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. ┬áThe 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.

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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!

Things, January

I had big plans for last week and this weekend. Plans that included new photos and new stories and new adventures. But then we were hit with the yucks and the sicks. I sat by the toilet all day Wednesday in a bathrobe (after recording this week’s podcast of course) and suffered all night long, then was sick all Thursday. It was Kamel’s turn Friday night and then all day Saturday. On Sunday I completely lost my voice, but at least everyone in the house was able-bodied. And so far (please God, knock on ALL THE WOOD), the children haven’t started throwing up. The kids just have there never ending colds, the snot runneth over, the coughs I don’t even hear anymore. Is this part of the same virus or have they just started to layer? I sometimes ask myself. From December to April there is maybe, if we’re lucky, a 2 week period of time where everyone is healthy at once. But now that we have a 4th member of the germ-brigade, I think those 2 weeks are doubtful.

I don’t really know how this happened but this month, as we inch closer and closer to Gabe turning 3, Gabe has super turned a mood corner. He is so much fun! He is goofy and helpful and sweet and happy. He is also annoying and doesn’t listen and tunes me out like it is his LIFE’S WORK, but oh man he really is a joy. I keep looking at Kamel across the room and saying, “Three…. three’s going to be our year.” And then I scold myself a little bit for thinking anything at all lasts. Even the good stuff is a phase, Lauren… but it doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy the shit out of it.

I can’t keep my house clean or picked up. I literally just folded baby clothes last night and I looked during bath time and their clothing bin is already filled up! I feel like we always need to vacuum even though we just did yesterday. There is always stuff on the kitchen table, I’m lucky if I see the kitchen counters cleared once a week, and there is always at least 2 burners with a pot or pan on them. The bathrooms always need a scrub because I only ever have time to wash them in pieces. The sinks and the mirrors one week, the toilets the next, etc. There will never be a day where I will be able to keep more than 2 bathrooms clean. My hands are always full of baby in one form or another. Or I’m doing the other 5,000 things I need to be doing. Picking up toy cars, refilling wipes, setting out clothes for the kids for the next day or bedtime, oh and the working. The working that has me staring at all of the house things I don’t have time to do because I’m working from home. And the working is hands on, must be present, must be sitting at my computer 8 hours a day – WORKING. The other big part of this is that we need a bigger place. We don’t fit here anymore. There aren’t places to put everything and the places for the things that do have a home are too small. We are bursting at the seams. I hate it.

Kamel and I are going on a date this Friday. What! The last time we went on a date-date, like out to a dinner in a fancy way date, was… when I was pregnant… and we were testing out a new babysitter. I’m trying to remember the month…. but I can’t for the life of me. I remember where we went! And we were like “we should come here more!” and then we never went anywhere ever again. Until this Friday! I even made reservations somewhere! We have plans to go on a date once a month! So look for highlights in future posts.

This spring and summer is going to be exceptionally busy. We have a trip to visit family in Miami in April, Fae’s first birthday in July, her baptism in August, two weddings in the fall which mean wedding events in the summer. Lots and lots going on. My brain has already moved on to sunnier days and trying to brainstorm outfits for all of these things. Maybe I should finally buy a bra first and throw away all of the nursing tanks I have been exclusively wearing first…

Weekending 37

This weekend was COLD! Which I love. I love seasons! I love the cold! I love the crispness! I love the snow! I even enjoy the rain. It doesn’t keep us inside, it just makes for more interesting adventures! And my god, this place is beautiful on those cold, crispy, clear days.

New Years for us was uneventful. More time at home with the kids, exploring beaches and play areas, running errands, trying to get Gabriel to eat other things besides yogurt. You know how it goes.

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(Not pictured…. unfortunately…. the massive cold and surprising (To Kamel… haha) SPLASH from that log)

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