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.

 

Things, February

Buying a house is on the horizon. It has me scrutinizing finances and obsessing over zillow. Lately Kamel and I have been having a lot of future talks. The last few years have felt like they were riding us and we weren’t so much riding them. Our life was in fate’s hands to a certain degree. And isn’t it always? But we are craving some control back. Where will we spend our money? How and where will we spend our time? What do we want our lives to look like? We have made some big decisions about travel for 2017 and 2018. I know, I know… YEARS away, but it gets to a point where spontaneity is rare, and absolutely non existent when it comes to large purchases with small children. I know for sure that I want our lives to have more family adventures in them, kids and all. I look at our Maine vacation video and it feels so incredibly far away. But money and time and time and money and making choices that leave some things out, that probably piss off some people, but that include aspects of life that make us feel whole. It’s always a choice.

Sometimes I look at this apartment and think: we can’t possibly leave it, we can’t possibly pack all of this with two kids and move and unpack and oh god that is so overwhelming. Most of the time, though, I think: we can’t possibly stay here.

The more I work and do the jobs I do the more I feel and think and moan: I need to be running something, I need to be the point person, the lead. When is it going to be my time?

Sometimes there is so much I want to write and talk about on here and I can’t. It creates a quiet space when I want it to be loud, loud, LOUDER. Not everything is appropriate for the public. Not everything needs to be said. Even though the desire to write and discuss and share can feel overwhelming. I don’t know how true non-fiction writers do it. Every discussion I’ve ever heard about this struggle in non-fiction has ended with, “you just have to write it anyway.” But do you? Do you? For the benefit of what? I just don’t need that kind of drama or knowledge that I’ve embarrassed/hurt people in my life. No thank you.

That being said, I will say 1 thing. Opinions don’t always need to be shared. We live in a world of SHARE. Share your car, your apartment, your life, your mind, your words, share it all. Yet, sometimes… sometimes… it’s too much. It’s unnecessary, unneeded, and truly exhausting.  The way I choose to parent, the decisions I make in my life, the things I choose to go against the grain on or not think about it and flow with the main stream (see what I did there), happen whether I talk about them or not. Sharing what I do, how I feel, or my own opinions/criticisms of how other’s choose to parent/live/etc helps absolutely no one. It doesn’t change how I do me, it doesn’t change how you do you, but it does piss off and alienate people. In this corner of the mental space, we need less sharing. You do you, I’ll do me. If I have some insight to share on how I’ve done me that I think maybe other people may enjoy, I’ll fill everyone in. But there is no point in pushing and pushing and pushing however I think and feel on the masses who are just getting through their day. All it does is make me hate you. And I would so much rather not.

The Air In Here

I had big plans today to write about multi-cultural books and our favorite bilingual books and link to a podcast that I guested on that went live last week! LAST WEEK! But…. I don’t have my shit together and I am still reeling from last week’s sickness and this week’s absolutely mind fuck of a work week where I am very literally exhausted by 1pm and I’m writing this on what is only Wednesday. What is a girl to do.

So today I’m writing about a small health obsession I have which I don’t feel like many people think about. I’m going to talk about it like none of you know what I’m talking about so if you already do, I apologize for being annoyingly condescending. To the rest of you: TAKE HEED.

In the northern hemisphere it is mostly cold right now. It’s been cold, it will be cold. The southern hemisphere will catch it too, but just like, 5 months from now. But even where it is hot out all of the time – I’m talking to you equator dwellers – this is also relevant to your interests. If your interests are health… which I hope is on everyone’s “to do list.” Today I will health and tomorrow and the next day. (Is what I assume everyone is thinking all of the time, right?)

What I’m getting at is: Indoor air pollution. It’s a problem. It’s one that we don’t think about because we just live our lives in our little abodes or in our office buildings with windows that don’t open. We shutter ourselves in from the cold or the oppressing heat and we sit. In stagnant air.

Here is a little exceprt from this article by the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.

I am kind of obsessed with airing out my apartment. We need air! We need clean air! We need to recycle the air that is just chillin in my little boxy apartment, being inhaled and exhaled by all of these humans. The dusty air, the methaney air, the air that is just sitting here… collecting stuff.

I know our apartment doesn’t get great ventilation. I know this because I sit in it and I swelter all summer long with our 0 breeze and our convection-like brick exterior. So whenever it gets not bitterly cold or wet, I open all of the windows. I turn down the heat and I open our little house up. COME IN GOOD AIR, COME IN.

If you are interested in how to keep your apartment/house air on the up and up of quality – especially if you have teensy babies at home, especially if you have anyone who could be at risk for lung issues, check out this link from The American Lung Association. They offer a list of ways to keep air quality awesome.

And when you think of it, even when it is cold, open those windows up! Let the old air out and the new air in. Otherwise it’s like we’re bathing in your old bath water… for weeks or months! No! Don’t do it!