Things, August

The Olympics are everywhere and there is something about them that is so inspiring. Even amidst all the terrible politics and the crushing debt. I do really hope that they benefit the host country after all. I hope they sell a ton of merch and that everyone loves Brazil and their tourism flourishes. Unfortunately Zika effed them over (and so many babies, can’t think of the babies). But I digress. There have already been a handful of fantastic moments and we aren’t even finished with week 1 yet, but the best thing I have seen in a long long time are the epic fails by the Philippine divers. Oh man, if you need a little chuckle pick-me-up please watch that video. Two things are happening: If you’re going to try and totally biff it, biff it ALL THE WAY. And, their shrug-it-off attitude makes this that much better. I definitely couldn’t do any of those flips or even that one-legged jump off the diving board, but I for sure could back-flop like that. THERE IS AN OLYMPIAN IN EACH OF US!

So, we’re already full-steam-ahead in packing. My packing involves a lot of cleaning and donating and getting rid of a ton of stuff. Will we move into an empty cavernous house? Yes. Will it be strange and exciting and echo-y? Yes. But I don’t want to hold onto stuff I don’t love. I don’t care if it takes me 5 years to finally complete my living room furniture, I only want to buy things I actually like. We can all sit on the floor until then. And guess what closet?! Shit that doesn’t fit, is maternity (overtly maternity, the good maternity will stay), or I never ever wear because I hate it? These things have no place in this fresh start. I’ve collected a ton of clothes that I don’t feel confident in or doesn’t fit really well, or whatever. No more!! Let me have just 5 outfits if that’s what it takes, but I will love those outfits with a fiery passion. We have already packed up our living room. All books and games and movies are in boxes, all drawers and bookshelves are cleared. And this weekend we will clear out the closets, the nursery, and do a heave-ho of all the toys that no longer get used or things I think we can upgrade.

This will be the third move in Gabriel’s short 3.5 years, so we are really good at this. Even if I am hating every second of it. We hired movers because there is no way we could get this all done with two kids by ourselves, nor do I want to. I just don’t have time for it. Here is the complete list of the furniture we’ll move:

1 couch

1 bookshelf (if the movers can take it apart without breaking it to pieces, thanks ikea)

1 crib/toddler bed

1 filing cabinet

3 dressers

2 nightstands

1 overstuffed chair

1 play kitchen

…maybe our kitchen table, TBD.

That feels like nothing. It’s like barely two rooms worth of furniture. AH CAN YOU SMELL THE FRESH START?

Turning 1 has been rough on Fae. She got 7ish new teeth all at once, including a molar. Another molar is on its way on the other side. She only wants mama, she is not her usual chill self. It is very sad. It is also really inconvenient. I cannot lug around my 25 lbs 1 year old all day while she whimpers. The alternative is she scream cries and throws herself on the ground or is given to another person and throws her body toward me, reaching. So that’s not gut wrenching and heart breaking. I remember one being rough with Gabriel too. All that growing is hard.

We have become a family that goes through 2 boxes of waffles by Thursday after buying them on Sunday.

Gabe is super into Dr. Seuss and it is the GREATEST. I love reading him the classics at bedtime. And also – oh my god have you read Fox in Socks lately? That ish is HARD. God bless my parents and all of those tongue twisters.

We Are Wrong

Yesterday I hit my breaking point. And the fact that I am 31 and I have just now had a breaking point is my privilege speaking. Because social strife is exhausting and I am already so exhausted, but that is nothing. That is nothing at all.

I closed my social media yesterday for a heart beat. I wasn’t going back into the fray. I was tired. I was tired of being challenged, and saddened, and educated. I was tired of seeing awfulness and reading ignorance and feeling obligated to be witness. And what a gift that is for me to be able to just walk away from that, when others cannot walk away. What an ivory tower gift that is. I could no longer face myself if I acted on that privilege.

I am done being concerned with politeness or other people’s comfort or my own comfort. I have gritted my teeth through conversations, I have blank-faced and walked away or made nice or made good – or whatever – for the sake of not being that person. But I am that person. I have always been that person and I am burning up inside trying to push that person away.

Social justice should be in every single one of our bones. It should leak out of our pores, we should all be willing to stand in front of victims to protect them from oppressors. But we don’t. We go to work and we pay our bills and we feed our kids and we go about our days, because realistically that is life.

But I will no longer allow ignorance and the fear of losing the white superior status to wash over me without comment. I am not perfect and I am not always right and I don’t always say it the way it needs to be said. But around me, in my newsfeed, at my table, around my kids, anywhere within my ear shot, I am done being polite about it. Because the root of racism and devaluing the lives of people of color while cherishing the lives of white people comes from our words and our thoughts and our beliefs and our ability to be polite instead of say, “Actually, no. You are wrong.”

What is the Opposite of Feeling Generous?

I haven’t posted like I should be because I have been dog paddling my way to a distant shore. I am actually exhausted by the constant discussion of my busy schedule. God, it’s so boring to constantly talk about the disheveled nature of my physical space, my mental space, and my calendar.

On Saturday night I had this moment of: I don’t like this life. My entire day is about the kids! About their schedules and about their meals and about the things we have to do. I don’t want to, but we have to. Because the ramifications of doing it later are even worse than the inconvenience of dragging my sorry butt in the direction of have to right this second.

I do not always feel this way, but lately I have been feeling remarkably ungenerous. That feels like not a word. Maybe because we don’t use it often. I have not felt selfish. That is not the feeling. I have felt as though I have nothing left to give. Or maybe I do, but I just don’t want to. I need to squirrel it away just for me. I’m talking like a thimble full of energy and patience that I am saving for myself. It’s stupid. I have no more understanding, I have no more gritting my teeth and smiling. I’ve run out. I don’t have any more extra time. I don’t have anymore mental space for managing any other person aside from those I made with my own body. I’ll at least take responsibility for that.

It’s not always this way. But right now I just can’t get ahead of it. And my body ACHES for a fucking vacation. A real one. Even with the kids. It’s been two years since Kamel and I went on a vacation where the only schedule we were on was our own. Where I saw new things and felt filled up by new experiences and foods and active leisure. Two years. And I’m drowning in the every day. My inspiration well is empty. I am slogging through the have-tos and swallowing the bits of myself that want to say fuuuuuuck this, this SUCKS. Because this is responsibility. This is grown up life. This is the business of all of that.

Plus I had an ear infection all last week.

Here is what I want for this week: I want to work out every day. I want to walk to Walgreens and get my passport photo taken so I can update it like I should have done 6 months ago, I want to wax my lip (nothing fancy, just in my bathroom, but finding the time for even that seems to have ESCAPED ME), I want to not fight with Gabriel about bedtime every single day, I want to find a house we like and can afford, I want to feel centered and calm about work projects and deadlines, I want to get a jump on the major events of this month so that I am not scrambling last minute. Some of these things will not be accomplished, but a lot of them will. I hope.

Finding the Happies

It has been a very long time since I have done a Happies post. And I absolutely need some of your happy inspiration. I hope my list finds some of you in your deep dark places and sheds some light on the good stuff. The stuff that is really getting me through lately are all the tiny things that poke holes in my worry and stress.

Being able to work out 4 days a week and taking the kids on walks on the weekend.

Piggy backing on that thought – how I am finally feeling strong again, how I am seeing improvement and how carrying my kids is no longer an endurance test on my back and arms and core.

Talking Rain sparkling water in the can. I love the crack of opening a can of fizzy beverage. And I have now become obsessed with plain ‘ol sparkling water like some kind of boring person.

Almost being carded by a bartender last weekend. And then he was laughing at Kamel and I and our loser noobness on being out without the kids and not feeling cool enough to be anywhere. And then he was like “I have kids too!” and then it turned out he was basically our neighbor.

Looking forward to a summer and fall full of happy events for friends and family. Fae’s baptism and all kinds of wedding events for Claire, then family weddings and Margaret’s wedding and then Kathleen’s daughter’s baptism in November. So many happy things marching us along.

Guacamole with anything, and Avocado + hard boiled eggs. My summer lunch of champions.

Fae WALKING. It’s like she is straight out of Dr. Seuss. My little happy chubby walking creature.

Getting my hair died blonde(ish) this weekend. I’m really excited for a new look to shake off my boring/haggard/tired feels.

I negotiated my first raise ever and it worked. (!!)

Gabriel after he has gotten into trouble asking me, “Mama… Are you happy to me?” Meaning: Are you happy with me? And being able to have an actual make-good conversation with my son like he is some kind of PERSON or something.

Our instagram wall, and knowing we get to switch it out again coming in about a month and a half. Picking our current event photos for it is always my favorite thing.

Pedicures are back.

Buying gifts for people. I’ve been on a spree, even though if I were being responsible I really shouldn’t. BUT I CAN’T HELP MYSELF.

Being home and with my people and being able to see them and sniff their babies and run into them at the grocery store and be at all of their life events. It’s all finally happening after so many years away and I just don’t know if I’ll ever be over how amazing it all feels. That here we are, grownups, and I love them more and more every year that goes by. With every silent look across the room and every milestone and every glass of wine in our sweats and every event planned, it just gets better.

At the beginning of this post I had a laundry list of negatives to write down and now all I feel is warm. What are your happies?

 

 

Updates

Hello! It is nearing the end of May! What?! I wanted to check in on some things and give you some updates since my little blog and (sort of large) podcast break.

First – new design! Simpler! Cleaner! I feel like I’ve shed so much baggage. I loved the art and still love the art, but I had hired a web designer to make my blog exactly what I wanted and dude completely half-assed it, making some things really wonky. During the process he treated me like I was small potatoes, lapsing on deadlines and then telling me he had much larger clients to worry about. But I was already paying him $200 and had invested too much time and energy into the process. So, I just gritted my teeth and waited it out. When I told him certain things didn’t work he would push back and say it worked on his end. Very frustrating. And then! A few weeks ago! A porn site hacked my SEO so when I was searched on google, those who clicked through just got really crappy porn. Sigh.

So! Now everything is clean and crisp! Header and avatar drawn by my sister-in-law Regina! And my back end is hacker free. Woo hoo!

Second! My mom podcast is going so well! So if you miss the BIRL podcast or are looking for discussions about parenting that are honest, realistic, and funny – World’s Okayest Moms most recent episode is about traveling with kids and you can listen to it straight from this website if you don’t have a podcast listener of choice.

The Duprez household is going through some rough times right now. More on that in the coming weeks, but for now – any thoughts and energies sent our way would be most helpful. Sorry to be vague-y vague. It is generally not my style, but this is one of those sensitive topics. Lemons you guys, we got some. (And not in the Beyonce burn it all down cuz you cheated one me way, promise. If trifling was happening, an entire army couldn’t prevent me from talking about that is.)

Have an amazing weekend and I will be back with more content next week!

Things, April

I have been writing a Things post in my mind for weeks, but have not had the time to sit down and make this beauty happen. So here we are. It is Wednesday (when I am writing this) and it feels like Friday. I have to keep remembering that the week is not yet over. This has been a long one, folks. The month seemed to have zoomed by, but my god the weeks… they keep a draggin’ on.

My shower routine has gone all topsy turvy and I am so enjoying it. I think I’m over lemon soap. I was on a kick for years, and I think I need a solid break. I had this huge bar of verbena soap and it is still there, being used, but it’s been like… probably months at this point, and I am OVER IT. I keep thinking about all the mint scented soap I need in my life. It’s been a distraction. Also: In shower moisturizer. Mind go kablooy!! I know Miss Diana in comments, many moons ago, suggested this wonder product to me but I have just recently been able to have the browsing time in Target to find it in the lotion aisle. I did have to abandon the kids with Kamel and flee with the cart before they noticed though. Worth it. My question to the way more knowledgeable internet (and I already poised this question on twitter, so thank you again for those insights): right now I am using Nivea in shower lotion, but it is a little manly scented for my taste. I don’t feel like I can layer my perfume on it. Does anyone use one that has a more subtle scent? Less deodorant-y?

Still hunting for rabbits houses. Kamel keeps telling me it’s like dating and I keep telling him I HATE DATING. The worst part is when a week goes by and there isn’t even anything worth looking at on the market. Seattle market, why do you suck so fucking hard? And every month passes is a month we are paying too much on month-to-month rent in our current overflowing apartment. It’s a month that goes by with Fae still in our room and me weeping to HGTV shows. I know “it only takes one” but if the kids are grown and we’re still living on top of each other, what then… WHAT THEN? Stay tuned for more wallowing.

Have I told you lately how much I love buying my kids clothing? I love shopping for them. Shopping for me is annoying, my body is still all squishy and oddly shaped in the gut region. But the kiddos! The kiddos can wear whatever and it looks fantastic. Gabe has been less fun to shop for because he hasn’t been growing as fast as before so lately all I’ve been able to pick out is goofy underpants. But Fae! Darling Fae! She seems to always be in need of something. Pants, jackets, summer clothes, socks, shirts, you name it. Mostly because she is still barfing all over herself on a regular basis. And also because babies grow so quickly and I just never seem to be able to keep her drawers full. But lazily shopping for her? My favoritest thing ever.

What are your things this month? What has been happening in your world? It’s almost May…!

Crumbolicious – Treat Yo Self

*Post Edit: The winner of the giveaway is…. JENNY! I’ll be contacting you shortly so you can choose your cake!*

A few weeks ago I was approached to host a sponsored post. I used to love doing these because they were interesting and fun and felt like the best kind of grad school writing assignments, but lately I just don’t have time to take on extra projects beyond my other extra projects. BUT THEN – the hook. I would be writing about my experience with CAKE. And I’d be able to experience baked goods delivered straight to me for free! And AND and …. I’d be able to host a giveaway that would allow one of my lovely, dedicated, thoughtful, baked-goods-loving readers to also receive FREE CAKE. (See the bottom of this post for details)

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Crumbolicious makes many things – including brownies and cookies – that can be delivered directly to you, fresh and delicious. But what they are really, really good at is making these amazing crumble cakes. Like coffee cakes on crack because they now involve chocolate and chocolate chip and several other amazing why-didn’t-I-think-of-that flavors!

Continue reading “Crumbolicious – Treat Yo Self”

The Year I Was 30

Two things first:

  1. This is the first time that this post has gone up late. It is usually a post that I am writing for many days before it goes live, and this year this post is being written today and going live this evening. I’m getting it time stamped just before the buzzer. That is a very good metaphor for how the last 6 months have been.
  2. I really am genuinely surprised an entire year has flown by already. It seemed suspiciously fast. I haven’t even had a chance to catch my breath and think about what 30 has been like. There has been NO TIME. Because my 30th birthday was last week and now I am 31 and what the fuck do I do with that?

Ok, with those things in mind… here we are. One whole year has shimmied past like a crazy flasher you think you saw, you’re pretty sure you saw, did you just see? Yes. You did.

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My 30th birthday looked like this.

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And I mean, that right there is a pretty fantastic 30th birthday while pregnant. If I do say so myself.

At the end of April I stopped working and went on pregnancy leave. And you guys, this pregnancy hurt. It hurt so much. It hurt to walk, it hurt to sleep, it hurt all over. I felt like shit for weeks and weeks at the end. Some days just needing to sleep, some days being too exhausted to even stand in the kitchen chopping vegetables. It was rough times. And it was HOT AS FUCK TIMES.

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Let’s just pause for a minute and meditate on how ROCKSTAR FABULOUS MY HAIR WAS. Damn, Gina.

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We also got our very first professional family portraits done by Rachelle! I can’t wait to hang them in our future, pretend land, hypothetical house someday!

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And honestly, that was the summer. It was hot, I was uncomfortable, we were in the wading pool and in splash parks as much as possible, I lived on my couch in front of our portable A/C unite as it whirred and whirred away.

And then my daughter was born. And I have never loved anything as immediately as I loved Fae.

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The weird thing about that, though, is that for basically all of the rest of July and all of August and maybe into September I was pretty sure we had made a huge mistake in having two kids. Like, I loved them both and I wanted them both just …. maybe not at the same time? A dilemma, indeed. Thankfully, that got better with time and now Gabriel and Fae were 100% meant to be together. Parts of themselves exist in the other.

Starting in August I was job searching a ton. Had several interviews, but nothing really materialized. Then in October I started working for a book writing/packaging company that works with a variety of publishers writing and repackaging non-fiction kid books and fiction young readers. It is a super fulfilling job, it is also insanely time consuming. And I am so grateful to my grad school friend, Jenny, in thinking of me for this position. One of those rare times where knowing people actually does pan out. (That’s never happened to me before.)

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In October, my Dad turned 60 and we all went to the beach for a long weekend. It was our first time out with the four of them. It was a ton of work just packing the car. But it was also adorable.

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All through the fall we had visitors to meet Fae, we all worked full time, and we also started Fae in daycare. Our new normal became set.

For the second year in a row, but for different reasons, Christmas was an incredibly exhausting experience. Wrangling two kids and all of their presents and family and trying to be in the moment and grateful and have meaningful check ins with everyone was…. too much.

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But Gabe was so stoked for presents for the first time ever and seeing that was total magic.

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In January Fae and I went on our first solo trip together! We went to Chicago to meet up with Claire and visit Maris and her new daughter, Sophia.

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It was like an airplane nursing marathon.

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It was some much needed best friend time …

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…and future best friend time.

In January Kamel and I also started the BIRL Podcast! We hadn’t embarked on a new creative venture in a long time and this one really did push me out of my comfort zone. I am so excited that it has been a success! Every time we sit down to record I am a little less terrified, but still pretty terrified. I have never listened to a podcast all the way through. I listen to it in bits and pieces… sometimes… just to make sure it is all there or to approve a transition, etc etc. but I have never full listened to one, and I probably won’t. It’s just too much self scrutiny.

February was winter and the kids and working and one week at a time.

March was Gabe’s third birthday!

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And we finally had enough saved to get pre-approved for the loan we wanted. In March we started our house hunting experience. An experience I grit my teeth through and pray for the best. We are still pushing through, scouring our house portal set up by our agents, visiting a half a dozen homes every week, scrutinizing the details, strategizing on what to offer, and on and on and on.

This April has definitely been the most exhausting month of my life. I have been working 10-12 hour days consistently, Fae was so sick with hand, foot, and mouth, and every spare moment Kamel and I are trying to find our next home. I have never been more tired. I have never felt like I’ve had more purpose in my life. The laundry has never been so abandoned.

Today, on my 31st birthday, I work up at 6am and got an hour in of work before the kids woke up. Kamel took Gabe to school while Fae hung back with me, so we could take her to her 9 month check up. Claire stopped by for a surprise delivery of balloons and pastry! The best! We had cake, picked out by Gabriel, presents, and pizza (delivered by my parents) after work. We have been scrambling to pack and prep for our trip to visit Kamel’s family in Miami tomorrow, between diaper changes and bed times and stories and hugs and all of the normal family hubbub. I am again, more tired than I ever thought I could consistently function through. I am again, alone on the couch at the end of an evening, toys and books on the ground, diaper bags and baby carriers on the couch, dirty bottles left in the sink.

But I am full. I am topped off to the brimmy brim. The year went by so quickly because I was running. Running with babies strapped to my back, running to catch up, running after the next big adventure. But the energy that is fueling this marathon? Is here, it is all of this, it is the pajamas from yesterday still sitting on the red chair, it is my yellow teapot from my sister in laws that makes me happy every time I see it, it is my best friends thinking of me and loving on me, it is being home in this place with my people, it is being ever confident in who I am and what I want and loving all of the people who I have surrounding me. If this is what my 30s are, I only want more.

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Cancun Water Slide

Earlier in the week I was scrolling through Kamel’s youtube channel – where we host all of the videos that we share here – and I was looking back through some of the stuff we posted way back before we had kids. And I was shocked to the point of mild horror that a random video from our honeymoon has almost 3,000 views! For reference most of the videos we post for the blog get about 200-350 views. So I thought I wold share it because it is so mind boggling.

Also, take me away to lazy honeymoon days and swimming in a pool in the most perfect weather. Please and thank you.

Ugh, Humans! Am I Right?

Being human is the worst. I have a whole list of reasons why.

  1. We are not super, as in Super Human. We get sick and have weaknesses. Inconvenient weaknesses, that interrupt plans and make you totally worthless except for rolling around on the ground (or in bed) going “Whhhyyyyy?!”
  2. We are irrational beings. Our feelings rule us, even when we don’t want them to.
  3. Like sometimes, even though I find it incredibly inconvenient, I am struck down by anxiety. The kind that makes me physically ill. It’s the dumbest. Who has time for that? No one. Except we’re human, UGH HUMANS. THE WORST.
  4. We also have the nasty habit of making mistakes. Mistakes suck. They make things awkward, they often mean you need to apologize and saying “I’m sorry” is hard. Because we have egos. And feelings. And who wants to be like, “yeah I fucked that up.”
  5. Also guilt. Guilt is the worst. Also a human emotion that is debilitating.

Happy Monday. If you’d like to share why you think being human sucks, please join me in comments. Or if you’d like to prove me wrong, and list reasons why being human is the best… I guess that works too.