Space for fear

Today I swung my whole self hand-to-hand across the monkey bars. A year ago I couldn’t hang, holding my own body weight, for more than 25sec.

Yesterday I hung upside down on a bar on the school playground, by just my knees, I used momentum and swung back and forth until I could let my legs go and land on my feet. I didn’t, I fell. But it was okay!

Nolie squealed! I grinned! And tried again.

Feeling the weight of my body, and the strength of my hands was exhilarating. Feeling a little scared, a little uncomfortable, but knowing I could trust that if I fell, I would be okay, maybe I wouldn’t fall next time.

Watching my daughter feel proud and excited for me.

This is why I lift weights, why I rock climb, and why I keep trying to hang on the monkey bars.

Not only for those girls. Not only for the normalcy of a Mama who plays, swims with them, and jumps on the trampoline, and tried ridiculous headstands, and falls and gets scrapes. I want to  do things that scare me. In front of them!

But also, for me. That moment of “can I really do this?” and then… that next of “yes!” or… “hah! not yet!”

It feels good to practice what I preach to my kids. To shift those words I say to them so often, onto myself;  “You can do hard things. Your body is so capable!”

Today I felt it. Today I got to model it. And today I am so strong. IMG_6830

blog gone.


When it was almost gone I felt a moment of relief. All those words and moments and documented mistakes were gone. All the over sharing and stories that aren’t quite mine to give so fully… gone. I felt a second of “oh good. Now no one will know. ” I was thankful to have the words gone from my girls. And thankful to not have to wonder “have they read about me?” when I meet a new Mom in Bellingham.

In the next flicker I felt intense heartache. It’s all gone. All the mistakes, and moments, and over sharing of motherhood and wife life and our story and his story, and her sleeplessness, my body hate, and my anger, my sadness, my everything from the start was gone. Poof, into the internet universe never to be seen again. And with that felt a strange weight. I’ve already forgotten those days (I was recently at the store and a new mom asked me if sleep was hard with my oldest, and it took me too long to remember. Because now I miss it. I remember rocking her fondly. Not putting her down, to hard, in anger at 3am. The realities have slipped away). I quick look through the archives reveals a women I am both pushed and pulled to cry with and comfort for her choices that she will regret (that I’ve already forgotten) and also pulled to never remember because she feels wholly unrecognizable.

The words I used to describe Nolie in her sleeplessness break my heart. My desire to not cry it out but to push it to the edge and “break her of this habit” make my stomach turn.

How freely I shared Charlie’s story makes me so torn. It introduced me to so many beautiful and suffering women. So many women who needed to know they weren’t alone. And who needed, desperately, to see a story of hope. But it also feels heavy and strange to know that so much of our very personal hearts and life are there. On a page. Easily searched. (But know, it was all shared with Charlie as the editor. And who stills believes wholly in that story being available).

The words that go along with my birth stories are so strange and hard and beautiful, but oddly stoic. Because I didn’t quite know myself. I didn’t quite know how much to give, how to give in, or how to convey it. And now my desire to rewrite them, years later, with just what’s left. Just the intense and the beautiful.

The moment dragged on. And my need to make a decision (to pay to have this page hosted) loomed. And I’m here.

Bubbling over with words, after feeling mute for so long, so much to share, so much changing going on and beautiful and happy and light. So much heavy and new and universal.

I’m struggling with the boundaries. I know that I won’t be putting as much of my children out here. And I know that I will be choosing wisely how quickly I share my own tender heart. But I also feel the words pressing out my fingers again and I’m ready to make it a practice again. To find a new voice. And to see what story it is that I am needing to share.

So, it’s here. And will be here. And won’t (as some posts will be disappearing, but no recipes). But that woman, the one I’m desperate to erase, she’s still there too. And she deserves hold a piece of my past, as much as it pains my heart to read those words and feel utterly divorced from the woman, and mother, I was.

All I can do, as I read back and decide to write on, is to do it with grace for who I am, who I was, and who I will be. And trust that those who love me have the same.

So, hi. And we’re back. And it’s new.

running is changing.

Last year Charlie and I trained for and ran a local half marathon. It was a hard, long, and eye opening process. And I never ran alone. Always with him, or a friend, the miles felt too quiet and too long and too tiring with only my stomp-stomp-stopm. The dedication to put in the weekly maintenance runs was really hard, and I lagged at the end. The long weekend runs were a treat and a break and often spent with a dear, and inspiring runner friend, but I struggled toward the end because I slacked on my training.


When race day came we did it. We raced like newbies and had our fastest 10K yet but dragged through the 7 miles after that. When the race came to a  close we pushed across the finish line with nothing left. Nothing. At one point, during mile 12, I stopped and wanted to walk (for the first time during the race) but walking hurt more than running so we kept going. And vowed to each other that we would NEVER RUN EVER AGAIN.

About a week after the race, when we had both semi recovered, we went for a run around a local lake and vowed to do the race, and do it well, the following year. I made the goal to run it 15 pounds lighter and 15minutes faster. Well, I’ve amended that to be that I’ll run the race at whatever weight I am, and 30minutes faster (though, I think I am around 10 pounds lighter currently, so it could be that goal might happen on happy accident). But this time I am doing it differently.

I’m not just training for a half. I am cross training my body. And training my brain too.

I am running alone, well… with the girls and dog but basically alone, and in my head. And the running part feels like mental training more than anything else. Miles of foot to trail, and my own thoughts. And my brain feels calm and healthy in those miles, not frantic and exhausted. It’s a gift. And one that grows when I nurture it, so I keep running.

But for my body… I am changing it up. Last year I just ran as training. This year I am weight lifting and doing a lot of HIIT (high intensity interval training) and getting my miles in slow and steady. But it’s amazing, my body feels SO good on runs. I can power up hills because my squat weight is climbing. I can push through that last mile, hard, because my calf lift is on point.11045458_10101259840820950_3417006566120062386_n

I am using a website ( to find workouts I like, and spend probably 4-6 days a week doing a 30-45minute workout. And it’s working! And changing my body and mind.

This week we are registering for the race (it isn’t till September, but early bird prices. . . ) and I am starting to get pretty excited about crushing last years times!11073470_10101254187255740_2068781312218279135_n

Bucket List Blonde

I come from blonde roots. My Mom is a blonde, my sister is, and all the nieces and nephews are little toe heads. I’ve always been dark haired. I would have been named Robin had I followed in all the blonde footsteps before me, but I came out with gorilla levels of nearly black hair, and so my sister got her way and I was named Autumn.

As long as I can remember I’ve wondered what it’s like to be blonde, could I pull it off? Would it be too weird? And… would it be more fun?

This past month has been a weird one, full of joy and fun but also transitions and tiredness, settling into our home and trying to find the groove we fit into. And in all that tumult and the dust settling around huge life changes I felt that itch. The one for a Big Change. It was this or a tattoo, so I figured it was time to scratch one off the list and just go for it.

I am so glad I did.




I still feel a little like I am wearing a disguise but the strangest side effect is that I feel about 100X more confident and like such a girl! I’m getting dressed, grinning from ear to ear, and kinda feel like I’m walking on air. Being Blonde will be a short season for me, but one I can already tell I am going to adore. Cue the CHORUS: ” I ennnnnjoy being a girrrrl!”


How to nurse in a dress!

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for ages! I’ve only come across a few dresses I can’t nurse in, but generally I’ve found there are tricks and ways to nurse in virtually any dress.
Here are my tricks when looking at dresses during shopping trips, and a few cheap items you can add to your wardrobe to make the dresses you already have work!
Photo on 12-5-13 at 4.06 PM #7
{how most of this post was written; while nursing, in a dress.}
Number ONE tip: TRY IT OUT. Don’t look at a dress and think “I could never nurse in that.”  When you are in the dressing room and you try on a dress, any dress! Give popping your boob out the top a go. It sounds weird, because it kind of is, but you would be surprised! Pull the dress neckline gently forward as far as you can, hike it up short short in the back, (it won’t matter, you’ll be sitting when you nurse!) and try to nurse. I guarantee you will be shocked! You would be surprised how much ‘give’ there is to this material if you just give nursing in it a shot, I’ve been shocked many, many times by what is ‘nursable’ even though it isn’t a traditionally stretchy feeling material. For example…
{however, this dress is also a nice one to wear with leggings or jeggings to nurse. Because of the nipped in elastic waist it can almost act as a cover/tent feeling when I nurse by pulling it up, no need for any tank to cover my stomach. Like here!}
The dress doesn’t have much stretch to it at all, but when I pull the dress forward a bit around my neckline before I sit down it raises it up (short!) in the back (but who cares?! I’m sitting!) and gives me enough space to be able to pop my boob out the top and easily nurse in it. Sames goes for this dress;
And this one too;
And here I am nursing in that dress;
Or this dress, below, it is jean material! But if I pull the neckline down and bend over a bit then I can get my boob out and easily nurse (and discreetly with a scarf or in the sling) even though there is almost no give to the high’ish neckline.
Brings me to another tip; SCARVES. Nursing is a time to invest in many, many (like, you can’t have too many and I need ten more), light weight infinity scarves. I was gifted (thanks Mom!) one I adore and it was under $20 and from Brass Plum at Nordstroms (pictured above) and I use that one, and a few others to act as a nursing cover for me when I nurse in a dress. If you are going over the top and are well endowed you will be showing a lot of skin, and if that’s not your thing then using a scarf to help bring a little coverage is easy and still stylish. I like the infinity scarves best because I don’t have to take them off/rearrange it at all I just pull it over and down a bit, not over babies head, just over my exposed skin (like above!). (here is a link to the winter version of my springy one!)
As you can see, I wear scarves with my dresses a Lot;
And, nursing in the dress pictured above;
If high necked and shortish; then add a stretchy little mini skirt underneath to make it easy to lift your dress up as you would any shirt. This skirt cost me $3 on clearance and they always have them in stock and it works really well to add a thick/cozy and non slippy layer to make nursing more discreet and easy!
382775_899499094700_433472_nHere it is making nursing easy and giving a little extra length to my (suddenly short!) dress with my little 17 weeks bump!
And, finally, the obvious tips;
JERSEY. My sister is rolling her eyes right now, but really! There are lots of cute jersey dresses out there and they make nursing so.easy. and when you wash and dry they lose any sort of neck slack you created. Here are some of my easy to nurse in dresses. I look for a nice mid thigh length (I wear leggings under often and then can just lift up, or I use my skirt trick), a fitted silhouette, and not too low of a neckline.
And, also, button down dresses (lots of vintage dresses with that style!) or wrap dresses will forever be nursing friendly. Especially if paired with a light scarf.
Any other tips you seasoned nursers have? I’m wrapping this up more quickly than I planned I have to get back to nursing my around-the-clock-hungry baby!
Here’s my shopping list!
1: Ikat (with black black tights and high high heels this would be an easy way to make a jersey dress holiday party ready!
00065139-012. Poetic Shift– This with jeggings and heels, or yellow tights and a mini underneath (this would be a drop the belt and lift the dress kinda nurser) would also be great for a fun friends holiday party or a date day!
3. Darling Stripes – this one looks perfect because it gives the little waist but without a side zip! So again this with a mini underneath, or with leggings would be another great holiday look!
00073721-044. Lace Fit and Flare – I’m just kidding. I don’t think I could nurse in this, though I’m up for the challenge. I just want it so bad to wear on a date!
{no affiliate links or compensation, I really do just troll F21 and Nordies too much}

10 Days Done

Yesterday morning I finished my ten day yoga challenge. I asked Nolie if she would take my final pictures for me. She happily obliged and proceeded to take about 70 pictures of me bending and moving, the walls, Evie, her feet, and various home landscape pictures. But that afternoon as I went through the myriad of photos I was struck with how incredibly perfect her shots were. And what a pleasure it was to see me through her lens.

I look strong. Confident. And flexible. I learned and felt quite a lot during these ten days. I felt frustrated and unmotivated, annoyed at my lack of ability, inability to control my breath, and how out of breath I got even though I wasn’t jumping around. But as that started to dissipate I felt stronger. Less frantic. More calm. And I could feel the changes in my body. I am going to keep going with yoga, and try to do at least a little every day.

Here are the pictures that Nolie snagged on day ten.


Easily my favorite time to do my routine was first thing in the morning, without the little ladies. But that isn’t really possible with any kind of reliability. And i really started to like doing it with the girls around too. Nolie got pretty into it and was actually kind of incredible at it! It is really important to Charlie and I that we are modeling an active life style and encouraging her to move! and run! and dance! And empowering her to do things that are outside of her comfort zone (as she wants to).

I have always thought that I was too big to do yoga, that it was for tiny bendy girls and I would look too lumpy or feel gross. But I was so wrong! Yoga has won me over. It has made me feel less lethargic, so much stronger, and more content in my body. It was incredible how obvious the changes were in my flexibility even in just a few days. collageyg

I used the Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown DVD each day, its kind of half yoga and half body weight training. It was a great way for me to get into yoga and still get nice and sweaty. The unexpected place I found a LOT of awesome yoga inspiration was Instagram. I started following some yoga mamas, and #yogainspace IG’ers and tried out the poses from their daily challenges. It was a fun way to find poses, see them done well, and now with the new video feature I can even see how they get into some of the crazier ones! My goal is to be able to do a handstand one day (soon?ish?). That would be so awesome and so satisfying.

I am still trying to figure out what my next challenge will be. Possibly something running centered, but I also really liked the idea (from the comments on my last post!) of a strength training program. I’ll keep you updated! Anyone want to join in? Have any other ideas?

Expect more #yogaformama posts on my instagram! I am wanting to keep this up.



I challenged myself to a Ten Day Yoga Challenge. Ten days of yoga, thirty minutes. Day five and I have fallen in love. I’m not doing any sort of “real” or super strenuous yoga, just an at home DVD deal in my yoga pants that often times double as my ‘grocery store’ pants or my ‘play-date pants’. I picked up this DVD ages ago for $7 and am really enjoying this slow intro to some yoga-like moves. By day three I was feeling sore but hooked and started following some Yoga Inspiring people on Instagram (having those pictures pop up on my phone is great motivation for me to look up poses and try them out! Check out the #yogaeveryday #yogaeverydamnday to find some really inspiring pictures and find people to follow who fit your style. I found a few Yoga Mamas to follow and feel really boosted by their pictures.

I am feeling sore, stretched, and tired by this. But also feeling new, invigorated, and different. I am dripping sweat by the end but didn’t jump around a bunch. I feel either face my day with more calm (morning yoga! favorite!) or fall asleep more easily, so far this challenge has been nothing but aching muscles and happiness. Finding the time has been the biggest struggle, but having the accountability of posting to my instagram and facebook about each day has been the best in keeping me going. And, honestly, I can always find 30min. Even if it means doing yoga with a toddler helper and a baby crawling all over me (extra resistance?), or waiting till they are in bed and making this my ‘break’ time. Either way, I am making time for it. And feeling better physically and mentally for doing so.

I had hit a rut with running, fallen out of practice, and needed a restart. This is getting my muscles going again and I can’t wait to see how adding yoga in will affect my body and my running.

Here are days 1-5! You can follow along on my Facebook or instagram (buttons for both at the top of my blog) with the #yogaformama #goodbyecomfortzone


I do really well having the accountability of a “challenge” and a set number of days, uh… a number of days that are way less than a month. So I want to do another ten day challenge after this one, any ideas? Any fun and cheap workouts you are loving these days? Help a Mama out!

Gorgeous- Mama does boudoir

I walked into the studio and felt the sweat begin to bead on my forehead. I had watched girls disrobe and grin all day long. Gorgeous bodies that had carried babies, given birth at home or in a hospital, vaginally or surgically, bodies that had been forever changed. And bodies that were being celebrated not as mothers now, but as sexy women.

The photographer began to snap and I didn’t feel that calm that I watched wash over so many others. I didn’t feel that relaxed confidence that I had seen them all embrace. I felt more awkward, more fat, more sweaty. Then she stopped. Looked me square in the eye and said “don’t change a thing.” 

Tiffany turned the camera around and I saw this.


 And tears sprung to my eyes. Because I don’t want to change a thing. For the first time I can remember.

I have felt like not only would it be incorrect to think I am beautiful but that it would be wrong and prideful. That doing something that the soul purpose was to celebrate my body would be somehow selfish/gross. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

After receiving my photos I walk taller. Feel more love for my husband. And can own my womanhood free of motherhood with a wielding power that feels incredible. My body was forever changed by birth, and my eyes hold experiences and intense love that I never knew possible, my girls have changed me forever. But they haven’t ruined me. They have empowered me to realize how important it is to think I am gorgeous.


I regularly tell others that they are beautiful and I mean it. I daily tell my girls how beautiful, smart, strong, well made, and awesome they are; and I mean it. But to myself? I toss on whatever is on the floor, reject all the compliments Charlie lavish’s on me, and cast off confidence like it’s a prideful rag I can’t stand to put on.

Since this shoot I have been picking up confidence and robing myself in it. Taking True words about myself and allowing them to hang on me beautifully. I have been looking in the mirror and seeing what Charlie sees, what I should see, and not staring into the flaws with intensity. Because I was not designed with that in mind.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

(from Psalm 139)

I had these photos taken for a few reasons.

The biggest reasons was to have something beautiful to show my girls when they have a low moment about their body. The short legs they inherited from me, the small waist and ample hips, the tiny curvy feet, the cheeks that apple up with every smile. There is a photo of my Mom on a swing set in a mini skirt with big blond hair, little waist, and wide smile. It is sexy, gorgeous, and affirming. I look at it and see her but I also look at it and can see me and my sister, I can see where we came from and appreciate the pieces of me that I inherited and have been less than loving to. I want my girls to find themselves in these photos and be able to have that same recognition of inherited beauty that I get when I see my Mom’s sparkling eyes, little whoo nose, and short strong legs.

I left with a gift as big and bigger. I left with the ability to see myself through someone else’s eyes. To see a person who is wonderfully made. Who is strong. Confident. Gorgeous.

Because, guess what? It is more than okay to think you are gorgeous. It isn’t socially acceptable, women are taught to speak lame words about themselves, to not appreciate their bodies, to cut themselves and other women down for any perceived flaw. But the truth is different. The truth is that healthy and strong is sexy. That every woman has so much beauty in them. That stepping back from the mirror, stepping away from where your eyes are drawn (the purple stretch marks and loose belly, the wide hips or fat thighs, the arms that wag, or the back with rolls) and see that all of that, all of you, all of me, it’s pretty damn remarkable. Not just for it’s accomplishments, but just because. Because it’s more than good and more than right to look at yourself and think and say “yes, I just look gorgeous. All of me.” Because you do.

It isn’t a size or number. It isn’t “real women have curves.” because we are all real women and beautiful in exactly the skin we have on today. I know that boudoir photography isn’t for everyone. But if you even think for one moment that you would glean something from it, get off the fence and do it (but only with a GREAT photographer). I can’t tell you enough how incredibly altering, beautiful, affirming, and marriage improving this was. I’m sharing a couple of photos, but saving the rest for Charlie (and a few for my little girls when they are bigger girls). I wasn’t planning on blogging about this, because really? Who wants to see pictures of some random Mom in a corset? But the experience was so much more than wearing lingerie for a picture.

I walked into that shoot with a despicable beast on my back whispering “Your body is ruined. You aren’t worth this. These will be so gross. Why would Charlie ever want to see this?” and I walked out free of that voice, that shame, and those words. And it’s been three weeks and I am still walking free of that horrible little voice.

Because this body? It’s just gorgeous.


Photography done by Tiffany Burke Photography , her facebook page is here.

Make-up by Love Beauty

and hair, duh, no-heat-curls

Natural Beauty; Food for your face.

I’ve gotten several emails and facebook messages recently asking about my ‘beauty’ routine. This is awesome for a few reason. First, I haven’t been wearing makeup much at all anymore and it is really affirming to feel beautiful anyhow. I like makeup and think it is a lot of fun but I was wearing it more because I felt like I wasn’t “presentable” without it. Uh, what a lie! I am presentable as I am because I am a person and that’s enough. Another awesome reason is that I would love to share what I do and use because it is easy, cheap, and you are likely to have all that you need in your home already. So, here is my beauty recipe list!


1. I cut out Dairy and Soy (and am significantly limiting gluten). I have had eczema since I was two and it comes in waves and I have thought it was exacerbated by citrus, then peanut butter, then stress, then weather, on and on. And? It very well could be somehow impacted by those things, but I truly believe that the big unknown culprit my life was Dairy. Since cutting it out wholly, my skin is overall nicer/clearer/brighter.

2. I don’t use any products. Nothing with an ingredient list. I use only homemade/natural skin care.


For Makeup removing: I use a little coconut oil on a napkin/rag/TP and use that on my lashes and around my eyes. It works great, is gentle, isn’t in a scary childproof container (because, uh, what is in that??) and leaves my lashes feeling great and clean and I smell good!

Face Wash: I dissolve a Tbs. of Baking Soda in warm water (about a 1/4 cup)

Quick Mask/Tightening Mask: I half a juicy lemon and drizzle it with a little honey and rub that on any problem areas on my face. Leave it for several minutes and wash it off. Bonus! It tastes great if you get a little drip.

Black Head Remover: I mix about a Tbs of baking soda with 1/4Cup milk (the base and alkaline mix works wonders!) and I rub this on my face (mainly nose!) and then rinse and repeat once if I need to.

Toner: This one feels SO GOOD, I use cold Apple Cider Vinegar on a tissue all over skin after it’s dry. The smell dissapates fast and it works great!

Moisturizer: Coconut oil, this one is harder. A little goes a long way here and I only use it on the driest parts of my face and it works SO well.

Tooth Whitening: I use a Tbs of baking soda and the juice of half a lemon, mixed into a paste and then applied to my teeth for about 30-45 seconds and then rinse.  Not more than once a week, that stuff’s strong!



postpartum weight loss- a holiday break

I fell off the wagon for a bit and got pretty heartily down on myself. So, instead of berating myself I am going a (new, blah) better and different route.

I cut myself some slack. Made some attainable goals. Took a short break. And am now getting back into the swing. Starting tomorrow I will do A Mile a Day till New Years Day. In short, I’ll run a mile each day. I need to dust off my shoes and get back into it and having a small goal (just till Jan.1!) is a great way for me to get motivated again. I am tracking what I eat on but I am not being too militant about it. For now (December) I am tracking on most days but forgoing keeping close tabs on days where we have holiday parties. Instead of killing myself trying to figure out how many calories are in the three.five random crackers, some dip that someone else made, and a half a slice of chocolate pie… I am just being smart, not over doing it, and stopping when I feel full- oh, and LOADING up on water.

I don’t expect to lose during the holidays. My goal is to hold strong through till Jan.1 and then get back into fighting mode and start working on strength and distance again.

I am currently sitting at 7mo PP and somewhere between 4-9 pounds from my prepregancy weight. Not too shabby.

Also, I am finally getting the hang  of dressing this new body, and it feels good.