doing whatever you n...

Self-Love Defined


What does it mean to truly love yourself? To me, loving yourself means taking care of you: body, mind, and soul. And doing whatever you need to do to keep those 3 things in balance. It requires treating yourself with respect, thinking kindly about yourself, and listening to all 3 parts of your being. I know all of that sounds a bit impossible most of the time, especially if you're a parent or caregiver and you spend most of your time looking after someone else. But how can you care for another person if you don't first take care of yourself? And why else should you care about loving yourself? To be happy of course! And who doesn't want to be happier? I don't know a single happy person that doesn't take care of themselves. I think loving yourself is a requirement of happiness.

We spend so much time just trying to "get by." Work, kids, clean, eat, sleep, repeat. It's easy to get caught up in that cycle and sometimes forget to have fun, to remember that life is a journey and we need to be enjoying ourselves, even in daily, routine life. Sometimes it may even take us awhile to realize something is wrong. That we're miserable and why we are. Usually when I take the time to figure out what's bothering me, I discover that I'm not taking enough time for myself, not doing something I need to do to be happy, or just not being nice to myself. I struggle sometimes often with feeling like I'm enough, that I'm good enough, that I'm doing enough for everyone around me. And when I don't feel like I am, my thoughts turn negative. Thinking awful things about myself only furthers my depression. But when I'm being mindful of this, I can break the cycle before it starts or worsens at least. I have to stop the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. I must constantly remind myself that I am always doing as much as I feel able and to forgive myself for those days when I don't do everything I expected (especially since my expectations of myself are often unrealistic).

Taking time for yourself, working hard at turning around negative thoughts, trying to love yourself, it's all really hard work. But it's worth it for even brief moments of true happiness. The key is in making your happiness a priority. Once you do this, many other things in your life will start changing in ways you won't anticipate, but you'll be pleasantly surprised when they happen. It's karma; if you're putting good, positive, happy energy out into the world, you're much more likely to receive that in return than if you're angry, depressed, or negative all the time. So even if it's a struggle right now to try and love yourself, think of it as a gift to your future self who will thank you when all the goodness starts flowing into your life. It'll be all sparkles and rainbows and butterflies....

Okay, okay, of course that last bit is a pipe dream. We'd all like to believe that karma is real and we'll receive as much love as we've given. And there are days I do believe it is real. But then there are days when the world takes a fat dump on you and it can set you back a lot, make you wonder why you bothered trying to be positive in the first place. But we have to experience bad days so we can appreciate all the good ones. Hopefully you've had moments of true happiness in your life to look back on when it's a bad day, and remember how good it felt. Then you'll remember that it is worth your effort to make your own happiness a priority.

Self-love is putting your feet in the sand :)

2 comments:

I started my elimination diet journey over 8 months ago, and what a journey it's been! I've learned a lot along the way, ple...

How to Survive an Elimination Diet: Part 1


I started my elimination diet journey over 8 months ago, and what a journey it's been! I've learned a lot along the way, plenty that I wish I'd known BEFORE I started. And so it seems only right that I share my knowledge with you for surviving your own elimination diet, should you need to. These may also be helpful for starting a "clean eating" program as well.
  • First tip is, DON'T do an elimination diet unless you really need to! Probably not what you were expecting me to say, but seriously it sucks, it's hard, and may not have the results you want. I'm not trying to discourage you completely, but if you're doing it because you think it's the next cool, fad diet, you are in for a world of hurt. It has a very important medical purpose, so if you do it, do it for the right reasons. 
  • If you have no medical reason to do this and are just trying to eat cleaner, then great! But I wouldn't recommend trying to eliminate everything all at once. Instead try making changes gradually. It will be a lot easier to manage and cause you a lot less stress.
  • If you have lots of food intolerances, this "diet" may take a lot longer than you think and will likely turn into a new way of eating for some time. My biggest mistake was in thinking I'd be all better in a few months, and I am not. I have made great progress, but it's not over yet.
  • Eliminating foods makes your body extra sensitive to them. I don't fully understand why and didn't think about that when I started. But after experiencing it, I feel like it's a good thing to warn you about. When trying to reintroduce foods, the symptoms I experienced were FAR worse than what I'd had before I started. 
  • Probiotics and digestive enzyme supplements are your friends. I didn't take this seriously until I became flat out ill when trying to reintroduce foods. Take them every day or at the least take the enzymes when you eat any food you didn't prepare yourself.
  • Be prepared to spend a lot of time in the kitchen! Not every meal needs to be elaborate, but you'll still have to throw it together yourself as finding prepared foods that will fit into your diet is extremely difficult and expensive (depending on what all you're eliminating of course).
  • If you have or have ever had an eating disorder of any kind, including chronic dieting, then be careful. Aside from pregnancy this has been the biggest challenge to my recovery. If you're in the early stages of recovery, do not do this or any restrictive diet!
I've learned so much that I will be writing multiple posts on the subject so stay tuned for the following, coming soon!

0 comments:

I haven't joined my friend Danielle for Confessional Thursday in quite awhile so thought I'd share some parenting confessions with y...

Parent Confessions

I haven't joined my friend Danielle for Confessional Thursday in quite awhile so thought I'd share some parenting confessions with you today.


I confess that...

...I am a bit uncomfortable around kids other than my own. I just don't know how to make other kids behave. I am easily overwhelmed by mobs of children (a mob=more than 2) and one of my least favorite things is indoor play places.

...when kids are mean to my kids, I have a hard time holding back the urge to tell the kid off or at least send them away. But I know my kids must learn to handle mean people. Still, baffles me how horrible kids can be at such a young age. If my kids are ever an ass to you or your kids I give you full permission to call them out on their shit and ask them to stop or send them home!

...I'm kind of strict about bedtime. They don't go to bed super early but I don't often let them stay up past 9 and avoid things that will keep them up late. Sleep is super important to their mental and physical growth and I'm not going to purposefully keep them from getting as much sleep as possible. Plus they turn into little assholes when they're tired.

...I am even stricter about my kids sugar intake. Yep that's right, I am "that mom." Sebastian has a clear sugar intolerance with symptoms including moodiness, vomiting, and diarrhea if he has too much, and Oscar gets crazy hyper. Think what you want about it, I don't care when we're talking about my children's health.

...my kids can be so annoying and it's all my fault. My wonderful genetic gifts included talking incessantly, asking a million questions, and repeating oneself to death, all things I also drove my parents crazy with when I was a child. Karma can be a real pain in the ass.

...it makes me feel so much better when Brian loses his patience with the kids too. Then at least I know I'm not just being impatient with them, they really can be frustrating beyond reason.

...despite my frustrations, I LOVE spending time with these little monsters. Walks, bike rides, cards, board games, Legos, cars, it's all fun times with them. Snuggles are still my favorite though, no matter how big they get.

...I have been able to take Fridays off this summer so I could spend more time with them and it was the best decision I've made in a long time. I have my whole life to work but my kids will only be little right now.



2 comments:

Let's be real...there are days when being positive and loving yourself feels impossible. Everything's going wrong either in your...

Positivity Tuesday

http://nataliedee.com/


Let's be real...there are days when being positive and loving yourself feels impossible. Everything's going wrong either in your own life or in those around yours. Maybe the kids are driving you crazy, work is a stressful mess, relationships are strained, etc. Whatever it is, or sometimes it's all of it, you're not alone. We all have these days. They're usually the days you keep thinking, "why did I get out of bed?!" But you know why. You had to. You can't stay in bed every time you have a rough day. If you've ever battled depression, then you know that if you stayed in bed every time you felt like that, then you'd never get up.

So what should you do when this happens? Give up and crawl back into bed? Cry and scream about the injustices of life? Sometimes, yes!, you should do those things. There are days you do need a break, you do need to vent to someone who is willing to listen. But it can't be every day, or even every bad day, so you need a backup plan. What you need is a good laugh. Do something guaranteed to at least make you smile. Watch a funny movie, stand-up comedy, or silly YouTube videos, whatever will make you laugh until you pee. Listen to music that makes you want to dance and sing. Take your kids for a walk or at least get outside for a bit. Play a game with your kids. Talk to a neighbor, friend, or spouse (preferably someone who tends to be a happy person) and can get your mind off your shitty day. Or get a good workout in...this may not make you laugh but will definitely help you clear your head and get out some frustrations.

Yes I am essentially telling you to distract yourself. This is in no way a long-term cure for depression, but it is definitely a short-term fix for a bad day. When you struggle with being negative or depressed, a lot of days are bad days. But not all of them are worthy of depressing you further or ruining your progress, and they're definitely not worthy of doing you in completely. When I'm struggling through a day like this, I frequently ask myself, what is actually wrong? Is it something big and worthy of feeling depressed? Because let's face it, there are definitely real things that happen in life that just flat out suck and it's okay to be upset about them. But then there are other things, more "first-world problem" types of things, that are petty and insignificant in the grand scheme, and sometimes they just all add up to a shitty day. Take a few moments to be mindful of what it is you're actually upset about, and you may realize it's over nothing important at all. These are the days you just need a little Positivity Tuesday bear in your life!

0 comments:

Trask River, Tillamook State Forest Have you ever gone camping somewhere without a campground? It's pretty magical actually. A lo...

Hippy Camping

Trask River, Tillamook State Forest

Have you ever gone camping somewhere without a campground? It's pretty magical actually. A lot less people. Just your family and nature. I grew up camping on beaches at a lake where you had to drive to a real bathroom or shower or pavement of any kind. You were lucky if there was an outhouse nearby that wasn't swarming with bees. So this wasn't totally new territory for me, but it had been a long time. I'd forgotten how hard it is to squat and pee and not get it all over your pants or shoes. Can you imagine how much stronger our legs would be if we always had to do that? Yeah I'm sure you're happy about that visual. Just wait, there's more.

It's pretty sad how easily we get scared over wildlife when we're not used to being far away from civilization. I was awake much of the night (which is normal for camping it seems). But this time, I kept wondering if there were any mountain lions or bears in the area that could smell me menstruating and were going to come and attack us. I kept telling myself to stop being ridiculous, but regardless, I will definitely plan our next camping trip at a different time of the month.

After I relaxed about being eaten, I had a great time. The kids had a blast as well. We've decided it's important to take them places like this is much as possible, because who knows how long it will exist. Even here with all us crazy hippies fighting to keep our trees, you still see a ton of clear-cut forests. So we will be back soon, with the fishing poles that we forgot this trip, and with any friends who are interested in joining us!


You can see our "campsite" through the trees there on the left

Boys enjoying climbing on the rocks

Water was perfect... cool and clear

View from one of the roads on the way home

The view didn't suck


0 comments:

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 o...

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!

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Many of us struggle with pain. Pain is a part of being human. Even Buddha said "life is suffering." And he was right, sometimes...

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.

http://themighty.com/2016/07/a-letter-to-someone-struggling-with-chronic-pain/

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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 classro...

Beginnings

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:
Huh?
 And he took a chance on this girl:
Yep that's a cat in my jacket sleeve...wtf
And we fell in love:
Awwwww
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. :)

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