A Month In

It is a little, teensy bit over a month into 2017 and how are things going?

Did you make goals for yourself this year? Did you do some soul searching on items you wanted to tackle or places inside you that you wanted to rearrange?  What did you come up with? And how has life been tweaked to accommodate those things? Have their already been some successes (I think: yes), have you run into some roadblocks?

How has the political climate impacted your life? Has it changed you?

I had some pretty broad goals for myself this year. I wanted to get outside more, even in these winter months. I spend a LOT of time indoors. If I didn’t have to drop off the kids at school or pick them up I could easily go m-f with never leaving my house. I didn’t like this. I love walking outside and when I was in an office I would always walk during my lunch. Being at home there are always other things I COULD be doing (laundry! netflix!). So since the New Year I have made an effort to get outside during the day at twice a week. I would prefer 3 times, but… life. I’ve been able to get the kids early a few days and taken them to the park. And I’ve been able to step outside for 40 minutes here and there, which as been lovely and made me appreciate my new neighborhood even more. I would call this a success but still a work in progress.

I wanted to drink less. Even though I really do enjoy a beer while making dinner, I felt like it didn’t totally allign with my health goals and can make me sluggish in the evenings with the kids. I’ve reduced my daily beer to 3-4 times a week and reduced the amount of alcohol in my beers, which has been great! I always feel like I could do better with this, but having a beer during the week is also one of my small joys – so balance.

I wanted to get more sleep and though some of that is out of my control because children, I feel like I have created a very calming nightly routine, especially with reintroducing reading to my evenings. I have hit a good rhythm. (Though still so tired.)

The world of politics can be incredibly exhausting for me. I think that’s true of most people. But I can get incredibly hopeless. I’m impatient and I feel a large gap between me and the people who have the actual power to DO things. This administration in particular doesn’t see me. And if they do, I believe their outlook is one of disgust or aggressive indifference, if there is such a thing. The positive thing is that it has spurred me, and many others, to put our beliefs into actions. I’m not actually any different than I was before this whole election crap. I believe all the same things I did before, but I feel less like a impostor when fighting for the things I believe and showing up. I also have to balance the health of my family, the health of my mind, my stress and anxiety levels, with being an active voice in this big big world. Sometimes I need to go swimming with my kids or see a movie with my friends instead of marching on the streets. That sounds so dumb to say because I have a lot of guilt about that. And I am always feeling pulled in all of these directions. But, if I do not sometimes take a break from the relentless news cycle, the bad news cycle, then what am I even fighting for?

I’m in need of some community today. Tell me how things are, tell me where you’re at. Tell me where you’re succeeding and where you need a hand.

Friday Happies

I actually tried to write this post earlier in the week and I felt like everything I was saying was a lie. So, let’s try again. Also – I went back and tried to find the last time I had done this and it has been a very, very long time. This needs to be weekly. We all need to be remembering and focusing on the small joys every week.


Hot tea and my yellow tea kettle from my Sisters In Law. Literally before they bought me my kettle, I was boiling water in a little (non-stick for all your cancer needs) pot, and then dumping it into a mug. This seemed like a totally reasonable activity… until I got a teapot.

Mint soap is back in my bathroom and I love it beyond beyond.

I bought some new clothing staples for the kids as we get through the long days of winter and the oncoming spring. They arrived this week! And it really is one of my favorite things to open up boxes of kid clothes.

Fae calls for her brother, but she doesn’t say Gabriel. She calls, “Hermanooooo! Mannooo!!!”

We had a parent/teacher conference for Gabriel this week and it went really well! He can count continuously up to 29 and if you remind him that 30 is after 29, he will keep going! In English and Spanish! Who knew!

We are doing lots of fun social things in February! This includes: A grownup trip to Miami to meet our niece, Lola! Our Oscar party! My goddaughter’s first birthday! Going to a food and wine event (which always makes me feel like a judge on top chef)!

This weekend I am having a girl’s night to see DIRTY DANCING in THEATERS. WHAT. This is ridiculous and fantastic.

The YMCA near us has remodeled and they have a brand new pool and lots of open swim hours. I bought Fae a bathing suit and this weekend it’s a whole-family-in-the-pool event. Gabe has been talking about it for 2 weeks.

My hair is almost all caught up with itself after the great exodus post Fae’s birth. Getting ready to grow my hair long long long AND dye it dark again. I’m not feeling very sunny and blonde lately, you feel me?


What do you have that is giving you hope/the warm and fuzzies/small moments of secret smiles? Please share. We all need it.

Things I Am Terrified Of

Scalding hot tea, precariously in my hand and wily children that want to climb up my leg and take me off balance.

Regret. Especially about the big choices that take you in different directions.

The world flooding and burning and mass death because of greed and it happening in my lifetime. In my children’s lifetime.

Dying for perceived selfish reasons in the eyes of my children. (Why did mom have to go? Why couldn’t she have stayed with us?)

Dying and breaking my kids.

Water damage and mold in the house.

Secret house catastrophes that you don’t find out about until it is too late and it’s gone on too long.

Head wounds in children.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we are in Canada! On Thanksgiving! Hi, Canada!

I hope you all are having a lovely holiday with your families and friends wherever you may be. And if this is not a holiday for you, I hope you are have a really really great day.

It is now time for the customary list of Things I Am Grateful For. As is internet required. Ahem…

I am thankful for this house. I am thankful that house searching is over and that we landed in a home we can afford, that also has the space we need.

I am thankful for our lovely friends and neighbors, Laura and Byron and all of the help they have offered us since moving. The moral support and the lifting of heavy things, especially.

I am thankful for my parents! My dad for being such a good travel buddy in Mexico and for being adventurous and up for all of it. And my mom for helping us PAINT our DEN and repairing the drywall in my office. This year has been coo-coo bananas and we would never have been able to move without them.

I am so immensely grateful for my best friends and sisters. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the love that they show me and my children. For including us in your lives, for being my rocks, for being there to celebrate with me, and rage with me, and help me. I am so grateful to be living in Seattle and able to be there for their big life events, for their children, for their celebrations and rages and long walks and spontaneous dinners and nail appointments and all of the things. I love them very much.

I am grateful that after Kamel was laid off he was able to find a job quickly.

I am grateful for the health of my children. I realize that it isn’t anything you do “right” it is simply a toss of the universal dice.

I am grateful for my job. I love it a lot. I am doing something that I am good at and that I love and that I went to school for and for that I am so so grateful.

I am undeserving of your continued readership and that so many of you also tune into our podcast. Your continued support over so many years has allowed for a awesome community that I very much cherish. Thank you.

I have a lot of fear for the future. A lot of fear about climate change, a lot of fear and shame about the kind of America we have brought on ourselves. But! I am also incredibly fortunate and incredibly thankful for so many things.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday Happies

You may think with all of the normal life happening, the photos of children, the silliness, the podcast about my marriage, that we had our rage and then we moved on. Not so. It’s just that between educating myself and stoking the politically aware fire, between researching charities to donate to and booking airfare to DC to march with a lot of other women, life continues to happen. And it’s good. So it’s another week of small joys even when the wins aren’t so big.

Coconut La Croix. I was out of La Croix for about a week. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Dressing my kids. Why else have them if I can’t dress them up as I wish every day? One day this will end, but NOT THIS DAY.

Kamel and I got physicals this week. Like grownups! And flu shots! Now bring on the holidays and all of the people sharing gifts and food and germs!

Wearing winter hats. So useful when I am lazy with my hair, which is like almost every single day.

Hydrating face masks. I’m a convert. Totally obsessed. Turns out, they actually do make a big difference to my paper dry winter skin.

Fae sings along to things. 🙂

**It’s a shorter than usual list this week. My frustration and sadness keep creeping in about the world even when I try to focus on what’s good. What’s keeping you afloat?

Friday Happies

I need this every week for awhile. I’m also restarting weekending for more levity. Not that it means my vigilance in preparing for the onslaught of racism that is about to befall us all has waiver, just that sometimes I need to remember why we fight. So, here are my happies from just this week…

Daily Burn. I love having a new workout every day and it keeps me interested and motivated! PLUS finally having some SPACE for my tiny home gym in her den.

Making daily priorities lists for work and crossing that shit off. When I have a particularly amazingly productive day it feels awesome.

Craft beer. I love it.

Planning for lady cocktail dates! AFTER bedtime!

Slip on shoes.

Waking Fae up every morning.

Kamel going in and waking up Gabriel in the morning to have him come and snuggle in our bed.

Fizzy water. It’s a problem. I can’t quit you.

Trying to plan some future trips. Some for family, some for me, and please please please let me figure out how to get a true family vacation in there.

Pantsuit Nation. <3

**Tell me your happies. Let’s lift each other up.**

Turn It Up

There is probably no way I’m going to make it through this month without throwing up at least once. Right now I want to turn up the music so loud I can’t hear my own voice as I scream sing it. This is the song I’m playing.

Next week we’re back to it. I keep saying it, but this time I mean it. In the mean time… I need noise.


This is the last of the week of random daily posts. But it was a good exercise to get this blog up and running again and it reminded me that HEY, WRITING – that is something I do and enjoy!

A quick update: Gabe has an ear infection in one ear. He also has… ring worm. Which is not actually as bad as it sounds, but is one of those things where I had been working on this little patch of “eczema” with some hydro-cortisone cream and lotion for like…. a really long time. And it wasn’t that. And here I am, MOTHER OF THE YEAR AWARD. Where are my banners and trophies?

Other things not skin fungus related…

I have a bunch of stuff I want for this blog. Like, I want to bring weekending back. I want to do a real life home tour video of the new place, with boxes and incomplete rooms and all! And then I want to do nice reveals of rooms as we complete them. Over the next million years because not only do we not have enough free hands, we spent all of our money on paint and fixing unimpressive stuff… oh and the mortgage (and daycare, and winter coats for the kids, and I did buy some Vans…).

Other things coming up for the family: Kamel and I are going on two back-to-back trips without the kids in October. They are both for weddings! One in Minnesota, for the lovely Margaret and Jeff, and one in Mexico City for Kamel’s cousin, Carlos and his future wife Paola. I have a lot of trepidation leaving both the kids and flying away from them for the first time ever. At least one of us has always been there. But not this time! Trepidation and relief! I will no longer be preoccupied with feeding and napping and pooping schedules for anyone except ME. One pooping schedule to rule them all.

I also have high hopes that the podcast will run continuously until mid-December at the least. Future topics include: An update from us on moving and how that has been a different experience for kamel vs me (slash our FEEEEELINGS about it), a listener question about maybe not wanting babies, an updated budget chat that will hopefully be more on track with how I thought were doing things (But then turned out that we were a complicated hodge podge of accounts), and much much more. If you have questions OR have an idea for something to discuss and banter about, please email birlpodcast@gmail.com.

More on Monday.

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.”