Breakfast thoughts.

Breakfast is one of the few weekday meals that I get to really enjoy and savor. The boys are usually sleeping, so I sip coffee and enjoy the quiet, thinking about what I need to do for the day. This particular morning I thought a lot about this blog and what it should be.

When I first started writing, I was a new blog reader, and I think I tried too hard to emulate the blogs I enjoyed so much. Although putting together and writing posts was fun, not all of them were from the heart. If there is one thing I’ve embraced at this point in life, it’s just being comfortable and confident with who I am. As a new mama, there are endless opportunities to question or doubt yourself, and because I’ve taken my husband’s lead, I’m focusing on trusting my instincts. 

So, what do you have to look forward to? I will just share things as they come. Currently, I’m unhappy with my squishy postpartum body, so perhaps I’ll share how I intend to remedy that. (Operative word here is intend because we all know how I feel about donuts.) I’m really into this whole capsule wardrobe idea and that could be because Most of my clothes don’t fit, but perhaps we will give that a go. I’ll share what’s cooking in my kitchen and any fun home projects that can be accomplished for $0, or somewhere in the extremely cheap price range. We did a spending freeze for one month, so maybe I will write about that. Maybe I will just write about my gorgeous twinkies and post photos because a large portion of my day is spent admiring them and taking photos of them. 

I’m not saying that I’m the craftiest, an amazing cook, a fashionista, or a parent extraordinaire, but I am looking forward to sharing all about what we are up to and how I’m making the most of each day. That hasn’t changed, and I hope it never will. Finding the beauty in the greyest of days is a part of who I am.

Happy Friday!

xo

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Enough.

Some days you feel like a rockstar, like someone is setting them up so you can knock them down. You get through your to do list with ample time and make plenty of time for smiles and laughter. 

Some days you are chasing an impossible schedule, can’t remember what you need to do and just feel like a failure. 

I am enjoying one of the latter today. I have chosen to be 5 minutes late to work so I can snuggle my babies for one more moment and write this post. Make time for what you love, right? 

You are always enough. Take it easy on yourself, I know I am.

xo

Nearly Three Months In…


Here we are, nearly three months in to being a family of four. We have had a blast and feel so lucky to be parents to these handsome boys.

My thoughts about being a mom to twin boys? I have heard people say things like, “twice blessed”, “twice as much love”, “double the love”, but for us, it’s all we know. Since we struggled for so long, I am just tremendously happy and humbled to be a mom.

Just like with one baby, we have some nights in which sleep is a distant memory. We have days when you look at them and wonder where the time went and how the heck they got so big. Unlike singleton mamas, there are days when I wish I had four arms, so I could snuggle and comfort them both at the same time. That is probably the hardest thing. I’m rarely alone with the boys because I have an amazing support system, but when I am and they are both fussy, it’s hard to know that I can’t make them both feel better. But, this comes with the territory, and it’s just one more thing to figure out and overcome. You just try things and figure out what works. Isn’t that motherhood, in a nutshell?

At this point, I’m easing back into work, struggling to get my body (or something close to it) back, and loving being a mama. Life is settling, getting out is easier, and I care again about things like socializing and washing my hair. It sounds crazy, but I swear to you that I was averaging a shower every other day and washing my hair three times a week. For those that know me, you understand how crazy that is. I normally wash my hair everyday, even though I know it’s not the healthiest for my hair. Anyway, I care again!

Things I am looking forward to, and my mini Summer Bucket List…

Getting out in the sunshine a few times a week! With the babies, the days fly by, and I can’t tell you how many times I have had the best intentions to get out for a walk, only to realize that my day was gone.

Reading for pleasure!  I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t reading about baby development or sleep training.

Cooking a meal once a week! I’ve been doing a lot of sandwiches, pasta, and finishing up our freezer meals. As y’all know, I love to cook and I miss it.

Going to a family friendly outdoor concert! My husband and I are big fans of going to outdoor concerts and we love music. In fact, Saturday mornings are my favorite because we bathe the boys, listen to music and eat breakfast together. We are introducing the boys to our favorites. Anyhow, a family friendly, daytime outdoor concert would be amazing.

Hiking! It’s one of the reasons we love living here, but we haven’t been able to get out lately.

Camping! I know this one is a bit more ambitious, but I really feel like it’s a possibility toward the end of the summer. Let’s talk about that again toward the end of the summer.

Tackle a home renovation project! An extremely cheap home renovation project. Being home just motivates me more, and unfortunately we have no money to put into the house right now. Maybe we will find something we can afford to tackle, and I can share all the details with you.

Writing a post once a week! It would be really lovely to write a little something once a week, to carve out that time for me and you. I’d also love to see how this blog evolves. Like parenting, I’m not making any plans, just trying to go with the flow and listen to my heart.

With that said, it feels great to be back here and to write a little something.

Have a great rest of your week!

xo

 

Why I’ve Been MIA

It’s been a long while since I’ve written, and it’s about time I get back to it, as I will have more to share and a slightly different feel here on the blog. Why the change, you ask? My husband and I are so happy to share that we have welcomed two healthy baby boys into the world. Our journey to becoming parents has been a long and difficult one. Since most of you readers are friends and family, you may know a bit about our story but for those of you who don’t, I feel ready to share it.

My husband and I will celebrate 9 years of marriage and 13 years of being together this coming fall. I have always known he was the one I would spend my life with, and we have always known that we wanted children. We decided to “pull the goalie” when we got married, hoping to get pregnant spontaneously, just like on TV and in the movies. I wanted to be able to surprise him with a home pregnancy test and overwhelm him with joy and fear all at once. For women who do want children, who doesn’t want that? Well, that’s not exactly how it went for us.

We married in 2007 and although we both wondered if something was wrong because it hadn’t happened for us quickly, we had hope and just figured it was taking a little longer for us. There is no shame in that. In the spring of 2010, my husband actually noticed that I was late and suggested that I take a pregnancy test–leave it to him to notice something like that. So much for the big surprise.

I took the test and it was positive. Suddenly, I felt the wave of joy and fear all at once. I scheduled a blood test with my doctor so we could know for sure, and that came back positive. We were SO EXCITED. And then, within a matter of days, the dream was all gone. We lost our first, sweet, precious baby. I have tears in my eyes as I write this because even though I have just delivered my beautiful boys, a woman never really gets over a loss like that. It was so short lived, but so real.

The sadness and depression that comes along with a loss like this differs from woman to woman but it’s all real and it’s all okay. I had a very hard time for a very long time. I didn’t want to talk about it with anyone and I felt ashamed. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for us because I kept reading that miscarriage is very common, so I felt like I just needed to get over it. Seeing that a friend was pregnant made me happy but also so very sad, and that made me feel horrible. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t move on from this, but I couldn’t. Watching TV or movies was hard because if a character lost a baby or became pregnant, I’d cry. Sometimes I’d ask my husband to go to functions without me and just tell friends that I was sick because I just couldn’t pull myself together.

For as hard as it was on me, my husband struggled too. He struggled with trying to help me pick up the pieces, with being strong for me even though he was sad too. He didn’t know how to help me because I didn’t know how to help myself. He did everything he could. He was my rock, he held me when I cried and consoled me when I needed it. Truthfully though, he was worried. Worried that I wouldn’t bounce back from it.

Eventually, it got better. 

After the miscarriage, we began learning about tracking my cycles and getting the timing right. After a year, nothing. We sought treatment at an infertility clinic and they told me I needed to do IVF, and they showed little to no compassion for the pain I felt. My experience at the larger clinic was too much for me to handle at that point. The doctor didn’t know my name without looking at my chart, and I cried after every appointment. I completely withdrew from a Western medicine approach, and I turned to acupuncture. I gave that a full year as well, and although I noticed benefits, there was no pregnancy. Everyone says that stress is your biggest enemy when trying to conceive, so we took a complete break from additional treatments. 

Within a few months, things began moving in the right direction on their own. October of 2014 my husband found our forever home. We quickly got our first home ready to sell and prepared for the real estate roller coaster of buying and selling. Luckily, our home sold quickly and for a great price, and our forever home didn’t cost a small fortune. We were left with a profit and knew it was time to face the infertility issues. I had heard of a great doctor that had a smaller practice, and in my heart, I knew this was a part of the answer. 

We moved into our new home in January, and by February I had made appointments with a naturopath, the new infertility clinic and with a new acupuncturist. I began doing Pure Barre three times a week and was determined to give my body the best possible chance of conceiving. I felt like I had my dream team assembled, and for the first time in five years, I felt positive about our chances. It took months to get there but we did it. 

I have two clear as day memories of how we achieved (what I felt was) the impossible. The first was hearing our doctor tell us firmly but with compassion that we needed to undergo an aggressive round of IVF. He showed emotion but hope for us, and he didn’t sugar coat it at all. I felt ready to hear it and ready to do what was necessary. The second was once treatment had begun. I was a little over halfway through treatment, when my doctor advised that it wasn’t going well and that I needed to prepare myself for the possibility of stopping this treatment and starting up again in a couple months. My favorite nurse held me as I cried and she reassured me that this cycle wasn’t over yet, there was still hope. My doctor increased the dosage of my medications and we continued. I was devastated and for the first time, I reached out to friends and family for support. I welcomed prayer and positive thoughts, and I felt no shame. My cousin, my hero and inspiration, suggested affirmations and visualization, so I did it. We gave it our all. 

My next appointment showed progress. It wasn’t a miraculous turnaround, but it was progress, and it was enough to keep on going. We finished out treatment and I underwent the egg retrieval and egg transfer. I only produced 4 eggs that round, very few for someone my age and in good health, and only 2 of them fertilized. We transferred the 2 and now I sit here writing this with my 2 baby boys in the pack n play next to me. 

We got lucky that it worked in the first round. That we persevered. That we were surrounded by love and support. That we had the best possible team. 

So many women have a longer, more difficult road, and my heart goes out to them. So many women don’t have a happy ending to their story, and my heart aches for them. This is just one story, my story. I found comfort in reading other women’s stories, and so for that reason alone, I’m sharing mine. 

xo

Take Me Back

IMG_2557.JPG Some days you wake up and know exactly what you want to do. This morning I awoke to the sun shining in all its summer glory, and all I wanted was a frothy latte and an almond croissant covered in powdered sugar. I longed for quality time with quality people, wished that today could be a Sunday, and that perhaps my morning could include a patio and fresh air. Take me back to last summer, to a Sunday morning with my best friend and my Dad. Take me back to a morning with laughs and conversations about travel. Take me back to a morning of leisure and not fussing with my phone, not worrying about the time, and only enjoying the moment. This photo was taken at Honore Bakery in Ballard and it reminds me of how lucky I am to have such incredible people in my life. Isn’t it funny how a simple image with no people in it can evoke such emotion and hold such a memory? xo

Currently.

READING…The Red Tent by Anita Diamant on loan from my most trusted book resource. I also read Molokai by Alan Brennert recently, another loaner from a friend, and my morning reading has been Better Then Before by Gretchen Rubin. These are all great reads!

 LISTENING…Alabama Shakes does it again. Their new album Sound & Color has such soul!

EATING…GF & DF. I had to do some allergy testing recently and my doc wanted me to go ONE MONTH without gluten or dairy. I am just over the two week mark and here to tell you that it is not easy. Cooking at home is just fine, and most meals I have made have been delicious, but eating out is extremely difficult. I’ll post more on this topic later and share some recipes. Below is a coconut curry with carrots, black rice and baked tofu.

DRINKING…almond milk lattes. My normal coffee order is an Americano with half & half, but clearly I can’t do that. I tried almond milk in my Americano but it just wasn’t doing it for me. Enter almond milk lattes — true love.

SUCCEEDING…at working out! You guys, I’m pretty proud of myself. I have been using this app EveryMove to track my activity, and I have been getting a solid 4 days a week in for the last couple months. I’ve mostly been doing Pure Barre, at least 3 times a week, and I feel stronger than ever before. I’ve also been doing some hiking and walking to mix it up a little. I’ll share more later for those of you that don’t know about Pure Barre and EveryMove. Below is a pic from a hike to Wallace Falls.

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FAILING…at blogging. For whatever reason, my life has been pulling me in many directions but not here. I’m prioritizing and doing my best, but I do miss it, so I’m going to try harder and do this in baby steps.

LOVING…our PNW weather. We have been getting so much sun already! It’s glorious and I’m enjoying every bit of it. Well, toady isn’t particularly nice, but I swear weekends have been amazing.

WAITING…for our trip to Peru! Yep, we are off to Peru in June, and I couldn’t be more excited. My planner tendencies have loved getting ready for this trip. I know, I have a lot of “I’ll share more” stuff in this post. I will though! I’ll share our itinerary, sites we are excited to see, people we are excited to see, and how I’m packing. Below is our group Pinterest board for the trip.

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WEARING…kind of a capsule wardrobe. A few weeks back I removed everything from my closet that just took up space, and I was left with the best options for me and the things I actually wear. I didn’t plan it and didn’t shop for it, so it’s what I’m referring to as an accidental capsule wardrobe. If you don’t know what a capsule wardrobe is, check out this post over at un-fancy.com.

 xo

Spring Hair

IMG_0384If you follow me on Instagram, you are aware that I cut about 10 inches and have a whole new look. Not only do I love my new hair –it literally takes 10 minutes to dry now– but I chopped my hair for a good cause. I have been donating my hair every 2 years for the last 10 years. This last one marked my fifth donation, and it feels just as good each time.

I have donated to a few different organizations; Locks of Love, Pantene ProV|Beautiful Lengths, and the latest, Children With Hair Loss. My hair grows very quickly and this is something that I can do without issue to give a little something to people suffering from hair loss, whether it’s caused by cancer, Alopecia, or other diseases and disorders.

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When it comes time to make the cut, simply pull your hair back in a low ponytail and cut about a 1/2″-1″ above that so all of the hair stays together. Make sure you are comfortable with the length, and that the length of the ponytail meets the requirements (organizations differ, so be sure to do your research). You can braid the hair, or just secure it with another hair tie at the bottom of the ponytail. Put your hair into a plastic freezer bag, then fill out the form that can be found online and put it all in an envelope to send off. That’s it.

It takes at least six ponytails to make just one wig, so if you feel inspired by these people, please DONATE. I promise that you will not regret it. Clearly this isn’t for everyone, but if you thought about it but never took the plunge, I urge you to go for it.

Happy Friday!

xo

 

Currently.

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READING…Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. Love her.

LISTENING…to Serial. I know I’m late to the game, but whoa. I cannot stress enough how good it is. Serial had me hooked from the very first episode and kept me totally entertained while packing.

EATING…way too much takeout. Gross, I know. My saving grace has been the occasional piece of avocado toast. I have been toasting the bread on the stove top with a little coconut oil, and then spreading mashed avocado over the top with a dash of sea salt.

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DRINKING…homemade ginger tea. My aunt shared her recipe with me. I used a large pot and filled it about 3/4 of the way with water, and then I chopped 2 apples (I used organic Fuji apples), grated about 1/4 cup of fresh ginger, and then added lemon slices (1 lemon). I let that simmer on the stove for about 4 hours. When it’s done, I used a strainer to transfer it to a pitcher. I served it with a little honey, piping hot. While I was sick, this was my saving grace.

SUCCEEDING…in moving! Sorry, but this is huge. I’m going to continue to pat ourselves on the back for being in the new house. As of now, we are totally moved into our master bedroom, master bath, and kitchen. Everything else is a little bit of a mess, but we are getting there, one box at a time.

FAILING…at eating well. When you have a lot going on and little access to the kitchen, it’s really hard to eat well. I’m getting back on the cooking train though!

LOVING…the new house. It feels so cozy and I cannot get over the view when I wake up in the morning. We are so fortunate.

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WAITING…to buy new furniture. We have bought a new sofa because we needed it, but other than that, we are holding off on any big purchases. For now, window shopping is where it’s at.

WEARING…leggings like they’re going out of style. I’ve been in need of stretchy pants all day, everyday with this move.

Lastly, a huge thank you to my Dad. He just left last week, and it was so great having him here. I know the dogs are totally comfortable in their new home now, thanks to him spending so much time making sure they adjusted well.

Happy Monday!

xo

Life Update // Buying & Selling

I have been MIA since October. First and foremost, all is great with us and my absence has been due to a positive change. How some bloggers have children, a full time job, undergo what we did and still make time to write, I just have no idea. I have drafted one other post in the last couple months. ONE. However, I refuse to beat myself up over this because I write out of love and do the best I can. That’s all I can do.

Let me explain.

In October I traveled to Colorado for my Uncle Tito’s funeral. He was a kind, big hearted, faithful and inspirational man. His passing brought family together like I’ve never seen before. Celebrating him made me feel proud to be his niece, regretful for not spending more time with him, and so very devastated that we lost someone with such a bright light. He is an incredible man and is resting peacefully now.

While I was away, my husband found “the perfect house”. He claims that he could feel my eye roll all the way in Washington. Since I was in Colorado with my family, I truly didn’t have much time to really entertain the idea. I did look at the link he sent and it was pretty incredible, but my mind and my heart were with my mom and my grandma. After an exhausting few days, I flew home on Sunday morning, and by the end of the day we were at “the perfect house”, peering into windows and walking the grounds. We reached out to the realtor and scheduled an appointment to see this house on Monday.

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Whoa, this is getting real.

When we arrived on Monday, we were greeted by the homeowner, a kind older man named Lyle. He was sweet, and he gave us the grand tour, including all kinds of tidbits like “this is where we opened Christmas gifts” and “I switched this breaker out in ’87”. We joke that we are this couple about 30 years ago. Char, Lyle’s wife, loves to sew and make jewelry, so she had a craft room and a jewelry making room. She also had a greenhouse! If that’s not me, I don’t know what is. Lyle had built a 1300 sq ft wood shop. This is the stuff men’s dreams are made of. I swear, when he opened the doors, angels sang and Marv’s eyes were replaced with hearts, just like the emoji. And the yard…the home is on 1.5 acres and the thought of seeing our dogs run free makes my heart so happy. The things that really make this home perfect are the compromises. Marv has always wanted land, but I’m terrified to live out in the country where it gets really quiet. I grew up with the noise of a train, I-580, and BART. Silence scares me…can we say horror movie? Anyway, this home is just off of a main road, so there is noise, thank goodness. For the other compromise, with land comes a larger house, normally. I didn’t want a 3000 sq ft home. It’s just too much house and it’s not us. This home…just under 2100 sq ft. Perfection.

I am so glad that the realtor wasn’t available, and that we got a tour from the one and only owner of the home, who loved and care for the property for 37 years. He was so attentive and forthcoming with information about the house, and we really hit it off with him and were there for just under 2 hours.

We want this house, but ours isn’t ready to list.

This was around the time I began to realize that my life would be pretty crazy for a while. By that Wednesday, we decided to go for it and list the house, buuuuut it wasn’t quite ready yet. We immediately dove into the small projects that we had been putting off for years. In addition to small projects, we had two large projects — the demo of our income property that occupied the garage and buying a new garage door. Now, we had asked multiple realtors, and for our neighborhood, a garage is far more desirable than an income property. Not to mention that the income property was not done well. Simple answer…demo and turn it into a usable garage. In addition to making it a usable garage, we figured it was high time to upgrade the garage door and get an automatic opener.  So, between our two large projects, small projects, and painting the entire interior of the home –neutral, neutral, neutral– we guessed that we were looking at two weeks for completion, which really means more like 3 weeks. If you are a DIY’er, you know this to be very true. So, here we are, October 22nd, about a month away from Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season. If we cannot complete everything within 3 weeks, I feared our home would be listed during the holidays and sit, and that we would not be able to get “the perfect house”.

Here goes nothing.

Every evening after work and every weekend was devoted to getting our home ready. Our friends and family were an amazing source of support during this time. Friends came over to help us paint and do projects, and my family was constantly checking in and offering encouragement. This time was hard for us. I was exhausted, and when I was at work, I was thinking about home projects. I wasn’t eating well, and I was worried, constantly worried. Have we bitten off more than we can chew? Halloween came and went, and one of my favorite holidays barely got celebrated. My dad offered to fly out from California and help us, but what if we couldn’t get it together in time, or what if we weren’t able to get the new house, and it was all for nothing? Not to mention, we were living in chaos. Furniture everywhere, paint cans everywhere, boxes full of things that needed to go to the storage unit, etc. It wasn’t pretty.

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We did it!

Somehow, someway, with a ton of elbow grease and help from our friends, we pulled it off. Our home was listed on November 16th, and so began the crazy rollercoaster ride of living with two dogs in a staged home. I have no idea how people with kids, jobs, and pets do this. Here is our staged home.

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Let’s get down to specifics.

We were fortunate enough to have a ton of activity on our home. Our first open house brought through 25 parties (and that’s excluding neighbors), second open house brought through 20 parties, and we had many viewings in between. In week 1, with some parties coming back for multiple visits, we thought we might actually see an offer in week 1. The market, my friends, is a tough thing to figure out. Some parties came through three times and didn’t write an offer, and worse, they didn’t have very specific feedback.

Now, this may sound crazy, but we chose to lower the list price at day 9. Unfortunately, time was not on our side. You see, in order to buy “the perfect house” we had to sell our house, so we did what’s referred to as a contingency offer. Because of this contingency, we were given two weeks to get an offer on our house before our offer on the other house expired.  The pressure was on, and it was a very stressful time. So, at the advisement of our realtor, we went ahead and lowered the price. We had two offers by day 10, and one was simply stronger than the other, so we accepted and began the next step of buying and selling, namely paperwork and inspections.

Inspections are so important. They give the buyer peace of mind about what they are purchasing and open their eyes to what projects and costs could come up, and that gives them the opportunity to walk away if these unseen issues are too grave. Lucky for us, “the perfect home” was well taken care of and we felt good about the outcome of our inspection. We did a little bit of negotiating about some things that were nearing the end of their life and would need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

Now, to be the seller on the other side of this  –it’s a little nerve racking. “Do we do that right?” “Could there be something that our home inspector didn’t catch back when we bought the house?” “Are these novice home buyers going to be scared off by a project or two?” “How much are we willing to pay out in credits for repairs?” Oy, to be on the seller side (and to be a total worrier about EVERYTHING).

We were very lucky on both ends, and after a little bit of negotiations the inspection process was over, more paperwork was signed and now we are waiting and…

Packing!

That’s right guys, we close and move tomorrow. I can hardly believe that it’s finally here.

Sigh of relief.

This has been stressful and exhausting, but there is no feeling like it. We worked really, really hard on our first home, and it all paid off, and now we are on to the next phase of home ownership. I am so excited to get started on home projects and make it our own. Just so you all know, we are going to take our time on projects. This house is fantastic as is, so we are going to move our stuff in and see what feels right. Of course, I already have a mental plan, many, many Pins, and tons of lists already, but this is it for us, so we are going to save, do our research and make good decisions. This is a totally new floorplan for us, a different lifestyle to an extent, and it’ll be a family home.

Thanks so much for your patience and support.

xo

**all pics were pulled from Zillow.com

Life in Photos: Long Overdue

I haven’t done a Life in Photos post for a long time. We have been so busy and it has been so hard to carve out a little time to write, but one thing I can do, is share some photos.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI have been sprucing up my home studio. We recently moved a bookshelf in there and I rearranged some books and supplies. I love the way it came out. I am thinking about adding some contact paper to the shelf backings to brighten this up.

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Another common occurrence in our home is soup. I recently made creamy asparagus soup and it was delicious. You should give it a try…hop over to My San Francisco Kitchen for the recipe.
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I also made this scarf! This fabric was in the clearance bin at the fabric store, and it was love at first sight. I have been wearing it constantly, just ask my husband and co-workers.

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Lastly, I have been reading Grace Coddington’s memoir, and I adore her. She tells it like it is, has amazing style and is a creative genius. As a fashion lover, reading about her incredible life experiences is so inspiring. Shout out to Keely for the great recommendation! And side note, how cozy does my bedroom look here? I love you, Fall.

xo