(Long!) Weekend-ing 40

Thanksgiving happened!! And we roadtripped with the kids up to Vancouver BC to spend the long weekend with my best friend, Maris and her family. The end result was kid-palooza! And both Kamel and I talking about how much we LOVE to travel with our kids and wished we did it more often. More family vacations please. More more more.


(That is real joy on my face after spending a really long time waiting for my to-go order before hitting the road northbound!)


Our Vancouver airbnb was amazing. It was the perfect size and had a great kitchen, heated bathroom floors, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed running in circles all over it.


When we got there, Gabe really wanted to document the place. So this next series of photos is all him. “Cheese with the movie!” (TV) “Cheese on the couch!” “Cheese jumping!” and so on.





And then everyone jumped and promptly fell off the slipper odoman, so…


The night before Thanksgiving was piling into Maris’s apartment with burgers and fries and all the babies.



Gabe doesn’t sleep well alone in new places. So on vacation he usually piles into bed with Kamel and I if we have a king bed. This time around he got his own room, while Fae was in the packNplay in the master with us. Gabe was very excited that there were TWO pillows in his bed so that there would be room for one of us too!


So I slept with Gabe the first night and Kamel slept with him the other two. Everyone sleeps, everyone is happy. Baby snuggles!!


And then it was back to Maris’s where we headed out for a donut breakfast to kick off the holiday right.








Exploring new playgrounds is one of my favorite things to do on vacation with the kids. It gets you out in the neighborhood, enjoying the day, and it makes everyone happy. We have playgrounded in Boston, Miami, and now Vancouver. Where will we playground next?






Thanksgiving evening was total utter chaos. Because Thanksgiving with kids and babies and the cooking and the heat of the cooking and the children and the children and oh yeah the children… but it was chaos completely surrounded by love and family and the amazing spread Maris whipped up.








Gabriel would not, could not stop talking about pumpkin pie. When will he get pie? Where is the pie? Is this the pie? Is it in the oven? Can he have it now? Why can’t he have it now? How about now? Is it pie time?

The whole time I had doubts as to whether or not he would actually EAT THE PIE because Gabriel… oh have you heard? DOESN’T EAT.



He totally ate pumpkin pie. We all held our breaths and looked away and he proclaimed, “I’M TRYING NEW THINGS!….I get at treat because I am trying new things.”


(Modern motherhood with my best friend, you guys.)


The next day we had a relaxing start with bath time and Curious George before heading out to explore the neighborhood.






(Classic auntie Maris, using her butt as an anchor.)



In the afternoon we went to Kitsilano Beach Park and playgrounded hard.









On our final day we made one last pitstop at Chez Maris for Uncle Alex’s Famous Crepes.



And then… Maris and I literally ran to catch our booked sea-plane tour. Only to show up 5 minutes BEFORE the scheduled time and be told we couldn’t get on the plane because we needed to be there 10 minutes before.


This is us after we watched our seaplane depart without us into the mist. Which probably caused a crappy tour anyway, so there.



So we went on this super cheesy FANTASTIC video ride experience instead and it was amazing.

Meanwhile the kids were dry and warm, eating snacks.



And then we drove home. And the next day we went to the zoo, which there are also photos of. But this post is getting to be literally a mile long so I will stop here.

I hope your weekend was fantastic and it somehow restored lost hope in humanity. Because yes.

Gabe’s 4th Halloween, Fae’s 2nd

This fall has been loony tunes but we are slowly making it happen. Things are starting to fall into place and that is a huge relief.

Last week was HALLOWEEN! And it was the first time that Gabriel actually asked to wear a costume that he picked out himself and wasn’t terrified at the idea of putting it on.



Gabe came home one day saying he wanted to be Spiderman for Halloween. We have never seen any of the Spiderman movies or cartoons or anything in my house. But he knew exactly what he wanted and recognized the logo and the outfit in stores. So… sure! Last year when we brought him into the costume aisle he was shrieking in terror. Everything is a phase everything is a phase everything is a phase.


Fae was a bumblebee.


Buzz buzz buzz.




Bumble Bee Down!



It was raining and dark and cold when we went trick or treating, but it was everything my childhood was. Parents in rain coats with flashlights, hustling kids to the front door.






Fae did so good, trotting along to each house, holding (mostly) her little bucket, picking out candy. Gabe was really into pushing doorbells and only needed to be held for the first two houses because “NO IT’S SCARY.”


We ended the evening a few blocks over at Laura and Byron’s where my children terrorized their cats and dog for 20 minutes and we all dried off.

Definitely a Halloween success! Things are getting so fun around here.

Last Night

Fae started a habit of waking up at 1am. At first we indulged it because new house and new stuff and waking up not knowing where you are is the worst. At first you always indulge it. But then you start wondering what the hell is actually going on, why is my 14 month old waking up at all, please go back to sleep for the love of god.

So now we just ignore her. She puts herself back down in a few minutes, but it’s been more than a week of ignoring her and still she wakes up and cries. I hear her, I check the time. Anything before 430 and I’m not moving. I mentally pat myself on the head that everything is fine and she’ll be fine and then I go back to sleep.

Now when the babies cry out in the night I have a hard time figuring out if its Gabriel or Fae. Is it words? Or babbly? Is it a baby whine or is it the long drawn out “maaaaamaaaaaaaaaaaaa” that I’m hearing? Is it Gabe? It’s Gabe. We always go in with Gabe. I poke Kamel to wake up.

“It’s Gabe.”

“Is it?”

“I think so.”

We both pause.

“…maybe he went back to sleep?”

We wait. Nope. There it is. Kamel rumbles out of bed. I lay still and listen. Mumbles, whines, footsteps.

“He says he asked for you.”


I rumble out of bed after Kamel. We both stand in Gabe’s room. He is half a sleep and doesn’t know what he actually needs or wants. We stand there, doing nothing, just being next to him, listening to his breath. When I hear that he is asleep I count to 90, then I whisper to Kamel that I’m going to go first and he should stay in case the creaky floor outside Gabe’s door wakes him up. I say it in less words between lips that are barely moving.

I mentally pat myself on the back for remembering where to step to avoid making much noise. Like I live here or something.

I crawl back under the covers, but the sheets are already cold. We haven’t turned the heat on yet but the nights have been dipping down into the 40s.

I lay still and listen.

I hear Kamel try and leave but he steps in the wrong spots and the floors creak and Gabe is startled awake. I hear whining and then footsteps.

“Hi mama,” Gabe says.

I pull the covers back so he can snuggle in between us.

“Snuggle me,” he says.

I wrap my arm around his tiny body. So small in our adult world of giant torsos. Gabe is at least 60% legs and one of my arms can wrap all the way around him at least a time and a half. Maybe more.

Gabe is good at sharing the bed as long as he doesn’t go horizontal. He falls asleep fast and I still have plenty of room on my side. But my sleep from that point on is full of bad dreams. Full of planning for future stuff I’m not looking forward to. Full of tossing and turning and hoping I don’t wake him up.

At 4:30 Fae wakes up for reals. Kamel goes and gets her and I run downstairs to make her a bottle and grab the blanket off the couch so Kamel can feed her upstairs, out of our bed, and still be warm. After her bottle she goes back into her crib, but hates it. She eventually puts herself down and I have to wake her up at almost 7am. Gabe is up at 6, but he is so happy. He is so sweet. He flips on the light to our bedroom and I hide under the covers.

“Oh, sorry, mama! I’m hungry, let’s go.”

I’m never rested, but it’s so good anyway.


1.) My day started off at 5am, cuddling Fae.

2.) Everyone was showered and dressed by 6:30, when we had to wake up Gabriel.

3.) Why do toddlers become a screaming pile of irrational bullshit right before you need to leave the house?

4.) Why do they look at you 5 minutes later after you’ve wrestled everyone into the car and are sweating like, “why are you pulling out your hair, mama? Want a yogurt snack?”

5.) We bought a treadmill and it arrived today. In a box.

6.) The delivery man did not knock or ring my doorbell. He left it out front and snuck away.

7.) I cannot lift the box to bring it inside. Kamel has a hernia, he cannot lift the box either. Thankfully, this means that thieves probably can’t lift the box. Otherwise, why would they need a treadmill? This feels like some kind of ironic torture.

8.) Yesterday at bedtime Gabe said his ear hurt, which is pretty random since we were just looking at the moon.

9.) Maybe the reason my child is a mess is because he has a secret ear infection. He also has a cold. This could be a real possibility, making me mother of the year for the 3rd year in a row.

10.) On top of the fact that I am drowning in work, I now need to take my kid to the doctor (and my other kid bc she can’t drive) during rush hour. It’s going to be great!

Episode 26: The Shower Debate

Sometimes I begin a podcast thinking we’ll have something poignant to say and then it devolves into arguments over having time to make eggs for breakfast and taking long showers. This is one of those times

As a follow up – this morning Kamel got up at 530 and got showered and dressed before the kids got up. I also got up at 530 and prepped a bottle for Fae in case she woke up before 6 and I wouldn’t have to scramble. The kids chilled in their room until a little after 6:00. It was a great morning where everyone got to eat breakfast. Success!

Fae’s First Birthday

Again, the plight of the sad second child is to have all posts about them up not even in their birthday month. Sorry Fae! The perk of the second child is that we are veterans at birthday parties by now and I think we did this one right.



Way back in January I entered a lottery to rent a beach hot from the Seattle Parks Department. Talk about foresight! Growing up my family had most of the birthdays in the spring or in the fall. That continued with Kamel being September and Gabe being March. But now finally we get to celebrate a full-fledged summer baby.





We did hot dogs on the grill, potato salad, macaroni salad, all the chips, and a cake that I had made from Safeway where I specified “covered in flowers.”


It was really good.






All the babies came to play. Babies upon babies, passed around, chased away from the grill, rolled in grass, cuddled, and tossed, and sunscreened.














Fae was super impressed with all of her gifts and made her signature “ohh!!” face the entire present-opening time.




To everyone who couldn’t make it, we missed you! And to everyone who came – thank you so much for making Fae’s first birthday so incredibly fun, laid back, and super summery.

*Kamel is the man behind the camera, but we need to do a better job of making sure he is actually IN the photos. 

**My dad was also ever-present, running about as he does, handling all the things and chatting with all of the people. I was so disappointed he wasn't pictured, but he is a hard one to pin down!

Fae Lira is Baptized

In June we had Fae baptized and it was such a fantastic day. Being home and part of this community is something I didn’t always know was going to be possible. We were also lucky enough to have Kamel’s parents fly in for the weekend, so it was an all-family affair.


Claire Jesse and Fer Ruiz de Corona are Fae’s godmother’s, but Fer couldn’t join as she was in Mexico. Claire did a great job representing them both.



I’m a huge fan of getting a photographer for big life moments so that no one has to be in charge taking photos and everyone can be included. Aimee Tayag, an old high school yearbook friend of mine who is now a photographer (and who also has just recently had her very own baby girl) was gracious enough take these lovely photos of the event! If you are in the Seattle area, I highly recommend her. She is super reliable and lovely to work with.





Thank you to everyone who came to make this day exceptionally lovely and special. The community at St. Joes in Seattle has been so incredibly lovely and welcoming. I love continuing to grow this aspect of our family.



(Gabriel’s godmother, Kathleen, up at the front with Gabe as he watched his sister get baptized.)


Fae Lira! You did it!

Fae’s First Year: The Video

I am so late to this! But at least it is still July? A video of Fae’s first year. [All the heart eyes! All of them!] Ps. Gabe was SO LITTLE when she was born. It breaks me into a million pieces.

Things, July

This month is kicking my butt. I have no extra time and no extra money. I am late on getting Fae’s birthday video (coming soon) and showing you some photos from her baptism (coming soon). I had to skip a podcast week because we just couldn’t find the time to record and I have no more banked episodes (fail). I am drowning. Again. Even more. Next week is worse. Doctor appointments and dentist appointments and more more more.

There are some good things though. I have seen my best friends almost every weekend, and during the week for nearly a month now, and it will be this way well into September. Wedding events for Claire, Fae’s birthday, brunches, babysitting, drinks on rooftops, shopping excursions, and on and on. This is a big reason why I moved home. I am so happy to be living in the same place as my people.

I’m annoyed at my body. Not to the point where I can’t get dressed, I just don’t have time for that bullshit to be honest. But, I’m mad that I workout regularly, indulge rarely, and yet still… the postpartum stomach pooch, the thickness in the middle that is making clothes shopping so hard, the stubborn lbs that won’t come off. I’m just so frustrated. And I know that yes, I could restrict my diet further, I could be hungrier, I could. But fuuuuck, I just don’t want to more than I am. I really don’t. And part of me is totally ok with that. And the other part of me like… it’s been a year. Why can’t I shake these last 5 lbs? And even if I did, I’m sure I would still have this skin bulk right in my middle that makes dress shopping so frustrating, that makes muffin top pants so so so annoyingly real, that makes my workouts seem pointless. ERGH.

I have next week’s podcast all planned out, but I would very much like some topic suggestions. If you have a question, that is awesome! Email me at birlpodcast@gmail.com or betterinrealife@gmail.com, but even if you don’t have a question and just want to hear Kamel and I debate/discuss something, let me know in comments. My inspiration well is running a tad bit dry with all of the life stuff swirling around us.

Fae is transitioning out of the baby room and is headed into the “waddler” room. Like she’s no longer a real baby anymore or something. Not a fan of this thought process. Will she always seems so so little to me? Is that how youngest children work? Because the oldest is also little, but the littler one is SUPER little. Is that what they mean when they say, “You’ll always be my baby”? I wonder what her first word will be. It might be “ow” to be honest…

I want THINX underpants!!! I just haven’t gotten my shit together enough to spend $30 a pair on them!! This is me yelling at myself about it!! After having Gabriel nothing really changed with my period, even though I had heard that having babies can make your period heavier. But after having Fae – I leak through super tampons like they aren’t even there. (TMI, sorry, I warned you too late.) I end up wearing an annoying horrible pad for at least 3-4 days because at any given moment I can just spring a damn leak. So instead I want period underpants! But $30! A pair! My underpant plight is constant and ongoing. There is no justice.

Everyone is going on vacations. I see it all over the internet. I am not. I desperately wish I was. That is all.

I have been at home and not in an office since May of 2015. Isn’t that weird? I have always worked. And I mean, I am working, full time, but I’m just here, on my coach. Maybe it would feel less like I’m just sitting around in my underwear if I was sitting around in my underwear at a desk, in an office. But for now I am on my couch, being professional as shit, without a bra on, feeling waves of impostor syndrome wash over me. And not going on any vacations.

Fae Turns One

This year has been the fastest year of my life. And I worry it only speeds up from here. A year ago Fae Lira Dupuis-Perez was born. It was an easy delivery, it was a hard recovery, it has been a scramble ever since.

IMG_5120 (1)

The very first photo of Fae, fresh out of the oven.


For the first several weeks no one slept, you never do. Fae was up until 1am like it was the middle of the afternoon, and then would sleep sometimes until 9am, with a lot of restarts between. I have never felt more exhausted, sore, and over-touched than I did during the first two months.


Fae at 1 month. 


Fae at 2 months.

I have never met a more chill, happy baby than Fae. Gabriel was always a mover and a shaker. He didn’t really want to snuggle or be held in your lap. He wanted to go go go. And even though Fae walked months earlier than Gabriel, She spent the majority of her babyhood happily sitting in my lap and looking around, or chillin’ in her high chair, or playing independently with all of her brother’s choking hazard toys.


Fae at 3 months.


Fae at 4 months.

Fae has a signature whisper. She was slow-ish to babble, but raspberried constantly and because she lost her voice for several weeks early on, she developed a very cute whisper still used today. She often whispers to herself like she is mumbling spells under her breath.

She is sweet and snuggly, but also fearless and fiery. She has no problem pushing anyone away that she doesn’t want to be close to. She will enthusiastically shake her head NO and glue her mouth shut to any unwanted food. When she is unhappy she is immediately and immensely unhappy. There is no whimper, there is only hot rage.


Fae at 5 months.


Fae at 6 months. 


Fae at 7 months.

She already throws tiny tantrums. And I find them hilarious. The best part about having two kids (And there are many good things and many many hard things) is that the stuff Gabe is doing is always way more stressful, way more involved, way more annoying. So baby tantrums? HAHA. I LAUGH AT YOU. I’m sure I also laughed at Gabe, but I think part of me was also like “how do we do this? What is baby tantrum protocol?” and now I feel like…. “Oh look, Fae threw herself on the ground bc we took away that plastic wrapper she was trying to eat. Ho hum.” Beautiful.


Fae at 8 months.


Fae at 9 months old.

Oh and the illnesses. My god, second children and being sick. But… And you can cock your eye brows at me in a few months… so far, Fae has weathered all of her many colds and rashes and two round of HFM like a CHAMP. I mean, clearly just wait for it. She is about to head into the land of toddler daycare, the germiest of all the rooms. So come January I’m sure I will be begging for mercy under a pile of empty kleenex boxes and puke buckets. So… yay the holidays.


Fae at 10 months.

IMG_3803 (1)

Fae at 11 months.

The day I gave birth to Gabriel and the day I gave birth to Fae are the two most important days of my life. My love for them both grows every single day, though sometimes it does threaten to swallow me whole. Having a daughter, though she is 100% her own person and her actions and growth will one day be her very own, having her completes me as a person. Not that I’m done now, but that I’m whole now. I have waited for her for a very long time and she is infinitely more wonderful than I could have ever imagined.


Fae at 12 months.

Fae Lira, you are my every day sunshine. Happy birthday my little bird. I would do it all again for eternity if I could.