Every Single Day. The morning.

Early Rise after a night full of cuddles and (consequently) uncomfortable sleep positioning. The blonde curly head popping up to declare, “Ya-yee up…stairs!” that surprises you before the sun. With the cuteness factor reaching its limit, her mispronunciation of his name and the fact that “up…stairs” really means “downstairs” hardly computes.

The “I’m finished!!” bellowed from the downstairs bathroom (that generally prompts the blonde head popping) is likely all Daddy hears in the earliest hours. I can’t speak to his level of joy, but I’m often thankful for the little tiny body attached to mine that acts as my anchor to the coziness.

Then the morning hugs. There is nothing better. A moment of zen for which there is no substitute.

As I still lay in bed I often don’t have to open my eyes to recognize the careful patter of the tiniest feet and hands in the house (not paws, Mela, rather the human kind) maneuvering their (tiniest) body onto the large, antique chest at the foot of the bed in order to allow for a presentation that awakens the senses. “Watch this, Mommy!” Thump! A perfect landing, like that of an Olympic gymnast, onto the carpet below. All she needs is her arms straight in the air and her back properly arched, my fuzzy mind’s eye still in a dream-like state creates a stenciled image… and I beam with pride.

Daddy is downstairs wiping a butt… most likely simultaneously (slightly) lamenting the fact that we have no need for alarm clocks anymore. We have jobs, school, work, preschool… but because not one of these obligations begins before 6, we are well ahead of schedule. Every… Single… Day.

The whirlwind of breakfast and playtime and preparation for school/work is ever-changing and ever-the-same. I get to play with the curls and evaluate the cuteness factor of the day’s outfits, Daddy gets to prepare exciting lunches, and we all get to explain (yet again) that today is not Friday yet but school will be fun. And then we tell ourselves the same thing.

It is inevitable that I’ll feel a bit frazzled. I forget to smooth the little gal’s frizz-bop, my nails are half-painted, my lunch consists of a bottle of water and a small bag of sprouted almonds, the little guy can’t find his water bottle, or my keys are somewhere in one of Daddy’s pockets… or all of the above. However, the day is bright and new. Love, hugs and kisses abound with goodbyes. A very short commute to work with a quick call to Nonnie. Somehow the sun is almost always shining, the temperature is almost never uncomfortable, and the fluffy white clouds compliment the mountainous landscape that peaks above the homes and businesses in view.


The basics about our new life

We made it!

We are here. We feel happy. We have settled in… although living with boxes and disorganization, we are still unsure whether or not some favorite things made it over. But we have what we need. This move was a downsize, a giving of ourselves to a greater good and a freer life. We mourn a bit for some of the things we gave away, but have learned from that mourning that material things are like chocolate…yummy, filling on the surface, and addictive… but they only pretend to fulfill our basic needs and when they are gone we realize what it is we truly long for.



The day after I arrived without my family, I began work. The special ed teachers and teachers’ aides acted as if they were expecting nothing more than an illusion and …I could tell they wanted to grab my arm and feel that I was real (“She speaks Spanish too?!”). Confetti fell from the classroom ceiling in my K-2 building (figuratively speaking). As I talked to the principals, began to learn the ropes from the amazing special ed team, got a glimpse of the RtI process already in place, and began to settle in…all of the little things that might normally “turn off” other professionals new to the district such as limited resources, lack of mentorship, limited-to-none help from technology, and even some staff resistance to change and lacking flexibility… those little things remained little to me. The feeling I now had was one that rivaled that of my first year of teaching Spanish Immersion. I felt needed. I felt knowledgeable. I felt as though no one was a better fit for the position. That feeling was something I hadn’t yet had as a district school psychologist (only as a contractor when I worked for the amazing IU’s) …not because I wasn’t needed or knowledgeable, but because I finally *felt* it.


As time inches on, I have nuzzled into my position more and more (and more everyday) by allowing myself to find ways in which I can help the people around me. It is in addition to my workload, but I can’t help myself. I go in to work daily with an excitement and an appreciation for the drive I see in my administrators and close colleagues. We work with a population that has more needs than I could have imagined. Almost daily, and sometimes multiple times a day, I’m told of crises and struggles of students or their families. I’ve made it my new habit to look for ways to help…and to walk into situations ready to lend a new perspective and provide resources wherever I do not have the answers. I’m confident in a way I have not felt confident in all of my life. My administrators have directly told me that I’m incredible, that my talent is an anomaly, that they will not praise me in public for fear that I’ll be stolen. I feel as though I’m making a difference in the lives of children, families, and teachers who devote their lives to the community. Honestly, at the moment, I can’t imagine feeling more fulfilled in my professional life.

To top it off, when the weather is nice (often) I can ride my bike a few minutes to my work/schools!


Home life.

Home life is simultaneously distinct from the past and blissfully ignorant to the change in location. It is sad, joyous, tearfully nostalgic, and ridiculously perfect. Obviously I have mixed feelings. I need to first say that from the moment I stepped into life here…even when I just came (alone) to visit in August to check it out, I felt completely connected to this place.


This is where you stop reading if you don’t believe in fate, in the stars aligning, in “meant to be” and in a power greater than us. It’s here. We are in it. I followed it and have accepted that those feelings are clues to my belonging. Countless times meeting people here I felt that déjà vu that makes us say to someone, “Don’t I know you?” or “You remind me of someone; have we met?” I never felt the urge to say it…because I knew we hadn’t met (on this timeline…in this life…). In our community, in my schools, even in places we frequent here, this has happened. Although I miss our friends greatly and feel as though we are losing valuable time with loved ones in other places, this feels meant to be in a way I cannot explain.


It’s not perfect. No place is.

Adjustment for the us and the kids has sometimes been hard…especially when I wish that my mom could be here instead of a video chat, we realize how much is still left unfinished when it comes to the move, and how much we just don’t know in thinking about the future for the kids and for us…

My work is hard. I am learning so much as I go, have less time than what’s needed to do it, and sometimes the obstacles seem too great. But constantly trying to push myself to “be the change…” is exciting.

Daddy is expected to do more and be more at work and we are learning little by little how to address those needs and communicate about them.


How are they adjusting?

Little Hero says he never wants to leave California (sorry family!). He talks fondly of friends and family, but wants everyone to visit us here. When our friend Jamie visited in early October we had not yet been here 3 weeks. Little Hero told Jamie, “This is paradise.” We don’t disagree.

Lady Love is in love with her new neighbors and everything around her. Missing Mommy to full-time working is balanced by Daddy’s amazingness. She now happily waves bye-bye to Mommy (although she barely lets me go when I return). Many times, I’m able to meet them for lunch (because the lifestyle here is just fitting for us…and my work is so close). We are all adjusting very well.


Naming the fear, Examining the fear, Facing the fear… Just do it!

This blog has been waiting for me to contribute…to give it my all (or at least my teensy bit) for a year. Why have I not been doing it, when it is a love and passion of mine?anxiety-cb

It’s more than writer’s block that has been holding me back. It stems from a fear. I’ve let it sit on the back-burner without a thought as I worked to figure out everyone and everything else. (It’s easy to figure them out. The others, that is. Me? A bit more effort.)

I know where this stems from, I believe. I’ve always known that it was there and it always eats away at everything I do. It finally hit me (because I’ve been opening up to it a little more each time I let it creep into my thoughts), that if I do this little (big) thing (personal blog writing) that goes against the fear…it will be like confronting it. The only way to get rid of it, is to do something big.

Let’s review the basis of the fear. (In this case it is my fear of putting my all into a personal blog.)

1 – People will know me. I have a job in which people might want to be nosy about who I am and what I think. It might provide perfect strangers with insight into my personal life…strangers that trust me with huge decisions about their children.

And then I think, so? I sometimes share personal things about myself anyway. My children, my parents, even my trouble focusing. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of a time when I was purposly holding back something I thought to share about myself because I was afraid of what they might think of me. I only remember holding back because I didn’t want them to feel as though I was obligating them to take my personal advice (about something unrelated to what the mainstream believes to contribute to school success), or because it might seem unprofessional (too familiar). But if I sat next to them on a train, with or without my family, I wouldn’t be ashamed to share any of it.

2 – My family will be on display along with my thoughts.

And yet, my thoughts are awesome. Seriously, I have trouble containing them sometimes and would get up in front of any audience and proudly share.

3 – People who I wouldn’t tell things to…will know them anyway. (The whole, “It’s none-of-your-business” thing we were raised with.)

Two scenarios come to mind. One is the few people (very few) who I don’t want in my life. Those people have wronged me in a way that was very personal and hurtful and potentially damaging. But then writing this reminds me that they weren’t trying to step on me as much as they were trying to get higher up…trying to use me as a stepping stool without caring about how their cleats dug into my skin.So, in this case, I am no longer a stool, a stone, a step. Let them see. The wounds have healed and my scars make me confident and strong. I’m standing tall.

The other scenario is safety (or lack thereof). However, I really do believe that privacy is something we imagine to a certain extent. You are able to find out all of the really important information about anyone at any time. My thoughts are just a bonus.

4 – I can’t possibly predict who will read it and what they will think.

So, then I must go with the “What other people think is none of your business.” This is really very good for me to practice. When I write emails, have conversations, put together an outfit…I try to imagine the thoughts of others. I’ve gotten very good at it, and it just happens naturally. I try to play out all the possible scenarios. It’s rather annoying, because I’d rather just *do it*. (Side note, I’ve often thought that should be my motto. Oh, I’d love to just *do* things quickly sometimes. This is probably one of the reasons my husband fascinates me. He just does and he doesn’t look back. It is a fire-starter between us at times, but I feel like I secretly admire it. Not secret anymore!)

5 – People will judge. Not, people *might* judge…no, they *will*, Who is “they”? I have no idea really. It goes right along with number 4, in a way. I cannot predict the who or the what or the how. That is why it is scary. It’s like being afraid of the dark. The scariest part is that you have no clue what *could* be lurking.

If there is anything I’ve learned about the week a friend of mine got arrested for something stupid (on his part) and huge (life-altering consequences), it is that yes, people will judge…but more importantly it doesn’t matter. My friend may or may not know it yet, but those of us who know him, support him. We may be incredibly pissed at him, want to punch him, and can’t imagine what he was thinking…BUT those of us who cared still care. Those of us (them, actually) who are judging and whispering and gossiping…well, they were probably doing that before anyway. They do that because of them, not because of him and what he did. They are feeding something inside of them every time they disguise the hurtful words about him. The feelings aren’t created by another person. They are an itch trying to find an excuse to be scratched.

SO, applied to my own life, it makes sense too. If I’m going to be judged in any way, what better way to deal with it than to make sure that the facts are out there as much as I can control? I’ve got nothing to hide, and I want to start feeling the freedom that can accompany that. I want to live the honest, pure life I (already) lead without any weights on me. freedom-cage1

Throwing all of the fear away means throwing away the baggage. And getting rid of bags helps you move faster and feel freer. (And It’s easier to sleep on the train when you aren’t locking yourself to your luggage. At least, it is for me… but that’s a whole different story.)

In response to Mother Jones article, “Michael Pollan Explains What’s Wrong With the Paleo Diet”

first grill of summer 2014

My family eats mostly paleo. I’m AIP (more strict version of paleo) with some added-back-in foods. This article is good. However, the title is just catchy, not accurate. It criticizes both paleo and raw food diets (but not the other popular vegan or vegetarian). And the ONLY criticism of paleo stems from the assumption that people who eat paleo think that the food we have available to us is what cavemen had…specifically that we don’t know the difference between grain fed cattle (which many paleo eaters try to avoid) and prehistoric wild game. Yet, she (Cynthia Graber, the author disucssing Pollan’s take/advice) didn’t even mention the difference between the modern day grain and wild grains… even when promoting the idea that certain modern breads are healthful. That seems very biased (or ignorant to the damage modern day grains have been proven to have on gut health).

Obviously, this piece dabbles in comparisons using only a few biased assumptions.

Personally, AIP followed by paleo saved my well being, happiness, and health this year. I’m on a new path full of energy. No, nothing is for everyone… but I think articles like this may keep some people like me from taking initiative to make a positive change. “The problem with paleo” that is pointed out by this essay is the”problem” with all food today.

Bottom line: Eat the best you possibly can once you figure out what that is for you. But please don’t shy away from taking that first step into something new that seems right because of nay-sayers.


Link to original article: http://m.motherjones.com/environment/2014/01/michael-pollan-paleo-diet-inquiring-minds

Things I want my kids to learn from one another

1. Sharing my life (my mommy and daddy, toys and food) with another human can make everything more fun.
~Who doesn’t like watching the baby in a fit of giggles during a pillow fight with Daddy?

2. Respecting boundaries like personal space, waiting my turn and controlling my strength around those smaller than me might just be the key to making friends.
~It is one of the purest ways to show others you are a good egg.

3. Helping another person less able with things I can do is rewarding; it feels good to be nice.
~ Whether or not I avoid punishment or recieve praise, even if no one appears to appreciate it or notice, doesn’t control how much pride I take in my accomplishment. The reward is within me.

4. Sharing my wisdom (like teaching the newest little eater the best time to ask Mommy for a treat) only serves to benefit everyone.
~ Once the little one requests it, I jump in with: “I’d like one too please!”

5. Weaker, less developed, awkward, clumsy, bigger or smaller,  does not equal less important or less worthy.
~She might fall a lot when she walks, but she is so funny when she screams and laughs just because I’m around. She is my sister and I respect her.

6. Working together can make any chore a mini dance party.
~It’s more fun when there aren’t any grouches.

7. Sometimes you love someone just because you can’t imagine life without him or her.O and A first stare
~That might actually be the definition of love.

8. We all can’t be first, but we can all enjoy everyone’s turn on the slide.
~Go, Sister, go!!!

9. Different clothes, hair, size, birthday, likes/dislikes, or eye color means we are two different people… that’s all.
~I got chocolate and you have butterscotch. Let’s sit together🙂

♡ OM Mommy

Birthday (AIP) “sweetbread” pudding with “chocolate” sauce ~A ridiculously easy recipe~

Birthday pudding 20140402_201712 20140402_201735

Since this AIP journey of 2014, I have felt more energetic, leaner, more focused, and happier. What I had not felt is the giddiness that can only come from the moment before the first bite of a decadent dessert. Until my birthday treat tonight. Oh my; I just had to share it with you (as my first blog entry)!


Ingredients for the pudding:

1 ripe banana

2 tablespoons coconut butter

3 soft dates (mine were already soft, but you can soften them by soaking them in water)

a couple shakes of cinnamon (optional)


Ingredients for the sauce:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1.5 tablespoons carob powder (please don’t measure – I totally guessed how much I used)

1 teaspoon of raw honey

2 turns of the grinder of Himalayan Pink Salt


First, warm a pot of water. Place the jars of coconut oil and coconut butter in for a bit to soften/melt them. This also helps later on with the raw honey (the warmth of the coconut oil melts it into the sauce…and chocolate sauce just seems to taste better warm too🙂.

Make your pudding: Pit your dates. In a bowl, mash the dates. If they are still too tough to mash, use a knife to cut them into bitty pieces. Then mash in the ripe banana and the coconut butter into the same bowl. I’m not positive how much exactly (as I don’t like to ruin the fun by measuring), so add more coconut butter if it isn’t thick enough for your taste. Add cinnamon, if desired.

In a small mug or bowl, add the carob powder and pour and stir in the melted coconut oil. Add the salt and raw honey and mix well.

The thick, chunky pudding goes first in your serving dish…with the sauce drizzled on top. [Have fun with this. Presentation adds to the yumminess of dessert!]


A note about the sweetening and my sweetener journey:

If you want to sweeten this up more, feel free to add more honey or maple syrup. Since going full AIP, I have found that I’m more interested in the tastes of the actual foods and less dependent on the sweeteners (e.g., honey, maple syrup)…so you may not find this to be as decadent if you are used to more sweetness. A year ago, I would have drizzled the maple syrup itself on top. I think that the change in me is due to the fact that for the first month and a half of AIP I didn’t have any sweeteners at all… and I cut out all high-glycemic fruits too (no bananas!). It was like a fasting for me. If you are willing to try it out, I definitely recommend challenging yourself this way. It is amazing how much I now appreciate tastes on a new level. A drop of maple syrup in a recipe tastes like candy to me, meals and desserts alike are more fulfilling, and I feel less weighed down!