New (School) Year Resolutions

boat at sunset

Fall, for me, always feels like a secondary “new year.”  A time to slow down and dust off after a nonstop, jam-packed summer, and turn inward and reflect on what’s next.

Perhaps you can relate – whether you’re going back to school yourself, sending your kids back, or simply sensing a turning of the tides as the magical season we call summer takes its final curtain call and that familiar chill creeps back into the air.

Fall is a good time to right our course. To cultivate new habits, or return to old loves (such as yoga class while your kids are in school – can I get an amen?).

What do you want to return to, or start anew, this fall, the season when rhythm and routine take center stage?  I have a few ideas of my own, and thought I’d share in case they get your wheels turning, too…

1)    I resolve to become a “night before” person.  This does not come naturally to me, but I really believe if I could develop the habit of laying out clothes (mine and the kids’), packing lunches and snacks, and locating things like shoes and coats the night before each school day, we’ll all enjoy less frantic mornings.

2)    Monday food prep day – I have my youngest in school M/W/F mornings this year, and I plan to use most Monday mornings to thoughtfully prep good home-cooked food for the week ahead.  I envision this as chopping and storing vegetables for multiple meals, baking something easy (like banana bread or a quiche) that can contribute to quick breakfasts throughout the week and cooking a big batch of some stew/soup/roast in the slow cooker that’s large enough for leftovers.  I envision these Monday morning hours as almost a religious experience adorned with coffee in my favorite mug, an audio book or TV of my choosing in the background, and a QUIET HOUSE TO MYSELF in which to work.  Is there anything more glorious?

3)    Explore new volunteer opportunities.  Entering the world of elementary school parenthood, I’m quickly learning, means a whole slew of volunteer opportunities.  I look forward to becoming a familiar face in my son’s classroom and finding my place within the school at large as I cultivate my own role in this new community that will be a part of our lives for years to come.

4)    Rediscover walking.  I’ve been pretty focused on running these past couple of years, but lately I’ve felt this nudging in my spirit to slow down and be content with a good walk.  I’ll still run at times, but one of my newfound loves is walking to the rhythm of an engrossing audiobook (if you’re new to this media as well – Born a Crime, Something in the Water and Educated are all excellent places to start!). And of course, nothing beats a walk-and-talk with a good friend.

5)    Stay in my lane. This is a broad one, but it’s something I think about a lot.  To me it’s a reminder to accept what is working (and isn’t working ) FOR ME, at this season in MY life.  It means practicing mindfulness around the people and influences I take into my life, time on social media, cultivating healthy routines, being conscious about comparing myself to others, etc…

And on that note, these words come to mind.  I don’t know about you, but I always appreciate this wise reminder from one of my favorite writers and thinkers, Glennon Doyle:

“You can’t miss your boat.  It’s yours.  It stays docked till you’re ready.  The only boat you can miss is someone else’s. Let them have theirs while you wait for yours.”








Things I Wish I Wanted To Do

Things I Wish I Wanted To Do

“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.”

– Paulo Coelho

My book club recently read and dissected The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Over water and lime wedges (turns out that while I’m no longer pregnant, everyone else is), it became clear this writer’s year-long experiment culminated in a “love it or hate it” book for our little critics’ circle and beyond – as all pop culture hits seem to do to some degree.  What do they say – there’s no such thing as bad press?

While this book was a slow, underwhelming start for me, suddenly around April (the book and the topics and resolutions it entails are divided into months), it was as if a switch flipped and I was ravenously hooked on this Manhattan lawyer/writer/mom/wife’s musing on hundreds of minor tweaks we can make to our daily routines (no Eat, Pray, Love pilgrimage required) to partake in a more fully-examined existence, boost our quality of life, and thus that of those around us.  Things like buying the nice $4.00 pen instead of the crappy 25-cent pen that just feels cheap and always runs out of ink.  Changing the lightbulb yourself instead of nagging your husband to do it.  Listening contentedly to others and resisting the urge to jump in with a competing story of your own.  Accepting a limitation (or more positively, my God-given uniqueness) such as the fact that a certain hairstyle – try as I might – Will. Never. Look. Good. On. Me.

I could go on and on about the author’s simple yet pointed insights on things from learning to laugh at yourself and lighten up with your kids, to the liberation that comes from “tackling a nagging task,” be it a cluttered hall closet or a toxic relationship.  I was obviously in the “love it” camp.

But the section of the book that provided the biggest “aha moment” for me was about how to distinguish between things I truly want to do, and things I wish I wanted to do.

The phrase “I wish I wanted to do that” resonated with me so clearly.  How often do we trick not just others – but ourselves – into believing this forcefully painted picture of our supposed hobbies, inclinations, status, interests and overall identity?  Maybe you love the idea of buying everything organic but you hate the sticker shock you experience in the check-out line.  Or perhaps you think you want to take a big family vacation every summer, but spending a week with your in-laws/great-aunt/cousins/stepchildren actually induces widespread panic attacks.  You wish you wanted to do these things, but when it comes down to it, you just don’t.

True introverts may feel like they wish they wanted to get dolled up and mingle over cocktails and loud music on a Friday night, but what they really want to do is stay home with a book and pajamas, power off their phone and read until their quiet little heart’s content.  Can I get an Amen from all the introverts?

As this book goes on to point out, “…relinquishing my fantasies of what I wished I found fun allowed me more room to do the things that I did find fun.”

Being so struck by this notion of real vs. illusory desires, I couldn’t help but make my own list.  Without much thought and totally off the cuff, this is what I came up with:

Things I Wish I Wanted to Do:

*Work out more

*Not eat cookies for breakfast

*Play complex family board games (my in-laws are way into games and it’s freeing to admit I could spend the rest of my life mastering Scrabble)

*Chaotic playdates combining two or more of the following: toddlers, junk food, bouncy house, water parks or long car rides

*Camp (as in, outdoors, devoid of proper toilets, with the possibility of bear attacks)

*Go to a grad school (I must face the fact that a few proud extra letters after my name does not a happy homework-haver make)

*Have a third baby (our second is six months old and we’ve hired an overnight nanny and professional sleep coach in recent weeks – this talk is tabled for now.).

*Spend time on my hair (all roads lead to dry shampoo)

*Seek out cool indie music (Top 40 ‘til I die)

*Read classic literature (see grad school reference above)

*Embrace early mornings (maybe this will be The Happiness Project: Age 60)

As I immediately scribbled into my journal upon completion of this hasty (yet pretty darn honest) list:

Wow – there’s such a freedom to just admitting – if only to myself – “I don’t actually want to do any of these things!”

What would you not do, if you knew you could not fail?

Maybe it’s worth cancelling some unwanted plans and sticking around to find out.  Gretchen Rubin would definitely give you a gold star for that.


(*featured image by Anne Taintor*)

Slodge Podge

The last week or so I’ve more or less been running on fumes. Anything I’ve posted online definitely has not included my face, house, laundry pile, or choice of clothing in which I’ve been lounging around the house. Not sleeping well due to a combo of pregnancy aches and pains and a high-maintenance dog, begging my husband to take the morning toddler shift so I can scrap together a few extra zzzz’s, and living in his t-shirts (husband’s, not toddler’s – do I look like Bethenny Frankel?) – have been the common threads of this last week. I’m not looking for sympathy, as I know we all have days/weeks/seasons where we feel like we are “slodging through life.” Like our feet our constantly stuck in the mud and we just can’t find that light and easy pace we had the week before. Just keeping it real, and writing….which has happened like twice this year I think, but that could be overestimating.

Early today my sweet neighbor emailed and asked if Anderson and I would like to come over for a visit this morning or this afternoon. I thought to myself: “There is not a remote possibility I will be showered, out of my husband’s XL graphic tee and even remotely presentable to anyone outside my home until at least the mid-afternoon hours.” I said: “Later this afternoon is probably best for us.” No need to scare the woman.

On his way out the door this morning when Aaron asked me and my son, who was at the time very evenly alternating between bursting into PMS-like tears and exclaiming, “All done crying!” with a tear-streaked, semi-creepy smile on his face, what we were doing today, I said, “Surviving.” He patted me on the head like a lost puppy and told me to enjoy surviving, or good luck, or something like that. I can’t remember and/or didn’t really hear him at the time because I hadn’t had coffee yet.

On days like this, perspective is our friend. I may have almost thrown up from record-disgusting diapers, and I’m starting to stick to my clothing (OK, my husband’s clothing), I need to shower so bad – BUT –would you believe I still polished our stainless steel appliances, taught Anderson to ride a balance bike (he kept exclaiming, “I’m riding a bike! I’m riding a bike!” It was so cute I almost felt human again.), AND served both of us warm food today? I know. Please excuse me while I go find that gold star….the first place I’m looking is the shower.

PS – In addition, have I mentioned we’ve reverted to blow-outs this week? If you don’t know what this is, bless you. If you do, sorry for the TMI. But seriously, it’s like Anderson’s 6 months old again and I’ve actually lost count of how many pairs of shorts, blankets, sheets and sleep sacks I’ve had to shower with shout this week like I’ve been fighting wildfires. I guess he’s just doing his part to grease my wheels for baby #2.

PPS – Here’s a cute pic of Anderson on his bike AFTER I cleaned up approximately 700 toys…. total failure on my part.  This blog post obviously merits a “before” pic.  I would say use your imagination, but I know most of you have been there, and don’t have to.  🙂


Baskets, Baskets Everywhere

Since moving to a larger house this summer and spending the last three months learning the ropes of our new home base with more space to spread out, store things and lose things, I can’t help but call to mind wise words from Uncle Ben in Spiderman:  “Remember, with great power, comes great responsibility.”

I don’t know if I’d call it “power,” but I do feel that making the most of my home is a privilege, and one that comes with the responsibility of creating some semblance of order, and not losing my stuff or my mind.

I love for my things to be organized and look good while doing it.  Too much clutter drives me crazy, but bland and boring storage solutions drive me almost equally as crazy.  So here are a few organizing tips and tricks that help keep me sane and that I actually enjoy looking at, too:


These two items can hold a lot of stuff, and be made to look cohesive and attractive in any room of your house.  I tend to use the same type of basket in any given area, but have all different colors and textures of baskets (and bookshelves) throughout my house.  They can hold books, cards, photos and crafting supplies:

IMG_4392 IMG_4391

A few more of my favorites uses……

Toys, extra bedding, shoes and bedside clutter (be gone!)


And of course, the old standard – the bathroom magazine basket.


Even though I have a home office space at our new house, where I find myself spending the lion’s share of my time doing desk work, filing, bill paying and computer time is at this 2×5 ft. (?) desk, in my kitchen.  It is where bills and mail come in and are filed, where I write my grocery lists and scribble out way too many post-it notes each day.  It’s where I even get FUN mail, and post it on this pretty linen board.  This wall system from Pottery Barn is where I sort my mail (To File/To Respond), pin photos and cards, keep keys, checkbooks, stamps and envelopes.  Knowing my needs and organizing accordingly has been key in crafting a space that is fun and functional.  It’s where I usually write this blog, plan my PEPS meetings, and even chip away at a novel that’s been in the works forever.  I love this space.

IMG_4405 IMG_4407


Did I mention FUN file folders (see above).  I keep a lot more files in our actual home office, but invested in a dozen with fun designs that I actually want to look at and use every day.  MY TIP:  Let mail pile up for a week or two (not that I ever do this, ever), and sort what accumulates into piles like “banking,” “utilities,” “receipts,” etc… make your folders accordingly and keep them in the place where you’re actually most likely to receive and sort mail.


Another place where I really try to make organizing fun is in the kitchen and with grocery shopping and meal planning.  Some things that get me more excited about these everyday tasks include:

FUN SHOPPING LIST/TO DO LIST PAPER (so much more enjoyable than scribbling your grocery list on the back of an envelope!):




I also raided Fred Meyer for big baskets for my kitchen pantry, to keep stuff like aprons, paper plates, and seasonal cookie cutters out of sight.



A couple of years ago, one of my big “nesting” projects while pregnant was doing a complete organizational overhaul of my linen closet.  I learned only two things are really needed for permanent bathroom storage sanity:  a label maker and matching see-through bins.  Gone are the days of digging through mounds of shampoo bottles to find a razor or a band aid.  It’s the simple things like this that make me happy and keep my blood pressure in check.


Oh, and Aaron really appreciates these non-see-through cubbies in our bathroom (another Fred Meyer find) that keep my feminine “unmentionables” out of sight.  Husbands everywhere, you’re welcome.


I hope this blog post has been of some entertainment, inspiration or motivation to other home-keepers out there!  If you really get on board with this whole organizing thing – this blog and woman are so organized and fun it’s scary.

Oh and a shredder.  Everyone needs a paper shredder at home.  It just feels good to clear clutter and simultaneously operate a semi-power-tool.

Until next time,


Higher Highs and Lower Lows

Dyrehavsbakken, Copenhagen

My husband and I got into a big fight two days after finally moving into our long-awaited “dream house.”

But to be honest, I would have been more surprised if we hadn’t.

Robin Williams’ laughter and smile were larger than life. They’re still painted in my memory and ringing in my ears.

But his pain was deeper than the ocean.

And parents, especially new parents, are thrust into the greatest joy, purest bliss and calmest peace of life with a precious new child…

So why do so many of them report suffering from the deepest sadness, most severe loneliness, and isolating ineptitude they’ve ever felt in their lives?*

The common thread in each of these scenarios is something that has taken me a long time to learn about life: with higher highs come lower lows.

With the house example, I’ve learned that even good stress is stress. The overwhelming work of packing your life into boxes and unpacking it piece by piece as you get to know and operate and secure each quirk and cranny of a foreign new place is unsettling, even if it’s also exciting. Add to that exhaustion, chaos and competing opinions about priorities and I’m willing to bet many a husband and wife have “gone at it” – in a way that’s far from the christening fantasy they envisioned.

Then there’s the raw, painful story of one of the world’s most beloved comedians suffering so severely he took his own life. I’m not a psychologist but I know many mental health professionals have said in the aftermath of this shocking death, that it’s often the people who smile the brightest on the surface, that are fighting the darkest demons inside. That smile is their armor; it’s certainly not their whole truth. High highs….low lows.

Finally we have the true roller coaster that is parenting. It can lift you, windswept, to breathtaking heights you never knew existed, and then drop you so fast it leaves you spinning and wanting to throw up.

So why does this happen and what can we do about it?


One more thing I’ve learned about life is there’s a hell of a lot we have very little control over. Like where our husband puts the coffee maker. Or the unbelievable number of times in a day our little one….fill-in-the-blank (Spits up! Wakes up! Cries! Makes me cry!).

What we do have control over, friends, are the expectations we set for ourselves, as parents and as people.

When we expect things to be picture perfect, easy and happy all the time – we’re setting ourselves up for a freefall into disappointment. How can anyone live up to that bar, set as high as a trapeze artist? I’m pretty sure the only thing new parents have in common with a trapeze artist is sometimes feeling like they live at the circus.

Expect yourself to be human. Expect yourself to do some things well. And forgive yourself when things don’t go as planned. Learn to be happy in your home with dishes in the sink, and a baby with spit-up on their onesie. You’ll wash them and change them eventually, but maybe right this second you really just need to pour yourself a cup of coffee or spend 5 minutes zoning out to E! News.

And that’s OK.

Hopefully once we learn to expect that life isn’t roller coaster highs all the time, the lows might even out as well, and we’ll begin to settle into something resembling – what do the trapeze artists call it?

Oh, yeah. Balance.

*PS –  I recognize and respect that sometimes these “lows,” when related to mental health are beyond our control and require the help of a trained professional, and/or treatment such as medication. If you are experiencing something you suspect could be a postpartum mood disorder, please know you are not alone, and you deserve to find the support you need. Here are a couple of resources available to you:

*Postpartum Support International of Washington:** has info on PPMD, list of recommended resources and Support Groups
*Peer Support Phone Line (a “warm-line” not a crisis “hotline” – support from women who have recovered from PPMD – if you leave a message, someone will call back within 24 hours). 1-888-404-PPMD

This essay was originally published on the PEPS (Program for Early Parent Support) blog, Highs and Lows.

*photo credit

Hunting Season

Hunting Season

I’ve been watching a lot of HGTV’s House Hunters recently.  Before I go on, I would like to address the humorously unrealistic premise of this show.  Ever notice how they ALWAYS tour exactly THREE homes, and ALWAYS decide to live in one of them? People – it is never this easy!!  What REALLY happens on House Hunters, I am convinced, is that realtors take the couple through approximately 78 homes over approximately nine months, and then trim it down to the three most interesting ones to make for good TV.  “Now remember to ONLY talk about houses #14, 39 and 51 on camera, folks,” say the sly producers.  “Our viewers can’t know you actually saw more than three homes on the journey to find the perfect one!”

I digress.

What I DO find realistic about House Hunters is the commentary I now find myself repeating verbatim.  Constantly.  Mockingbird style, as Aaron and I tour home after home, if not in person then “virtually,” online (how did people with busy lives house hunt before the internet???).

For example:

 “I love the character, but wish it had more modern finishes.”

 “Love the house, hate the commute” OR “Great commute!  Really tiny/unattractive/old/creepy house”

 “A bidet?  Seriously?”

 And we do not make it easy on our realtor.  Oh no, she is earning that commission with every fiber of her well-connected being.  To illustrate this point, let’s play multiple choice quiz.  Which options have Beth and Aaron seriously considered for their next move:

A)  5 acres on rural Bainbridge Island where we could someday raise goats

B) A postage stamp lot in Madison Park

C) A furnished apartment in the heart of downtown while we wait for the perfect home to hit the market

D) Taking over the oversized (and very nice!) “living room” of our company’s Georgetown office

 Okay, though we haven’t quite gotten so desperate as to truly consider living at Aaron’s work with an 8-month-old (though the blogger in me is drooling over the potential material here…), we have actually (seriously) considered options A-C dependent on the season, time of day, how much sleep, wine, coffee and road rage we’ve had at any given moment.  Option D – it’s only a matter of time. 

 My husband’s family moved around a LOT growing up –  from Washington to Iowa to Southern Oregon back to Washington.  I think he’s pushing 20 homes by now, going on four just since we’ve been together.  His mom has told me that each year when she was packing up the Christmas ornaments, she would find herself wondering where she would be unpacking them the following year.  So as the holiday season officially kicks off today with Halloween, I find myself wondering the same thing.  Where will we be putting up our tree next year?  Heck, where will we be putting it this year?  House hunting is nothing if not wonder-inducing, that’s for sure….

This is our current house:



It’s a good, sweet home.  It’s been a really great place to live and start our family, and we’ve been blessed with the most wonderful neighbors.  But it’s a lease, and the lease is almost up and that means it’s time to buy and time to move on.  Exciting but nerve-wracking.  Bitter but sweet.  Stress-inducing but trust-inducing. 

I’m excited to see where we end up, and thankful for the homes that will always be a part of our story.  I’m a big country music fan, more than anything because the artists are so gifted at telling stories through songs.  There is a song I love recorded by Miranda Lambert called “The House That Built Me.”  It talks about the deep emotional connections we build with the homes we live in.

“You leave home, you move on and you do the best you can.  I got lost in this whole world and forgot who I am….

“If I could walk around I swear I’ll leave.  Won’t take nothing but a memory from the house that built me.”

I love that idea of a longing to return to the home(s) that helped shape us, to hang on to the hope that maybe if we just touch their walls we’ll be reminded a little bit more of the heart of who we are.  I want that for my family – a home we can all grow in and be shaped by, and help shape.  A place we can thrive, build memories, love each other, and be the best that we can be.  I look forward to putting down some roots and being built up in this new home – wherever that may be, however big or small, new or old, near or far.

Now back to the hunt.  🙂 

Sometimes You Just Have to Buy the Cake

Sometimes You Just Have to Buy the Cake

Earlier this month, I paid a visit to my doctor because I was a ball of stress – though I didn’t know it at the time. 

I had been experiencing tightness in my chest and some occasional labored breathing for a few weeks – symptoms I had experienced off and on in the past but always chalked up to some “logical” excuse:

“Oh my bra is just too tight because I’m pregnant.”


“It’s bad posture – I just need to do those ‘chest wall’ stretches my doctor recommended.”


“Breastfeeding is just taking a toll on my body – it must be what’s literally ‘weighing me down.’”


Several sleepless nights, a few mini panic attacks, some crying in a hospital gown, one chest x-ray and one EKG later, all signs pointed to a classic case of STRESS.  It’s like that feeling when you have a lump in your throat and are trying not to cry, but that “lump” was in my chest.  Both my primary physician and my therapist seemed not at all surprised by this diagnosis –a textbook manifestation of mental and emotional stress through physical symptoms. 

Huh.  This was not what I was expecting.  I mean, I’m thrilled I’m not on the brink of a heart attack and all, but a diagnosis of STRESS??  How on Earth do I treat that??  And how did I get it?  After all, I’ve GOT this motherhood thing down, right??  Not perfect by any means, but sooo much better than my worst fears of chronic sleep deprivation, utter isolation or post-partum depression.  I really, truly thought I had been doing pretty darn swell! 

But as many have now gently reminded me – no matter how good or how hard things may seem – a new baby is a new baby.  A HUGE life change, period.  Even good stress is STRESS.  And even good change, is CHANGE.  And many things have taken a backseat to prioritize being a good mom – my personal relationships, exercise, sleeping and eating as much and as well as I should.  It’s all worth it, right??

Well, it is until it’s not.  It’s not worth it to skimp on sleep and exercise and processing my emotions in a productive way, because more than anything, my child needs a HEALTHY MOM.  Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually HEALTHY.  So for him and for me I am following my doctor’s orders:  running until I break a sweat, continuing to talk through life with my therapist, eating better, sleeping better, and most of all – NOT SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!  Or trying not to, anyway….

I’m even trying to not sweat the BIG stuff.  Not as much as I usually do, at least.  Compounding the change and the stress of my current “new mom” life, we just almost bought a house, then didn’t buy a house, then found out we need to find another house to buy.  Soon.  Like probably right-around -Christmas soon.  And there’s no inventory!  And it’s a cruel seller’s market!  And we love our neighborhood and don’t want to leave!  The schools are so great here and we can walk to everything!  And! And! And!


Even if it’s positive and life is exciting, stress creeps into the need to constantly fight for the BEST for my life and my family – the BEST house, the BEST school, the BEST homemade cakes for his future birthday parties. 

Going along with the cake example, this recently struck me as the perfect analogy.  Maybe you can’t always have your cake and make it, too.  Maybe I can’t have an immaculate, organized home all the time AND be rested.  Maybe I can’t spend hours on a from-scratch home-cooked dinner every night AND have the energy left to actually ENJOY a conversation with my husband.  Maybe I can’t stay up until midnight watching TV AND have the energy to run the next morning. 

Maybe I CAN have all these things, but more likely, I just can’t. 

As anyone who follows my writing knows, this little health scare came on the heels of my 30th birthday resolutions, which included goals to “Learn to sew and make my kids’ Halloween costumes,” “Make my kids’ birthday cakes” and “Grow a vegetable garden.”

Life is all about choices.  Priorities.  Making the most of the time we have.  For me, right now, I need to train myself to let go of perfectionism and embrace the GOOD.  I want a GOOD home for my family.  I want my son to go to a GOOD school.  I want my family to have GOOD meals.  GOOD seems doable.  I can do GOOD, and still find time to run, smile, and chill the heck out. 

So listen to your inner sanity.  It’s telling you, in its little lumpy, pesky voice, “If you want to live the sweet life, and really have the presence of mind to ENJOY the moments that matter – sometimes – just sometimes – you have to put away the apron and Just. Buy. The. Cake.” 

By the grace of God, I have managed to remain blissfully clueless about Pinterest to this day.   

And for the record, I totally bought Anderson’s Halloween costume this year. 

Falling for Fall

Falling for Fall

Falling for Fall:  Why this Season has become my Kindred Spirit


I had my tennis shoes all laced up for a walk, baseball hat covering my unwashed hair, and was about to snag baby from the crib when I heard it.  The “tink….tink tink” of rain against the metal parts of our house.  I’ve been hearing it at night lately, too.  A soothing sound that prompts me to pull the covers around me even tighter and drift into a deeper slumber than I’ve had in months. 

Plan B:  put baby down for a nap and sit down to write.  As the rain gets louder outside, I crack my windows so the forceful sound invades my house, and breathe in the pure, tranquil air that is unique to a fresh downpour. 



I’ve been really, really trying to wait until at least September 1st to write about fall.  But I can’t.  I am just too in love with this very specific turning point in the year, and I can FEEL that we’re in it.  Right now.    

It’s that time of year when you realize you are OK letting go of the vacations, beach days, outdoor adventures and warm nights that come with summer.  OK with packing up the shorts and unpacking the sweaters.  OK with fewer dinners from the grill and more from the slow cooker.  More than OK is how I feel.  I LOVE fall. 

Up until about five years ago, I was a summer girl, through and through.  I thought summer would always be my favorite season.  I was happy as a clam to spend endless hours baking in the sun (insert skin cancer warnings here), getting tan as can be (and here), dipping into every lake, ocean and pool within reach (and here).

Growing up, like all American kids, summer symbolized freedom, and fall symbolized the surrender to those three dreaded words:  back to school (also known as back to alarm clocks, back to homework, and back to pasty white skin).  Maybe a big part of my newfound adult adoration of fall, is that none of these changes apply to my post-student self (well, except the skin tone one…but I wear a lot more sunscreen these days to begin with).

While summer tends to embody a carefree spirit, spontaneity, letting loose, and stretching ones boundaries – FALL represents stability, a return to the comforts of routine, a renewed appreciation for home, a cozy hibernation after the long exposure of summer. 

Summer has always been summer and fall has always been fall.  I realize it is I who have changed.  I have become a person more in tune and akin to fall and all that it represents – it has become my kindred spirit.  The older I get, the more I LIKE summer, and LOVE fall.  It has come to be the season that most represents the values I hold dear:  Home.  Family.  Tradition.  Comfort.  Introspection.  Peace.

Plus, it is just so damn hot in my house all the time.

 I am ready to stop sweating over the stove. 

Godspeed, fall, Godspeed. 

The greatest thing in the world is not where we are, but in what direction we are moving.”- Oliver Wendell Holmes



30 for my Thirties

30 for my Thirties

Feeling grateful to be 30!  Had a great birthday with little A and big A, and scribbled together this list of a few of the things I hope to fill my days with over the NEXT decade…my goal is to have ALL of these outings, accomplishments and quirky experiences (like milking a cow) proudly crossed off my list by the big 4-0….wish me luck!


1.  Write a novel

2.  Buy a house

3.  Grow a vegetable garden

4.  See Zac Brown Band live

5.  Get a short, sophisticated haircut

6.  Volunteer to lead a PEPS group

7.  Give Anderson a sibling

8.  Read 100 new books

9.  Camp on a beach

10.  Ski and stay in a quaint little Colorado ski town

11.  Travel internationally – it’s been too long!!

12.  Learn how to cook with shellfish

13.  Make my kids’ birthday cakes

14.  Learn to sew and make my kids’ Halloween costumes

15.  Get caught up on photo albums

16.  Run a half marathon (extra points for a full one ; )

17.  Do some sort of home improvement task on my own, like tiling a bathroom or a kitchen back splash

18.  Become a published writer again

19.  Family vacation to Yellowstone National Park

20.  Become certified to teach childbirth/parenting prep classes through Swedish – and teach!

21.  See more sunrises

22.  Go to a Seahawks game

23.  Take a road trip spanning at least 5 states

24.  Milk a cow

25.  Adopt a puppy

26.  Have a really, really organized home

27.  Create a piece of art I’m really proud of, to hang in our house

28.  Join a book club again

29.  Be more intentional about visiting out-of-town friends

30.  Love others as I want to be loved, and never be too serious to laugh with my kids.

Staying Home

Staying Home

I recently updated my current job title on my Facebook page to “Mom/Project Manager at Home.” While this might sound like an overly official title for what most call stay-at-home-mom, I like it.  Why should what I’m doing now be made to sound any less official, important, validated or uppercase than when I was a Sales Manager at our family business, Writer/Producer at KOMO, or Maître d’ at Ray’s? Quite the contrary I say – this new life-long gig is already the most important work I’ve ever done.

As Anderson rounds the corner toward the three-month mark, a lot of people have been asking me when I’m “going back to work.”  They don’t mean to assume, it’s just what they’re used to in an urban, progressive, feminist-leaning place like Seattle.  A city with a high cost of living and typically two-income households, nonetheless.  After all, this is the time when many women’s maternity leave ends, and for most that means back to work either full- or part-time, and new care arrangements for baby. 

Some women go back to work because they want to.  It is an important part of their identity, precious time spent with humans who measure their age in years instead of days or weeks, a time to invest in the world around them and do something that makes them feel good and accomplished, an example of work ethic and importance placed on career that they want their children to witness and aspire to.  I get that.

Some women go back to work because they have to.  They may be the so-called “breadwinners” of the family, or their income is simply necessary to the family’s finances.  There are medical benefits provided through their work that they can’t be without.  They are working toward retirement or other benefits they don’t want to lose.  I get that. 

Some women don’t go back to work at all and instead make the home their full-time workplace.  In many parts of the world this option is incredibly common; in Seattle, not so much.  I get that, too. I don’t think any particular one of these options is the best or only way to do things and I respect women who choose any of these situations that happen to be best for their children and family. 

Personally, I feel fortunate, and so thankful, to have the opportunity to spend my days at home with my son.  I know a lot of women long to stay home and simply can’t.  It is not something that I take for granted.  For pretty much the entirety of our four-year marriage, Aaron and I have been planning for and working toward this season of our life.  I always knew that I deeply desired to at least have the option of staying home full-time once we started our family.  So for the last four years I worked alongside Aaron, traveling the country for work, putting in your typical 40+ hour weeks at the office, hiring staff, growing our business and saving for our future.  I wouldn’t trade those years for anything, or start our family any sooner than we did.  For us the timing was just right, and those first few years of childless marriage were important in laying our foundation as husband and wife, and future Mom and Dad. 

Now my days are filled with a very different kind of work.  Instead of business cards, I collect animal flash cards.  Instead of being the first person someone sees when they enter our booth at a trade show in San Francisco, I’m the first person my son sees when he wakes up from his nap down the hall.  Instead of reading work emails, reports and contracts, I read illustrated board books and baby blogs.  Instead of commuting by car to the office, we commute by stroller to the park.  I may sleep until 9, but I was often up feeding at 5.  I do more laundry in a week than I used to do in a month, and try my best to have dinner cooking when Aaron gets home.  He supports me and truly loves having me home in this role, and that means the world to me.  It’s all a new normal.   It’s my new life.  It may not be for everyone, and it’s not a life everyone wants.  But I am thankful for it. 

My mom recently told me she was surprised by my choice to stay home – that it’s not a lifestyle she would have pictured me choosing.  I can understand that coming from my mother.  After all I have always been her “on the go” girl, never in the same place for too long, always looking for the next club to join, trip to plan, job to land.  She likes to tell people that my first word was “go” and I haven’t stopped since.  How could I possibly be content with a job that leaves me in my pajamas and my car in the driveway sometimes for days at a time?  Where’s the busy-ness, where’s the adrenaline rush? 

I don’t know how else to explain this other than, I guess I’ve grown up.  I’ll be 30 this summer and I’m not the same person I was at 20 or 25.  Different things are important to me.  I’ve done the college thing.  I’ve done the high-pressure career that made me stressed out, sleep-deprived and unhappy but sounded really cool when making small talk with strangers.  I’ve waited tables and made twice as much money as I made at the high-profile “career.”  I’ve traveled to 25 states, most of them alongside my husband, as I’ve had the pleasure of building up the company he started that I am so, so proud to support him in. 


Though I’m only 30, I feel like I’ve had my fill of all those things for now, and I recognize that they’ve each helped shape who I am today.  But I don’t need any of them to define me.  I really believe that when I look back at the end of my life, “wife,” and “mother” will be the titles that mattered by far the most to me.  I want who I am in my home, in my family’s life, to be my legacy.

I will do things outside of the four walls of my house, rest assured.  I look forward to volunteering in my community.  I’m not sure what all this will look like, but I want to give back to others because I feel I have been given so much.  Maybe I will go back to work, or start a new career path someday.  And if our company needs me, I will be there, even though I know Aaron would rather have me home with our kids.  We will always do what we have to do to give them the safe, secure, loving home they deserve.  Right now, for me, I am doing that by spending my days here, though I know there are millions of incredible mothers whose days look nothing like mine.  What do they say?  It takes a village.  And it takes all kinds.  There is no one right way to mother.  I’m simply grateful for the opportunity to mother in the way that feels right to me.