40 Thoughts

As of yesterday, I have survived 40 years on the planet.

I am not blah because I’m depressed about getting older. I’m just blah for no reason. My love is deployed and it sucks. We are in the last few days of summer before school starts. The kids are blah. It’s hot as hades here (110-115 degrees with the heat index!) Other than swimming or spending a load of money, there’s just not much to do. We’ve been to the library. We’ve been swimming. We are all just blah.

Usually for my birthday I do burpees. Birthday burpees to celebrate physical fitness, and the fact that I CAN do burpees. I can do 40 of them and that’s awesome, but I wasn’t feeling it this year. What I am feeling is a bit introspective. So here are my introspective/sober/blah/40 thoughts on turning 40.

  1. I like getting older. And wiser. I wouldn’t go back to my 20s for anything. I want to be the woman who has long grey tresses and rocks them!
  2. Authenticity is paramount. I’m tired of all things artificial. Hair dye, fake nails, pretending, small talk, covering up, stuffing down, fake friends, and phony niceness. I’m done with anything that is not real. It physically exhausts me.
  3. I like the clarity of sobriety. I’m doing the work and it’s good. It’s hard. So damn hard to deal with myself. Liking clarity and enjoying the process are two very different things.
  4. I LOVE that there are so many books in the world. I want to read any and everything I can get my hands on. I love to read everything – trashy fiction, poetry, autobiographies, cookbooks, self-help books, parenting how-to’s, and anything else that strikes me. Blogs, articles and news, too! The thing that bums me out is there is not enough time to read all the things!
  5. Movies are a wonderful escape. I love movies and always have. Much like books, they provide a brief respite from the monotony of everyday life. I love the way I’m transported to faraway places and events through the medium of film. And I love watching my kids’ face light up while watching a movie or busting out in spontaneous laughter.
  6. Deployments suck. They just do.
  7. My dogs have my heart. We are so undeserving of their love, but I will continue to soak up all the grace they extend me daily.
  8. Coffee is necessary. Adulting is hard. Coffee helps.
  9. Will this matter 100 years from now? An old friend used to say this and it has stuck with me. “Will this (whatever the situation was/is) be important 100 years from now?” If not, perhaps it’s not as important as I’m making it out to be. In other words, don’t sweat the little stuff.
  10. Exercise is still a passion….but…. I think I will always love movement and working out. It’s one of my tools to maintain sanity, as well as physical health, but it doesn’t hold the same spot anymore. I’ve always gone in spurts and waves, loving it, being consistent, then taking a break, then getting back at it. Overall it all evens out. I will never be a couch potato like I was before 2011, but I’m currently riding a wave until I feel as passionate about it as I have in the past. Sometimes you just need a break, and that’s okay.
  11. Meatfree is for me! I have done the vegetarian thing off and on for years, but never gave up cheese and milk. I feel so much better without dairy and meat – I was shocked at just how much better I felt (less aches in the morning, fewer allergy symptoms, less sluggish, etc.) I will likely always loathe mock foods, but have no plans of going back to omnivore land.
  12. Going against the norm is hard, but sometimes it’s the only thing you can do. For sanity. Courage is required. Doubts and second guessing, yes, but ultimately you know when it’s time to disengage and self-preserve.
  13. Perfectionism can suck it. Some days good enough is sufficient.
  14. Therapy isn’t a dirty word. It’s not “airing dirty laundry in public”. It is a valuable tool to get out of one’s own head and see things from a different (outside) perspective. It provides not only a necessary and safe witness to unpacking baggage and pain, but the tools to move forward in a healthier way.
  15. This. images-1.jpeg
  16. There is something about water. I have some of the most profound thoughts in the shower. The minute the tap is turned off? Yep! All gone with the water down the drain! I need to get one of those waterproof notepads for the shower…
  17. Kindness counts. Just don’t be a jerk. Not that hard. Everyone has bad days, but don’t take it out on the other cars in traffic, on the barista, or anyone else.
  18. You gotta be some kind of stupid to drink then get behind the wheel. Just don’t.
  19. Be still. Sit in the uncomfortable. Feel the stuff. Breathe.
  20. Holding grudges holds you. Being angry and mad and hanging on, replaying scenarios (real or imagined) is exactly like taking poison and waiting for the other person to fall. It keeps you bound up in the past.
  21. Be creative. Do something, write, draw, make music – whatever – but express it. Even if no one ever sees it. There is value in creating.
  22. I don’t feel like an adult. When someone calls me “ma’am”, I’m still looking over my shoulder thinking they must not be addressing me. People keep getting younger, but some how I don’t age….Ha!
  23. Overwhelm and exhaustion are signs! Listen to them.
  24. Being alone and being lonely are different. Being alone is okay. Sometimes it’s necessary. 
  25. Self care is more than taking a damn bath. Self care is so much more than a stupid pedicure or some other temporary something to do. The phrase has become cliche. Self care in action is taking time, getting enough sleep, eating well, making yourself a priority on the to do list  and not a last resort. This doesn’t not make you selfish.
  26. All the Brene Brown things. Seriously. Read her books. Truth, truth, truth.
  27. Music is a must. All the music. The guilty pleasures, the tunes that make you think, the ones that make you cry….all of it.
  28. It’s only #28? Do I have 40 thoughts?
  29. Change is the only constant. Better to embrace it than to fight it. Change will always win.
  30. Self-improvement is a worthy endeavor. Even when it’s not successful. Even when it takes try after try after try.
  31. Sing. Even if you don’t sound good. Sing anyway.
  32. This too shall pass. Kind of tied to #9. Ride the wave. The intensity will likely fade over time.
  33. Few things feel as good as clean, crisp, sheets. Life is too short for pilly, cheap sheets to sleep on.
  34. Travel. It opens minds and hearts in ways you can’t imagine until you experience it.
  35. Home is where you make it. Home doesn’t necessarily mean where you grew up. Home is where you choose.
  36. Service. Serve others in some way. Both the giver and the receiver are blessed, but the giver is more than you might think.
  37. A good mug makes the contents taste better. I don’t know why, but a good, thick happy mug makes me smile from the inside.
  38. Little things matter. If something matters to you, it matters. It’s valid.
  39. The older I get, the less I know. There is so much I am unsure of, lots of grey area. I am wary of people who are certain they have it all nailed down.
  40. Grace, Hope, and Love. Without these, we have nothing.

Happy Birthday Jacob! 

My kid is 7 today. My “On this day” Facebook feed is me every year exclaiming how “I can’t believe he’s ___ years old already!” Time is such a fluid concept both rocketing so fast and crawling by simultaneously.

7 years ago I became a mother. Parenthood changes us, beeaks us open to a different version of ourselves. It’s hard to imagine life before these little people, these ones we feel like we’ve known all our lives the minute we meet them. I remember thinking, “Oh! There you are. I’ve been looking for you and didn’t even realize I was searching.”

7 years. I’m going to blink and it will be 7 more. For now, I’m going to revel in this day.

Happy 7th birthday Jacob!



Here’s What I Want You to Know….A Letter to My Daughter

Dear Sweet Girl,

You will be 5 in just a few short days! The time goes by so fast (and slow simultaneously) I know that I’m going to blink and you are going to be asking me for the car keys. *Shudder* While it may be awhile for some of these, there are some nuggets of wisdom I would like to pass on to you. Life stuff, girl stuff, love stuff – a bunch of stuff. Growing up is hard. Here is my advice for just some of it…

Make up

Right now you are far more interested in dirt, keeping up with your brother and showing me how strong you are. You are starting to express yourself in more sparkles, pink, tutus, and purple. There will no doubt come a day when you want to wear makeup to go along with your creative outfits. Understand that no matter what other people do, when it comes to make up – do your own thing. Less is more. Trust me. Unless you are in the school play on a stage, you don’t have to cake it on. Use make up to enhance, not mask.  You are beautiful just as you are. You don’t need makeup before you engage the world. Even if I wasn’t your mother, I would think you are beautiful without it. Seriously. As cliche as it sounds, true beauty will shine outward from within. Make up doesn’t make you. You make you.

Watch this (when you are old enough to handle a sprinkling of language):


Find something that you love and do it. Regularly. I don’t care if you don’t like the same things I do. You’re you. Find what you are passionate about. Soccer? Gymnastics? Yoga? Softball? Do what you love, not what you think your father or I want you to do. Finish what you start. If you decide you want to run track, but decide you don’t like it after 3 days – sorry. You need to finish that season. You don’t have to do it again, but we finish what we start. Even when it’s hard. Sometimes it takes a while to fall in love with an activity.

Those Girls

You know the ones. The girls that are always perfectly put together, they have the greatest style that appears effortless.  Their lives seem amazing compared to yours. Trust me, that’s not the case. They have their own insecurities, worries and problems just like everyone else. Don’t try so hard to be cool that you stop being yourself. Popularity wanes. It’s fickle. If you have to compromise what you believe is right to gain approval – they aren’t worth it. They aren’t worth YOU.

Listen to this song:


Like me, you are a deep feeler. Things affect you. There is nothing wrong with that. If you need a good cry to feel better – do it. Tears are cathartic. Have your moment. It is far easier to cry when you need to, than to bottle up your feelings and not deal with stuff. Even when it’s painful. The only way is through the pain. Learn to sit in the uncomfortable. It will be okay.

Significant Others

They say that 90% of your happiness or misery is a result of who you choose to spend your life with. I agree. You can go through the roughest of times, but clinging to each other while life is chaotic can be what gets you through to calmer waters. You may not be besties with your spouse, but you should like them as people. You should want to spend time with them, even if you aren’t doing anything special. The romance and infatuation of the beginning of any relationship will fade over time. When the adrenaline of falling in love subsides, be sure there is a relationship to nurture when that happens.

Choose someone who treats you the way you deserve to be treated. Do not stand for anything less. Like Maya Angelou says, “When people show you who they are believe them; the first time.”

Look for someone who makes you laugh. Laughter will see you through all kinds of things.

Don’t buy into the lie that you have to be with someone to “be complete”. No one will complete you. You complete you. There is no one true soul mate. There are people with whom you will be more compatible than others. When you choose someone – choose that person over and over again every day. Love is a verb.


If you choose to have kids, you’ll have so many ideas of what you want to do and how you’ll do things. Things you swear you’d NEVER do, things that you think you would ALWAYS do. Be wary of the always and never statements. I’ve found I’ve had to eat my words on more than one occasion for all the times I swore “I would never….”. Trust your instincts, even if it doesn’t feel like you have them. You do.

You will make mistakes. Lots of them. You are not perfect. I am not perfect. No parent is perfect. It’s okay. When you mess up, ‘fess up. Apologize. Make it right.

Listen to your children. Hear them. Don’t be so busy that you miss them growing up. You will have far more distractions than I did growing up. I feel like it will be even more challenging for your children to keep the distractions at bay long enough to grasp the really good things in life. I will not tell you to “enjoy every moment”, because truthfully, some moments just bite. They do. But you will get through them. Your kids will grow you in all sorts of ways you never thought possible. And you will know the meaning of unconditional love. You’ll think you know before, but when you hold that child, your child in your arms – you will feel the depth of love that you have never felt before.


Not until you’re 18. Don’t get one just because. The longer you wait the better. Make it mean something.


When people ask you what you want to be when you grow up, think in your mind, “What do I want to do?” Your occupation is not who you are. It doesn’t define you. When trying to figure out what you want to do for work, ask yourself the following:

What am I passionate about?

How can I use what I’m passionate about to help others?

Is there a way to make a living doing this?

What you think you want to do at 18 will undoubtedly be different than 28. And perhaps even 38. Your interests will change. What ever lights your fire and sparks your passion may change. That’s okay. Most likely there will be a common thread among your interests. Be enthusiastic, optimistic and courageous. If it’s a little scary – that’s often a good sign. Whatever you choose – when you do it, it shouldn’t feel like work. It’s a livelihood.

I can’t wait to see what life has in store for you!

I love you and always will.

Happy (almost) 5th Birthday!

Happy Birthday Jacob!

Here we are again, another year has past
and I’m sitting here thinking it went by so awfully fast.

This turning six is a big deal
“I should be treated as a grown-up!”
is how you say you feel.

And while you feel you’re good as grown
I’ll have to stop you right there
I am just not ready,
nope, no where near prepared.

It’s time to just slow down a bit
Take the moment and savor it.
Looking back over the year of you
A move, new house and starting school, too.

Lots of changes came your way
Reading, writing and ‘rithmetic
And lots and lots of play!

You love your new teacher
Her color system works the best
Getting purple or staying on green
is your daily quest

You love Monopoly
And have caught on so quick
We play and you beat us all
We need to learn your trick!

You love to chase the dog around
He likes to chase you, too
Playing fetch and giving loves
Is what you (both) like to do!

I can’t imagine a single day
Without a Jacob in it
I love you birthday boy
And your charming spirit!

IMG_7374 IMG_0349 IMG_6637 IMG_6567 IMG_6012 IMG_5900_2 imgsvr.ashx cropped-1175430_10200601260498396_1035805892_n.jpg IMG_3547 IMG_3522 IMG_1352 The sun is back... and so is my sanity! I Love You Jacob, by Mommy I Love You Jacob, by Mommy I Love You Jacob, by Mommy I Love You Jacob, by Mommy Photo Fun! Hannah Is 2!! Hannah Is 2!!image Billy Lee 240 524052_3374508445934_886662501_n 67239_4364940326112_169602909_n 858397_4485236613444_1639223181_o imgsvr.ashx imgsvr.ashx imgsvr.ashx imgsvr.ashx IMG_4301 IMG_6256 IMG_6766

Birthday Fitness Trifecta

So I had a crazy idea…and recorded it this morning, you know, for accountability. There was no way I could put this out there and then not do it.

After my 37 laps, I relaxed and refueled back at the hotel room. Because it was still much to warm outside, I decided to wait just a bit longer.


An hour after this picture was taken, it had cooled all the way down to 82. (There really needs to be a sarcasm font.)

Time for the burpee extravaganza. Behold, my need to work on correct form, among other things.

After that “fun”, it was on to the run portion of my little endeavor. Here I am all happy with myself because the damn burpees are done!


And yes, it’s still a bazillion degrees out. I ran 3.72 with zero elevation as hilariously evidenced by the chart on my Garmin. Definitely no Whidbey Island hills here!

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 10.30.32 PM

While swimming, doing burpees, and running, a few things occurred to me.

1. Putting things up on social media creates accountability. I use it. My inner sloth needs that counteraction.

2. Sunblock is essential. I applied, but not enough. I am currently a lobster.

3. I could have easily not said anything about my birthday plans. I could have done my little exercise birthday thing and not recorded it. I didn’t have to post it after it was recorded. But I did. Do I look like a “fit” person? Nope. Do I fit into a size 6? Nope. Will I someday? Maybe. (Do I want to be featured on the People of Walmart site? Definitely not!) My point, though, is to move; to be healthy. I’m not a decoration for clothing. My function is not to be small, pretty, a size 0, have thighs that don’t touch, or any other physical aesthetic. I’m a person. I will not feel bad for taking up space, moving in that space, keeping up with my kiddos in that space, or feeling comfortable in my own skin. I love feeling strong. I feel better in my body when it moves on a regular basis, and I feed it the way I should, consistently. My goal is health. And to teach that to my children. I will not hide behind cameras until some elusive someday. Someday is today.

4. The gift my husband gave me this year was time. Time to do the things that light me up, that make me feel like me, and not simply the roles I am in our family. What a valuable gift. I am beyond grateful.

5. It’s time to get back to business. I am no longer as healthy as I was two and half years ago. I could blame the 15 month deployment, the kids, etc., etc., but really – the truth? The truth is I got complacent. I let things slide. My diet wasn’t where it should have been. I didn’t work out as often. Earth shattering? No. It’s just time to not be complacent any longer.

Here’s to another year, a new beginning in a new home, and lots more faith, fitness, family and fun!

Happy Birthday Hannah

Oh happy Hannah!image
How lovely you are
With your silly smile and goofy grin
You make everyone join on in!

You are turning 4 today,
So excited are you
Surprises are what you’ve wished for
And that I think we can do!

“Let’s play family!” is your daily request
(You could play it all and every day!)
“Alright, I’ll do my best!”imgsvr.ashx
Is what I always say

I love the way you snuggle in
And love to be held
Not only in my arms
But in my heart as well

Your sparkly eyes they dance
As they look expectantly up at mine
With your excited wide grin, you pull me in
Every single time!

I love to watch you laugh and play
You’ll forever be my baby girl
No matter how old you are or where you go
You’ll always be my world

Christmas 2011

Looking back, I remember
when they brought you up to me
Rarely do we imagine as parents
how it’s really going to be

Life with you is so much better
than anything we could dream
You make us laugh, and charm us all
I’m sure everyone would agree

We wish you the happiest of days,
today especially
Let the fun of 4 begin
And never let it end!

We love you Hannah!

Happy, happy birthday sweetheart!


We love our dawgies!
We love our dawgies!
Outfit complete!
Outfit complete!
First Fish!
First Fish!
Hawaiian girl!
Hawaiian girl!
Ready to swim!! Well, almost...
Ready to swim!! Well, almost…
Cards, anyone?!
Cards, anyone?!
Crazy things!
Crazy things!



It’s quiet all around
as we celebrate you
Our family and friends start to arrive
Comfy in your pjs, in your gifts you’re ready to dive!

This year you said “Batman”
so that is what we did
Blue, black and yellow
You are such a fun big kid!

You are 5 today and every year
I say “I can’t believe how fast”
But really!?
Has ANOTHER year already past?!

A bit mischievous, funny
And ridiculously smart
Often it’s hard to keep a straight face
And do my “parenting part”.

Laughing and rough house,
Hide and seek and boo!
Pillow fights and “let’s scare dad!”
Is what you love to do!

Oh little man, how I love you so
You have taught us both more than you’ll ever know
You are 5 today and it’s just the start
It’s true that kids simply take your heart

You have taken mine, sweet little boy
There was never a doubt
That though you stole my heart
You are someone I could never live without.

Hope this will be a day to remember
A day filled with laughter, friends, and fun
Happy birthday Jacob Levi
Love Daddy, Hannah, and I.




Birthday. Or as I like to call it, Birthmonth.

Why not have the whole month instead of just a day to celebrate how awesome you are?!

Birthdays are just fun. I love birthdays, and have since I was a kid. As an adult, it’s usually not as acceptable to run around telling everyone, “Hey! It’s my birthday!!!!” as you would when you are 5. (Much the way my son and daughter do!) Now with social media, family and friends can get “reminded” of your birthday so you get TONS of birthday wishes on your big day – all day long! GENIUS! It just makes you feel loved.

This year my husband, who rarely is able to keep a surprise for me secret for long, had been plotting for a few months. He conspired with some of my friends and made a lovely video of them wishing me a happy birthday. It was awesome. I full on ugly cried.

I think I was touched by the fact that people usually don’t say these types of things to your face. It was awesome, and I LOVED it, though it made me miss our faraway friends!

After playing with the kids in the morning, my sweet niece came to watch the minions while we had a night out. It was Prowler Ball (Electronic Attack Squadrons all get together for a pseudo “prom”, but instead of tuxes, everyone is in their dress/dinner white uniform!) Cocktails, dinner, dancing – KIDLESS for an evening! It was so much fun! We had great adult conversation, with HOT meals, all gussied up! I even wore heels that I haven’t worn in years – and didn’t fall down! We even dusted off our dance moves that we haven’t used in about 6 years.


This was by far one of my favorite birthdays to date. Thank you family and friends for such wonderful words, birthday wishes and taking the time to conspire with my wonderful husband!

I definitely feel loved.

Tomorrow You Are Three!

Hannah is three?! Wowee!

How in the world can that be!?


Weren’t you just added to our family?

My the time it really does go so quickly!

Growing up so fast into such a ‘lil lady

No longer my squishy little baby.


You crawled, walked, played and more,

Living in our paradise out by the shore

Wowee!!! Jacob is 3!!!


Washington soon was calling us back

I think the change gave you a heart attack!


Quite the difference –  rain from the sun

But you never let it stop you from having all kinds of fun!


We planted a garden and watched it grow

Strawberries and corn to harvest and show



Spending the summer here without your father

We kept ourselves busy, you, me and your brother


Speaking of siblings, I think it’s safe to say

You adore “your Jacob”, playing together all day

Board games, the swings, it makes no difference to you

Playing chase, hide-and-seek, it’s what you love to do!


Your sweet face is endearing, infectious your smile,

Charming us all with your own sense of “style”!


Your giggles and laughs, they are so sweet

Engaging everyone you meet!




You’re “I think I can” will take you far

So proud of what you can do – you know you’re a star!



Loving and kind, and oh so playful

We are so thankful for you, our beautiful angel.



Be who you are and you’ll never miss

Blow out your candles and make your wish




We love you sweet Hannah, tomorrow you are three,

We love you so much,


Your Jacob, your Daddy, and Me

I Love You Jacob, by Mommy

I love You Jacob, by Mommy

I love you Jacob because you are my sweet, sweet little man. I love the way when we are walking you still like to hold my hand.

I love you Jacob because you talk and talk and talk (and talk some more!), telling me about all of the things that you adore.

I love you Jacob because you have learned so rapidly, “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me” you now use so happily.

I love you Jacob because you are loving preschool this year, ABC’s and 123’s, you’ll be reading before long my dear.

I love you Jacob because you are a great big brother. When you show her how much you love her, it sort of makes me blubber!

I love you Jacob because you love to read (especially books that rhyme!), Dr. Seuss, and you and me – I’d say that’s sublime!

I love you Jacob because you are no longer three – three has been a bit hard on me, you see. It started out so quietly. But after this year, I might need some psychiatry!  (All joking aside, I have to say, I wouldn’t want you any other way.)

I love you Jacob because you are who you are without apology, I admire that about you – that special quality. The focus and spirit that you possess, will no doubt bring you much success.

I love you Jacob because you are turning four. We are opening a brand-new door and I just can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Happy Birthday my dear sweet Jacob!
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