Things, February

I mentioned to Kamel the other day, “Remember that time I had a blog?” Because… echo echo echo. Sorry about my lameness. We were traveling and then you know, the president is a dictator and every day our freedoms are chipped away at and the world is crumbling all around me. And I continue to feel more and more hopeless because it isn’t just the president it’s the whole GOP and no one actually cares about serving the people or making the government run better, it’s 100% about their own pocket book and the sweet sweet payout. House of Cards is real. And I don’t feel like I have any power.

So there’s that.

Other things… Oh! I’ve actually felt like this winter has flown by. It’s already lighter in the evenings and I didn’t feel oppressed by the darkness really at all. Except when the light was disappearing and I felt panic we would all turn into sad mole people. But it didn’t happen. Hooray!

I read this article last week about how family vacations are fantastic for your kids, how they build permanent happy memories that help them during hard times. So we’re booking a quick-ish trip to San Diego in the spring. I love family vacations. We haven’t had a family adventure vacation since Gabe was 18 months old. WHAT. Unacceptable. It’s practically child abuse. Is what I’m telling myself.

I went to my OBGYN recently for a checkup and we spent the first 5 minutes of the visit gushing over how we have the same topshop coat and how it makes us feel like badasses. It was the highlight of my day, and how many people can actually say that?

I thought after the holidays things would chill out, but there has been 0 chill to report. Travel (yay!) and social events (more yay!) have kept us running and running and running full steam ahead through our weekends. Plus trying to do things for the kids, like swim at the YMCA and explore new parks, take them to the aquarium, etc etc. Be good parents blahblah.

I miss having a calm mind that allows me to collect myself and to share here. Its so jumbled and stressed that even when I sit down to write something it all sounds dumb. But I miss you guys! And I love hearing from you! And just know that I’m working on it. 🙂

It Doesn’t Matter If People Like You

I’ve been chewing on something all week. While reading the comments of an article with a racially charged headline (about how black people don’t like white people, or “why I don’t like white people,” or “why I don’t trust white women” etc etc there have been many recently) I had this lightbulb moment.

It doesn’t actually matter if a minority person or group likes white people. It doesn’t matter if the entire race of people thinks I am the white she-devil. It is still necessary to stand up for human rights. It is still unacceptable for people to be murdered by police. They are not judge jury and executioner. It doesn’t matter if every member of the LGBTQ community calls me a breeder to my FACE. It is still important for them to have basic human rights, job protection, and marriage equality.

And it’s not like I don’t have feelings. It sucks to hear that people don’t trust white women. Because, Hi. Hello. White Woman Speaking. My gut reaction is always “No! Don’t feel that way!” But do people have to be my friends in order to fight for safety, for freedom, for equality? I would like to think that I could hate every single man on the planet and still have expectations that they stand the fuck up in the face of rape, sexual assault, and harassment. I mean, it won’t happen, who am I kidding? BUT I WOULD LIKE TO THINK.

So anyways… no one has to be liked or given a pat on the back to do the right thing. It seems so simple, and yet… seems to be a major hurdle for many.

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.

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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?

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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.

Friday

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.