Tag Archives: Embracing And

Well, well, well.

How did three and a half years happen since I last posted?! I kept on telling myself I need to write, and yet, sitting down to make that actually occur hasn’t happened. When the days are so full you feel like it’s hard to breathe, and everybody needs so much, AND you need to take care of yourself somehow… writing gets pushed to the very, very bottom of the very, very long list of things to do.

I was working for Stitch Fix for two years (2018-2020), which sucked up a lot of my free time, and then the pandemic started, and I was at the end of my rope. Trying to work from home with two very active kids is no joke. And then we decided to add another one to the mix! We welcomed sweet Camille in August 2021, and life has been even crazier {in the best of ways}. I took this year off of teaching so I can soak up the time with the baby, and it has been glorious. Also, teaching on Zoom for a year was not the business. I couldn’t stand the thought of being in a classroom surrounded by students and bringing all that yuck home to a tiny bebe.

Sweet Millie, six months old and starting to investigate everything

Needless to say, in the last FOUR YEARS, a lot has happened around here. I’m not going to work in order of projects because frankly, I can’t remember exactly when things occured. (If you follow along on my Instagram, I do post quite frequently over there!) But I will give a bird’s eye view of what we’ve done on our corner of the world.


Just breathe

I reached out to a friend this past week. I had a feeling this person was just not feeling right, and my hunch turned out to be accurate. They shared that they are tired… they are tired of seeing so much bad news and so much sadness.

I can’t help but agree. It’s heart wrenching.  It kills me seeing images of babies separated from their families. It hurts watching environmental atrocities occur on a regular basis. It’s painful listening to my friends of color share experiences that are appalling and dehumanizing. It’s depressing reading Facebook interactions where name calling and character bashing are seen as normal.

I’m going to share with you the same thing I told my friend. It’s okay to check out for a few days and just breathe. Seriously. The world will keep on turning if you aren’t up to the minute on current events. We live in such a quick news cycle that it sometimes feels never ending- and I don’t say that negatively, it’s just our reality. You have to take care of your self- and if you’re feeling depleted by bad news, unplug.

It’s okay to stop reading the news at night- if I do, I find that my mind races and my heart pumps and I want to get up and do something. If this is you, as well- read the news in the morning. Let it fire you up and give you even more incentive to get the day started.

Follow people on social media who are fighting for what they believe in. They’ll inspire you and give you hope. YOU get to choose who you follow on social media- choose wisely. What you feed your mind is what your mind becomes.

As far as feeling like you can’t do enough, ponder this: if you consider yourself a candle, remember your light won’t be dimmed by lighting other candles. So keep on doing whatever thing you’re doing, big or small. Donate to causes you believe in. Talk to and engage with people and have intelligent conversation, and don’t stoop to name calling. Go to protests if that’s your style. Call your elected representatives. Be neighborly and kind to strangers, even the ones you don’t agree with. In every little thing you do, you’re spreading your light in some small way, and a bunch of candles together can brighten up the darkest room.

So let that light of yours shine, and breathe. Just breathe.



Labor of love

The most difficult thing I’ve ever done is be a mother. I’ve been through some pretty big trials throughout my life- but those trials have had an end. Not motherhood. Every single day, I’m responsible for someone else… well, two someone else’s. I can’t just drop everything and go on a spontaneous trip, or go out for drinks on a Saturday night, or schedule a hair cut whenever I want. I have to think about how two little people are going to be taken care of, and how they might feel. I’m not saying I don’t love being a mother; quite the contrary. But I will say I have made some major life adjustments, especially in the area of my career, that wouldn’t have occurred if I didn’t have David and Caroline. 



I have to hold him in order to get a picture with him nowadays. Three year olds, I tell yah.

Motherhood is hard. It’s hard always putting someone else first. It’s hard seeing your body change. It’s hard being so damn tired all the time. It’s hard having to think so much. It’s hard being consistent with discipline. It’s hard not sleeping in. Damn, do I miss sleeping in



She wanted the pom poms on my tank. Never any personal space around here.

But you know what makes motherhood even harder than all of the things I mentioned above?

Our culture’s expectations of how mothers “should be.”



“This hat is obnoxious.”



We are fed a narrative that tells us we should look a certain way, act a certain way, and sacrifice everything for our children.

That’s ridiculous. 

Motherhood doesn’t mean you have to loose yourself in your children. It doesn’t mean parenting the same way or acting a certain way. 




He sees the world as pure magic. So refreshing.



Because we believe we have to be a certain way, we compare ourselves. Comparison is the thief of joy, people! Women have told me they think I have it all together… puh-lease. My car is filled with goldfish crackers in the nooks and crannies, too, and more days than not I have my children’s bodily fluids on some part of my body. I don’t wash my hair enough, and I still have boxes I have yet to unpack- 7 weeks after moving later. My life is a mess, too, folks. All of us have messes.


Embrace the messy, give yourself grace. Don’t buy the story you’ve been fed that mothers have to be perfect. They don’t. Moms only need to love their children fiercely and love on them. That’s the definition of a perfect mother. 


Fine, call me a hippie…

Only one person I know has ever called me a hippie, but frankly, I don’t see it as a bad thing. He called me that because I liked to recycle in my classroom <insert eye roll here- in the mot loving way possible. I love my co-worker! :)>.


I’m the same way around my home. I figure that if we all do a bunch of little things, we will all collectively be more gentle with this place we live. I don’t understand the mentality of wastefulness anyway- even if you don’t care about the environmental aspect, at least be frugal.



I’m going to share a few easy ways I lighten my impact on this planet- maybe you’ve heard of these, maybe not, and this list isn’t exhaustive, but if you could incorporate them into your own home, you’ll find they’re pretty painless to do.

  1. Unplug your phone chargers when they’re not in use. They’re still using power
  2. Only run full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher
  3. Speaking of laundry- seriously, clean out your dryer vent regularly. I get it, it sucks. But we pulled out nearly FOUR POUNDS of lint out of our dryer vent- imagine how much energy that dryer was wasting while the previous owners used it!
  4. Avoid using paper towels. I have a massive stack of cloth towels that I’ve accumulated over the years. I also have a bin to store them in after they’re used, so they’re all in the same place ready to be washed.
  5. On the same note- cloth napkins! We use ours for a day or two, then throw them in the wash.
  6. Vinegar and baking soda are fantastic cleaners- seriously. Use diluted white vinegar to clean floors and deodorize and soften laundry. Baking soda is a great yet gentle abrasive cleanser for bath tubs and sinks. I promise the smell dissipates quickly- including any bad odors that might have been lingering. … Just don’t use them together at the same time.
  7. Bring your own bags to the grocery. This is a law in California- and it really made a difference. Before the law was passed, plastic bags were the third most commonly collected item in beach clean ups. Afterwards? It wasn’t even in the top ten.
  8. LED or CFL lightbulbs. Easy, efficient, and they last forever. I hate replacing light bulbs. PS- you can’t throw your CFL’s away in the trash, dispose of them at a place like Home Depot. They have a collection bin right inside the front entrance, usually.


So, no, I’m not like, living in a yurt off the grid. But all these little baby steps add up to a whole lot of something. I’m embracing and- living a modern life AND being thoughtful with how I use our resources.

What little things do you do to make your impact a little softer on the planet?



“Can you ever just be whelmed?”

“I think you can in Europe.”
If you haven’t watched 10 Things I Hate About You, this quote won’t be very funny. However, if you have, it’s one of the dozens of one liners that stick with you long after the movie is over.
It kind of sums up the last few weeks of my life. I’m not overwhelmed- the house is mostly unpacked (!!!) and both of my kids are starting to settle into a rhythm. We go to the aquarium once a week, and library story time every week. We go to the park on occasion, play outside, and go to Target, too. (David loves going to Target!)
I’m not underwhelmed, either- I love living here. I love the weather- there’s a 30 degree temperature range, and it hasn’t gotten over 85F. I’m close to the beach and there’s otters in the estuary… and I love otters. Like, l.o.v.e.
I’m just whelmed. We can’t afford for me to stay home forever, and the future I had planned- being a teacher- just isn’t panning out the way I had wanted. I had anticipated more job openings in my credential area, based on my research and inquiries, and those aren’t happening. That leaves me looking for jobs in industry, but being a teacher hasn’t given me those specialized, technical skills employers are looking for. Lacking a second language is definitely stymying my confidence in applying for many jobs, as well. Our list of home improvements is long, and Jensen has been working so much, it feels like we’ll never make progress- I’ve been trying to hang art on the walls for the last two and a half weeks, and something always pops up that makes it not happen!
Remember my post a few weeks back about what is happening behind the scenes of those pretty Instagram pictures? This is behind the scenes- this is my real life. It’s not easy to share our fears, but there’s value in being transparent… we’re all struggling with something.
Part of my process of getting out of this funk is that I need to acknowledge these feelings, and then work on a solution. So, today, I created a LinkedIn profile. Tomorrow, I’m going to get out a hammer and start hanging some damn pictures. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the only way to eat an entire elephant is to take one bite at a time.
Hugs, friends. Create that to-do list, outline how you’re going to get to your goals, and it’ll happen, if you keep on trying.

Joyeux anniversaire

On Saturday, Jensen and I will celebrate six years of marriage. It’s hard to believe that the man I met at college bar nearly twelve years ago, when all we did was drink drink drink….


Is now the same man I have two beautiful children with.


Twelve years is a long time when you’re 33- that’s nearly a third of my life. We dated long distance for six years before we got married and finally lived in the same town. We’ve lost beloved family members, moved multiple times, changed jobs, lived in a place we didn’t like at all, had babies, endured a very stressful pregnancy during which we thought Caroline had some potentially serious health problems, he supported me as I struggled with postpartum anxiety, Jensen completed a strenuous fellowship program our first year of marriage and I finished graduate school during David’s first year. It’s never been easy, not once.


And I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’ve heard people say that opposites attract, and in some ways, I guess that is true about us. I’m much more of an emoter and Jensen takes longer to share how he feels, for instance. But I believe our core values are very similar, and that’s why we’ve been able to make it through so many challenges. We’re honest with each other, sometimes painfully so. We laugh together, at the same kind of things. We love to explore the world and see new things (we have a shared travel list on our family organizer app!). We value personal growth. He tolerates my desire to watch Anchorman over and over and also my resistance to watching anything but comedies.

Marriage isn’t easy, but it’s good. Some days are harder than others. Some days are really, really fun. Some days you have to clean up puke from your toddler that you caught in your hands… <those aren’t the best kind of days>… and some days you walk 10 miles in London with your partner and find the world’s best paella from a street vendor on Portobello Road or get tickets to seats only twelve rows up from home plate at Yankee Stadium or are lounging on a beach in Cabo San Lucas eating plate after plate of nachos. (I love nachos.) There are going to be highs, and there are going to be lows… are you going to hold each other through each of those?

If I had to share one rule I’ve practiced the past six years, it’s this- treat your partner, and yourself, with respect. We always, always try to be respectful of one another. If you are respectful, you are kind, thoughtful of one another’s wishes and to one another, and admit your mistakes- these things will make your marriage a happy one. I believe it has for us.



I’m about to eat some nachos. Just kidding. Maybe. 


I’m so glad I yelled at Jensen across the Z Club during graduation weekend in 2006. There’s no one in the world I would rather do life with than him.






Instagram Squares & Pinterest Saves



My personal scapegoat. 

Social media can be a beautiful, positive tool. It’s hard to imagine doing anything creative without a little Pinterest scrolling to get our minds flowing, or tapping through Instagram to find some fabulous home before and after’s. A well phrased Google search can find a solution to just about any question you might have. I can spend hours and hours looking for inspiration. My social media home design inspiration board, on both Pinterest and Instagram Collections, is big.


It can, however, hinder us. I see square after square of beautifully designed spaces, and homes that always look clean, and it makes me feel like I’ll just never get there. I’ll never have the money, I’ll never have the talent, I’ll never have the time, I’ll never… you get the drift.

I was starting to feel really discontented last week. And when I say discontented, I was REALLY upset. I started to hate our new house. I started to get really angry at all the little “surprises” that keep on popping up (especially the retaining wall on the side of our house, which, all of a sudden, decided to fail within the first week of us moving in. Repairing this retaining wall is going to prevent a bathroom remodel for at least another year!!!! And we need to remodel THREE bathrooms!!!!!!!!)

I was getting more and more upset, and then I made myself pause. I reminded myself of two truths I know and so easily forget:

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Don’t judge your beginning to someone else’s middle. 

Here’s the thing… I can choose to be angry or I can choose to be content. It really is a choice. Jensen and I worked really hard to get this house- we jumped through a lot of hoops and sacrificed a lot to get to a place we love. It’s not going to be perfect. It’s never going to be perfect! No one has the perfect house, and I do mean, no one. Every home has it’s quirks.

Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere had a thought provoking Instagram post a few weeks back of a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Her caption was talking about how everything in her home is a huge mess because she’s been busy living her life and working so hard and being a mom, but this one corner of the house, with this vase of fresh flowers- it was “killing it.” It was a poignant reminder that we use social media to show the best of us, and, while that’s ok- who doesn’t want to see more beauty?!- we need to ground ourselves and realize that it IS just the highlight reel.

It’s okay to feel the mean reds once in a while. It’s okay to wonder if you’ll ever get to where you want to go, in whatever way that means to you. But please, for your sanity, don’t stay in that space. Use that to fuel your fire, to push yourself to where you want to be. You are capable of so much more than you realize. You’ve made it through every trial you’ve been through before- don’t let social media be the thing that stops you from growing and building and living your best life. That’s right- YOUR best life. It’s your life, and your definition of best is yours alone. You can’t compare pizza to ice cream- they’re both so good, and doing so would be ignoring the great things that each of these foods have. Your life is the same way- don’t deny the beauty and meaning of what you’re creating by comparing it to someone else who is living their journey.

Last Friday, I took a big deep breath, and I made a weekend to do list. It was tangible things I knew Jensen and I could accomplish on Saturday that would help me feel better. We worked really, really hard, and let me tell you- working on that back patio and getting my closet shelving fixed helped change my outlook. I felt like I made progress on what is, unquestionable, a big project. And I felt a whole lot happier.

We’re all just doing our best, friends. Just keep on trying, and keep on making your life beautiful. Enjoy the journey.




Lessons I’ve learned about moving a family

I consider myself a pretty experienced mover. My husband and I counted how many times we’ve both moved since we began college, and the number between us was 21. That’s a lot of moves! However, we have not moved with small children, and let me tell you- that, my friends, that is a whole different ball game. Also, we haven’t moved a distance this far in quite some time, so that threw a whole level of complication that was unexpected.

Before I get started addressing the mistakes I made, let me shout out my in-laws and parents, without whom this  move would not have happened. Between the four of them, they packed boxes, entertained babies, and fixed things around the house. This move would have been even more chaotic if they hadn’t been there to help! We’re fortunate to have such hands on, loving parents. Thank goodness they were around, I would have lost it without them.

I think the biggest mistake I made was not starting packing soon enough. I started about a week ahead of time, and I should have started AT LEAST two weeks in advance. We were packing until 1 in the morning the night before they came and there was STILL stuff that wasn’t in boxes! I underestimated how much stuff we had (and I’ve been purging our belongings for months) and how difficult it is to pack with two little kids who want to see what you’re doing and look for trouble when you’re not paying attention.


Bless the men in this moving truck. Bless. Them. 

I’ve never had professional movers before, so this wasn’t something I’ve thought about- but labeling which room boxes go in to would have helped the movers with unloading and eliminated some of the quick decision making that bogged and tired out my mind on unloading day. I made some mistakes directing which boxes go where, and that has slowed down my unpacking efforts considerably.


The mystery box pile… Don’t do this to yourself, people 

I also should have brought more cleaning supplies with us when we got there the night before the movers did. Our sellers did pay someone to come clean before they left, but I’m guessing, based on the way that we found the house, those cleaners did not, in fact show up. Moving into a dirty house is just gross, so… lesson painfully learned. A vacuum, mop, and all purpose cleanser would have been miracle workers.

Things to remember to pack for your kids- all of their toiletries and a variety of toys. Trust me on this. I did get all of their bedtime stuff with us, but I forgot toothbrushes (oops), so this  meant an extra run to the store when I was already strapped for time. Don’t forget your own toiletries and bedding, in addition to what your kids need. It’s like you’re packing for the most overwhelming, stressful overnight vacation ever.


My lady bug loves all the boxes because they are easy to pull up on for standing practice. Haha. 

I wish we would have had window coverings, at least for the kids room, installed and ready to go ahead of time. This was a complete slip of the mind on my part, because I had forgotten we had asked the painter to remove all the old vertical blinds. David especially is light sensitive when he sleeps, and I would have loved having him sleep in until 7.30 on move in day, not 6.30.

If you have dogs, bring their beds. Our dogs love their beds, and we forgot to pack those for them. I didn’t forget their food, bowls or medications, however, much to their pleasure.

I/we didn’t do everything wrong, however. Some big pluses for this move include hiring a moving company (worth every penny) and having the house painted before we arrived. Fresh paint makes everything feel bright and clean, I think, and the painter himself commented on how much he liked my paint choices. (Why, thank you! I happen to like them too 🙂 Finally, having a trailer strictly for trash has alleviated a lot of anxiety about what to do with all of the house rubbish, like the old vertical blinds,  and has helped keep our trash area looking not so… trashy.

What words of wisdom do you have to share with families who are planning a big move? Share below in the comments!






The Devaurs’ Do Disneyland

I’m not a Disneyland fanatic, but it is definitely my favorite theme park. It’s the only one I’ve visited multiple times, and the only one that makes me smile when I think of it. It’s also a little bittersweet to me- my father always swore he would take my brother and I to the park, but never did… but because he wanted to do it, no one else could. Therefore, I didn’t get to experience the magic of Disneyland until I was 11.

Needless to say, it was and is very, very important to me that my own children get to go to Disneyland when they are small enough to really fall in love with the characters and to fall under the Disneyland spell.

However, and this is a big however, I was scared to go to the park with my small children. My children are on a pretty strict schedule and theme parks aren’t really conducive to nap times. Nevertheless, as David’s third birthday approached and the realization that we’ll have to pay over $100 for him to get into the park after he hits the that third birthday, it hit me, now or never. My frugality won out.

So… we did it. IMG_20180311_222810_129


I don’t think I was fully prepared for what to bring or expect, but I did learn a few lessons and have a few tips that I think might help other families planning their own trip.

Firstly, we only did one day, and yes, that’s a luxury of living only a few hours away from the park. Some people might say that’s not long enough, but for my almost 3 year old and 10 month old, one day was plenty. It’s been three days since we got home, and they’re still recovering! We arrived on Saturday evening, went to the park all day on Sunday, and left Anaheim Monday morning.  Obviously a weekday would have been less crowded, but the park was pretty empty when it opened, and it was drizzly, which kept some people away. (We didn’t mind the rain at all.)



I’m really glad we brought our stroller, but regret not having a double stroller. David wanted to ride in the stroller all day, and between Caroline’s napping and need to be out of the Ergobaby carrier (which was another good call), he didn’t get enough rest time from walking. He ended up on Jensen’s shoulders a lot, which David didn’t mind, but Jensen’s shoulders did. The stroller carried our snack bag, which was a good call- I could keep the kids fueled up and didn’t need to buy a lot of extra food besides meals.

If you have the money in your trip budget, I cannot recommend Breakfast in the Plaza with Minnie and Friends enough. The meal was delicious and both kids really loved meeting Chip and Dale, Minnie, and Tigger. It was also a nice way to start the day- low key and a filling meal.


Even Caroline loved Breakfast with Minnie and Friends. 

Disneyland offers a baby center for moms and babies, and I loved this resource. I wish there were more around the park, honestly. It was a quiet place to nurse Caroline, and she’s pretty easily distracted now, so I appreciated that she wasn’t constantly flopping over to see all the goings-on. It also offered a really nice changing table, and even potties for little kids. I imagine it would be great for babies in the summer, as well, because it would be air conditioned.


Napping hard in the stroller. 

David liked most of the rides, especially the train and Pirates of the Caribbean. Caroline loved the carousel and It’s A Small World. Word to the wise- don’t take your toddler on the Haunted Mansion. It was a pretty rough start for David, and we got a lot of dirty looks when he was yelling “I gotta get out of here!!!” (Again, it ended well, but getting started was always the hardest part of each ride for him.) He also loved the tea cups, and now says he loved the Tiki Room. (I think the Dole Whips helped, just saying.)


He loved the train best of all. 


On It’s a Small World. Do you detect a theme?


In the Tiki Room. David now won’t stop singing the Tiki Room song, but at the time, he was not feeling it. Caroline loved it, naturally


I love this girl. Such a trooper through such a long day. PS- the rose gold Minnie ears are SO basic and I SO love them anyway. 

I think my most important lesson here was to just go with the flow. My kids’ schedules are still off, but I really forced myself to be in the moment and not worry about the clock. They’ll get back to normal, eventually, and watching my children laugh and smile nearly all day <<only a few meltdowns on David’s part, yesssss>> is something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Sometimes, you just have to go all day to get the most out of a short period of time. They’re not little forever, so I had to force myself to embrace it. I’m so glad I did.  I couldn’t help but tear up a few times throughout the day, it means that much to me to be able to give my children the experiences I never had myself.


End of the night- ears on, saggy pants, tired boy