Taking A Mental Health Day: March Writing Challenge~Day 15

Early Morning Sunrise*

Being a parent, especially during a global pandemic, which we're still currently in, is all about figuring out how to let things flow. Today is Monday. Mondays have become one of my favorite days of the week now that everyone is back in school full time because it's the day I can count on to recharge from the busy weekend. It's a day alone to sit in peace and quiet. It's a day that I look forward to since about 2pm on Friday afternoon when I leave to go to school to pick everyone up. 

I have discovered as an adult that I'm an Introverted Empath, which basically means I'm drained all the time due to the realities of parenting life and I must carve out quiet, alone time to recharge and be in positive energy to feel healthy and whole again for my family. I was looking forward to today all weekend. Yesterday was daylight savings where we lost an hour of sleep and the kids were grumpy all day. In retrospect, I probably should have just let them play and hang out and ride their bikes instead of having them do chores a big part of the day to get ready for the week, but that's not what we did. Especially because there are always so many chores to do with a family of 5. We cleaned the house and did a bunch of laundry. It needed to get done and it didn't kill anyone, but the mood in the house was terrible. And now that it's cold again today, I should have just let them do their own thing and enjoy the sun. I was definitely rowing my boat upstream yesterday for sure.

The Monday after #daylightsavings is a tough one. Everyone had a hard time getting up and getting going but my middle son especially, needed some extra time. He wanted to stay home from school and he reminded me that I said at the beginning of the school year that they could stay home whenever they needed a “mask break” from school, due to the pandemic. And yes, I said that. I said that at a time where my daughter was already at home distance learning for 3 days out of the week. I said that at a time where I didn't have 5 days off to myself in a row with a set amount of hours that I could count on to be my very own for the first time in almost 13 years of being a mom. 

When he said that this morning I was feeling very selfish. I was feeling selfish and protective of my quiet time and of my writing time. Especially since last week was a difficult one and I didn't get much writing done at all. I was also feeling selfish because it's cold today and I wanted to veg out in front of the TV, something I do not ever do when the kids are home because I want to catch up on the Bachelor or some crap TV like that that is not appropriate for the kids to watch. 

And yes, there were early days in the year back in September and October that I did let them stay home here and there because wearing a mask all day at school was really tough at first and was a huge adjustment for my little guys. My elementary school boys have to wear them for outside recess too because kids get close together when playing and also during gym. They only take them off for lunch in their classroom when they can eat, but they can't talk. If they want to talk they have to put their masks back on. The teachers put something on during lunch for the kids to watch or listen to to keep the talking down. A complete change for a very social child. One of his first observations he made when school started back up is that everyone looked mad all the time because you don't ever see anyone smile anymore. 

The teachers are doing a great job handling the pandemic and so is the school in general. This post isn't about me bashing the mask rules because we understand why and are in support of it, but it's March and we are just pulling out of a very long winter here in Wisconsin and everyone has spring fever and is ready to be done. But we're still very far from being done because we don't get out of school until June.

I am very pro having my children be aware of their mental health and to take mental health days. My son was on the verge of tears all morning and I did not want him going to school crying or start crying at school at any small thing that was able to shake him. I remember crying at school as an older kid and it's not fun. There are kids who tease you, kids who look at you shocked and ask you what's wrong? Expecting to hear about a stomach ache or a broken arm or something and when you "don't know what's wrong" you don't have an answer for them. Even though they are your friends and they want to help you. I even remember crying as a young adult in college. I cried in the classroom when the teacher called on me and I wasn't prepared and I was completely overwhelmed and beyond stressed and I should've just stayed home that day, but I didn't and I was terribly embarrassed after I did that and didn't want to face my teacher or my class after that. And I was 20 and had a "thicker skin," so I thought.

So, right when he said, "remember when YOU SAID that I could take a day off anytime I needed it to have a mask break because school is stressful?" I was annoyed inside, I'm not going to lie. Yes I remembered. But in an effort to not candy coat anything I was annoyed because I saw the colorful leaves of my quiet morning blowing down the street in a whirling windstorm and I couldn't catch them or even hold onto one leaf. I also could feel the burning, "That's not FAIR!" gaze of my 7th grader who was still getting ready to leave in a few minutes, who doesn't want to go to school ever on any day of any month, wanting to stay home too if her brother gets to stay home. I could also feel the jealousy building up in my kindergartener's mind - "How come HE gets to stay home but I don't????!!!!" And I can not have three children staying home on a Monday after daylight savings because they don't want to go to school. 

My middle guy was visibly stressed all morning that never shook off like it normally does once he starts playing with his dogs downstairs and getting a bite to eat. In my mind, he had a reason. My other two were just feeling the Monday morning "blahs" that quickly go away once they see their friends and realize this is the grind they are on and it's Monday and the week starts again on Monday. 

"Would you feel better if you just went a little late today? Like at 8:30?" 


"Ok, we'll do that today, but I need you to go by 8:30."

"That's not fair!" "How come he gets to...?" 

"He's going in late today."

When I walked back inside from loading my bookends (my oldest and youngest) into daddy's car, my middle guy was calm and quiet on the floor in a puddle of dog bliss getting some much needed fur therapy. I had called school and told them we were going to be late, and were going to come in at about 8:30 and I didn't give any reason why. Everyone doesn't need an explanation for everything. Especially if they aren't going to be supportive which just puts you on the defensive. He was feeling a bit better but once the conversation changed to school and that we needed to get going in a little bit, the lump in his throat returned and the tears started building up. 

I should add that this particular child is my most social, which is starting to compete with the little guy who is also very social. My middle also loves his teacher this year, he enjoys being at school and was very sad during quarantine when school was shut down because he missed school and his friends so much. So I know the crying was due to stress and being overwhelmed. He also LOVES math. I mean like he wants me to give him really long division problems ON THE WEEKENDS JUST FOR FUN! (Insert brain explosion emoji here.)

So, this is not a regular thing that he wants to stay home. In fact there were some days during late fall and early winter where he was having a rough morning and I even reminded him of my, "take the day off for a mask break" last minute promise and even though he had tears in his eyes, he declined because there was something going on at school that he wanted to do. And even if there is a test that he's been studying for, he wants to go so he can take it. So I had to remind myself of this this morning in my annoyed, selfish state of mind that this is not the child who is always trying to get out of school. This is not the child trying to avoid life and being around people because he really loves being around people. But, just like mom, I think he's an Ambivert (I was more Ambivert as a child and teenager, meaning I walked the two paths of being both Introvert and Extrovert), so he does still need that recharge in quiet solitude.

As the clock was ticking towards 8:30, I was trying to get him to gear up to get going. I was picturing myself on the couch, curled up in a big blanket with a warm dog on my lap and a coffee in my hands catching up on TV in no time. It's gloomy and cold today and it's supposed to snow again even though everything already melted last week. 

He came back downstairs from brushing his teeth and he was once again visibly sad. His socks were bugging him. His sweatshirt was bugging him. His hair wasn't doing what he wanted. I lovingly asked him what the biggest thing was that was making him feel upset right now and through tears and a shaky voice he cried, "the pandemic." 

Damn, if that's not the collective feeling of all of us, I don't know what is. 

I texted my husband and told him he started crying again and was having a hard time because I was thinking about just letting him stay home after all and he said, "let's just let him stay home today." We are almost always on the same page with our parenting decisions. Which makes things a lot easier. 

So I asked him if he just wanted to stay home all day and he let out all of the stress he was holding in a breath and said yes. We gave the caveat that he had to walk both dogs and exercise them outside before it started snowing, as well as do his online learning games for the majority of the day. No Minecraft. No Roblox. No video games. No YouTubers playing or talking about Minecraft or Roblox or video games.


My mind then switched over to cleaning the house and continue to organize and go through the things I was doing this weekend. He actually took the dogs outside for close to an hour, because it's supposed to snow soon so I said he had to do that right now if he was going to stay home. Then cue us both looking over at two sleeping dogs who were all curled up in blankets and snoring rather loudly. Normally I would let it slide, but I didn't give him a choice.

But like any good dogs, the minute they heard the word WALK they both jumped up and were ready to rock and roll after a quick big stretch, two body shakes and a tail wag and off they all went outside for what was close to an hour. I did what I do best when I'm wanting to steal a quiet moment to myself and I ignored all chores, and quickly grabbed my coffee and my computer and sat down to write, which was what I wanted to as well as needed to do today anyway.

The mood since has been light and calm. I got over my selfish need to want the day to myself and reminded myself that I would have loved being able to take a mental health day as a child. To stay home from school as a child in the 80's, there needed to be a pretty big reason and that reason was always being too sick to go to school due to a fever or throwing up, etc. Never for being stressed out or overwhelmed or uncontrollable crying anything like that. And that is also "being sick" if you look at it that way. 

No child should be stressed out, yet they all are right now. We need to help them through it and help them deal with it because we are used to it and have better tools to deal with it. I keep saying that my children's mental health is more important than school right now and I need to live by those words and not just talk them. Saying them is the easy part. Having it actually affect my personal free time is another thing, but one I'm willing to deal with to give my child a much needed break. 

I also want to remind parents that the school counselors and school psychologists are available to your child right now at every grade level, even via zoom for distance learners, to check in about stress and mental health (for free.) Please call your school to set something up for your child. If possible, make a weekly or bi-weekly appointment for your child to have a meeting to chat with them and then provide them a quiet, safe space in the house (if you are still at home) to be able to do that. Have your child make a list of things to talk to them about and if you need to, you can even email them before hand with a list of things your child is having a hard time with or is dealing with so the issues get addressed. They are there for your child to talk about personal things like parents going through a divorce, a death in the family, a big move, missing family members and family holidays and birthdays due to no traveling, parents loss of a job putting stress on the family, having suicidal thoughts and wanting to self harm, as well as things that might be happening at school like bullying, online bullying, falling behind, missing friends due to the pandemic, stress from wearing a mask constantly, not having a way to get out of the house regularly for regular exercise, missing team sports, missing school clubs and activities, etc. All of these reasons are very valid and must be addressed before they become bigger issues. 

Mental health matters and self care starts with self love. You deserve it and your children deserve it. No one has to suffer in silence. 



~About the March Writing Challenge: I have decided to try to write a blog post a day for 30 days to get back into the swing of being a writer again, which is one of my true loves in this life, creatively speaking. I'm a mom during a pandemic, so we’ll see how it goes! <insert nervous laughter.> Please leave a comment below and tell me where you are joining me from and how you found my blog; IG, Google, FB, Blog follower, etc. Thanks for joining me!~

*The photo above is not retouched or edited in anyway. It was the actual colors of the sunrise from this morning. My kindergartener made me this heart at school for Valentine's Day. It reminds me of stained glass so I like to put them up on the window. They have made one for each holiday so far and I love them. I thought it looked beautiful next to the vibrant colors of the Wisconsin sunrise. 


Self Care: Day 10~March Writing Challenge

Southern California Sunset*

 Self Care is such a personal term because it really needs to be what you need at that moment. 

Today my self care looks like sitting on the couch with a heavy blanket and my big, heavy dog resting her warm, furry head in my lap and me twirling her long, velvety ears as I catch up on some TV while drinking an espresso that I didn't make.

My self care today also looks like grabbing some food at my favorite local coffeehouse//bakery/grocery store after dropping the kids off at school. There are days where I'm happy to cook and there are days like today that I just need to "hit the easy button" and grab something super yummy and healthy to go. 

My self care today also looks like setting chores aside for the early part of the afternoon while the kids are gone so that I can just take a breath and relax. It will all get done at some point. The when is not as important right now. 

My self care today is to also not be on social media for too long during my "free time" today as that can become a slippery slope of the time going too fast as well as some triggers that can tear down self esteem on many different levels. I have made a point to no longer follow those trigger producing accounts anymore (mostly the influencer-type accounts showing only perfection) because I learned the hard way in my early mom days with a toddler and a newborn and in the throes of postpartum depression that seeing that type of "fake reality" was very bad for my self-esteem and was actually damaging for a while too.

My self care today also includes chocolate. Because chocolate is one of my love languages.

My self care today, as well as everyday, includes me getting all of my daily vitamins because they are key to my energy and to my immunity. 

I think it’s also very important to find small things here and there that can become daily self practices. I’m going to start making a list of all of the things that feel like self care to me as well as healthy habits and practices that I can start incorporating into my daily routine so that I don’t have to really think about getting self care. It will just become a habit. 

What are some of the ways you get self care? Please share below!



~About the March Writing Challenge: I have decided to try to write a blog post a day for 30 days to get back into the swing of being a writer again, which is one of my true loves in this life, creatively speaking. I'm a mom during a pandemic, so we’ll see how it goes! <insert nervous laughter.> Please leave a comment below and tell me where you are joining me from and how you found my blog; IG, Google, FB, Blog follower, etc. Thanks for joining me!~

*The photo above is one I took during a beautiful November evening where the sunsets in Southern California are almost unbeatable! Something about those November skies that takes my breath away! My family will tell you that I am pointing out the evening sky almost daily. When we have a particularly beautiful sunset, I make everyone get up from whatever device they are currently vegging out on, and, weather permitting, I will make everyone come outside and view it with me, or we look through the window. My family now knows the drill when I say, "Hey guys, come look at the sunset!!"


Yesterday I Had A Break Down

Something we all want to hear, right?

On my IG today I made a post (@MyTalesFromTheCrib) about something I have never heard of before and that is PMDD, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, something that my nurse practitioner diagnosed me with. Forgive me for not going into what it is. It's too overwhelming for me and I ask you to please google it because there is just too much detail to list. It's a very extreme version of PMS which we all know of, however, PMDD is incredibly common and can even get worse as we age. There are 3 million cases diagnosed in the US alone each year, but with no one talking about it, how are you even supposed to get diagnosed? So Imagine all of the females who are suffering from PMDD in silence and have no idea why. 

Once I learned more about it I felt relief until I got home and googled it and discovered that the symptoms are all literally all of the things I have been feeling and talking about to every single healthcare practitioner since the beginning of forever which is my entire young adult to adult life. And this has never been brought us as a possibility for my entire list of symptoms ever. 

I'm sad today because I'm 44 years old and will be 45 this summer and I have been suffering from severe depression since I was 14 years old without hardly any help from the medical community despite the fact that I have always, always, ALWAYS been very vocal about it. Imagine the girls who never speak up because we're told not to? 

I'm outraged today because I have told COUNTLESS medical professionals and even therapists who largely have been women, whom I have always requested "hoping to get better help and more understanding" about having postpartum depression and feeling suicidal, feeling actual rage in the week or so before my period and I have even gone so far as to describe it like this, "I feel that there is actually something chemically wrong with me sometimes that I can't control and it makes me feel rage, violent, suicidal and extremely emotional with uncontrollable crying and then I'll start my period and feel MAGICALLY better." Which doesn't sound like normal behavior for someone to have just certain times during the month, right? This sounds like it would be considered a crisis situation to have a young mother with three beautiful children and a loving supportive husband who has a good job and they live in a house with a yard and have working automobiles and are not concerned if and how they are going to have food and shelter that week, yet this woman is wanting to kill herself, right? And I mean, actually kill myself, consumed by it and plotting out ways to do it because of how stressed and overwhelmed and depressed I was but be sure to not harm anyone in the process. I felt like ti would make everyone's lives better if I just wasn't in it anymore. I was too much of a burden. And when I said this it was always met with a head shake and a scrunched nose and a shrug, 

"I'm not sure why." 

"I have no idea." 

"I'm not familiar with anything brain and/or chemical related." 

"That sounds like you are describing PMS, which is common." 

And that was it. 

There wasn't EVER any help offered, or suggestions of solutions ever. I got shrugged off and was sometimes told, "I have felt like that too as well as other women, so...you're not alone if that makes you feel any better." 

I'm heartbroken today because I feel like I have literally lost DECADES off of my life due to feeling hopeless. I look around and I'm like, how do I have a husband with three children and two dogs in this house? When did that even happen and how did I not kill myself before any of this took place due to these extreme mood swings? I don't know how I'm alive to be honest, and that is not just me trying to "get attention" which is always, always, always without fail accompanied with someone talking about suicide. 

Attention seeking. 

I've even heard first hand teachers, school counselors of all grades, doctors and therapists say this about someone talking about suicide, especially when that someone is a young girl or a young person identifying themselves as female between the ages of 12-19. 

By the way I want to normalize something. During the time I have been writing this I will randomly just burst out in loud, uncontrollable sobs that are coming from the depths of my 14 year old soul which was the first age I thought about suicide and actually had an attempt. Following that attempt, I should add that I never received any sort of counseling whatsoever, something that I so desperately needed. The sobs were also coming from my 23 year old self who found myself stuck in an engagement and living with a fiance that I didn't love and couldn't see a future with but didn't know how to get out of it. (I did by the way. We never got married, thank God!) The sobs are coming from my 25 year old self who admitted myself into the hospital after another suicide attempt following the biggest emotional breakdown in my life up until that point. 

I want to normalize the fact that yesterday I had a breakdown and it didn't end up like it's portrayed in the media with me slashing anyone's tires or car windows with a baseball bat, or crashing a car into a storefront, or shooting up a school, or going on a screaming rampage in a store at a bunch of people. In fact, earlier in the day I had been chatting with different online mom friends of mine and was even offering a bunch of support and encouragement to them. I smiled at all of the people I met on the way to my appointment and even looked them in the eyes and said, "good morning" and chatted about our weather warming up (something we midwesterners do after a long, bitter winter.) I laughed in my appointment with my nurse practitioner. I made some jokes and even made her laugh. I also cried in there as I was opening up about some past pain and wounds that have not healed. My tears after just cracking a joke and laughing is always met with confusion. But laughter is my coping mechanism. The Sad Clown. But after any tears, I kept coming back rather quickly I might add to a place of being nice and agreeable and friendly and being overly aware of not taking up too much of her time even though I am paying for that appointment - because that's my job as a woman in society. Friendly. Agreeable. Not a burden. I also waved at several of my neighbors on my drive home as I smiled and said, "hello" out loud even though they couldn't hear me because my window was up. I made several comments to various posts on IG that were all supportive and positive and wished my fellow awesome women friends a Happy International Women's Day! A conversation with my neighbor went like this, "Hey Joe. How are you? How's Kathy?" 

Joe: We're doing pretty good. How are you guys?" 

Me: "We're great! Just enjoying this sunshine and warm weather. Happy to finally be seeing some grass!"

I literally said I was "great." 

Friendly. Agreeable. Not a burden with my thoughts or about my bad day and internal struggle and immense pain.

Not a single person I came into contact with yesterday, even people who know me would think I was going to have a breakdown at any point during the day. None of them would think that I would find myself thinking about suicide once again, crying uncontrollably, and I mean that literally as the loud, guttural sobs escaped my chest making noises I don't often make when crying, shocking even me as to where exactly they came from and why? My dog who normally couldn't pay my cries and tears a single bit of attention whatsoever was literally jamming her head into my lap at I sat at the table bent over trying to muffle the sounds even though no one was home. 

"You're being too loud." 

"Your cries are too loud." 

"It sounds weird, those crying noises. It's making me uncomfortable. That's not how human females are supposed to cry."

"It's disruptive." ...to the dogs. 

Scouty; my 3 year old lab offering me comfort. Her large yellow lab body bouncing around, tail and booty in a full wiggle making me laugh as I hugged her tightly telling her she is a, "good girl, such a good, good girl and thank you for loving me and for hugging me!" - before she abruptly disappeared wanting nothing more to do with me. She is part aloof cat after all and never really likes getting pets despite being a purebred Labrador Retriever. She never got that "friendly" memo that society expects her to be, I guess. 

The rest of the day had my curled up in a ball, wrapped in a blanket on the couch telling my kids I felt sick and letting them run amok basically. My daughter vegged out on silly videos, her welcomed laughter piercing the air. My sons out on bikes in the front yard with neighbors. Me scrolling to avoid my feelings. The second I got up about an hour or two later, I couldn't control my crying. Especially when I saw the messy kitchen that I was supposed to tackle and had every intention to before my appointment. I asked her to help, which she quickly was going to and I didn't even know where to begin. I ended up starting to cry and asked her to "go get the dudes and tell them its time to come home." And she stared at me in shock as I was just crying without any sound. I told her that I just didn't feel very good but I'll be ok. She walked out and a few seconds later I heard my husband's voice and he came up to hug me telling me that she had told him I was crying and the flood gates opened as I literally clung to him as if he were a raft in open water. I said that I just needed to lay down and I never came back down. I cried the whole way up the stairs trying my best to be silent about it. I sobbed once I was in bed, curling up in the blankets, shoving them into my mouth, to again, not be a burden to my family. I only stopped once I decided to turn on my phone and scroll IG. And like a hose, it was shut off. My body breathing heavy like a child does after crying hard. And that was my coping mechanism for no longer feeling that pain. I IG ignored it. It's still all there though. A smoking volcano. Just sleeping. Waiting.

I have no more for today as I am mentally, emotionally and physically drained and need to pick up the kids from school in 17 minutes. Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick...

Until next time,



What My Soul Needed Today

What my soul needed today was to find a quiet spot and sit with my thoughts for a minute to write. However, what I received was much more magical. I am out shopping today on this lovely, early spring Sunday afternoon. There is still snow on the ground, but it's melting rapidly and the grass is peaking through. It was the first time in months that when I got to my car I removed my sweater and sat under a shade tree with the window rolled down bringing me back to my Southern California days with two sleepy little ones in the car while I sat and wrote and sipped on a latte. Today is also the first day since Fall began back in September that I ordered an iced caramel latte instead of the much needed body warming hot caramel latte. My iced coffee boldly staring spring right in the face. Ice cubes dancing around taunting the snow on the ground with their hot summer jingle. 

Everyone here in Wisconsin calls this "false spring" and they say things like, "don't jinx it by talking about it being spring" or "don't go messing it up by driving with your windows down talking about how warm the weather is." And we've seen enough "false springs" to know full well that much of the snow starts to melt in March only to be whacked in the face in late April by getting another dumping of snow that doesn't melt until May. In some cases, we received the most inches of snowfall at once for the entire year during the very last week of April. 

So I'm well aware there will most likely be more snow on the horizon, and we're certainly not putting away the snow gear anytime soon, but this sun and slight breeze with birds chirping is a much welcomed experience after having cold weather and mostly gloomy skies since October.  

Another bonus to this lovely experience today is that when I got back into my car with a warm personal sized pizza on naan bread, and my iced caramel latte with creamy oat milk, was that I happened to turn on our public radio station where the people were talking about how to find more inner peace and calmness. It was followed by a guided meditation, something I have not done, I realized, in a very long time. I certainly did not do them during the entire pandemic and now I'm seeing that I really should have been. But I was just in hour-to-hour survival mode with distance learning my three children. But I needed it. I needed stretching and breathing and movement and relaxation. We all do.

And I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply through my mouth. Then I breathed in even deeper, this time through my nose which is a cleansing breath, encouraged by the birds outside my window, ever present and in the moment. That is one thing we can learn from animals is how to be present and in the moment.

I closed my eyes and listened to her voice guiding all of us on our separate journeys and even though it was awkward and uncomfortable at first - it always is for me whenever I meditate, I finally found my groove and rhythm of my breathing.  Long breath in - long breath out. Breathe in through the nose and exhale out through the mouth. 



Finding and Balancing Free Time on the Weekends: Day 6 March Writing Challenge

Kapa'a on the Island of Kauai*

 I had to literally steal time like a thief today. 

Today is Saturday. The very first Saturday of doing this March Writing Challenge and I'm already needing to figure out what I can do differently next week to block out this much needed writing time for myself because it's already 3pm and this is the first I have written. Where all week I was completely done by like noon-ish. 

So today I had to steal my time like a thief. I seized my opportunity of all of the kids and both dogs and my husband being outside doing a porch project and playing in the melting snow and I abandoned the dishes on the counter, I fought the pounding urge to just "put in a load of clothes into the washing machine real quick" before I grabbed my computer, my phone and my coffee and flew upstairs - literally skipping steps, in order to write. 

I ignored the tape being played over and over in my brain about double checking with my husband first to be sure that this was a good time for me to get away for a bit and that he was "good" outside with everyone first, (and they are all fine, of course) because even though he's doing a project that takes his focus, our kids are 12 & 1/2, 10 and 6 and we live in a cul-de-sac with only 3 neighbors at our end where it's perfectly safe for them to grab their bikes and ride around without constant adult supervision like when we lived off a very busy street in California with hundreds of cars speeding by every 10 minutes. 

But as a mom, this is my years of conditioning that I have placed on myself, that society has placed on us as mothers or as the stay-at-home parent, the "other moms" who judge from their social media pages have placed on us, that especially older generations of women have placed on us...that we are required to think of every other person and every single chore and duty to do and to accomplish and check off BEFORE we check in with ourselves and take free time out for ourselves - or else we aren't good moms and wives/partners. And that is total BS and we must normalize moms taking care of themselves too. 

In the event of an emergency on a plane they tell you to put your air mask on first before helping others, even before you help your child put on theirs and we need to do this on land too. We need to put our mask on first so that we are able to help others. 

No one bats an eye when a man says that he's off to the gym on a weekend morning regardless of what else might be crashing down around him, or headed straight to the gym after work regardless of whatever homework and dinnertime chaos is going on at home, or even scheduling regular poker nights or grabbing a drink with the guys to help unwind after a long day after work. This is in fact encouraged but if moms did this it would be frowned upon and they would be shamed for it. We see all the time in the media how new mothers are treated, especially how new mothers in the public eye are treated, we are questioned and shamed for taking time away from our families and focusing solely on ourselves for an hour or two. Or even for a weekend away with the girls or a solo trip. 

And we need to give all these reasons and excuses to justify it too, right? "I'm so tired and overwhelmed and I just need to take time for myself." Or, "I haven't had a day to myself in 2 years and I just need this one day off at the day spa" where everything is riding on that one dame mini-facial that is supposed to take away 2 years of stress. 

So I asked myself, "what do you want to do right now that it's quiet?" And my answer will 9 times out of 10 be to write. And instead of just sitting at the kitchen table where I can "keep an eye out" on everyone out front, or be within ear shot if my husband gets upset with one of the kids or dogs so that I can get up to go help out or so that I can be readily available for any child who walks back in to look for their sweatshirt or because their shoes got wet from the melting snow or because they need a snack or a water or because they are bored - I said to myself, "take the computer, your coffee and your phone and go upstairs, sit on your comfortable rocking chair that is left over from your breastfeeding days, put your damn feet up and write. Oh but first close the door!" 

And I did. And soon after my son came upstairs and I did set aside the computer to just check on him A.K.A. rush him back outside. And during this secret time away I have heard my husband get upset with someone either kid or furry kid, but I let him handle it because he's 1000% capable of doing so and it was handled before I would've set aside my laptop, got out of my chair, walked down the stairs and opened the slider door to ask what was wrong. He handled it. He's their dad who is very loving and very hands on and very supportive of me taking time away to write and he wasn't looking for me to rescue him when he was frustrated with the kids because he's a problem solver and is very capable. (Something important to remind myself when I feel like I always need to step in.) 

So this issue with me needing to be 24/7 available and on call to all humans and furry 4-legged humans in my house, is absolutely an issue that I need to get over. That I need to start to change to ensure my inner peace and calmness.

When my kids were babies and toddlers and even preschoolers this was of course incredibly hard to do. To just go to another room and close the door and be like, "good luck suckers!" Back then I would maybe set everyone up with snacks and a movie first and that would hopefully buy me enough time to have a minute to myself in another room to complete a thought...with the door ajar, of course. And I tried to do that as much as possible. Every single day if possible. And even though you are still on call if you are the only adult in the house, you can still try your best to make it work. 

Hands down my very favorite way to get an hour or two of quiet time every day when I had a toddler and a baby was to put two crabby kids in the car around nap time. Then I'd put on some soothing music and I would literally just drive. I would drive and drive until both kids fell asleep and they did every single time. And then on somedays I would drive myself to Starbucks and grab a treat or two, then I would drive to the shadiest tree at the quietest spot at the park and I would roll my windows down and just sip my latte and munch on my cookie or whatever, sometimes I would even get a salad or a sandwich and completely veg out while everyone slept. Then I would pull out my laptop to write, or take out a magazine to flip through in peace and quiet or I would read a book or look through my phone. However, the time would fly by too quickly if I vegged out on my phone and it was somehow not as satisfying as time well spent - for me anyway. Then if time or child moods allowed after they woke up we might play at the park or just head home. 

I did this every single week day without fail for about 2+ years (unless we had an appointment or something that day.) However, I didn't buy food and treats daily. I would bring something with me from home to eat or drink though and that helped me to be sure I was eating regular meals, which can be hard for the stay-at-home parent to do. And I did this because I needed this time for both of my children to sleep and this was the only way I could get my high energy toddler to actually nap everyday at the exact same time as her baby brother. 

People would say, "yea but do you really want to be doing this every day?" And I'm like, "yep!" I look forward to it and I actually enjoyed it. And my kids did too. They knew it was our quiet, calm time. I wasn't chatty with them on these "sleepy drives" and I wasn't listening to anything loud and obnoxious on the radio. My daughter still to the day at almost 13 years old talks about how she loved sleepy drives so much. 

The point is that if you are a busy mom with wild children or even one busy, child, it's so incredibly important to carve out daily time for yourself to relax and recharge and to do something you enjoy and are passionate about. Make it a non-negotiable. Make it like a work day. Put it on the calendar and set an alarm to go off for your free time. You deserve to do that. Your mental health needs you to do that. And it's much, much harder to do that with very small children at home so you definitely need to communicate with your husband/partner that you desperately need that time. 

Well, I'd say that this was a very productive 45 minutes. I can faintly hear everyone outside and everyone is still alive, all bodies are accounted for, my husband just laughed so he's not completely annoyed and wondering where I am. I can hear the kids playing with dogs to "go fetch!" And I got to complete a thought and an entire post without too much interruption. I feel like this was a success!

Until next time,


~About the March Writing Challenge: I have decided to try to write a blog post a day for 30 days to get back into the swing of being a writer again, which is one of my true loves in this life, creatively speaking. I'm a mom during a pandemic, so we’ll see how it goes! <insert nervous laughter.> Please leave a comment below and tell me where you are joining me from and how you found my blog; IG, Google, FB, Blog follower, etc. Thanks for joining me!~

*This sounds crazy to me right now as I look outside my window at melting snow and dead grass, but this was the view from one of my very first sleepy drives from when my daughter (our oldest) was a baby. We lived on Kauai and I drove to the beach and she fell asleep so I parked up on a little cliff/look out spot and watched the crashing waves while she slept in her carseat. What I would give to have that view now that I appreciated at the time of course, but maybe didn't know how good I had it to have views like this minutes from my house.  This was taken in 2008.


Reset, Recharge & Regroup - Day 5 March Writing Challenge

Do what you gotta do to get through the day, amirite??!!

 This is more of a housecleaning post, if you will. Since most of my readers are moms, I'm willing to bet that the weekends are just as busy as every other day, if not more for some houses and since we're moms we don't really get the weekends off like we did in the past. But that doesn't mean we can't shift our thinking and start looking at the weekends differently. For me, my husband is home on the weekends too and he is incredibly helpful with the kids and taking over. 

This wasn't automatic by the way. 

This took communication on my part of telling him what I needed as far as me needing to recharge my batteries and my energy in order to come back refreshed. This didn't happen overnight and it wasn't completely easy for me to communicate either. (It also didn't happen when we had tiny babies either.) It came with lots of guilt on my part because why should a wife and a mom need a complete break from the family? Doesn't that mean you don't love them? And no, it just means that I'm an introvert and the way I build my energy back up is by being alone in quiet and peace for a bit. Which is damn near impossible when you are a stay at home mom to small children. I learned about being an introvert very late in life, just a few years ago actually and I plan on writing about that more later in another post.

So because my husband is supportive of my writing and always has been, (when we met I was still doing the 24 Hour Plays that I wrote about in my "30 Things" post and he saw my very last one) I am planning to see what I can do during the weekends on both days to take an uninterrupted hour (or two???) where I'm not having to sacrifice my sleep or personal daily hygiene to get it, as well as completely setting up the entire family with food and entertainment before I retreat (because that is not getting a break!!) to just be by myself and quietly write. 

For the record, my husband has been saying for years now, "Go and write and take all the time you need and I'll take care of everything with the kids." And he means it and he does all of it but sometimes I get in my own way and I don't do it. Depression can be a bitch. When we had a baby/toddler who was still breastfeeding I wouldn't be able to just go for hours and hours, but we still tried to make a writing break happen as much as we could. 

It makes it harder now with Covid restrictions because I can't just go sit at a coffeehouse and write like I always used to. And even though there are tables available in most places to sit outside to drink a coffee, etc., it's still way too cold and windy and damp to do that. So I need to get creative. But I'm determined to make this work over the weekend because the last 5 days of being able to just sit in peace and quiet and write have literally fed my soul in unmeasurable ways. (Did I mention that I have been a "writer" since the 1st grade where I first started writing stories?) I feel this is literally who I am at my core. 

I have this feeling of calmness and contentment that I haven't felt in a long time because, this whole past year dealing with the pandemic and with distance learning and living life in quarantine, I never feel like I get a real break to reset and recharge. And I have realized that even more than taking a bubble bath or a long shower, or watching a movie or bingeing on a favorite series or going out for a solo coffee or lunch and certainly more than sitting and vegging out on my phone for a long time (even uninterrupted time) is being able to write, and actually have a long enough time to write where I can complete my thoughts that are always racing ahead of me - being able to sit in total quiet with a pen and a notebook or banging away at the keys on my laptop for an extended period of time is the most recharge and reset I could ever have for myself. 

So now that I recognize that, and I think it's the first time in my life of really seeing it written out - I need to make that happen and I must make that happen for my own sanity and clarity. 

Normally during the school week if the kids are at school and I have a break I'd take some time away from daily chores to just sit and veg out in front of the TV and I'd be constantly watching the clock, doing the math until pick up and I'd almost start crying every time because I just wasn't ready for that immense surge of energy that comes with everyone crashing together once again after being apart for hours. The kids, the dogs, the messy house, all of the show gear tossed everywhere leaving puddles of wet salty sand all over the mudroom. Papers flying in whirlwinds around my heads of sign this, read this, help me with this. Everyone needing snack after snack like they just got off the graveyard shift and didn't take a lunch break. Stories from three kids all at once about every annoying kid that did everything annoying at school, complaints about homework and the realization setting in that, yes, they need to go back to school the next day. For all of that extra after school stress, I do wish we were still homeschooling because we didn't really have any of that extra wildness and built up negative energy. There was still a big energy push by the ned of the day to go outside again and get a longer break which was harder to do in bad weather. 

By the way, I'm fighting the urge to defend the fact that I do love my kids and that I do love spending time with them as well as my husband who is my best friend and he somehow makes everything bad and negative melt away when I talk to him - because I hope that is a given - that moms can still be madly in love with their families yet still need breaks from them to come back whole again. The older I get the less I feel the need to defend myself because if someone is reading this and judging that they either haven't admitted fully to themselves yet that it's actually healthy and perfectly OK to take breaks from your loved ones, especially when you are overly stressed and overworked and overwhelmed - or they do not have children and can't imagine why someone would choose to have children if they need a break from them. And none of that makes any sense anyway. You are not a bad parent for needing to take a break from your family. Just like you were not a bad child/teenager for wanting to take breaks from your parents and/or siblings. 

In an effort to stop the cycle I put myself on of needing to tie everything up in a cute perfect bow to end my posts I will just say, until next time!

Thank you for reading,



*About the March Writing Challenge: I have decided to try to write a blog post a day for 30 days to get back into the swing of being a writer again, which is one of my true loves in this life, creatively speaking. I'm a mom during a pandemic, so we’ll see how it goes! <insert nervous laughter.> Please leave a comment below and tell me where you are joining me from and how you found my blog; IG, Google, FB, Blog follower, etc. Thanks for joining me!**

*The above photo is actually one I took about 20 minutes before I picked up my kids from school on a freezing Monday afternoon which is always tough especially for my little one who is currently in kindergarten because he just came off a rad weekend of playing outside a bunch and having movie parties and getting to play video games (which are strictly for weekends in our house) and he wants to continue livin' that life on Monday after school. He also asks me every time if it's Friday yet. So this was literally my "gear up" fuel before I got everyone. This is not a daily thing...but maybe it should be? lol!


Letting Go; Day 4 of the March Writing Challenge

Poipu Beach, Kauai **

 This one is hard, especially for a lazy control freak like myself. I jokingly say, "lazy" because there are a lot of things I will let slide because I just don't have the energy to deal with it (struggles of an Introverted Empath), but then when my anxiety kicks in I can definitely become more of a control freak. Which kinda drives me crazy. 

But how do you allow yourself to just let go? What does that even look like? 

When I became a mom there were a lot of things I realized that I needed to just let go of, after a lot of struggle on my part, of course.  Like having complete and total control of my free time because that no longer existed. Parents learn the hard way that there is a big chunk of time when your child is very small where there is no such thing as "free time" like it once was pre-kids unless you work very hard and sacrifice a lot to get it. Which feels like something has to suffer in some way for it. 

I struggled with trying to keep things organized and often felt upset with how I would spend my free time which was always nap time. If I just sat and vegged out and relaxed then I would be stressed that I didn't get any chores done. If I spent the whole time doing chores I didn't feel like I was able to just relax. If I napped myself - which is the golden advice, right? "Sleep when baby sleeps" I was so sleep deprived that I was always groggy when my baby woke up and I was never ready to wake up so I was irritable and somehow felt like I was more tired. I realized after a visit to the doctor years and years later that I was severely anemic and needed to take an iron supplement and that is one of the reasons why I was so tired. I have no idea why this wasn't ever addressed in any of the appointments I had gone to before that and had blood work done. So that was incredibly frustrating.

The reason why I chose this as the theme today is because my day completely got thrown off from what I had planned. There was an early morning dentist appointment for one of our kids that completely slipped our minds until the reminder call last night. (Thank God for those, right?) So, unfortunately due to tooth pain, my child needed to stay home from school the whole day. This is the first week back to school due to the covid shut downs, so I wasn't quite prepared mentally to have a child stay home from school during the first week back despite being sympathetic and empathetic to the tooth pain. I was not about to let them just go back to school and suffer all day. I feel very lucky to be able to make that last minute change in schedule work because I am a stay at home mom. Not every family is able to do that. So even though I try to be like seaweed flowing in the ocean and letting the current take me where it needs to go, it can still be hard when you have your mind set on a certain number of hours of free time to get things done. And my current writing projects are some of those things.

It's funny too (in the ironic sense of the word) because my phone is also not cooperating today at all, as well as our internet and that has also made me super annoyed and realizing that I need to just "Let Go" with what I had planned to do which was share and post things from this writing challenge. I was thinking about life before even having smart phones and how it was somehow easier and less complicated. I need to figure out a way to not be so attached to it and to not need it so much but I really don't know how to pull that off. I'll get back to you on that if I think of something.

And of course the pandemic itself has been an exercise in Letting Go - letting go of so many things. I have almost lost count of all of the things that we just had to let slip through our fingers, each pebble of sand falling to the ground and blowing away with the wind because we just...couldn't. And that's been hard. It's been hard on the kids and hard on the adults and hard on the grandparents who are out of state and feeling alone and isolated. 

I'm also going to just "Let Go" with feeling like I need to keep adding to the post (something I always feel inclined to do) so I'll say goodbye for now. But before I do I'd like to share a poem I wrote a few years (that I just rediscovered) aptly titled, Let It Go: 

"Today in the sun, 

and in the breeze, 

beneath the trees... 

I let go. 

I left the baggage and the burdens, 

 I admitted the ugly truth...to myself 

- this red hatred 

- the fear 

- the sorrow... and I shed it. 

 I dropped it. 

 I crumpled it like a dry orange leaf poking into my hands and sent it floating away with the wind. 

 It drifted and I shifted 

- my body, my thoughts and my anger. 

Today I'm 




let it go..."           

Thanks for reading!



*About the March Writing Challenge: I have decided to try to write a blog post a day for 30 days to get back into the swing of being a writer again, which is one of my true loves in this life, creatively speaking. I'm a mom during a pandemic, so we’ll see how it goes! <insert nervous laughter.> Please leave a comment below and tell me where you are joining me from and how you found my blog; IG, Google, FB, Blog follower, etc. Thanks for joining me!**

**The photo above is one I took of the sun setting on Poipu Beach on the Island of Kauai. We were living there when I took this. This beach was about 10 minutes from our house. There are different phases of life that we just have to "Let Go" of too and for me (right now) that is living near the ocean. 


Reflection: Day 3 March Writing Challenge

Reflections in the pond*

I never thought that mom life could get more challenging and here walked in Covid-19 punching us all in the face and taking a shit on the rug where we barefoot stepped in it on our way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It's been the carton of ice cream that you've been dreaming about all day and that someone decided to put back into the freezer completely empty as opposed to just throwing it away. It was the jerk who drove around to hundreds of stores buying up all of the toilet paper and hand sanitizer so he could sell it online for triple the price. Literally.

It was a shock to us all. I have three kids who are now ages 12 & 1/2, 10 and 6 and I've been a stay-at-home-mom the entire time. We have moved around a bit and off and on during the last several years we have homeschooled as well as had our kids go to school, except for our youngest who was only 2 &1/2 when we moved cross country to where we are now in Wisconsin. 

When we were homeschooling, it was always on our own terms and we had a lot of freedom of what we were teaching and when. It was nothing at all like distance learning with zooms and google classroom assignments that parents had to figure out how to explain, etc. The fall of 2019 we were once again in a transition period and for many reasons had decided to homeschool all three kids again. Our youngest would have been eligible to go to the public school two days a week for Pre-K and this would have been the first time ever that all three of my kids would be at school all day long for at least two of the days - but I chose to homeschool. There were many factors as to why we did that, but still that was nagging at the back of my mind, especially on those really tough days in the house with all three kids, making my own curriculum for a 6th grader, a 3rd grader and a Pre-K'er. And trying to juggle the daily chores as well as my own free time to help with my sanity. It was especially difficult when it was winter and the super cold days kept us all inside for days on end. This wasn't good for my mental health in any way whatsoever. 

So about January of 2020 (I shutter just typing out 2020), my husband and I started talking about maybe sending the kids back to school. Especially my very social middle guy who was desperately missing his friends and recess and PE and getting to play sports with his friends at recess and PE and also chatting with his friends at lunch and recess and PE. (What can I say, he's an active and chatty kid. He knows his priorities. ) He's incredibly social and enjoys interacting with his teachers and with all of his classmates too. 

So we had lots of conversations and deep talks and decided that the boys were going to go back at the beginning of February 2020. Do you see where this is headed? Once my older son said he wanted to go back, his baby brother decided that he wanted to do the same because his brother is his hero and he wants to do exactly the same thing. My daughter wasn't quite ready to go back yet as she actually really enjoyed homeschooling so we waited a bit to break the news that yes, she in fact, was going to be going back too. However, we chose to wait a bit longer to set everything up for her for middle school since we were already in the process of transitioning the boys back. And she craved some much needed quiet time at home to do her work in peace.

So the boys went back in February and did very well. It was a fairly easy transition. My little guy wished that he could go more than just two days a week and he loved his teacher. They were especially excited to be at school for Valentine's Day too. We toured the middle school with our daughter and met her new teachers and she was set to start school on Monday, March 9, 2020. There had already been talks of this thing called "Corona Virus" or "COVID-19" if you were particularly snooty, but the media and the white house made it seem like it was just affecting huge places like New York and not a single person in our tiny Wisconsin town of less that 4,500 was too worried about it. At least until Friday, March 13, 2020 when we received an email after school saying that we would be returning to school on Monday and Tuesday to collect things from the teachers to take about a 3 week break due to the Corona Virus. But then another email came on Saturday telling us that school would also be closed on Monday and Tuesday and that the teachers would be there to put packets together for a brief 3 week closure. And as luck would have it, my daughter actually got a cold and a cough her first week back so we had her stay home that Friday anyway. So she had gone to her new middle school for all of 4 days before everything got shut down for the "3 week quarantine" that eventually lasted the rest of the school year. And of course, now the boys were home too. But instead of being on our own schedule that was more flexible for what we need to do, we were now trying to stay afloat virtually.

I had a total of ONE full school day at home by myself without kids since becoming a mom 12 & 1/2 years ago during the week my daughter went back and my little guy went to school on Mondays and Fridays. He was gone that Friday, but my daughter was home sick. To say I cried like a baby when I realized that we were all going to at home in each others faces all day again where I was trying to juggle each child's learning plan again is an understatement. And my boys were heartbroken and rightfully mad too because they really liked going to school and as luck would have it, almost every single best buddy/teammate from various sports my middle guy played had just happened to all be in one classroom with the favorite teacher of 3rd grade, (according to the kids) and that was the class he happened to land in. Even his very, very best friend from 1st grade was in there and they sat next to each other. It was like his dream come true. We couldn't believe our luck. We told his new teacher how he was so excited to have his best friend in there and she decided to move them together to "help ease the stress of my son starting 3rd grade in the middle of the year" and it was such a great thing for him.

Pandemic life stepped in and my mental health took a severe nose dive to say the least. That time ended up being a total blur. One that I will try to write about someday but can't seem to piece all together at this moment.. 

But in closing, I just want to add that it's so important to ask for help when you are struggling. I really didn't do that during the quarantine because I didn't know how. We were all just barely floating along. My husband got about 3 weeks off then it was back to the grind like usual which made him feel super stressed because work wasn't taking proper precautions and I was left with the sinking, burning ship and jagged rocky shores ahead. I'm not blaming him of course, because he did what he could, but it was one of the hardest times in my life ever. And I am just now getting help for myself a year later. 

Until next time...


~About the March Writing Challenge: I have decided to try to write a blog post a day for 30 days to get back into the swing of being a writer again, which is one of my true loves in this life, creatively speaking. I'm a mom during a pandemic, so we’ll see how it goes! <insert nervous laughter.> Please leave a comment below and tell me where you are joining me from and how you found my blog; IG, Google, FB, Blog follower, etc. Thanks for joining me!~

*This photo was taken by me at the El Dorado Nature Center in CA where my kids would take preschool classes. We called it "Nature School." It was such a great program, one that shut down for a bit. I hope they decided to do it again because it was really great. My little guy would go there for his 1 & 1/2 hour class and my daughter and I would walk around the nature center enjoying the pond and the trees and the swimming turtles and birds and quiet. Especially the quiet.


30 Reasons Why I'm Amazing! Day 2 March Writing Challenge

 March Writing Challenge Day 2: 30 Reasons Why I'm Amazing

Wow, not gonna lie, this one is hard, right ladies? Especially if you were raised not to brag about yourself because then you'd be "conceited" or "stuck up" like we used to say in the 90's. But I made this theme on purpose, especially because I'm a mom and the majority of my followers are also moms and what do we do when we want to brag? We brag about our kids. Or we brag about our husband or our wife or our partner/other half. We don't ever brag about...ourselves! (grasps pearls.) 

So, here we go. I have stalled long enough. My list of 30 reasons why I am a badass.

(By the way, I started to write this and my "number 1" was like two paragraphs long and I realized that I'm not writing a book...ahem...cough*cough* I'm just writing a short and sweet one page (ish) blog post. I mean those were my own words, right? I literally can't even follow my own directions I'm such a long winded winding wordy writer. I knew this assignment I gave myself was going to be hard but I didn't quite realize just how hard. Especially because I have the urge to explain and provide back story to all of my answers as opposed to just listing them. As a writer/storyteller it literally goes against everything I have ever done and believe in to just make a list of 30 things without giving a bunch of context, but lists can also be really fun and they can be great conversation starters too. So I'm going to try my best to not be toooooooooo wordy (too late) and to just stick to the facts. 

So let's start this again, shall we? *You can do it, Colleen! You've got this! Just don't type as much...

1. When I was about 21, I took a 5-day solo road trip up the coast of California from Long Beach to Monterey/Carmel and for the majority of the drive I took PCH/HWYW 1 which pretty much follows our beautiful ocean. (I am 100% an ocean girl.)

2. My husband and I (my fiance at the time) swam with dolphins in Cozumel. We were on a cruise and almost didn't make it back on the boat in time. We were literally the very last people to board and they were already starting to untie the ropes and we had to run all the way down the pier telling them to please wait with hundreds of people on the boat yelling for us to hurry and then cheering as we got on the ramp. It was scary as hell and super exhilerating all at once. Until of course, we got a huge lecture by boat staff the minute we boarded that completely ruined our literal tequila buzz. lol! 

(So I'm not doing so well on the list thing...)

3. I conquered my biggest fear of scuba diving (my husband helped me, he was my boyfriend at the time) and we went on to dive in beautiful places like Kauai, Belize, Catalina Island and Roatan Island (off Honduras.)

4. I like to make my family a birthday cake completely from scratch, including the frosting (no boxes/no cans of frosting) and I let them choose their ingredients and I just figure out how to make it work by looking at a bunch of different recipes online to make it work, which is has so far. Last year my daughter wanted a vanilla cake with peaches and blueberries with lemon blackberry frosting and fresh whipped cream on the side and it was literally one of the best cakes any of us had ever had! However, they take me about 4+ hours to make. No lie. lol!

5. At 22 years old worked 2 jobs waiting tables for about 6 months and saved every penny for a big trip. I backpacked for 3 weeks through Europe with a few friends and only enough clothes and stuff to fit on my back.

6. I waited until I was 29 years old to get married and on my 30th birthday, my husband of only one month and I moved to the Island of Kauai to start new jobs and a new life. We ended up having our daughter there about 2 years later and stayed for a total of 3 & 1/2 years before moving back to So Cal. We also learned to surf on Maui during an "island hopping" vacation for our 1 year anniversary. That is also where we got pregnant. 

7. I studied and apprenticed to become a Pilates instructor in West Hollywood and then worked at that studio while I was also planning our wedding. After we moved I opened my own studio on Kauai where a majority of my clients were tourists on vacation.

(This is not in any order btw...)

8. When I was about 28, I took another solo trip again up the coast to different beaches and this time I camped. By MYSELF. It still amazes me that I did that alone. Oh and to entertain myself, anytime I spoke to anyone I spoke in either an English accent or in a Scottish accent.

9. Even though I was always an actor/entertainer throughout my whole life and someone who loved being center stage in the limelight, I'm also an introvert who is also an Empath (which is very draining energy-wise) and I really, really enjoy my time alone which is hard when you are a stay-at-home-mom. After having kids I would take a few weekend writing trips by myself (pre-Covid, of course) so I could get away and recharge and just write and write and write while my husband took over with the kids. 

10. As a child, I sang in a children's choir and one time we got to sing on stage with Bob Hope. The director of this choir was also an agent and would find us jobs doing extra work on TV shows. When I was 11 years old I was an extra on a TV show where I actually got a close-up which I didn't realize until we were watching the show on TV with my whole family months later (cue lots of screams and cheers by my family! and then everyone calling us after to tell us they saw it too) and that was the most exciting thing as a kid to see myself on TV. I had kids at my school ask for my autograph which added to the coolness. It didn't last long because I'm not cool anymore. That was it. That was peak coolness.

11. I was always involved in theater in school and when I was a senior my advanced drama teacher chose me to direct one of our school plays. I loved it and got bitten by the directing bug!

12. When I was about 25/26 I joined a few community theatre troops in the area and one of them was celebrating their 50th anniversary. I was the lead in a very funny play that got a great review in the paper during our preview night which led to selling out all 16 shows and for the first time in that theatre's history they even sold standing room only tickets. It was one of the most fun things I have done on stage.

13. When I was 26, I ended a very toxic relationship with a narcissist and moved up to Hollywood alone to pursue my dreams of being an actor/writer/director (even though he said I couldn't do it.) I did it. And he stayed working at the hardware store for years and years doing nothing. So middle finger to him!

14. After I moved to Hollywood I quickly connected with a group of other theatre geeks and we put on a bunch of 24-Hour Plays where you have only 24 hours to write/direct/memorize a one-act play (about 20-30 minutes long) and put up a complete variety show for a paying audience that expected to laugh a bunch and be entertained. I was always one of the writer/directors and it was probably one of the hardest, most grueling things I have ever done as a writer because we had no idea until that night who was going to be in our play, or even how many people were going to be in it, which didn't leave any room for prepping anything ahead of time. We'd all get to the theatre by 10PM and start hanging out, being loud and abnoxious trying to make everyone laugh and meeting any new people. (This was pre-smart phones btw, so literally everyone was "present and in the moment" just chilling with each other and there wasn't a single person veggin' out on their phones.) Then from about 11PM-12AM all of the writer/directors would take the stage and start drawing names out of a hat to see who was going to be in our show. Then we all broke off and the writers found a quiet place to stressfully write in a state of constant and total panic checking the time every 5 minutes while all the actors were distracting us by being loud and bonding and having a blast making all of us writers both mad and jealous and questioning why we chose to be a damn writer in the first place. No one went home at that point and every single person stayed at the theatre from 10PM on like one huge slumber party with about 30-40 of your favorite funny friends. The writers only had from about midnight until 4AM to write our complete script. (So, no sleep.) At 6AM the main guy who ran the "24's" came back from Kinko's with donuts as well as all of our copies of our handwritten scripts to hand out to our new cast members so we could do a first read through and make any small changes and adjustments and plan out blocking (which is when/where you enter the stage, and where you stand, when you exit, what furniture and set pieces you would have in each scene, etc.) Each group rehearsed over and over until our lunch break at about noon. We had a 2 hour lunch break so we could go home and shower and gather costumes and props (all the while still trying to memorize lines) and you didn't DARE nap because you might not wake up in time from lack of sleep! Then we were back at the theatre for dress rehearsal followed by a tech rehearsal - where the director of each show (me being one of them) had to quickly work with the lighting/sound person and tell them all of our blocking as well as lighting and music cues that we had to design for our piece as the writer. I always had a ton of different music and light cues in my show and the lighting guy (one of my best friends at the time) both loved me and hated me as a writer because I made his job very complicated. He secretly loved it because it kept him n his toes. By that point at the dress rehearsal everyone had to be 100% off book (meaning every single thing is completely memorized because you weren't allowed to have your script in your hands during the final show because that's boring and tacky.) Again, no time for sleeping during any of that time. And at 6:30M we had an audience filling the theatre and we were going live at 7PM sharp! Then of course we would all go out to Denny's or something after to celebrate our awesome evening of totally original one-act shows and new friends. By the time I would actually get to sleep, I had been awake for about 30+ hours! We did this once a month for a while. I even talked my mom into doing one of the shows with us and we were a writing team and she made her acting debut as well. It was so much fun to share that experience with her. I'm not gonna lie, I really miss those days and all of those super awesome, creative, funny people who pushed me creatively beyond where I ever thought possible. This is part of why I am ALWAYS drawn to funny, cretive people. But damn, I miss those days. To be young and free again! LOL! 

(Ok holy crap...(wow!) so THAT was absolutely not a list and I'm failing miserably at my own assignment. Bad writer! BAD!!!)

15. One of my biggest fears as an actor was doing comedy improv, which it's all off the top of your head and nothing is planned. Determined to get over this fear and become a better performer, I joined an improv troupe and would take classes where we had to perform in front of a live (and paying!!) audience after each class. And they expected to be entertained for their money! lol! It was so stressful and so much fun!

16. I have had 2 waterbirths at home with our second and third children with a midwife team and a doula along with my husband. With baby number 3, my mom and our 6 year old daughter was also there to see her baby brother being born. It was one of the hardest, most rewarding and empowering experiences of my entire life.

17. My husband taught me how to ride a motorcycle and we would go dirt biking through the red dirt hills of Kauai.

18. I was hospitalized when I was about 7 weeks pregnant with our first born. We were living on Kauai and I contracted something that the locals called, "the jungle flu." I couldn't keep a single thing down for over a week and it was a long recovery once we got back home too. I don't know how we both survived, but we fought through it. To this day my daughter is a fighter.

19. I wrote a children's story inspired by my kids that was in a contest to become an e-book and even though I didn't win, I was one of the ones they chose to publish.

20. I wrote a one-act play that was chosen to be one of two shows that was put up as a dinner theatre when we were living on Kauai. I was part of a theater group there called, Women In Theatre.

21. I was always a go-getter when I was younger. I had a college professor once refer to me as a, "Bulldozer" to some of my classmates. I would start school clubs or I would be the president of school clubs, I was the lead in many school plays, I played on the soccer team as a goalie, in HS I was the coach of a little girls cheer team and we got 3rd in competition. I was always organizing or teaching or leading or doing something and now my anxiety and depression just gets in the way most days. I'm still trying to overcome it.

22. My husband and I moved our family of 3 out of the comfort of being near family and where we grew up and moved across the country from Southern California to start a new life in a tiny town in the countryside in Wisconsin.

23. When I was 5, I was on my cousin's horse with 2 of my other little cousins and the horse bucked up and we all fell off. I was the only one who wanted to get back on and keep riding. I feel like I'm still that little girl who gets back on the horse and keeps riding.

24. As a child I would often go to summer camp through the Girl Scouts and I didn't know another sole when I got there but I always left with a ton of new best friends. 

25. I survived through breastfeeding all 3 of my kids. My first born and I had Thrush which is incredibly painful where my toes would curl from the pain and I was sobbing every time she latched, but I was very determined to breastfeed and slowly, we got over the hump in the beginning and it became the easiest thing and wasn't painful at all. However, with each child we still had to get over that very painful hump that lasted for about the first 3 months. Some women have no issues at all with it, but I always did. I can totally see why mom's don't do it and because it's soooooo incredibly hard, a woman should never feel obligated to do it or be shamed because of it or because she choose to bottle feed. It has to be whatever works for mom and baby, and it must be the mom's choice. It's harder if you don't have any support.

26. When I was 25 years old (pre-marriage/pre-kids) I was in a dead-end, long term relationship that was stressing me out and I suffered a severe panic attack and mental breakdown and was very suicidal but I still drove myself to the emergency room and willingly entered into a "mental hospital" which ended up being a week long stay. (Thank God it was actually partially covered with insurance at the time!!) It was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself and for my own self care. I was able to just check out of my very stressful life for a bit and focus on myself and go to different therapy sessions; group and private, art therapy and movement therapy throughout the day which was very healing for me. We even had a dog come visit us. A golden retriever and that was the best thing ever to just hug on that sweet dog!! Plus I had a room that overlooked all of the buildings in downtown Los Angeles and I would just sit in my room each night and stare out at all of the twinkling lights watch the miles of bumper to bumper traffic, all of those red and white lights slowly inching along and I would write and write which was very healing for me. 

27. The relationship I mentioned above was from 20-25 yers old, he proposed and we were starting to plan the wedding even though I knew it was a mistake and that he wasn't "the one" the minute he preposed. But I still said yes. I ended that relationship which was very hard to do, but it was the best thing for me in the long run. He wasn't my person and honestly, it should have only lasted a few months but it lasted 5 years. That was my mistake for not putting myself first. In the mental hospital I realized I needed to end that relationship even thought he was incredibly supportive during my stay or it was literally going to end up killing me if I didn't get out. He was a pretty nice guy, he just wasn't the person I wanted to marry.

28. I was voted "funniest classmate" and "best actress" by my peers in my high school drama class and that was one of the most touching awards I had ever gotten because those awards were voted on only by my classmates and because HS kids can be so brutal and harsh and judgy!! LOL!

29. I once spent my 2 days off from work writing for 8-10 hour stretches throughout the entire 2 days, not even stopping to chat with my roommate. (I prepped her ahead of time.) This was obviously during my single/pre-marriage/pre-kids days.) I literally can't imagine what that kind of free time would even look like right now. Can't even picture it. I think this might be a lie. I think I was living in some sort of dream world.

30. Whenever I can (when I have the extra energy to do so) I try to empower, encourage, inspire, lift up women, young women and especially mothers because I've been there with the crippling postpartum depression and extreme stress, anxiety and overwhelm where you feel like you are all alone. I am always finding my tribe and adding to my tribe of understanding, supportive people. 

I'm not going to lie, at first I couldn't think of anything but after I got into the flow of this I was actually thinking of more than 30 things to write about. I might continue in my journal and look back at it every time I doubt myself and my contributions to the world. I really am a total badass and I've done some really cool and amazing things and I need to celebrate myself more than I do. I am so much more than my depression and anxiety. 

If you are still reading this I really appreciate it and I thank you and I really hope you'll join me!!

Lots of love to you always!



Day 2! That's a wrap! Woop Woop!

About the March Writing Challenge: I have decided to try to write a blog post a day for 30 days to get back into the swing of being a writer again, which is one of my true loves in this life, creatively speaking. I'm a mom during a pandemic, so we’ll see how it goes! <insert nervous laughter.> Please leave a comment below and tell me where you are joining me from and how you found my blog; IG, Google, FB, Blog follower, etc. Thanks for joining me!


Welcome back to my daily writing practice

Day 1

Hey guys, it’s been a minute. 😅

**About the March Writing Challenge: I have decided to try to write a blog post a day for 30 days to get back into the swing of being a writer again, which is one of my true loves in this life, creatively speaking. I'm a mom during a pandemic, so we’ll see how it goes! <insert nervous laughter.> Please leave a comment below and tell me where you are joining me from and how you found my blog; IG, Google, FB, Blog follower, etc. Thanks for joining me!**

❤️This is a big week. Today is Monday, March 1, 2021. I kinda love it when the first day of the month starts on a Monday because it feels like a fresh start. It’s already been over a year since we were aware of COVID-19 in the world and in a few weeks it will be a full year since most schools shut down for a very long quarantine where we were learning how to navigate distance learning and working from home all at the same time. 

I have to say that as a former homeschooling mama myself, “distance learning” was a whole other animal compared to homeschooling. And even though I had previously homeschooled all 3 of my kids (I made my own curriculum when I did that), being on the school’s schedule with zooms and google classroom assignments and deadlines for 3 children was no joke. 

We live in a small town and some of our more “old school” teachers had a very tough time getting the hang of doing everything via computer, but we all made it work. In the fall we were fortunate enough to have our elementary kids go back full time with strict COVID safe practices put into place like wearing masks all day long, only playing with the kids in your classroom at recess (which is hard for my incredibly social 4th grader who has friends in every class), lunch at your desks, lots of hand washing and social distancing while standing in line, etc. 

However, for some reason they put the kids in 7th-12th on a modified schedule where they only went in person for 2 days and they were home for 3. This did not work out for us at all. My daughter does better with a set schedule and it was way too loosey goosey for her as far as when things needed to get done, etc. It was also hard to get help from her teachers during their office hours on the subjects she struggled with. 

So today on March 1st they decided to have all students return to full time in-person learning and we are very happy about that. My daughter is still on the fence about it and was really liking her quiet time at home without her little brothers, but this will be good for everyone to get back to a more regular way of life again. Remember when the schools shut down in March and most people thought it was only going to be for about 3 weeks? I’m glad we are finally pulling ourselves out of the fire and seeing a faint light at the end of the tunnel. 

I have decided that I will start a writing more now that I will have some extra quiet time at home with all three kids at school. This also is a first for me since our youngest is a kindergartner this year and at our school the kindergarteners go 5 days a week. I’m kind of beside myself and don’t really know what to do with all of my free time!!! So my first thought it to write more.

 I am going to try to write a blog post a day for 30 days to dust off my writing hat once again. I feel gitty and energized. It coincides perfectly with stepping into spring as the temperatures are starting to warm up here in chilly Wisconsin, the snow is starting to melt, I can see some grass peaking through the snow as it recedes from the sidewalks and curbs. The sun is shining more and for longer. It’s staying lighter later and no longer feels like it’s midnight at 4:30pm. More people are out and about walking their dogs. My kids have started riding their bikes more and we’ll have more chances for my kids to walk home from school as opposed to me getting caught up in the crazy parent pick up lines at school since it’s no longer 10* F and super icy outside.

It truly feels like a new day. 



PS: I chose the photo above because I feel like the frozen icicle represents our lives sometimes. Even though we can see it and feel it, hold it up to the sunshine and let the light pass through, we still might be frozen in one place unable to break out without a little help. This is how I felt during this pandemic most days. Frozen in time. Just hanging there waiting for something to happen. Waiting for the sunshine to break through so I could finally melt. It’s ok if your life was somewhat put on hold for a while during all of this. We’ve been through a lot and many of us have struggled more in the last year than we ever have in the past. Especially parents because we had so many other lives to worry about with so much uncertainty. It’s ok to allow yourselves to slowly start melting and find your new path in this new reality. Spring is coming! Some may bloom quicker than others during this time but there is no rush so be gentle with yourselves in the process.

*You can find more photos like this on my photography page on IG, @NatureMama3

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