January 2014

(Disclosure: I am a sleeping-with-white-noise addict, and so is my entire family. This is our true White Noise Story. This story is  compensated by Marpac via the Mom It Forward Blogger Network. It is true and in my own words.)   We’ve been using fans for white noise to help with sleep ever since our firstborn came along. Sometimes I worry that it was a bad habit to start, but it got us through, and we do what we have to do, right? In the baby stage, one has to do what works and white noise was essential to our getting the sleep we so desperately needed. So, our only regret is that for most of these years we used fans, sucking money from our bank account using too much electricity and drying us out as the unneeded blast of air blows around the room. For all these years, I hadn’t found a white […]


*in my humble opinion It’s cold, even in Austin. Every day I stand in my closet and wonder why I only have one throw-over-what-you’re-wearing-comfortable-and-adorable sweater. Today I asked my friends on Facebook to point me in the direction of their most favorite throw-on sweaters. I love a cozy wrap or cardigan for layering, and of course, my Facebook friends came through. So I give you (and my pocket book weeps)…the best comfortable and cozy cardigan, pull-over or wrap style throw-on sweaters:   (from top, going left to right) 1. H&M Boucle Cardigan 2. Sundance Falling For You Pullover 3. Vintage Glam Winter Why Not Cardigan 4. Land’s End Women’s Vintage Blend Zip Cardigan 5. Vintage Glam Crossing Paths Cardigan 6. Nordstrom Bobeau Asymmetrical Flece Wrap Cardigan 7. Sundance Spring Blooms Cardigan 8. Express Striped Cover-Up 9. BCBG Beret Color-Blocked Cardigan Wrap Feel free to add your favorite cozy sweater link in the comments! (I […]


Just Write {120}

January 27, 2014

Asher is blasting through age six, already more than halfway to seven. Seven. All these years, I’ve written about our happy boy and had the community of online mothers and other friends hold us up during the hardest times. He is doing so well and sometimes I catch myself holding my breath because of that. Like we’re playing Russian roullette, just waiting for one of these days to be the bullet. Hydrocephalus is like that. The odds are greater that something could go wrong, the longer it doesn’t. The other day I followed behind him, pushing Elsie in her stroller and trying to keep up. He got a scooter for Christmas, and he tells me he worked very hard at being able to ride it. It’s tricky, to balance, just two wheels. His brother has one too and he speeds on way ahead and we call after him, wait for us! Asher doesn’t […]


Elizabeth Vargas

January 24, 2014

My mom called to tell me that Elizabeth Vargas was on Good Morning America telling her story of alcoholism. She said that it sounded a lot like my story, and as I listened I was shocked at how true that is. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise me anymore, how we’re all the same, but I guess it does. The face of alcoholism is everyone’s face. I wanted to hug Elizabeth and high five her and talk for hours. Because of how we’re the same and how powerful the sisterhood of sobriety is, and because she’s never going to know how powerful her story’s ripple effect really is, simply in its truth-telling. None of us can know, but it is good. When you are still drinking, it feels like there’s no way it could ever stop. But I’m writing this little love note to Elizabeth Vargas and hoping that if you came across it because […]


#WhereILivedWednesday 1993

January 22, 2014

I was still a goody two-shoes back then. From the high school graduating class of 1993 I went on to community college and still lived at home. I made friends from neighboring towns, a few who lived in apartments near home, and I stayed with them a lot. My first taste of independence. I cleaned the apartment a lot, and slept on a day bed off the living room right by the sliding glass door that led to the porch. The phone would ring all hours of the night, always a boy who had had too much to drink on the other end, waking his ex-girlfriend  in the other room. They would fight, I would lie awake and the next day I’d say, You know he’s not even going to remember it, right? You might as well just hang up. She couldn’t. Well, she did, but then he’d just call back again and […]


Just Write {119}

January 20, 2014

Elsie leaned into my legs, heavy with sleepiness and trust. Put mine boots on, Mama. She puts one foot in the air, ready. I say, Wrong foot, and she switches quickly, her right foot up. I slide on the boot, trying not to get it stuck partway. Elsie lets out a little giggle behind her pacifier. She loves her cowgirl boots. I show LeeLee, she says, because I’m about to walk her next door, where LeeLee will help her take off her cowgirl boots and she’ll put her pacifier in her cubby and offer her something to eat. I walk back home after a hug and kiss and sit down to work, trying hard to focus, to make the most of the work time. I set up calls, take a call, type out email responses and fill my water glass over and over. I edit something that has been sitting in drafts for […]

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I’ve been a part of the social media world since 2007. The Internet is such a vast and frenetic space despite all that I love about it. I get overwhelmed and have learned several ways to keep myself (and all my web spaces) in check. Of course, I don’t hold religiously to any of these, but I try. We just keep trying, right? Here are 10 ways to cut back on your social media time, lighten your online load and free yourself up for more LIVING offline… 1. UNSUBSCRIBE from emails you did and did not sign up for. Really, we don’t need to know all the things all the time!  Here’s an example of where you can find the place to click at the very bottom of your messages:     2. Block yourself from social media! It’s true, some of us must go to extremes:  If you have no self control, […]


up in the air

January 18, 2014

My neighbor tried to put some bags of balloons in her garbage the other day, after a party. It was windy and there they went, up in the air and away before she could grab them. My Dad found a bag on a walk and brought the balloons home to the kids. They played “keep it up in the air” and made the balloons pop by having Nanny sit on them. BANG! Then I would jump and shout, STOP IT! I hate BANG! On another walk, we found more balloons. We picked them up, but not until I had taken some photos. Each of the kids carried a balloon on the way home and Bapa took over Miles’ scooter when he tired of it. So there he was, 65 and holding a balloon while riding a scooter.   I want there to be something soft about the world and there is when you […]


Free-writing is more about feeling than thinking. This post is freely written as a part of Just Write (see the square at the bottom of this post for more information on an online free-writing course with me, starting Jan 21.) I don’t know if this makes sense to very many of you, but I typed it out yesterday in a flash and moved on, “Watching videos of the boys when they were babies and I am sitting here feeling the weight of myself on this very chair and how I can’t stay here. I want to be heavy enough to stay here. I’m back there and trying not to go ahead and living in the now is hard, but please can I? Not really, because of time, and because I’m so slow to catch up. I’m far too busy reveling and all this time I thought I wasn’t.” Yes, a facebook status. I […]


(first photo via abc.com and logo photo via groovebook.com) When I heard that the makers of the awesome app GrooveBook will be on ABC’s Shark Tank tonight, I may have squeee’d a little. Shark Tank is one of my favorite shows and I’ve been honored to be connected to the creators of GrooveBook for quite some time now via email and their app. It’s brilliant, this app, my friends. In short, you can upload it for free and then get your phone photos made into a photo album each month for 2.99. (That includes shipping!)  Even better, you can get your first book FREE by entering code EXTRAORDINARYGROOVE Then watch Shark Tank with me and cheer on Julie and Brian as they do their best to convince the Sharks to invest in their genius idea. One of my favorite parts about the GrooveBook app is that it means I can send little photo […]


  Hello friends! This one is for the writers, or those of you who love to write but aren’t sure you feel ready to claim the title. And this one is for anyone who can pass the information on to their creatively writing friends. (Thank you in advance.) It’s normal to hold your breath and rock back and forth when you announce something you’re selling tickets for, right? I mean, especially if it’s YOU that YOU are promoting, basically. That makes the rocking back and forth really fast. Yesterday afternoon I started promoting a course I’m teaching through Quistic, in which I share my writing ways, tips and tricks and dig a little deeper into the hows and whys of writing without listening to that nasty inner critic. Writing without chains or demands, with freedom. If I’m going to preach letting go and taking risks with words, I suppose I should allow myself […]


Just Write {117}

January 6, 2014

We Tap Tap two times, hard. This is the way of our family and jigsaw puzzles. Tap twice, like Grandpa did, to brag about getting that piece in. We’re rebels like that. Take that! I am a Puzzle Guru! This is one of the ways a thread pulls through our generations, a sense of humor about silly things and lefse and pot roasts and casseroles. But we don’t call them that, we call them hotdish. Tonight we had a roast, mashed potatoes, vegetables. My parents and my Auntie K are here for a long visit and I feel like I’ve burrowed under a wing for a long winter’s nap. They are home. I mean, mine. My mom does a lot of bustling around, like me. Picking up and cleaning up and doing dishes, opening and closing the fridge. My Auntie Kay tells us stories and laughs her big laugh and she always understands […]


It hit me this New Year’s Day, in the quiet of putting all the Christmas decorations away while Ryan was out with the kids. I want to choose the 1 word and the list of resolutions just like you do, even if you don’t like I really don’t, because it’s something. It’s just something. It doesn’t even really matter if we remember or change it or them, or if we end up nowhere or cross them all off. We’re always somewhere. Resolutions, or our Word of the Year, they are something to hold on to, from our center. We take from the best of places within and with good intentions, we rise up and we watch something taking form and landing on the page. KABOOM! Let’s do this. It’s mostly about the process anyway, right? I mean, we don’t really have to accomplish these yearly goals we set, do we?  If we have some […]