All The Things

You guys. My best friend got married, it was so beautiful and I kept having not to cry all day and then I did cry a little when the stress of my children being late crashed down upon me. More on that later.

And then yesterday my husband had surgery and he is home being in pain and I hate it so much. And since this blog is all about ME I’m going to take two seconds to say: Being the caregiver is hard and sad and stressful. And it’s ok to hate it. While also helping them put their pants on and laughing good naturedly at their sheered section from where they operated and making sure they are drinking water and staying on their medicine schedule. During that time it is also ok to grumble about having to be the one to do all the house things and all the kid things and all the usual things while your partner plays video games and does what they are supposed to do – which is to HEAL and REST because if they are fucked up for 1 more goddamn day outside of the 6 week schedule… so help me god.

In other news: I am trying to jump start this space and I have not forgotten it or abandoned it. Tomorrow there will be pretty (and stressful) wedding stories to share and hopefully my husband will also be in less pain.

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!

Episode 23: Celebrations

This weekend we are (finally) going to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary! But it is really easy to neglect celebrating your partner in the face of LIFE and EXPENSES and SHOULD WE REALLY SPEND THE MONEY ON THAT?

The answer should be yes! But it isn’t always. This week, Kamel and I break down how we approach celebrations and how we should probably not neglect each other for Christmas, even though that seems like it is maybe becoming a trend. :/

5th Anniversary: Wood

The first day I met Kamel he took me to the woods. He had rented a hasselblad and needed a “model” (<– not the fancy kind, but the real kind) to practice on. I volunteered via twitter. He picked me up on the corner of my street and drive me to an undisclosed location. I was never nervous or afraid. I probably should have been. He took photos of me, awkwardly standing around the woods. I was wearing a long sleeved floral shirt, jeans, and flip flops. Today I look at the photos and hate how my feet look. He still thinks I looked amazing. At the time he said my shirt was clashing too much with the trees, and would it be ok if I went home and changed into something else? His driving made me carsick and I was very hungover, but I did my best to play it cool. I thought he was interesting.


A few days before we got married we rented a Dodge Charger and took a roadtrip to the peninsula of Washington state. We walked through the woods in La Push and entered onto one of the most magical beaches ever ever in the history of shorelines. Aside from the large rock structures that poke out of the water, there are giant logs that have washed up on shore. They are perfect for climbing and they are so big they make you feel small. I first had gone to this beach with Maris, and going there as an escape from all of the wedding planning hubbub had felt like perfection. Still, even just a few days ago, we talked about what a good idea it was to get away for a day right before the wedding. Perfect timing, perfect us time, perfect adventure.


On our first anniversary we lived in an apartment with a wall of windows that faced large eucalyptus trees. They all stood in a neat row and were so high it was difficult to get a photo of them even when I tried. I have never been able to replicate the sound they made when the wind blew. Like waves pounding the shore, but gentler. I miss those trees and that apartment.

By our second anniversary we had Gabriel. We ordered takeout from a fancy italian restaurant, ate a late dinner because we had to stop at Target first, and took turns soothing a fussy baby during his witching hour, while the other one got to eat semi-warm bolognese. There were no trees.

By the time we had a third anniversary we had moved back to Seattle. It took me a year to get over how green it is here. Yes, yes it is the Evergreen State, but how often are those nicknames even relevant? It is so lush and so sparkly and so alive here, it blows me away.

On our fourth anniversary I had just given birth to our little bird. We drank champagne while she slept on our chests. I was tired and sore and life was hard, but life was good. We stayed inside all day except for when we took Fae for her 2-day check-up.

On this fifth anniversary we spent most of the day apart. It was Fae’s birthday party! And so many things needed to get done! We had hot dogs to grill and decorations to hang and cake to pick up and bags of ice to buy. At the end of the day, when we finally did get a minute for ourselves, we pulled out our wedding champagne flutes from the back of the cabinet and poured ourselves a glass. Of course the pop of the cork woke up Gabriel, so I moved our tiny anniversary celebration into our bedroom while Kamel settled him back down. It took a while. By the time Kamel was shutting the nursery door behind him, it was nearly 11pm. He crawled into bed and we began a little toast about the last five years, only to have me knock a giant splash of champagne all over myself and the bed. So, press pause again while we strip the sheets and change the linens and I change my pajamas. By the time we had even had a sip the champagne was warm and we were both so, so tired. Much like I am right now as I try to finish this post.

Five years is a long time. But it feels like maybe two years ago we got married, not five. Where did these children even come from? Why is the fifth anniversary wood? Because trees start out as saplings and just keep chugging along until they are mighty redwoods? Hm, maybe. Because they are both strong, yet comforting? Solid, yet soft? Perhaps. I think five years is wood because even the most evergreen tree experiences seasons. There are periods of drought, and threatening forest fires. There is spring time with pine cones or seeds that float through the air, and fall with a splash of color or no color at all. Winter (is coming, just kidding) can be both beautiful and barren. And marriage is all of those things. Hopefully you and I haven’t seen them all in just five years. But we will. And even through the great moments and the desperate ones, the tree stands. Sometimes all anyone can ask is that you show up. Showing up to marriage is much more than 50% of the game. Sometimes all you can do is be there, standing next to each other.

To Kamel on our 5th wedding anniversary. Thank you for being my tree. I love you, you coo-coo bananas man of mine. How amazing is this family we’ve built? I would relive it all over again just to see it happen one more time.

Episode 22: Sponsored by Therapy

This week’s episode comes from a long time blog reader who is now engaged. Hooray! She wrote to me way back in April about tips and tricks on figuring out how to fight with your partner.

Learning to fight is a constant work in progress in our house and, I think, in many houses. Being compassionate and being able to listen even while pissed is a skill that takes practice and patience with yourself and others. Fighting in general is exhausting. Fighting while engaged? That’s a whole other pile of poop.

How have you learned to fight with your partner? What works for you and what doesn’t? Did you fight more than usual during engagement? We did! I only know from my experiences, so any other points of view are definitely encouraged!

(Also, this is a very well timed episode as our 5 year wedding anniversary is on Saturday! LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!)

Episode 18: Frankenstein

This is the second episode of the season, but the first with a reader driven question. For some reason this struck a defensive nerve with Kamel and I even though we actually do an excellent job.

The question from the reader:

My biggest fear about having kids is that it will drastically and negatively alter my relationship with my partner. My question is: Does it? How do you deal with that? How do you maintain a strong, meaningful relationship with your partner after kids (especially little kids)?

And because I feel like this episode is a total mess and we may absolutely fail at actually answering the question, here are some bullet points – real world things we actually do to accommodate each other despite our children.

  • Guilt free time alone. Whether that is a movie or shopping or needing to hide in the bedroom to write (me). It is so important to gift your partner 100% resent-free space to still be a human. I think whether you have kids or not this is pretty major.
  • Being willing to take the kids places by yourself in order to give your partner space at home by themselves. This is different than the going out and about first bullet point. Because we all need to sit around in our sweats and not have to justify it. We all need to take long showers and paint our nails or finish a book or whatever, without being pestered.
  • Date nights and babysitters. Have many. Use them. It’s hard to use them, I know from experience. It is hard to ask for that. But it is SO AWESOME when you do and you leave the house together, without children, and then it’s like all you see are rainbows shooting out of each other’s eyes.
  • Ultimately be a team. Have inside jokes away from the kids. Steal their treats in the kitchen together behind your toddler’s back. Share knowing looks. Make out during nap time. Share a glass of wine after a successful bedtime. Celebrate each other. Be kind.

If anyone else has their own married-with-kids tips and tricks please comment. I will steal them all.

When The Kids Wake Up Early

When the kids wake up early but they have both slept through the night it is the opposite of this. It reminds you of why you love the mornings the most and why you love living in the city. Death to suburbs. The city will always be where things are most authentic.

There is something about walking down a street filled with bars and restaurants and your shadow and the few shadows around you are long, but not because it is so late, but because it is so early. Just a few hours before this moment, the street was filled with people, buzzing people, looking for their ubers and lyfts, pressing each other against grimy buildings, limping in shoes that are too high and too tight and too fabulous. The flick of cigarettes and the under arm sweat from a stuffy bar or a busy dance floor being blown away by the night breeze. The honking horns and the yelling after friends or enemies, the vibration of strangers bouncing off of each other. There is something about walking along those streets in the early morning with just a few people within ear shot, just a few cars on the streets where there used to be many. The energy from all of that buzzing lingers in the quiet with the long shadows. If you stand still and put your hands out and close your eyes, you can feel it there, pulsing.

I love the city so much.

And I know it all happened because it was a beautiful night in Seattle, with a warm breeze after a hot, clear-skied day. And those nights here are more than electric. They make you forget every other annoying thing about this place. The long summer days that turn into summer nights while the sun is still up are worth anything and everything, you think. Even if that can’t possibly be true.

When the kids wake up early, but they are happy, and there is sunshine through the windows making everything yellow, and there is Brandi Carlile coming through the speakers it makes you want time to stop forever. We’ll just live here, in this morning, in this day forever and ever and be happy.

When the kids wake up early they go down easily for an early nap. And you get to linger in the shower, which didn’t happen until 12:30, and truthfully that isn’t even that bad. You make sure to get a new razor before shaving your legs and you even try out a new moisturizer. You stand in your closet naked and damp and think about what to wear. Do you even own summer clothes? They have to be in here somewhere. And you have time to flick through the closet, finding that maxi dress you completely forgot you even had, because the kids are sleeping soundly. You have all the time in the world.

This is so much better than leggings and a t-shirt, you think. I should do this more often, you think.

Sometimes you get a babysitter just because you should really do that more often, and you make plans with your partner to go spend the day outside, doing outside things in this beautiful summer weekend. (Can you even believe how fantastic this weather is?) But instead you go to a bar and sit on their patio with sunglasses pushing your hair back and you both eat tacos and drink micheladas at 3 in the afternoon like you’re so unburdened. You’re so free you don’t even know what to do with yourselves. It’s sickening and it’s fantastic.

When the kids wake up early and you don’t even mind because you’ve slept, your partner sometimes muses, “I think that consistent sleep might be even better than sleeping in.” And you think, “oh my god, duh,” but you say, “For sure.” And nod in agreement.

Nobody Else But You

Last week (and like three posts down because oh the state of this blog and the state of my no time at all for anything) I had a podcast about house hunting. Buying home right now in Seattle is a bear. And that is the kindest way I can put it.

It is so much work, it is so much time, it is so much stress. And with our already very full plates, it adds stress to a pretty thick stress-sandwich. In the podcast I talked about how Kamel and I have a different approaches to the process, how we have different take aways from the experience. Sometimes it has caused tension. His interpretation is different than mine. He is this thing called “a different person” than I am. And I have to take his needs, wants, desires, expectations into “consideration” because we are “married” and “sharing a life together.” How inconvenient.


Last weekend we were on one of our many many (many many) house view expeditions. We have spent so much gas driving from neighborhood to neighborhood not liking homes, let me tell you. My approach to house hunting is serious. This is serious business. It is strategy and trying to be the first to jump on opportunities. It is trying to look into the magic 8 ball that lives in my head and see how our family’s lifestyle will grow and change and adapt to whatever house set up we buy. It’s a lot of mental energy for me trying not to fuck this up. And last weekend Kamel and I were driving to a house and we were chatting about our expectations and Kamel said, “I’m so happy I get to do this with you. I wouldn’t want to do this with anybody else.”

Aw, thanks Kamel. Same! (I said.)

But, like, what else do you say to that? It was true, but it was also just a response.

And overall, it was a disappointing day. I was hoping to leave that day with the rush of wanting to put an offer on a house, but instead we went home going back and forth on, “Did we like it? No? We’re sure? We’re sure. Ugh.” But you know what? I am so grateful for Kamel’s positivity. I am so grateful for his ability to make fun of his complete inability to remember how to pronounce different neighborhoods around Seattle, his ability to poke fun at his own excitement, his ability to poke fun at my ever present terror bubbling just at the surface of my being. He makes me a better person and he takes care of me without even trying, he does it by just being him.

Marriage is dumb in so many ways. The constant compromising and the co-everything and the sharing (my god the sharing). But I wouldn’t want to do it with anybody else but him. And thank god I am sharing this experience with Kamel. I probably would rent forever if I didn’t have my buddy.

Flashback Friday: Bo Belly

By popular demand, (ok, one very clever person asked) I am showcasing the pre Lauren Kamel per the discussion in this week’s podcast. Think of this as a giant Flashback Friday.

And for the record, I loved him even when he was a dorkasaurus rex. Big jeans and free tshirts to boot.



(I asked him if this was like… a borrowed coat or something and he said “No! I loved that coat! I thought I looked so cool! …. I didn’t realize I looked like a sofa!” hahahaha)



Just in case anyone is concerned I’m being mean, Kamel picked all of these photos out. When I told him that this was what I wanted to do for the post he raced to the internet to find me some goodies.

And for a little comparison:




You are just the cutest, Mr. Dupuis-Perez. Even in all your free shirt glory.

Episode 12: Is That What You’re Wearing?

To be totally honest, I am usually super, super nervous to start a podcast. I have recording stage fright every single time. I really have to psyche myself up, and Kamel can attest that sometimes I will cancel a recording session because I just can’t wrap my brain around it.

But this time! This time I was so excited to sit down with the mic and Kamel and get down to chatty relationship business! This episode is all about what happens when your partner looks schleppy. When is it ok to address that? How do you go about it? I know that in my own relationship, I have spent a lot of energy coaxing Kamel out of his deep dark clothing hole of free tshirts and all black and oversized. It was a process and at times it was actually really stressful. But now he owns a suit! And actually enjoys how he looks and the variety of clothes in his closet. How do you navigate the, “Is that what you’re wearing?”