Saturday, June 24, 2017

notes on adventure: mount rainier national park


my God-sister and her family came to visit this weekend! it was a short trip, but we all had such a great time catching up and watching our sweet kids play together. katie, who is five years older than sailor, treated sailor like a little mama hen protecting her chick. she doted on him all weekend- it was so sweet to watch. 


we decided to head up to mount rainier on friday, to explore the mountain and do a little family friendly hiking! our first stop was paradise, where we got out of the car to enjoy a picnic lunch. we checked out the visitor center, where i must say, our tax dollars at put to great use! the center was big and beautiful, and park rangers were all over ready and willing to give us great hiking advise!

we walked up the mountain a bit, where we got some great pictures in the snow, let the kids get away with tossing a few snowballs our way, and were nearly blinded by the bright sun reflecting off of the snow (it's so obvious in the pictures that we could barley open our eyes up there).





after our quick playtime in the snow, we headed a little ways down the mountain and stopped at Longmire. the adults and kids had an equally amazing time hiking along the "path of shadows," where we were able to identify plants, discover 100+ year old cabins, and play in the bubbling water! the cool springs bubbled and the sulfur smell made us giggle (sailor said it smelled like "poop").



the park ranger gave each of our kiddos a book to fill out during our hike. they had to draw pictures of what they saw, write about their favorite sites at the park, and identify plants and animals. after the book was filled out, they took the Junior Park Ranger Oath, and were sworn in as Junior Park Rangers for Mt. Rainier National Park. (how cool is that?!) ps...look at them all raising their right hands!!!

i bought a little iron on patch for our backpack- we are collecting one from each national and state park (an idea i took from my very cool big sister). we drove to an ice cream shop in a tiny town outside of the park, where the ice cream was AMAZING and the town was so cool. old rainier train cars lined the streets, some were working restaurants and other looked like lodging (i would love to stay there someday). it was such a great day, exploring our mountain and hanging with family whom we love dearly.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

notes on travel: ocean shores, wa


this past memorial day weekend, we took a little drive out to ocean shores. it's a small little beach town on the washington coast where jackets are a requirement and sand dollars are plentiful.

tony's best friend grew up going to ocean shores with his family- so rob jumped at the chance to book (the exact same condo) he went to so many years ago, so that we could experience the washington ocean for the first time together! it was a perfect condo- a loft upstairs for rob and lisa's kids to sleep in, a bedroom downstairs with a king bed for rob and lisa, and our family of four slept in the second bedroom with two full beds (i slept with sailor, tony slept with easton). we cooked pizza, ate cereal in the morning, and made chili and hot dogs for lunch and dinner.


there is an amazing kite store in ocean shores- kites are in high demand out there given the excessive wind (and cold). our two families walked through the kite store and landed on four different kites,  (only one of which being successful once put to the test). sailor's classic green kite flew higher than any kite on the beach- we didn't have to work at it... it just wanted to be up in the heavens. i (of course) couldn't stop singing the mary poppins song, "let's go fly a kite, up to the highest heights, let's go fly a kite, and send it soaring....etc." (my poor friends and family were very kind to listen to my singing all weekend).

on the beach, while collecting a MILLION sand dollars, we came across a live crab- poor guy was just waiting to be picked to pieces by a seagull. we tried to help the little guy back to the ocean, but we were all a little too squeamish to pick the sucker up (it was huge!). i helped hannah find many many shells and sand dollars- and then we were told by all the other adults that we could only pick two of our favorites.(party poopers...hmph).


in two days, the ten of us walked along the beach, found horses to pet, flew kites, swam in the pool, took naps, talked theology, prayed, went for ice cream, and so much more. we packed so so much into such a short weekend- but it was all GOOD stuff.

life right now... life is good. thanks be, to God.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

one month in washington.


We’ve been in Washington for a month. One whole month. It’s been sunny and warm, and full of excitement and newness. I simply love the newness. Our house is better than I had expected, and things are a little less busy and a little less smoggy.

I’ve learned a few things in my first month. I’ve learned that “pop” means soda here in Washington. I’ve learned that there is far more love for Trump than I’m comfortable with, and I’ve learned that, men, women, babies, children, and everyone in between wear Seahawks gear every day of the week- for absolutely no reason at all. People wear jerseys in their everyday life. like seahawks gear is a part of their daily wardrobe. That’s strange, people.

On the drive to the grocery store, we see more trees than we see in all of the bay area, combined. It’s so beautiful, and green, and foresty. I’m sure I’ll grow accustomed to the evergreens, but for now, I’m in awe. Mount Rainier feels so close I could reach out and touch it- it wears a hat of snow even in the summer. The kids and I often talk about how silly it is that the outside of the mountain is so cold, while inside, the volcano is very hot. So silly, right?


Yesterday was our third day in a row of grey skies. It rained a day before that, and we decided to turn the fire place on. It’s our new tradition. When it rains, the fire goes on.

I will say- in all honesty- by day three of the grey weather, I was feeling a little zapped. I wanted to snuggle in bed and drink coffee and sleep. I was missing California a little more on day three of the grey, too. I missed my friends, I missed my mom, I missed my AA meetings, and my yoga studio. I felt a little weepy, if I’m being honest. It’s day-freaking-three of grey weather, and I’m all... weepy!

I started to question how I was going to make my writing into a real-person profession. I started questioning my ability to work, to make money, to be successful and special to people. I questioned whether or not I was an adequate mama.  I got a little teary, I bit my lip, and took a little nap.

DAY THREE.

My friend, Annie Lamott once said during a Sunday church service, “today is good Friday. It’s dark and gloomy, and sad. But we are Easter Sunday people. We look forward to the light- to the resurrection.” I really want to be an Easter Sunday person. I want to be an Easter Sunday person every single day. When things start to feel gloomy and sad, I want to see things through God’s eyes. I’m not sure, but I think- maybe if God is looking at me he’d think, “you’re just wonderful, beloved. You are right where I want you to be.”


So Washington, bring on the good Fridays. Bring on the darkness, and the gloom, and the rain. I am an “Easter Sunday person” and I know what is coming.  Light, beauty, and all sorts of Easter candy!
(These are pictures from our first hike in Mount Rainier National park!!!)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

this is going to be hard. but great. but hard. WASHINGTON


tony and I have talked about moving to the pacific northwest for as long as we've been together (almost fourteen years). the idea of moving was always something that swam around in our heads and into our hearts- but we've never gone further than thinking and dreaming...

until now.

tony has officially resigned from his job as the Director of HR for Milpitas and starts his new job in Federal Way as the Director of Employee Relations. we are so excited!!!

tony will leave next week to get started with work, meet his new staff, and begin house hunting. our dear friends live very close to tony's new job, and we'll bunk with them until we find a house to buy! Easton, sailor, and I will start our pilgrimage on July 30th.

this move is going to be bitter sweet. we've always wanted to go but making it a reality feels both surreal and all too real at the same time. leaving behind friends and family, our church, our community, our connections, our support network... I can't even begin to wrap my head or my heart around the absence of the people I love in my daily life.

but here's the great thing- we are making a brand new start. we are making a change that will allow us to live in a community that values work/life balance. we'll be able to buy a home that we can afford (and love), and we'll be living in a place that we love ( hopefully with private access to the lake!). Plus, the air is clean and the grass literally IS greener (maybe it's because of the significant rainfall- but we'll wear boots!).

I will miss the sunshine, my mom, brandi, and shaney, and lisa, and christine. i'll miss seeing my boys playing with their best buddies (buddies who are the children of my best buddies). i'll miss our church, our beautiful little church in Marin where I see God in the faces of the congregation and in our pastor- a church where I feel loved and know that my children are loved. i'll miss my AA family and my yoga community. i'll miss my girlfriends, women  I've known since elementary school- who's friendship has meant more to me than I can describe. Ironically, i'll miss being known. we've lived and/or worked in Milpitas our entire lives. we see people we know and love while shopping at target, going out to dinner, and grocery shopping. i'll miss that.

I've continued to remind myself that moving does not mean losing those beautiful, carefully cultivated friendships. they will remain, as the love and loyalty remain. the visits will be fewer and farther between but they will happen. our family will grow and change and adjust.

we'll learn to love a new church and find new communities of support. we'll become closer and live a little more simply for a while. we'll wear rain boots, carry umbrellas, and enjoy the sunshine a little bit more (for it happens a little less often, to say the least). our children will no longer consider San Francisco and it's beautiful bridge "our city and our bridge." they'll grow to love seattle and it's space needle. they'll learn to use facetime and have weekly "dates" with family and friends. we will be residents of Washington. we'll become Washingtonians. we'll wear flannel.

it will be hard. but great.






Tuesday, March 29, 2016

alignment in yoga and life.


triangle pose, or Trikanasana has been my "worst favorite" pose for as long as I can remember. I have never been able to master the strength, balance, or form- perfectly. my feet are always sliding apart, my legs want to cave in. i'm not breathing. it sucks. (*** by the way, above pic is NOT trikanasana)

a few months ago, I was doing my best to get through, what I thought was the most excruciating pose in all of bikram yoga when my instructor walked by… all of a sudden I felt her tiny hands on my hips. she made one simple adjustment. she helped to rotate my hips in, which made it possible to balance in the pose (correctly). at once, I could concentrate on using the [right] muscles and the rest of the form fell right into place.

alignment in life is similar to alignment in yoga. sometimes all it takes is one (or two) little adjustments and the balance that is family life, work life, social life, yogi life- it all sort of, falls into place.

tony and I always seem to struggle with the busyness of life. if one of us is home in the evening, the other is not. we have meetings, workout regimines, work, social engagements, showers to take, house work to be finished (which Easton is often reminding me of, the little neat freak)- all which keeps us away from each other and our kids more often than we'd like.

How does one find alignment in the hustle and bustle of these full lives we lead? First, breathe. breath is quite important in yoga but also in life. breathe into your heart- find peace and presence in the moment. go to sleep early. STOP binge watching tv shows. House of Cards will never be a substitute for rest and it certainly won't help align your heart and mind with living your best life. take a walk with your family. STOP looking at your phone all the time. there is no text, or whatsapp, or email that is worth the distraction and disengagement that "phone-attached-to-hand" creates. play with your kids (and stay engaged). eat real food, mostly plants. move.

Alignment in yoga is not about doing a pose with the greatest depth (or professional yogi-like flexibility and Instagram worthy postures)- it's about getting the basics right. alignment is about positioning your body in the right way so that as your practice gets stronger you are able to move into a pose using the right muscles- without injuring yourself as you go deeper. 

alignment in life is about getting the basics right, too. it's about knowing how to move through daily needs with balance- so that when the deeper stuff comes, you intuitively know how to move into it.  you are instinctively able to get the basics right when life gets hard and STUFF gets piled (high) on your plate.

I do yoga five times a week for an hour/an hour and a half at a time. I do life twenty four hours a day seven days a week, 365 days a year. it's important to get the life basics in check. it's important to work on daily alignment because, honestly, no one else is coming over to adjust me. it's my job to keep my alignment in check.

those life poses are far more complicated, far more intense than any yoga posture i'll ever do. life… that's the thing i want to get right- or at the very least aligned








Thursday, January 7, 2016

"mama, i wish i was a girl…"

Tonight, five minutes ago in fact, Easton told me he wanted to be a girl.



Easton padded into my room after he was tucked in, read a book, and kissed a hundred times- he was supposed to be in bed, sleeping. Instead, he walked right into my bedroom and told me about how much he wanted to bring Star Wars fruit snacks to his two friends, Mandy and Aiden, on his next school day. I quietly told him that that was a wonderful idea, as I walked him back to his bed.

“mandy brought fruit snacks for Aiden and me at school today!” he said excitedly.

“that was so thoughtful of Mandy,” I said, “she is such a sweet girl.”

“Yes. I wish I was a gwerl…” (girl).

For a split second, my thoughts went straight to Caitlin Jenner. OH NO!, was my immediate, gut reaction. It was automatic. I can’t tell you exactly how long the pause was, before I spoke- probably under two seconds. As the words hit my lips, I realized that they didn’t match my initial (oh no!) thoughts.

“what seems so cool about being a girl?” I asked, with (what I can only imagine was a curious) smile.

“I don’t know. It just does [seem cool].”

We talked about being a girl for a little while longer. I told him how much I liked being a girl, but I always thought boys were really cool too. I told him that when I was a little girl, I wanted to be a boy because boys had short hair- and I wanted short hair (he giggled at this point). I told him that one day when I was little I decided that I could cut my hair short, even though I was in fact, a girl.

I said to Easton, “we can talk more about this tomorrow. In the meantime, think about all the ways being a girl seems cool to you and I’ll tell you if they’re true, and I’ll think about all the ways being a boy seems cool and you can tell me if they’re true.” He agreed.

Here’s the truth. I don’t want Easton to want to be a girl. I honestly would prefer that he was as straight as an arrow and didn’t have any questions about his identity, sexuality, gender, etc. I would prefer this, not because I wish him to be “normal” but because I want him to have an easy life.

I know, however, that nothing- absolutely nothing promises an easy life. I’m terrified in the knowledge that somewhere, someone is going to make him feel pain. I’m terrified to know that he is a part of a big bad world that tells it’s inhabitants that they aren’t practicing the right religion, they aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, straight enough, gay enough, skinny enough, athletic enough, etc.

I am raising a sweet sensitive boy who will inevitably meet adversity and sadness head on. I don’t know what kind of adversity, and I certainly can’t protect him from pain or grief. I can, however make him understand just how special he is.

 I can validate him, love him, and adore him. I can celebrate his individuality and encourage his freedom. I can (and will) accept him. ACCEPT whoever he is. Whoever he will become. I can do all of this in the knowledge that the deepest love I can give him, is not (will never be) deeper, wider, fuller, or greater than the love that God has for him. Easton is a child- a beautiful, whole, child of God who was picked to be my son. I was picked to be his mama.

Tonight, just like every night, when the teeth were brushed, the books were read, a hundred kisses given- I held Easton tight- I looked him in the eyes and repeated some of the most important words any parent can say to their child:

“You’ve made this day a special day by just your being you. There is no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are.” (- mr. Rodgers)

My hope and prayer for Easton is this: one day he will believe those words that Mr. Rodgers (and his mama) said. I pray that he will believe that he is special and wonderful and an important part of this world. I pray that he will treat others like they are special and important, too. I pray that he will know that a person should never be measured by their sexuality, gender, career, bank account, or status- but by their generosity, kindness, compassion, empathy, and love toward themselves and towards others.


Easton, I love you. Just the way you are.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

notes on: sobriety (six years)

it was less than a year ago that i revealed a little secret. i thought about it long and hard before i decided to make my anonymous self known. you see, the biggest part of me... who i am, how i relate to the world, and what shapes me (for good or for bad) is this very tiny fact that...i am, an alcoholic. 


keeping that part of myself secret was a necessity for a long time. i needed to know a few things before i could let other people in on such a personal part of my life. i needed to know whether i was okay with myself, being an alcoholic. did i accept it? did i honor it? did i find pride, humility, joy in who i was, if who i was included this dark little secret?

 because i kept my "festive" drinking to myself (and the very few lucky individuals who had the pleasure of seeing me in action) it was hard to explain who i was as an alcoholic. i was the alcoholic of the worst kind. i endured intense erosion. erosion of the body, erosion of the spirit. the saddest part about drinking, the true plight of the alcoholic is this...the erosion is self induced. i was the only one responsible for it and the only one who could fix it. although, to be clear... God and Grace had a heavy hand in the fixing, but i was responsible for the first step. getting honest.

six years ago today, i woke up in a fog. i was hungover (for the last time).  i felt desperate, hopeless, and so incredibly tired. i sought help. i got in with a crowd of people that (if i'm honest) i never wanted to be in with. but with a little help from this special group of men and women (with similar erosion capabilities)... i learned a new (and beautiful) way of life.

i don't need to drink. i don't want to drink. and every once in a while, if the thought, "hey! one little drink might feel nice" does come up- i don't have to listen. i know how to turn that voice off. i didn't know where the off-switch was when i was drinking. the secret, my friends, is this. if i don't start, i don't have to use an off-switch. it's quite simple, but not easy. staying stopped is the hardest job i will ever have in this life of mine. it's my most important work.

what i've learned in my six years of sobriety is this. life sends babies, death, heart troubles, laughter, heartache, love, fear, and everything else (good and bad) in between. none of these, i have control over. i do, however, have control over whether or not i will live in a state of constant erosion. i choose, not to erode but to grow with grace and dignity. 

one day at a time.   (if you want to read more about my story to recovery- you can find it here)



"You've made this day a special day by just your being you. There is no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are."- Mr. Rodgers.
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