When we moved to Montana, our priorities were getting the house cleaned up, fixed up, livable, and chopping wood. We moved mid-September and in some places that gives you less than a month til the snow starts. Luckily we’d have much more time, but you never know in Montana. At any rate, the majority of my days were spent cleaning the house while my evenings were spent splitting and stacking wood. The goal was to be ready for the snow, ready for the cold, ready to be spending the majority of each day inside.

We’d been staking wood for weeks and even hired a couple teenage boys to come cut/stack wood for us. The wood in the crib was slowly growing and when we got to three chords, which ought to have been enough to make me feel relieved and close to ready, I was still anxious.

And then there was a library book sale.

Our library has a book sale roughly two to four times a year. The book sales are fabulous and you have to get there right when they start if you really want a chance at all the good stuff. When we go early I can leave with four enormous bursting bags of books, but when I go late I’m lucky to fill a single bag.

At that first book sale we were lucky. We arrived early and filled four bags to bursting. We got home and filled the one and only book shelf we had at the time. Filled it completely. And I breathed deeply. I relaxed. I was ready for winter.


There are things to worry about that are worthwhile, or perhaps not, and things that will never make sense to worry over. And yet…

I’m currently kept awake at night by the thought that I’ll never be able to do right by my children if I continue homeschooling them. My oldest is so entirely like me that we butt heads. I understand exactly where he’s coming from and haven’t yet worked a way to get around the obstacle. It ought to be easy since we think so much alike and feel things so intensely. Instead we’re both ready to cry at the end of a session that ought to have taken ten minutes but took nearly an hour. I find myself wondering if he has a learning disability, if maybe he really ought to be in school instead as maybe he’d learn better with someone else, if I can just get him to read and then the world will be his oyster and the struggle can cease.

We spent the morning going over the worksheets from his Outschool class where he learned a few sight words: I, and, the. Words that populate books so completely that just being able to spot them allows you to read nearly half the book. He was so frustrated. So I asked him to go grab a book, any book, off his bookshelf and bring it over. He chose The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen (an excellent book and writer and illustrator and we own most of his creations and love them all). Anyway, as I’m reading the book aloud I stress the words I, and, the each time they appear. It sounds something like this: “‘There’s a python in the pantry!’ It went on and on and on…”

Rather than feel excited about the fact that these three tiny words were in near constant use and that any minute he’d be able to read the book on his own, he was frustrated. “Can’t you just read it regular, mom?”


The worst part? After an hour with my child, both of us miserable, he asks for more time with me doing “something else” because I haven’t spent any time with him today and I spent “all (my) time helping (his brother).”

His brother got me for 15 minutes.

His brother takes after his father. There’s no butting of heads or overwhelming emotions causing us friction. We can smoothly and easily pick a topic, like today’s numbers one and two, and get through it efficiently…he’s also only three years old.

The struggle to get from where you are, to the place you want to be…it never goes away. It exists always. It consumes your entire day, depletes all your energy, sometimes requires outside assistance to obtain. And sometimes the struggle isn’t even about what we think it is.

Do I need five chords of wood to get through the winter or a full bookshelf of unread books?


Do I need to help my kids learn to read and write and do math or can/should I send them to school?


The struggle in these scenarios isn’t about wood, books, teaching, learning, reading, or math. The struggle is emotion. Emotion will never go away. Learning to deal with emotions, have them, ride them, move on from them, remain outside their control…that’s the struggle. It’s difficult to see my struggle reflected back to me by my child. And it’s wonderful to see the times where he doesn’t struggle with the emotions, where I can see reflected back to me the times I’ve let the struggle go, too.

This post was written as a thirty minute writing exercise, no editing, no stopping and was inspired from a writing prompt in Bryan Collins’ “Yes, You Can Write!” book available here.



I got this typewriter that’s really a pen/pencil/whatever catchall for my desk. I’d been eyeing it for months online. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I really want an actual typewriter, but not really because seriously finding ribbons and dealing with stuck keys and and and…no thank you. But still. An actual typewriter? *swoon* So I finally got the next best thing, a cute not-a-typewriter that holds my pens and pencils and scissors and highlighter….

It arrived the other day and as I pulled it out of the cardboard box and the styrofoam it arrived in I thought to myself, “this is a piece of junk.” It’s not ceramic or plastic, or maybe it is, I can’t really tell what it’s made of. It feels cheap. It definitely doesn’t look as good as it did in the pictures online. I put my stuff in it anyway. I set it up on my desk anyway. I’m staring at it anyway.

From this distance, it’s not so bad. Sitting back against the wall a little over a foot from where my eyes are up here sitting back upright in my chair, typing away on my computer. My computer, not my typewriter. Because a computer is logical. Until the power goes out and you lose internet and you’ve not backed anything up and….

I’ve always been an emotional buyer.

After I had my first kiddo and I was in a tailspin of barely showering once a week, unable to put the baby down without him screaming bloody murder, constantly breastfeeding (yes, constantly, there were a lot of issues and it took over six months to sort them all out), not sleeping because of a lifetime of insomnia combined with fear and anxiety over this little creature that did not appear to be making it and all because of me because it was all up to me because he was mine and I was responsible for him and I had the boobs and they were doing their job but something still wasn’t right and *spiral*

Anyway, somewhere in there these leggings and dresses and shirts became super popular, I don’t think I need to state a brand here. They were everywhere. Pop-up sales and internet sales and MLM sales and at garage sales and swap meets and and and. You couldn’t get away. I was desperate for something to bring some order to my day, some joy, and I needed clothes so…flash forward a month or so and I had more of these clothes than I could wear in a month if I never wore the same thing twice. More than I could wear in a lifetime if I combined them in different ways each day. It was completely out of control. And 100% emotional.

Once I figured out what I was doing, the clothes all went away. All of them. I couldn’t stand to look at them anymore. These things I’d been collecting and wearing and obsessing over for days, weeks, months…out the door.

It wasn’t the first time. As evidenced by the not-a-typewriter on my desk it wasn’t the last time. At least now I force myself to wait a few weeks before giving in to the desire.

And really, all said and done, I like this little tchotchke more and more the longer it’s there. The more I look at it, the less cheap it looks, the more like the pictures I saw online, the more like exactly what I wanted to make my desk in the guest room feel more like a desk in my office. The more validating it becomes. Cause really isn’t that what the fuss was all about?

This post was written as a thirty minute writing exercise, no editing, no stopping and was inspired from a writing prompt in Bryan Collins’ “Yes, You Can Write!” book available here.



When we first moved to our home in Montana it was Fall, just a month later than where we’re at now. The nights become deliciously cold, perfect for sleeping, while the days are warm enough to make you question why you’re splitting wood. Never question why you’re splitting wood, one should always be splitting wood, when winter comes you will constantly question whether or not you have enough wood. If you’ve read any of the Virgin River series with Jack and his morning wood splitting addiction, you begin to get the idea about just how much wood you’ll need. More. Always more.

The homestead is a bit brown this year, it’s been dry and hotter than usual, less rain since Spring than last year even though there’s currently no huge fire like last year. So thankful and grateful and relieved there’s no huge fire like last year. Although there’s always a fire…in fact, there are currently multiple fires all within an hours drive of us. But that feels like forever when there are mountains in the way, rivers. It’s not far enough though, not really.

The windows of this house are too small. You wouldn’t think so from the outside, or from spending an hour or so inside. There are lots of windows, plenty of light, a skylight in the kitchen even. The house is nice and bright and feels open when you’re passing through. Spend a year here though and you begin to notice the windows are narrow and a bit short from the ceiling, lopping off your view. Nothing wrong with their length to the floor, however, they nearly touch the carpet, but please, don’t look at the carpet, enjoy the view out the windows.

In the winter the blinds are up until evening, when we lower them to trap in the warmth and keep out the cold. In the summer it’s the opposite, blinds down all day in a desperate attempt to keep the heat out and trap the cool in. I prefer when the blinds are up and also when the windows are open. This only happens in Spring and bits of Fall. Spring and Fall are my new favorite seasons. Windows dictate much of my life.

I dated a man briefly, very briefly, more than once to my distinct frustration with myself, who had the blinds closed all the time. 24/7. The blinds were always down. The blinds had to be down because sunlight physically hurt his eyes. I can understand that mentally and of course I empathized, who wants to be in pain when something as simply as lowering a blind could solve your problem. It turns out I can’t live in the dark. I require sunlight. I require a view. I look out the windows and see trees. Beautiful tall green trees. So many trees. I didn’t realize I required those too.

When we moved to Montana I told my husband, “I want to look out my window and from the safety of my home see a bear.” You can laugh at my specificity but I find that when putting things out to the Universe it’s best to be very specific…you never know what the Universe will provide as it has a wonderful sense of humor. At any rate, in less than a year I got my wish. Looking out my bedroom window, just before my children got into their bath, I saw a bear. A large black bear. The photo on this post is said bear.

I never expected I’d live in Montana. Never. Even five years ago, if I’d been told “you’ll live in Montana one day,” I’d have laughed. I’d likely have said something like, “I wish!” and I’d have laughed and laughed.

Sometimes you’ve got to change your view. Sometimes you’ve got to raise your blinds, even if it hurts. Sometimes you don’t know what you need until you have it, or until you don’t. I will always need more wood, less fire, blinds on my windows to raise and lower, a view that stops my heart and then sends it racing, windows.

This post was written as a thirty minute writing exercise, no editing, no stopping and was inspired from a writing prompt in Bryan Collins’ “Yes, You Can Write!” book available here.

Monthly Check In: May

Monthly Check-In May

I don’t even…Seriously, what is up with 2020? May has come and gone. Have I done anything productive, yes. Have I maintained my NYR’s, almost entirely no.

Continue Practicing Gratitude

I continue to ask myself what I’m grateful for at the end of each day and I continue to send people thank you cards to maintain my gratitude space. I’m technically in the black on this one but I feel hollow.

Continue Spending Time With Family and Friends

Much laughter ensues. Obviously this is not happening, because #COVID.

Continue My Self-Care Regime

My self-care regime is now limited exclusively to binge watching This Is Us at the end of each day.

Spend More Time Outside

We spend an unbelievable amount of time outside and because I almost don’t believe it myself, I’ve taken a photo of our 1000 Hours Outside Challenge so you can see how far we are and roughly how many hours a day we spend outside. It’s crazy, and wonderful, and the only thing keeping me somewhat sane.

Write for One Hour Every Day

I’ve been writing in my journal every day and I continue to write letters to friends/family every week. It’s not the sort of writing I intended when I set out to #writeonehour, but it’s literally my best right now.

Submit at Least One Piece for Publication
Each Month

As discussed: not happening.

Read at Least One Book a Month

I have read zero books this month. There is only one book I want to read and I don’t have the energy to make it happen.

Take a Stained Glass Making Class

I still plan on being able to make this NYR happen this year but it’s not entirely in my hands right now. All dependent upon quarantine.


We’ve been camping in our trailer in our front yard all month and it’s been amazing. We spend way more time outside and we are all sleeping better (as a life-long insomniac I cannot tell you how incredible this change has been for me personally). We’ve been using this time to repair a bunch of stuff in the house that we could never get to with two kids running pell mell throughout the space. The house literally looks brand new in most places and where it doesn’t we’re actively trying to figure out a way to make it new, too. It’s super exciting.

Other than working on the house, hanging with the kids, writing letters and doing a spot of yoga everyday, and bingeing This Is Us every night, I have not done anything. And I’m okay with that. Sometimes our dreams need to simmer. Especially when the world is imploding before your eyes.

How are you doing on your New Years Resolutions? Are you meeting your goals? If you’re having trouble, take a look at my post on Achievement and let me know if it helps you!

Monthly Check In: April

Monthly Check-In April

How did April come and go and we’re still in this bizarre new other world? Sigh.

Continue Practicing Gratitude

I completed the Yale course, The Happiness of Well-Being. It is free and I highly recommend it. You can find it here. I continue to note things daily that I’m grateful for, although sadly/happily my gratitude jar has been packed away (more on that later). I’m in the black on this one.

Continue Spending Time With Family and Friends

This is a joke, right? Okay, in all seriousness, I’ve spent more time with my immediate family of husband and sons than ever before and it’s awesome. I’ve literally never been happier surrounded by them all 24/7. And also, please, for the love of all things selfish, I need a day to myself. We didn’t get to see family live-and-in-person, but we did do a FaceTime with my mom and brother and his awesome family. I send cards to friends/family once a week; silly cards, thank you cards, all kinds of cards. Just things to let people know I’m thinking about them. Since that’s kind of all we can do right now, I’m in the black here, too.

Continue My Self-Care Regime

With how hot it’s been I’ve stopped getting in the sauna three times a week. When it’s hot it’s just too much of a chore for me. I do, however, maintain self-care by practicing yoga, meditating, and watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu because I just need to disappear from this reality for awhile (even if it’s for an even creepier and also not-that-hard-to-believe reality). I’m in the black on this one, too.

Spend More Time Outside

We have been spending so much time outside in our yards, y’all won’t even believe me. We literally spend a minimum of four hours outside every day, and it is actually much closer to eight to ten. And it’s been wonderful. The more we are outside the better the kids sleep, the better I sleep, the happier we all are in general…Outside: it’s where it’s at. I don’t have an updated pic of our 1000 Hours Outside Challenge but it’s easily one-third full. Crazy. We’re in the black on this one, too.

Write for One Hour Every Day

Super in the red on this one. I’ve spent an hour writing every day, but not here. I’ve made a few April posts on my blog, but most of my writing has been in a journal and in cards. I’m in a bit of a fiction writer’s fog right now, a little too overwhelmed by everything to sit and write calmly at a keyboard. In fact, this little bit of sitting here typing is sending me into a bit of an anxiety attack. I literally want to be doing anything else.

Submit at Least One Piece for Publication
Each Month

As discussed: not happening.

Read at Least One Book a Month

I’ve only read two books this month. Two. More than my one book a month goal, but surprisingly few with how voracious a reader I am normally. But I just can’t, y’all. I can’t. The only way I can focus enough to disappear right now is visually with movies/shows. But at least I’m in the black on this one for this month.

Take a Stained Glass Making Class

I still plan on being able to make this NYR happen this year but it’s not entirely in my hands right now. All dependent upon quarantine.


So, here’s the thing: we’ve been BUSY. We decided that since we are “stuck” at home, we might as well do all the things we’ve been needing to do to the house: renovations, paint, that sort of thing. This is nearly impossible to do with kiddos in the house, sooooooo, we moved into our trailer and are camping in our front yard. Ha! I say “moved into” but we still go into the house to go to the bathroom and shower and stuff, so we’re really just sleeping in the trailer and eating our lunches at the little bistro table out front. It’s been wonderful for the kids because they spend tons of time outside now from sun-up to sun-down, and because it helps them take their minds off the fact that they haven’t been to the library or park (or anywhere) for so long. They love that we’re “camping.”

My husband and I spent a few weeks packing up the majority of our things to get them out of the way and then selling all the stuff we found that we’ve never touched in five years. It’s been a fabulous kind of cleanse and purge and has helped sincerely with my feelings of overwhelm as it’s given me something to focus on besides the pandemic.

How are you doing on your New Years Resolutions? Are you meeting your goals? If you’re having trouble, take a look at my post on Achievement and let me know if it helps you!

The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

Yesterday was my day to be completely overwhelmed. My anxiety was through the roof. I finally realized I just needed an extreme crying session. A massive sob fest. I needed to empty my bucket. Since I couldn’t just let go on my own, I’d been holding it in too long, I decided I needed a movie to help me.

Reaching out to my online support network I received a barrage of suggestions for movies that are “spectacularly sad, guaranteed to make you sob.” Sadly as I tried to find the first couple of suggestions on all the options we subscribe to I was unable to. And then I came across a suggestion for The Handmaid’s Tale.

The book The Handmaid’s Tale is spectacular. Phenomenal. I read it before it was required reading in school, again when I got to that place in school where it’s required, and then again shortly after 2016. I love this book. Because I love this book I had no interest whatsoever in watching a series that would butcher it (since I automatically assume a beloved book will be butchered in the filming).

What the hell, I figured, I might as well try it and see….

While it was absolutely the wrong thing for me to start watching when I was already tense, anxious, and overwhelmed, it is stunningly good. I’m only half-way in to the second episode of the first season, but I am completely engrossed and can’t wait to get back to it. The acting is amazing and they are sticking to the book really, really well.

I’m much more of a reader than a viewer, but (so far) this is one instance where I would say you can watch the show and not lose the soul of the book.

Time To Myself

Time To Myself

Sometime in late February or early March I remember thinking to myself, and perhaps even saying out loud, “I just need a few hours to myself!” I was feeling overwhelmed by all the bad weather we’d been having, the kids being trapped in the house for days, not sleeping well because they weren’t burning energy during the day, and we were all just going a bit stir crazy. I remember wishing for time alone.

This isn’t what I meant.

See my husband is immunocompromised and needs to stay home with the kids on the one day every other week or every third week that I leave the house to go do all of our errands: grocery shopping, mail pickup at the post office (we have a PO Box), stopping at my mom’s house to drop off whatever food I was able to get that my mom wasn’t able to on her shopping trip, picking up whatever random item we need from the hardware store now that we’re always in the house and using/breaking things constantly.

These errand days used to happen once a week every week. Only I brought the kids with me. These errand days were literally the longest days of my life every week because they took so long to complete and the kids and I were all exhausted by the time we were finally on the road back home.

Now these days happen once every other week or every third week and I’m no longer getting kids in and out of carseats, in and out of shopping carts, cajoling them to please take a deep breath cause we’d be done soon, and even without all that, I’m completely exhausted by the time I’m finally on the road back home.

And the thing is, it is unbelievably easier to do all the errands now. I can literally accomplish the same number of errands or even more and it takes less than half the time. Less.Than.Half. And the entire time I am keenly aware of how much emotional pressure I’m under, how grateful I am that I can leave my kids safely at home, and how terribly much I miss them.

When I finally do arrive home, I bring in all the things and sanitize/put them away, then dump my mask and all my clothes directly into the washing machine, then go scrub myself in a hot shower with soap, then come back out and start the washing machine, before finally picking up the baby that’s been waiting for my boobs to come back.

These days leave me drained.

These days leave me in invisible tears.

This is not what I meant.

I take it back.



The last several nights have seen me spending my hour of writing time on other things (utter failure for my monthly check-in when I will clearly not have written every day for one hour). I finally got to see The Biggest Little Farm (Hulu) and it was epic. I loved every minute of it. I laughed and cried and it reminded me of my dreams ten years ago. Dreams I’d given up on, and now have sparked back to life, but in a different, more achievable/manageable form.

My family and I have been talking about moving for four years, and moving specifically to Oregon for three years. Every year we think we’re going to make the big move and every year we end up putting it off, there are just too many other things to do, there always are. It’s like when people want to have a baby but are always saying “now’s not a good time.” Hey, guess what? It’s never a good time. A Good Time is a mythical construct meant to make you feel better about not achieving your dreams.

Or at least it was for us.

Not anymore. This virus has been awful for so many reasons, but it’s also been a bit of A Good Time for us in that we:

  • have loved being all together as a family every day
  • decided there was no better time than now to paint the house and list it for sale
  • are looking at property to purchase in Oregon once our house sells
  • decided to create a mini-farm, a self-sustaining/organic/biodynamic farm

I have been caring for chickens for over ten years, so while I know a lot, I don’t know everything. One of my favorite things to do before making a big decision, like purchasing the chicks for a new flock, is to go back through and research all my options. I’m always glad when I do because I learn of new breeds, or remember that I have always wanted to have Cuckoo Marans but could never find them, etc.

In other words, I’ve been spending my time researching chickens (again!) and it’s so intensely gratifying and exciting and optimistic. We will likely wind up with a flock of only ten or so laying hens, which seems woefully tiny, especially when I once had a flock of nearly fifty. Going through and finding out which birds to purchase soothes something in me.

I can’t wait to do the research on the pigs…the cattle…the goats.

I miss having goats so much. Not ducks or geese, but goats. Sigh.

Off to research some more….



My husband is a god. I don’t know how I got so lucky. He appears to be a normal man, all the right body parts and all the regular farts and burps. He even has his faults, like being stubborn and impatient (faults I share with him). But for all that, he’s an amazing man.

I first fell in love with him as a partner. Children were not something I thought were in the cards for me and I’d given up on that aspect of life. So when I fell for this man, it was because of who he was and what he offered as a lover. I fell in love with his kindness, this enormous heart of his that surprises me with it’s intensity. I fell in love with his humor (although I tell him all the time he’s not funny), his ability to bring joy into even the most mundane situation.

When we found out I was pregnant, I was given the great honor of falling in love with him as a parent. He would read books to my swelling belly, wiped tears when he heard the first heartbeat, and swore under his breath “oh balls” when we found out we were having a boy. Since the kids have arrived I’ve fallen even more in love with this man, their father, who is occasionally stubborn and impatient, but is also kind and hilarious.

When we decided to get married I got to fall in love with him as a husband. A man who is constantly trying to improve himself, who is always putting me first even when I don’t recognize it right away. A man who is equally up for adventure or another day on the homestead. There seems to be no end to his ability to awe and inspire me and his gift for seeing things as they could be is one I’ve come to envy and attempt to emulate.

These last few weeks in quarantine have been wonderful. Yes, the stress and the fear and and and (he’s immunocompromised, so there is a lot of fear). Getting to see him interact with the boys every day has been the absolute best thing ever. Being nearby to pop in and steal a kiss or drop off a smoothie or let him know the family dance party was starting in three minutes…I wouldn’t trade any of this for the world.

My strongest hope is that we continue to appreciate one another, to grow and evolve together, to keep sculpting this incredible family we’ve created. I want to wake up in thirty years, roll over and watch the sunrise with him. From making coffee for me in the morning (he doesn’t drink the stuff) to bringing up wood for the fire each night. From bringing me tea when I’m at the computer to grilling up steaks for dinner. From taking the baby in the morning so I can get another hour or three of sleep to taking out the trash.

I want to appreciate all the little things, because they’re really very big. The little things are the things a life is built upon. The things a love grows from. The things that make you fall in love.



A friend recently posted that she’s becoming exhausted making lemonade out of lemons every day. I think we are all feeling that way. It is exhausting. It’s exhausting if you’re single, it’s exhausting if you’re married. It’s exhausting if you have kids, it’s exhausting if you have pets. It’s exhausting if it’s you, and only you, and no one else. But the thing is, it’s never just us, alone. There is no such thing as just us alone, unless of course you happen to live alone off-grid somewhere and you don’t even realize there’s a pandemic going on like that family in Russia (link here, it’s a fascinating read from 1978).

The thing is, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be everything to everyone and to do everything for everyone and all that time we aren’t caring for ourselves. And no, this won’t be another self-care blog, because you can find plenty of that everywhere, I probably did one, too. By now you know you need to make yourself a priority and if you’re not there’s nothing I can say that will change your mind.

Here we are in the middle of chaos and we still have expectations for ourselves that are ridiculous. Whether anyone else is saying anything or not, we have this belief that we need to be better, do better, do more.

Stop. Just. Stop.

If you get out of bed in the morning, that’s awesome. If you get out of pajamas and into clothes each day, good for you! If you set your kids in front of the television and let them watch whatever they want for eight hours straight, give yourself a pat on the back. If you make yourself a cup of coffee, drink it, and go back to bed, way to go! If the “only” thing you’ve accomplished all day is to breathe and make it to tomorrow, you’re winning!

Yes, there are TONS of things you could be doing because so much is free right now. There are courses and operas and movies and games and and and…. It’s all so very overwhelming.

There are also people dying, every day, and if you’ve lost someone my deepest sympathies to you.

It is okay to grieve.

There is nothing wrong with simply existing until this over. Because nothing about this is simple.

You do not need to have earned a doctorate when this over.

Give yourself the sort of love and kindness and empathy you would give a friend or a loved one. Give yourself the gift of acceptance. Accept where you are and how you’re feeling and that you want to spend the day (or the next three weeks) in pj’s in bed with Netflix.

Save that lemonade for a day when you can drink it with friends.

Today, tomorrow, just be.