Baby Baby Bumps

It’s been a busy few months!  Running a business, working full time and making a human.  I haven’t blogged in months and ceased right around the time of prime morning sickness.  So as the baby bump grows I’m learning how to navigate the other bumps that come along with it.

I’m super lucky to not have to have had medical intervention to make this pregnancy possible.  In fact, we were on track to see a fertility specialist after a few years of unsuccessful attempted procreation.  The week before the appointment I suddenly felt a wave of hot flash and unease.  I took a test and lo and behold there was THE LINE.   In disbelief I kept my appointment and the doctor laughing said “you did it without me!” The adventure begins.

Month 1 – Sick sick sick.  Everything makes me puke.  Chicken is disgusting.  Eggs are vile.  I come home to the house smelling like raw chicken and I want to move immediately.

Month 2 – Now everything is disgusting.  All food.  Ice chips are good.  My headache never stops. I wake up 8-9 times a night to pee.

Month 3 – I discover oranges and tangerines are my saviors.  I eat them non stop. My mouth is always dry.

Month 4 – I consume 17 pickles for dinner.  Hot and spicy.  Headaches go away.

Month 5 – I go on a frozen yogurt diet.  I sleep one weekend for nearly 15 hours straight.

Month 6 – I cannot stop eating.  The 15 pounds I lost in the first trimester have seemed to reappear overnight.  I wake up at 3 am consistently very hungry.  Suddenly those stretchy pants don’t seem so funny.

Month 7 – The eating continues.  I only wanted vegetables, water, and fruit. Mostly tangerines for the first several months.  Now Taco Bell seems like haute cuisine.

Because we are older (okay because I’m older) I get to have so many appointments my head spins. This along with managing all the other day to day aspects of a pregnancy and life in general have been interesting.

Luckily, I have the best partner in the world.  Props to anyone has done this alone. I don’t know how and I’m in awe.  Also, I have found some things that have helped immensely.

  • Sour food (Preggie pops from my dear friend May are a hit)
  • Lotion, lotion, lotion for all the skin itchiness that comes with growing and showing
  • Water and more water.  The getting up at all hours sucks but the hydration is a lifesaver.  I guzzle until 7 pm.
  • Sleep. This goes without saying.  Sleep a lot.
  • Stay busy (counter intuitive to the above) but I continue to work normal hours and run my company seeking contracts. This keeps me sane and feeling like I’m productive and normal.
  • You don’t have to share your news until you want to.  I kept it quiet until about month 4/5.  Heck some people still don’t know.  That’s just fine.
  • Nod when strangers give you all their ‘advice’, smile and do your own thing.
  • Listen to your body.
  • Don’t feel bad if you are not a hot crying mess.  I keep waiting for the crying and the emotions.  The only thing I get is hangry and it’s easily solved with a granola bar.
  • Enjoy the ride.  And letting your tummy be all round.
  • Don’t over research everything to death.  WebMD is not your friend.  There is a fine line between being educated and freaking yourself the f*&C( out.

That is all from this 7 month and some change pregnant old lady.

The next blog will focus on  my favorite thing minimalism and productivity huzzah!!

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Election Tensions and Gratitude 

Wow it’s been months since I’ve blogged.  A true testament to the hectic pace I’ve been running at. Starting a company, active lobbying, managing projects, clients, and throw in a contentious election, a political convention, a major protest in Indian Country, trying to sell one house while setting up another – all a recipe for being in a time crunch and emotionally overwhelmed!

First things first.  This was a crazy Presidential election cycle.  More divisive than any in recent history.  It seemed to bring out the ugliest in many.  Unfortunately that piece seems to have continued.  While many of us are finally able to breathe, even if raggedly, it feels as though the small respite from politics is just that – small. Between now and the end of the year while there is a lot at play in the waning days of the administration and Congress now more than ever voices and advocates are needed. 

So how do we keep it all together? Whether your plate is full of stuff like mine or full in a different way, how do we keep from becoming overwhelmed with the emotional strains of taking care of family, work, and life?  I wish I knew.  I’m thinking that gratitude plays a critical role here.  I had somewhat of a challenging year, as I’m sure many of you had, and up until about 2 months ago I carried an anger and bitterness in me that I couldn’t shake.  I felt cheated, angry, and generally pissed and sour.  I didn’t wake up one morning “fixed”.  I woke up one morning and realized I was missing the point. I did the unthinkable I gave myself permission to be mad but to not carry it anymore.  I let it go.  I didn’t forgive I just said to myself “I’m grateful for what I have and I’m letting go of the anger because it’s not helping me anymore”. I let the universe take it.  A sort of cosmic “ain’t nobody got time for that”. I figure let the universe throw the bird for me. Some days it creeps back in and I remind myself to just shake it off. 

Gratitude – it seems like a good time to remind ourselves that this is an important part of taking care of ourselves. It’s amazing how that shift of being grateful despite it all changes our approach to things and thus the outcomes so completely. 

Right now in this time with so much going on in our world – parents aging, jobs changing, civil unrest, uncertain economies, and the disappointments of day to day living I choose to think of the blessings of family, good friends, having a job, the joy of too much work, dirty kitchens, dog hair, soft pillows, good food, pickled carrots, Mary J Blige, and wireless headphones and I feel empowered to start again with the next sunrise. 

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Productivity in the Morning

I am a productivity junkie.  If there is a blog, vlog, podcast, or article on the subject of productivity and life hacking I’m all over it.  Like many I sometimes feel that if I had just a few more hours in the day I could get more done.  Sadly we are all given the same number and we have to make due by being smarter and more efficient.   Over the last several years I’ve determined what works for me and what doesn’t.  Always making tweaks and adjustments along the way to live the best life I can, be as productive as I can, and to ultimately to live out the goals and dreams that I have set for myself.  This post focuses on my mornings.

My morning routine:

First, and I say this begrudgingly, I find that waking early gives me a better start to my day.  There is most certainly truth in the wisdom of our grandmothers and their requirements to wake up early and greet the dawn and the diyin (holy people) with a contrite heart and spirit.  I find that waking up early, while certainly not my favorite thing to do, helps set the pace for my day.

So the alarm goes off at 5, 5:15, 5:30 and eventually we wake up and walk the dogs about 2.3 miles.  I am not a happy elf at this time.  Sometimes I am.  Usually not.  Joe can attest to this.  He swears he is not a morning person however, I cannot fathom how one wakes up as chipper and in my words “pooping rainbows” as he does, without being a morning person.  I digress.

On our way out the door with dogs I try to drink water followed by a to go cup of coffee.  After we bring the dogs back then its exercise followed with breakfast.  In that order.  I also am not a natural ‘eat first thing’ kind of person but this is helpful for managing my weight and energy levels during the day.  I tend to gain weight very quickly and easily so even with exercise I struggle.  So exercise is critical and best done and over with early.  I usually walk or run another 2 miles.  I do these activities with minimal distraction.   I try try try (and often fail) to not check my phone until after I’ve eaten.  Breakfast is usually an egg with vegetables (spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, or some combination of whatever we have in the fridge).  This morning it was zucchini, butternut squash, corn, and onions.  

Tuesday breakfast: squash, tomato, egg with cilantro

To avoid the late morning sleepies we stay away from all the yummy stuff like cereal, pancakes, french toast, pastries, sugared toast and generally the stuff I really like, saving it for a treat on a weekend.  I read the paper.

Third, I get ready for the day at a snails pace.  I take my time. I might pause and play a game on my phone here. Seriously, Blossom Blast or some such along with some more non paper news is great and wakes up the brain further.  I like using Flip Board to aggregate my news sources.

Lastly, I will document my to do’s and review my schedule for the day noting any meetings and obligations I have to attend to.  See my earlier post on my planner about more on this.

After all that I will usually down another cup of coffee and head out the door feeling centered, informed, and ready to face my day.

This has taken some discipline and maturity which I have not always possessed.  In the not so distant past my mornings were usually trying to get as much sleep as I could since I would have likely made it to bed well after 11 pm, hurriedly getting ready, dashing out the door, grabbing a coffee on my way, skipping breakfast or having a pastry at the coffee shop, exercising once a week, and generally just not in my best form.  Sleepy, tired, chronically dehydrated.

Things that are not helpful for this routine and they are painfully obvious but we, as humans, do these things often:

Not getting enough sleep, watching too much TV too late at night (I am so guilty of this), having caffeine too late, eating a heavy meal late in the evening, sugar, overindulging in alcohol, stress, worry, and lack of physical activity.

So much of what makes us our best selves is completely managed by our own actions and intake.  I enjoy all of the vices of today as much as the next person but the feeling of waking up with a clear head, a non aching body, and full of determination far outweighs any vice (usually).

I find that with a solid 8 hours of sleep, consistent exercise and a healthy breakfast my days tend to go a little smoother.  Don’t you just hate it when mom was right all along? If you are struggling with morning funk you don’t have to be up at 5 or eating sautéed kale and eggs like I do instead try small changes like not checking your phone as your last and first thing before bed and upon waking, drink water before anything else in the morning, and minimize morning noise as much as possible from unnecessary TV/radio.  The night before limit sugar and caffeine to before 3 pm and no more than 2 adult beverages on the nights you imbibe if you must have more than that water yourself like a plant and down a good 2 large glasses.  You might just find yourself with a bit more happiness in the morning and overall infinitely more productive.

Next post will be an insight into my daily routine.  My days are usually 12 hours plus of work so squeezing it all in can be a challenge.  Stay tuned!

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Right around this time every four years I experience, as do many Americans, campaign overload.  Whether you are a political junkie or a person who rarely follows the goings on of politics, no matter what corner of the world you live in, you will be subject to talking heads, pundits, social media, television and radio ads, and all manner of messaging coming at you.  It’s only natural to experience a certain level of burnout, disgust, and even anger.  The messages are polarizing because it’s their job to be polarizing and it’s the job of people who create such messaging to create an action, to inspire you, the American voter, to make a choice on a screen or piece of paper, to exercise that fundamental and sacred right to vote for elected leadership.

An intended effect of all the messaging is to underscore our divisions, our separateness, our differences.  There is clearly an us versus them.  A winner and a loser.  It brings out the worst in many and social media, with the prolific never ending social commentary means it never turns off and we are never able to really look away and remember our commonality to remember that despite it all we are Americans.

Being an American means something.  It’s something special and despite all the talking points to the contrary America is pretty damn great.  Is it perfect?  No.  Far from it.  But it is pretty amazing.  This love of country comes from someone who was born into poverty and yet somehow managed to not only survive but thrive.  We are an ever changing, growing, beautiful, and messy group of people descended from explorers, dreamers, pioneers, and survivors.  We are also descended from racists, manifest destiny enthusiasts, murderers, thieves, and rapists.  It is our history.  In spite of all that the country has endured it has indeed endured.  It is not utopian but it is ours.

But something has begun to happen that is setting us back.  We are no longer the country that celebrates the best of our histories.  We have become a country where many people think a logical answer is to build a wall and to keep people who pray a certain way out.  This is not the America I know.  What is driving this back peddling to the ugliest parts of our nationalistic pride?  What makes this time feel so closely aligned with a pre civil rights era America or even an America that protested the mass immigration of the Irish following the potato famine?  Fear.  Fear of change, fear of terrorism, fear of death not only of the corporal body but death of the very spirit of our nation.

This ‘spirit of our nation’ is largely based on a fictitious view of an America of days gone by.  An America of apple pie and white picket fences. The magical “America” that some politicians use as a talking point to sway our hearts to yearn for a ‘simpler time’.  A time that was never real.  If it was real it existed for a very small group of people.  It certainly wasn’t a walk in the park for women, minorities, homosexuals, or for people living in areas of abject poverty like the Appalachians, the deep south, Indian Reservations, and inner cites. So who was it great for?  Is that really an America we want to return to?  Hearing ‘we are going to make America great again’ what we should be really hearing is ‘We want to return to a time when it was great for a few select people and probably not you’.

The truth is our country has only become greater when it has adapted.   Our America is better when we have diverse populations.  It is better with inclusion.

America is great.  It is the greatest nation on earth.  We stand for something.  We stand for inclusion not exclusion, we stand for equal rights for all, we are liberators, we are survivors and we are adapters. As we endure and survive this election season together let us remember the things that bring us together every now and again and emerge as what we have always been, American.

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Destination Quiet Hit Reset


Spending time outside of the beltway is always a nice reset for me.  This past weeked we were in Marlin Texas for a few graduations.  Our niece was graduating 8th grade and our nephew from high school.  We spent the days doing absolutely nothing except lounging in the sun, swimming, watching fireflies and sipping on ice cold cream sodas and sweet tea. 
I’ve always loved the city.  It’s anonymous, fast, and has anything you could want.  Korean tacos at 3 am?  Yeah there’s a place.  Growing up in the small town of Lupton AZ (I’m not sure it qualifies as a town technically) I was so excited to get to a bigger place with all hours amenities and reliable services.  Now?  I’ve learned to appreciate the simplicity of a small town.  What once might have made me rife with boredom instead gives my brain and soul time to rest and reflect. 
Before I get accused of having my touristy rose colored glassed on I know it’s not all Mayberry and small town hospitality and there are challenges in small communities: everyone knows your business, bad economies hit these areas hard, and divisions in the community are more personal than in a larger city, nevertheless there is a comforting quality to a small town.  Even the bad blood is somehow kinder.  I was told some folks don’t talk to other folks because their grandpa’s had a tiff 50 years ago.  Nevermind that no one seems to remember the exact nature of the disagreement. 
As we drove toward the sprawling city of Dallas leaving the tall grass and croaking frogs behind, I missed the quiet already.  Go visit sometime and don’t forget to stop by the Lake View drive-in diner in Marlin.  They’ll be happy to share their catfish fry platter and peach cobbler with y’all.

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A few years ago a girlfriend of mine announced boldly, “I’m going to Iceland!”.  I thought she was nuts and clearly high from all the new lovey dovey endorphins she was running on since falling in love.  While she was clearly and still is, nuttily, in smit, she was not nuts about Iceland.  While flying high on my own love rush my new husband and I decided we needed a honeymoon adventure.  We had previously planned on some sort of exotic 2 month long trek in the wiles of India or Africa and well you know, life happened.  I switched jobs, moved to Maryland, relocated my mom to be with me in Maryland, adopted another dog, got diagnosed with fibromyalgia and got very sick, and suddenly was running a 200 plus person company so yeah taking off for 2 months to explore wasn’t a very feasible idea.  The dear hubby had won a “free” vacation to Mexico at an embassy event we attended.  We thought ‘great! that works’.  Well it was free…for one person.  Adding another meant paying more than the worth of the entire package.  So with that idea scrapped we in defeat said, ‘eh maybe some day we will get away’.  Well, lo and behold, a few weeks later Iceland Air ran a promotion for a quick 4 day get away to Iceland with tours, hotel, and air.  Not bad.  Not thought, no fuss, not a lot of time needed, and the aforementioned girlfriend said it was spectacular so, why not?

Bags packed we were enroute a few months later to Iceland.  What to expect?   I had visions of mountains and ice I suppose.  We arrived in April set to explore and trek.  We landed in Reykjavik and I was struck by how the terrain looked very much like the southwest particularly reminded of the areas around Holbrook and Winslow.  Not a lot of mountains, flat, moss, rocks, and sea on the exterior.  What followed were a few of the best days I can remember.  The feeling of being unplugged and surrounded by a very rich cultural history with roots in isolationism and paganism is an amazing feeling of freedom from the expected.

The first day we visited the area known as the Golden Circle.  While this is admittedly the ‘touristy’ area of Iceland you will find that not to mean what we associate as touristy.  Crowds are minimal, scenery is spectacular, and do not expect a McDonalds in your future on this trek.  Although there are many chains in Reykjavik, why would you?  We visited Þingvellir national park, the Gullfoss waterfall, and the the valley of Haukadalur, and the geyser Geysir.  The following day we went to the south shore, seeing more spectacular waterfalls and the black glass sand beach.  Incredible and breathtaking are not enough to describe the natural environment.  Iceland also boasts some of the most progressive environmental and cultural preservation laws in the world.  Our whirlwind long weekend ended with a relaxing day at the world class Blue Lagoon, a man made geothermal bath park.  Even if you go for this one thing the trek is worth it.  Well that and the famous hot dogs, its a thing, really.

I cannot say enough how wonderful it is to visit.  Not only is Reykjavik a beautiful small city boasting world class shopping and a very experimental and bold food scene it is also one of the friendliest cities I’ve encountered.  So much so that this past April we did it all over again with the mom in tow.  Except this time we were fortunate enough to see the northern lights.  I have never experienced something so amazing in my whole life. The experience left me breathless and completely in awe of the splendor of nature.  The divinity of it is something I will never forget.

So if you are in the market for an adventure consider Iceland.  It awaits you ready to greet with a fresh burst of air, a smiling face, and a hearty bowl of lamb soup.

For some great ideas visit:

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Adventures in Crafting

It’s been ages since I’ve done any sort of anything creative that wasn’t related to technology in some way.  I used to love to create and craft so when the hubby suggested we do a craft this weekend I was over the moon excited.  However, I’m a bit high strung, so the thought of crafting sounded great but the execution was a bit stressful.  20 minutes into researching a potential craft I started wondering how I ever liked it.  Over thinking a craft is probably a solid sign of something.

Once I selected the craft, a super cute mason jar turned into a night lights with a fairy silhouette, it was off to the craft store.  Oh my goodness. I find them completely overwhelming.  I wanted to be a craft goddess able to, at random, throw puffy paints, jars, and wood cuts into my cart and turn them all into Pinterest phenoms!  Instead I wandered aimlessly wondering how on earth any of the materials turned into anything beyond dust collecting knick knacks and really what was the point?   I’m a minimalist I don’t have anything unnecessary and a fairy night light is definitely an unneeded knick knack.  But wait!  This is supposed to be relaxing right?  And why does no one have a pre cut fairy silhouette?  I mean they have a dragon fly, a bird, a flipping butterfly but no fairy?  And why is glitter sold in the following sizes; mini tic tac size or by the gallon?  Now I have to purchase an exacto knife?

With purchase complete I set out for home dreading how I was going to control glitter contamination in my pristine dining room.  Glitter gets everywhere.  I staged table and started.  Somewhere between being annoyed at crafting at all and fussing over the imperfections in my decoupage something amazing happened.  I stopped focusing on nonsense and was completely in the moment enjoying the feeling of glitter and glue on my hands.  This alone is a miracle, as I  hate my hands feeling sticky.  I used to be this girl.  Crafty, messy, fun and care free.  Someone that didn’t think a fairy night light was a silly useless knick knack.   At the end I ended up with a perfectly imperfect glittery somewhat hotsy totsy fairy silouhette night light and more importantly with a bit of freedom from fuss.  Let the glitter fall where it may.

Here’s the finished product:

2016-05-21 16.53.38

For a how to video:

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