When Nolie was about 2.5 she started talking about “Porcupine School”. It was a fictional school where she learned about… everything! Adventurous field trips, explorations, and vacations to Seattle were all mentioned. Writing, reading, and story telling were heavily relied upon, and art was unending. It was all in her pretend world, but each of us slowly got pulled in.

She’d request an “art history day!” and then Porcupine School would come to life on my table top, with me… as a Teacher.

I am not a teacher.

I am a mother. A reader. A thinker. A life long learner. But… a teacher?

We sat at the table, hands on butcher block, turning page and pulling brush strokes. Reading aloud about Rembrandt and the Mona Lisa. Her giant eyes wide and absorbing. Her work slow and thoughtful. And her observations, nothing short of genius. I sat there. Teaching?

I feel strongly that play is learning. That the outdoors are our teachers. That birth to age five is that ripe sponge time for me to facilitate play and environments free of “educational TV” or screens, or junky food, or punky kids and instead keep her in museums, and play spaces, and outside in the fresh air, in collecting on nature walks, making worm homes, hugging freely and often, dancing to ballets and learning about the Four Seasons (Spring is her favorite Vivaldi). And, for the most part, I’ve done alright. She’s mind blowing, inquisitive, “advanced”, and just about the most wonderful little person I could ever fathom walking the earth (okay, maaaybe I’m a bit biased).

But now we are here. The end of her preschool career ticking away quickly. Her age and “readiness” for kindy meaning we are getting paperwork from public school arriving at our door, I’m scheduling tours with the two closest elementary schools, and she’s asking where her desk will be. . . and I am seeing the reality knocking, hard. 30 hours a week. That’s the kindergarten load. That is also a job. Basically a full time job… for a five year old? Nope.

I can’t get behind those hours. I cannot fathom she or I being ready to be apart from each other for 6+ hours a day, I cannot see her ready to leave us or her sister for that duration. When we talk about it she says “yeah, till nap time? then I’ll come home. What would you do during nap time without me?” and “but if I feel sad they’ll call? I’ll just come home. I might feel ready to come home.”  and then she usually ends with “maybe just a half day. Maybe just as long as preschool?” (that’s a whoppping 6 hours a week, btw). So despite the information in my inbox piling up from her local elementary school… I’m back to researching.

Homeschooling. It’s just such a huge world. A quick google and facebook search brings me endless groups/information/co-ops/everything. But what will be the right thing for us? For Nolie. For my girl?

Thankfully I have a few months. I have a lot of ideas (registering as a part-time public schooler and just pulling her out early to make the hours work for us?) and a lot of feelers out there for different ideas. Nolie is school hungry, and I don’t want to and never will deny her that experience in some capacity.

But now the hunt is on… to find her a(nother?) teacher. And to gain some new understanding and confidence in my own skills. And, probably time for me to get myself to some school of my own. . . Thank God for this girl who is just learning and exploding in her abilities each day. Seems porcupine school has been ongoing, whether I’ve been in attendance or not. 10456815_10101235612559580_4923051585297061023_n

Should I W30?

I am sure it feels like everyone is posting about W30 – I see it all over my instagram feed and facebook groups. I think there are lots of reasons to want to do a Whole 30, but the catch phrase of a “reset” isn’t the one I would chase. I wanted to do a Whole30 for a few reasons. The primary being my eczema. Being dairy free did NOT eliminate it completely, but has had a big enough effect that I was hopeful that an elimination diet would answer some questions I had about it. Secondly because I was getting buried deep into food guilt, going to sleep each night feeling bad about choices I’d made and sick to my stomach, literally, from overeating on “good” junk (aka: high quality milk shakes ;)). Also because I like “challenges” and a month feels like a really manageable amount of time to try out a lifestyle change. And, finally, because I was ready to break the calorie counting/macro tracking/scale obsessed habits that I nearly always fall into in the winter.

Should you Whole 30? Obviously, only you know the answer to that. I think a lot of whether or not you would enjoy/benefit from a whole30 is personality. Do rules make you want to rebel? Or do they make you feel safe? (There are a LOT of rules). Do you have reasons, outside of weight loss, that you want to pursue eating more whole? Or are you looking for a weight loss solution (it isn’t one, it has that as a side effect for some people, but it isn’t a weight loss program at all)?

I did my first W30 (day one of my second one starts right. now.) with a little group of friends. Our results varied greatly! I adored the program, and felt free/guiltless for the first time in…. ever? Two of my friends felt triggered by all the rules and guidelines and found themselves not eating as much as their bodies needed, and chose to remove the rules and decide that “if it felt worth it to eat something outside of W30, that’s just fine.” and then had way more success with eating more whole/balanced meals. Another friend followed it closely and had big changes in body (skin especially!) and confidence and calm, but chose to eat “non compliant” after the W30 and then possibly do another soon.

A few things to ask yourself before you W30, to set yourself up for some success.

Are you a planner or an intuitive eater? If you are a planner: meal plan specifically for And shop accordingly. If you are more intuitive (want to eat what “sounds good” each day) then meal plan loosely (five meal “options” and then list them somewhere BIG in your kitchen) and shop for those meals, that way you have some freedom in your eating without going off the deep end.

Is your family on board? If not; Buy yourself a splurge set of amazing tupperware, make your meals ahead, have snacks already bagged and ready, have lots of easy and amazing prepped options on hand. Stock up on fruit and fresh veggies that are ready to eat and washed. If so; think about what your family likes (are they big juice drinkers? coffee consumers? grazers? or sit down meal eaters?) and PLAN ACCORDINGLY. Have snacks (kid friendly!) on hand to offer, have tiny portions ready, have watered fresh juices on hand for them, have frozen berries for a treat, use this as a time to buy higher quality coffee so it tastes GOOD black or with no sweets.
Know yourself! Sit down, have an honest sit with a journal, and think about what your triggers are (playdates? happy hours? hungry grocery shopping? that ‘nap drive’ coffee?) and plan for them. What will you bring/do/eat in those situations. Buy yourself an emergency car snack (Lara Bar, heyo!) and a water bottle to keep with you.

Have real expectations for yourself! This is a gift you’re giving your body. It isn’t a punishment. And if you are in the midst of it and feeling bad/worse about yourself/not eating enough, then take a step back. Think about your goals for the W30 and if you are getting closer to them (this should be mentally, NOT physically) or if it’s taking you further (more guilt, more restricting, less freedom) and STOP! It’s important to be really self aware during the whole process and know that yes you CAN give up a few things for 30 days (it’s only 30 days!) but it it is causing you do have disordered eating/thoughts and feel worse mentally, it is likely not the right program for you. And that’s okay!

I’m starting my second Whole 30 today, I’m really excited! I feel like I still have quite a bit of mental work to be done. And am looking forward to seeing what I learn and how I grow and change through this second round. Here We Go!

Also, our Whole 30 Mamas (but open to Non-Mamas too ;)) is active and awesome if you want to join, find us on Facebook!

Whole30 Family Results.


I’m sitting here feeling like I’ve found the golden key and simultaneously like I know nothing and am at the very beginning again… The whole30 is it’s own beast, and one that has me back to studs in my heart trying to discern what tastes good/what feels good/what “feel good” means/and where the heck I got the idea that donuts once a week was “fun” or felt good or was good for me or my kids.

Somewhere around day 5: The girls were begging for noodles (a very frequent meal around here :/) and  I whipped them up a bowl of noodles with pasture butter and fresh parm (good stuff! right?) and as Nolie was shoveling spoonful after spoonful into her mouth, and I was feeling satisfied to see her finally eating a meal that day, she started to squirm. “My belly hurts. It hurts but I don’t want to stop eating. I want to feel fuller.”

oh. uh. what?

I know that feeling. It’s exactly what I feel when I eat bread (homemade or franz, bakery or store-bought…) like I just want to keep eating, even though my stomach hurts, I don’t feel “full” I just feel… not done? It’s the same feeling that motivates me to eat a whole Sourdough Boule from Trader Joe’s (with Brie, yum) and then bemoan(or just moan) my choice for the next few hours while I sit on the couch feeling overfull and underfed.

I don’t know when or how my five year old got to that… but I do know that it’s because of what I was putting out there. Of my weird notions about what she “would like” or “could eat” or “she’d NEVER like that”. Because, the thing is, Nolie is an AWESOME eater. But the foods she likes take effort (on my part). She loves roasted vegetables (Primarily beets!) and dark meat on  a whole roasted chicken, and buttery quinoa, steamed broccoli… like, she would eat those foods for every meal. But that meal? Hours of time. Prep. Money. Energy. Workworkwork. So? Noodles became my go-do to get them full during the day.

It wasn’t till we started this whole30 (a modified elimination diet, but not at all a legit one, as it’s all self led/instagram led 😉 and not persribed by a doctor or naturopath) and began to eliminated grains/dairy/sugar from our home that I noticed how worth it the work was, and how I could prep ahead and be ready to feed my family well.

We’ve started prepping meals… roasting chicken, roasting veggies, sautéing greens, baking eggs, having all the protein/greens/fats/fruits on hand and closer to us than a bowl of pasta. And the proximity? It’s working. There are plenty of meals that on days 1-15 the girls just saw/wouldn’t touch and would request something else (our go-to’s if you aren’t a fan of dinner are apple/PB, turkey/ham and nuts, yogurt and honey. I’m always willing to serve something easy to the kids if they aren’t a fan of dinner and I would never remove an entire food group from a kiddo unless it was obvious that they had an allergy). But the most amazing this has been happening… as these foods are on our table more and more, as restaurants are becoming a distant memory (sob sob!), those foods are becoming more and more normal to the girls and, without pressure, they are trying and loving them!

The effects on Nolie are less obvious, an expanded pallet, easier time falling asleep, and a general level of energy/calm instead of high highs and low lows.

But  on Ever? It’s been crazy. She’s 2.75 and has always had big feelings. But recently her emotions had been getting huge and scary and seemed to be out of her own control. I reached out to friends, Facebook networks, books, and kept coming up pretty blank. “developmentally normal” or maybe sensory related? She would, seemingly without a trigger, just completely lose it. Her eyes would go glossy, she’d scream as loud as she could, pinch/hit herself, pull her hair, throw herself on the ground… it was awful, heartbreaking, and impossible to help her till she just, eventually, came down. She was having one or two a day, most days, and we were just weathering them while I clung to the hope that this developmental stage would pass.

Then we started the whole30, the girls weren’t on it 100% at all, but their consumption of gluten/dairy became HUGELY reduced. Their consumption off highly processed sugars (donuts…oops? every week. oops?) was drastically cut back, and the fruit/veggie consumption sky rocketed. And one week in… It dawned on me that Ever hadn’t had a single freak out. I brushed it off and assumed it was a fluke. But the days kept going by, the meltdowns were small and normal and not at all near the caliber they had been, and she began to sleep at night. We are now about two months into having a gluten/dairy free home (for the most part) and the two times that we’ve let her have a big amount of gluten… she’s had a huge and heartbreaking meltdown. So, now, we are limiting gluten in a big way.

I am pretty shocked by this. I have never been an advocate for putting kids of elimination diets unless there is a VERY good reason. But I am beyond thankful that this happened so naturally, and that it’s been by and large easy to keep out of our diet and home.

We have no intentions of going back to gluten or dairy with any kind of regularity, and so far the girls don’t mind at all. It’s amazing what having healthy option on the table, meal after meal after meal after meal, can do for a kiddo pallet. They didn’t want/try/like things the first, second, third, or even fourth, but often times the 5th time they saw it, they would try it! Or the 10th time, they would like it! Slow and steady, and healthy. I am in shock and so thankful!



Whole30- Results (Autumn)

I’ve hesitated to write this post. For many reasons, but the primary being that I have felt like my results would be a “let down” for most people to read about. Because my “before and after” doesn’t show 10+ pounds lost, or a sudden tan gained. Also because it feels really embarrassing to post, photos that depict a person “before” (who looks just fine.) and an “after” as though it was something that “had” to happen. And because I know that many of my close friends and family find the whole thing so ridiculous that I can almost feel the snickers behind my back about how crazy this whole endeavor was. And, I will fully admit, doing a Whole30 is a VERY privileged thing to do. Being able to spend much more on food than typical (we saved up to do it, but had shocking results financially that I’ll get to later) on groceries, CHOOSING to omit food groups, and having the luxury of time to shop/prep/cook everything at home. Not to mention just being able to pick up a diet change on a whim because I had been thinking about it? That alone highlights how small my (sometimes big feeling) problems are relative to many other people.

BUT… I also feel like a monumentally different and changed person. And all shook up. And ridiculous as it all may be, dumb as this all is, it was important to me. Did great big things in me. And in the end (though, I am no where near the end, actually) left me feeling so much better. So, as this is my own tiny personal space, I’m sharing. So, warning, gratuitous amounts of selfies/photos/and rambling. If it’s not your gig, just click out.

Our Whole30 Results:

I lost three pounds, and 14inches (all over, but mainly my hips and thighs).


Obviously, my stomach is the number one change. Because… guys, this is an amazing result. My diastasis recti is GONE. I had a “four finger tip” one prior to starting and after? Gone. And also a TON of inflammation and bloat from gluten and dairy, also gone. The exciting thing about that is that even if I were to “go back” I know that a lot of my frustration with my body was just inflammation, and that “easy enough” to get rid of with the elimination of gluten and dairy (my triggers). I also grew a butt! That is not thanks to the diet (I mean, maybe? thanks protein and all the avocado!) but more thanks to endless squats. I have been lifting weights and doing at home workouts pretty solidly for the past couple months. And thanks to SQUAT SQUAT SQUAT AGAIN, I am finally getting a bootay.



(early February)

The biggest physical change I experienced was the total loss of my eczema. I’ve had it since I was 2 years old, and it was really bad and completely plagued me during my super young years. I began to “grow out of it” around age 17 but then in college (stress? terrible eating (and drinking) habits?) it came back on my hands in an aggressive way. It had gotten pretty terrible again these past 8mo or so with no real obvious triggers and was to the point that I couldn’t wear my wedding rings at all without them becoming glued together (with blood) and my fingers swelling terribly.  It wasn’t immediate but around day 25-28 of my whole30 I realized that my hands had stopped itching and swelling, and my rings slipped on with ease and now I am comfortably wearing them! hurray!

Another huge physical change is my exhaustion level. It is no secret that I am severely sleep deprived (something that has always felt like a huge barrier to health and weight loss because I am chronically exhausted), neither of my kids sleep through the night regularly (Ever, hardly at all. And Nolie does but with a hiccup to come and join me in our bed. So not the best sleep for me. We need a king size!), and both of my girls are night-owls and don’t go to sleep till around 9/10 most nights, and that means I usually stat up till 11 or 12am just to have a break. ANYWAY, suffice it to say, I am usually pretty tired. But by about day 20 (and now, still!) I realized that when I woke up I was in a good mood, and wasn’t clawing for coffee. I still drink coffee, because the ritual of it is really important to me at this point.

FOOD: the biggest change I experienced is in my relationship to food. You see, it’s amazing, when the food you are choosing to eat is ALL healthy, there is ZERO food guilt. For me, I had always let food be a guilt motivator. For example, if I ate something “bad” then I needed to workout more/harder/faster, or I needed to eat less/better, or I couldn’t feel good about myself. No matter where the scale/jeans/whatever fell, I would make myself feel horrible if I made “bad” choices a few times in a row. Or, I would just let myself fall into this big spiral of “it doesn’t even matter” and just eat worse and worse, feel worse and worse, and just let it keep going. During the Whole30 (and mostly after too!) I have had zero guilt. And I feel really amazing about my self control and ability to pick awesome foods because I know how great they make me feel. I have found new ways to comfort  myself (cozy up with my husband and an old Office ep? YUP. It’s still good. Even without ice-cream) and have yet to go to sleep feeling bad about my food choices at all in over a month. And that might be minor for some people, but for me it’s enormous.

Next week I’m going to share about Charlie and the girls and their results!


Here are answers to a few other W30 questions I have gotten:

Quality time… Are you finding the meal/snack/food prep being an overwhelming or large time consumption? I worry that it would be so much in an already busy day: You know, the first week it seemed like a gargantuan task. But as it’s gone on I’ve found what things work/don’t work for our family and am just sure to keep those easy foods on hand. I also prep stuff ahead of time, portion things out and keep them in the fridge, and buy a LOT of pre-washed veggies/greens so that I can just toss together a salad or a big mix of veggies to roast. Spending a couple hours one day a week is a great way to get ahead. And if your partner is on board it can actually be kind of fun!

favorite meats/meat sources?: This one is hard. The best deal on organic/humane meat we can find is Costco (other than splitting an animal from a farm, but we don’t have enough freezer space). But I am ALWAYS on the lookout for more! We mainly eat chicken, and bacon 😉 And chose to use “non compliant” bacon in favor of having no nitrates/junk that was in the compliant stuff. We buy hemplers.

Which days (if any) were the hardest, why, and how did you cope? For me day 10-15 were REALLY hard and I wanted to quit. I felt bigger, more bloated, and sick of my food options. And then again on days 27-30, we were renovating in our home, wanting quick/easy/cheesy stuff and it was hard. But I am SO glad I made it though.

Are you having any cravings? Sugar. Just sugar. Sugar. And more sugar 😉

Effects on breastfeeding? Have you adapted W30 for your kids? If so, how? I’ll be answering this one on my post next week about the girls!


Also, please, be kind. These pictures are really hard for me to share. <3

Whole30 Q&A, rundown so far…

I have another post I am working on (about how the W30 has been affecting our family and kids, but I’m gonna sit on that for a little longer while I keep seeing all the changes in my kids, spoiler: it’s insane.) But today I wanted to just check in with a little rundown of how it’s going so far, day 22. I also posted on my blog Facebook page looking for questions. I’ll just pull those directly and answer them too!


Nuts soaked in coconut milk over night and topped with hot berries and cinnamon

What: Whole30! The best place for information is Within that you can pretty much search anything. Foods you are wondering if they are “compliant” or “SWYPO”, weird additions to processed foods that are safe/vs. not (like, carrageean, uh… fake sugar, but who knew?) and all the rundown of the rules. Also, if you decide to embark, give the “timeline” a look see too because it really takes sticking with it a few weeks before you get to the glory days.

Why: We decided to do a whole30 after seeing the amazing results that a fellow mama and instagram user had @teamwhole (she used to blog at Harpers Happenings up until about a year ago). The way that she raved about her energy level/change in her relationship with food… I had to look further into it. I had alway been gun-shy because my understanding of paleo was that it was just a whole.lot.of.meat. and I’m not a huge meat fan. But once I did more research into the W30 I felt like there were some pretty big reasons to try this program out. When I started talking to Charlie about it he was instantly on board. He had started eating a significant amount of sugar at work (helloooo candy bowl/ office donuts) and the girls and I had begun a weekly ritual of donuts and hot chocolate each time we hit up a park… I wasn’t being very honest with myself about the amount of sugar (and money!) we were chowing through in the name of “treats!” and “fun!” so it seemed like a good time to reign it in. We also, as a family, were gluten/dairy/soy free about a year and a half ago (while I was pumping for a baby who had severe allergies) and it was the best we had ever felt. So this felt like a good way to reset and start moving back towards that.

When: We just decided to go for it… I read up, we had a big shopping trip to get all of the necessary basics to have on hand, and we just… leapt.

Who: This part is important. Super important. If I didn’t have a group of friends and Charlie also choosing to do this… I would have jumped head long off the wagon and into a bar of dark chocolate on day six. Having the accountably of other friends, creating an @playinghousewholetime instagram account, and following along with the #whole30 hashtag, has made the world of difference. Knowing that I can send out an SOS text at 11pm to a few friends who are “there” too… invaluable. I wholly encourage you to find a buddy, or ten, or a hundred online and/ or in real life and make that shift together. Sharing recipes, where a good local deal is, and what amazing concoction you found… SO helpful.



Veggie Curry finished with (lots of) lime and cilantro

Your Questions: 

How/where did you learn the Whole30 rules? and the book It Starts With Food, both are amazing and the baseline resources. There are also SO MANY great insagram accounts to follow @whole30official and @whole30recipes are great, but giving a thorough read through the site will give you all the rules. And some of them are subjective, and kind of come down to what you struggle with/what you want to gain or learn, so there is quite a lot of soul searching too.

Are you doing it as a family of four or are the girls getting some “exceptions”? The girls are NOT on the whole30. I would never eliminate a whole food group from my kids unless they had an obvious allergy. However, we have made some HUGE changes to their diet that are just kinda a no brainer because of how we are eating. We aren’t having pasta often (and that was their mainstay) or any cheese, not eating out at all and a huge change in our “donuts and cocoa!” habit. So they are eating grain/cheese/soy free, sugar/gluten/dairy light and have both found a whole lot of new foods that they love (green beans, brussel sprouts, chicken sausage, hard boiled eggs, lots of dark meat, and almond butter… to name a few. Oh, and Ev loves salad! I had been trying to “trick” her into greens with big smoothies forever, but she just adores spinach. Hah!). Just having that reduction in sugar, gluten, and dairy has yielded some pretty crazy huge changes in our kids (primarily Ever, who has now started sleeping at night and has no more huge meltdowns/”tantrums”. I am still in shock about it and feeling kind of frantic to keep it going. I’m blown away.)

What does your shopping routine look like? One time a week? Two times?  There is a steep learning curve, for me, to figure out shopping for this way of eating. We will ideally get to having a once a month costco shop and a once a week grocery trip. But for now I keep underestimating how much veggies/fruit/eggs we will eat and have ended up at the store more like twice a week and costco twice a month (we buy meat/eggs/oils and some fruits/veggies there). The nitty gritty on the money: We usually spend about $400 a month feeding our family of four (and likely eating out about 4-6 meals that aren’t accounted for in the food budget). We will likely spend closer to $600 this month but zero on eating out… so it’ doesn’t quite even out, and feels like more money, but in reality isn’t that big of a shift financially. And as we figure out how to eat this way more sustainably, that cost will drop. Also, as the girls are eating more of the same stuff it is going down too (as opposed to buying “our” food and “their” food).

How is the corresponding Facebook fast going? Oh friends. It’s going. I am 26 days deep and now, most days, I don’t really think of it/feel tempted to log-in… but sometimes? I really really really miss it. I kinda went through weird stages in this fast. Like, huge paranoia I have no friends everyone hates me I’ll never have a playdate again…. to, I’m never coming back. This feels freeing and spacious and bright and amazing and WHO EVEN NEEDS FB! and now I’m settling in the middle, looking forward to “coming back” but looking pretty deeply inward to decide what that will look like and what kind of signs I will need to look for in myself to maybe not stay… I don’t know. It feels amazing right now, but I also really miss seeing all my darling friends and their sweet pictures and the camaraderie I’ve found on FB. I also know I want to start a whole30 Facebook group (anyone want to join?maybe?) for fun and accountability… so… I miss it, but it’s good. The first couple weeks of no Facebook and no chocolate were REALLYREALLY hard, but… I made it. And here on the other side it feels laughable and worth it.

What changes have you noticed in your body? Energy level? It’s interesting. Everything has changed physically… everything. But I don’t know if it’s really obvious from the outside? I mean… I have energy like crazy, I don’t feel like I could sleep for hours when I first wake up (usually when I first wake up it’s HARRRD to get out of bed. I could have easily slept for two or three more hours.) and I don’t feel coffee dependent any more. I drink it (usually just a cup) because I love it, but I don’t “need” it like I used to. I feel like I have energy through the afternoon, no more three PM dip or huge need for afternoon coffee or sugar. I feel more stable all day, and WAY less moody. I am a super emotional person and have high highs and low lows, but since about day 15 I’ve felt really even keeled. Just calm in hard situations and generally less frantic feeling. I am also starting to see muscles! I don’t know if that is from working out, or if it’s from some of the bloat and fat starting to melt off? Either way, I’m happy with it! I don’t think any of it is significant enough to be obvious to anyone else, but I see changes and, more than that, I FEEL big changes and that feels so good.

IMG_3379 IMG_3406

 Post workout EXHAUSTION but… the hint of an ab line?!

Any favorite meatless whole 30 meals that the family loves? Yes! So many! Veggie Curry has been a big hit with everyone (loaded with tons of vegetables and coconut milk makes is still vitamin and protein packed but creamy and fatty too, a great whole meal!), soaked nuts and berries is another favorite for the whole family, also zoodles with almond sauce (like peanut sauce only SO much better), and a sweet potato hash topped with pico and avocado. Lots more! If you are interested in doing a Vegetarian Whole30 check this out and also search “vegetarian whole30” on the main site and you’ll find lots of ideas and resources – there are different rules involved to be sure you get enough protein!

Do you have a meal plan or shopping list I can peek at? I’m working on this! I’ve found lots of “go-to” foods for on the go, and for stocking the pantry. I’ll hopefully be sharing a list later this week!

Also what are your favorite meatless whole 30 snacks for kids? So many. We’ve been doing a whole lot of fruit and nut butter when we’re at home, and hard boiled eggs (the ladies LOVE to crack/peel them), also cashew lara bars are great on the go, Trader Joe’s has plantain chips that are HEAVEN and a great on the go snack (this could be a little grey area depending on what your relationship is with chips, and we are pretty conscious of how we use them – but they are SO good), also the JUST mango dried mango is great too. They also have “squeezes” that are just fruit and the Mama Chia brand chia squeezes are also great for in the car/stroller. We also go through a TON of the $1 roasted Seaweed from TJ’s or Costco. The squeezes and Seaweed are a “special treat” we keep on hand for when we want to go on a long run/walk with the stroller, they help the girls get through 😉 I typically keep a bag of cashews and almonds in the car for snacking and try to always have a big jar of water on hand too. Also, satsumas… those things go QUICK around here!

I’m wondering if you stayed true to the black coffee rule or if you put coconut cream in it?: I didn’t know there was a black coffee rule? There is FOR SURE a rule against making sweet compliant coconut milk for your coffee (some concoction of date paste/coconut cream/coconut milk/vanilla beans) but there’s nothing not okay about using homemade almond milk or compliant coconut milk or cream (IF that isn’t a crutch or problem for you, thats kinda one of those fine lines). For me, and coffee, I’m not addicted to creamer at all (I’ve always had it with just almond milk, sometimes maple, but not often) so it hasn’t been a big deal for me to add coconut milk to it. But for Charlie he can’t enjoy coffee unless it’s sweet, so he’s just going without it instead of having it sugarless.

Should I give away all the chocolate we have in the house before we start bc we have a Costco size bag of chocolate chips and I’m not sure I am going to have the will power to say no…: If you think it will be an obstacle to you succeeding GET RID OF IT. I have a bag of chocolate chips in my cabinet and the first two weeks they were hard HARD hard to resist, but having Charlie on board made it way easier to not give in. But if I hadn’t had him I would have cleaned my house of ALL chocolate. It’s not worth all the work/money/time/energy that a Whole30 takes just for some mediocre chocolate chips! And the W30 is STRICT; No Cheats, No Slips, No Excuses is the tag line…soooooo

Are you going to have a cheat day if you continue on the whole30 after 30 days?: Maybe? I really like the W30 creator’s take on “cheats” that she’s talked about on her IG. She said that she isn’t a fan of “cheat meals” or “cheat days” because planning to fail seems counterintuitive to the point of the program. Instead she gauges if things are “worth it”. For example, while in mexico she eats tacos wrapped in homemade corn tortillas, to her, the grain is worth it in that situation. For me, a locally made donut or some homemade ice-cream or a theo bar could all be “worth it”. Charlie and I are rolling around the idea of choosing a couple worth it things to indulge in on day 31, and then starting a whole60 the following day. After that we will hopefully follow the “reintroduction” plan so we can start to tell what affects our bodies/minds/heads and how. But for now? We both still have a lot of emotional and physical work we want to do before we go “back” out of this program.



Any questions you have? I’d love to answer them! Leave them in the comments and I’ll use them on my next Q&A Post <3


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1. Waldo, Charlies baby. (photo by Nolie)

2. Questioning eyes, almost always.

3. Jumps by the waterfront, puddles stomping in what feel like March rains! We’re having the most beautiful and warm January.

4. Ever the beauty. Learning to play, one finger at a time, on our new keyboard my Grandmother gave us. The girls are in love.

clinging to the door frame.

Evers birth was fast and beautiful. My body opened wide and she slid out scowly and cuddly and the joy filled exclamation mark of our family. With her birth the door swung wide. Wide to body acceptance, birth culture, mother of multiple children, and the onset of her sister being a full fledged preschooler who was ready for learning/growing/changing/pushing/everything, our world bubble burst with Evers arrival.

Her babyhood has been long, and a blink. At 2.5 Nolie became a sister (and aged enormously overnight) and a role model. She slowed her nursing, potty learned,  night weaned, began to to most things for herself, and self identified as a “big kid”. And we were all ecstatic at her every  new stage, because there was a still a baby nursing around the clock, forever in our ergo, always toddling about.  Ever has done similar, at 2(.75 wah!) she is strong and independent, plays on her own, dresses herself and chooses her own outfits, decides what she wants to eat and when, climbs and jumps and swings a “a big tid fwing!” at the park. She is slowing her nursing during the day, playing with other kids and has been independent with the bathroom for over a year now. But… she still says “I not a big tid. I a little girl. Mamas little girl.”

I think she and I are both feeling that door of babyhood closing. And we are both holding tighter to the frames and savoring each last little milestone. She adores being the baby. She will always be my baby. But with her third birthday looming, her independence exploding, and her ability level blowing us both away. . . it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the door that flung wide at birth is closing and we are standing in the fresh air all looking around thinking. Dazzled. Sun drunk. What comes next?

This little girl, this little family, this “Ever Harbor Joy!” is growing up. And the adventures just beyond this step feel limitless. This Noele Grace, role model, Sister, is on the cusp of reading and writing, expressing huge and deep emotions and ready for all the one-on-one I can manage.On the edge of journaling, schooling, and is forever asking questionsquestionsquestions, and daily stumping me and leading me to old books, and new articles, and youtube videos of weather and dance moves and science experiments.

I’m not quite ready to step into the bright sun. And thankfully here on the threshold my baby stays in my arms. Nursing. Eyes bright and icy as always. The end is close, the steps are hovering, and the new chapter waiting. But we’re pausing a moment longer, and it’s beautiful and full, the wait is worth it. And the heaviness of the door is acute today. IMG_2924






1. Peeking. Waiting for me to pull the blanket off and tickle them.

2. Orange obsessed baby.

3. Blanket pulled away!


I’m 12 days into my Whole30, and 16 days into being Facebook free. I have endless words about both… but not quite the time to devote. Soon. Really soon. But for now? Suffice it to say; I feel better than ever thanks to these food choices, and I am playing/art making/thinking/dancing/tickleing more than ever before thanks to my Facebook choices. It’s all good good stuff, well… 99%. But I’ll write soon.


I don’t have the dedication for a 365 project this year. But these seems doable. A photo of each of my kids, each week, for a year. I’m on the boat with every other blogger out there. I can’t wait to look back and see how they grow and change, and all the ways they stay very much the same.




1. Dancing to Roar, dancing her little heart out.

2. Her quick feet.

3. Singing the “Rooooooo-arrrrrrrrrr!” and then exclaiming “I stand up to bullies!!!”

4. Tap shoes, always.


Bright, 2015


{Every New Years we burn our Christmas Tree and make our new year wishes. This year it burned high and bright and quick.}

It has taken me a solid week to really be *in* the new year. I just put the last of the Christmas decorations and new years sparkles away. And I am closing in on a week of no Facebook (today!), and day four of my Whole30 (I’ll be sharing more about that soon!). I am one an odd duck. I am a slow mover, slow processor, and talk talk talk it out person… till I am not. And then I just leap. For example, I hemmed and hawed over a Facebook break for months and month (how ridiculous) and then I just pulled the trigger and full on ‘deactivated’ on January 1.

I will be, embarrassingly, honest. The first four days were really hard for me. I couldn’t really even be on my desk top because the urge to just “check” was too strong. I started to feel really weird and paranoid, I can hardly explain it. But I started to feel like my friends were happy I was “gone” and were talking about me (but, I mean, who cares if they are? were? The ones who matter have my phone number and have been texting me their amazing and hard and hilarious life updates… you know, like friends!). It was weird. And almost paralyzing to not “know” what was going on in the Facebook world. But after those four days it started to feel amazing. My brain feels calmer, less hectic (could be the sugar detox I’m on thanks to the Whole30 too), and I don’t feel so frustrated all the time. See, I have this awful habit of reading stuff on Facebook that makes me feel awful (parenting debates that just eat me up, heartbreaking articles, or obnoxious posts that rile me up) and then I would stew on it It was so pointless! It didn’t do anything but feed some heartbreak in me, and cause me to be a big downer to my kids. Such a worthless thing to spend my time on. Now that I’ve cut that out I am shocked at how much less annoyed and frustrated I feel! I smile more (and, I smiled a lot before! So it’s kinda crazy.) and feel like I can listen better (to my kids, to Charlie, and myself too!) . I had forgotten how GOOD it is to feel bored. To have your brain wander, quietly, and think of beautiful things  to create, or words to write, or songs to sing, or just about how the trees look all empty of leaves and full of spring promise (it’s coming early here! 45 and bright today!). I actually picked up a pen and wrote on paper till my hand cramped! I am not sure how or in what capacity I’ll rejoin Facebook come February, but this break is already proving fruitful and it’s only been seven days.

Some of the stuff I am doing/thinking about lately:

Wanting to run a Sweater Drive in February in honor of Mr.Rogers! But I need to find a place that needs some cozy sweaters.

Writing! What do I want to do with this blog? with my heart for writing? and with my need to grow my skills. . . .

Playing. How to play? Why does it seem like it’s hard for so many new parents? And how to help parents learn to really just play.

More on the stuff my book dreams are made of. How to have a deeply respectful and loving marriage while still attachment/unconditional parenting young children.

What life will look like this time next year, what decisions we will make regarding schooling for Nolie and how I can fulfill all these rolls and meet her needs best.

Buying heavier plates for our weight lifting, because I am out growing the ones we have (BA!BAM!)

Signing up for another half marathon and getting on that Training Fun again!

How to parent Ever through what seems to be her most tumultuous life phase to date (oh the fits, guys, they’re big!) and come out the other end with more love, closeness, and emotional maturity for us both!

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I’m pretty excited to see what my brain and body do with this next week of whole eating and Facebook free living. I feel like I’m on the edge of something, something big and bright and light. 2014 was amazing and weighty with decisions and intense growth. This year feels Bright and Joy filled already. 2015, lets grow!