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So it’s not millions, but still …

I’m going to be rich! able to live the stay-at-home writer mama dream for a little longer with your help! I’m not asking for donations or charity (but if you’re wondering what to do with all that money buried in your backyard we should talk!)

I am asking you dear friends and readers to be understanding about my shift into adding some advertising onto this blog and sharing things I think are cool in hopes that if you do like them and want to buy them, you click through this site. That’s it.

If all you do is subscribe to show my growing readership and help me spread the word on posts you enjoy … I’d be thankful.

Don’t worry, this blog won’t be all blingy and flashy. Partly because I don’t like being overwhelmed either and also because … I can’t figure out how to to fancy stuff like that.

Thank you to all of you who shopped Amazon this month using my link. Anything you buy on Amazon will give me credit so you don’t have to stick to what’s in my little store. It’s one of those every little bit adds up things. So, for all of you who did use it I earned $15 this month. I know it’s not a lot but just that will pay for my hosting my blog - Voila!

I’ll introduce new affiliate stuff as it comes up and am trying not to be self-conscious about it because my goal is clear: to be able to keep writing this blog, finish my book and be home with my babies just a little bit longer. Actually, that’s not honest. What I am praying for is that if I keep working at it, my dream of being a journaling teacher and published, prolific writer will be realized.


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Of Milkshakes and Marriage

Long-term readers of this blog know I’ve been working on getting healthier eating habits, stronger and—out of favor as it is to say it—thinner.

I’m nearly half-way to my goal and as I often used to do when I see the possibility of actually achieving a goal, I sabotage myself.

Just as I was starting to feel better and fit into my smaller clothes, I went on a little binge. (I wonder if I will always have a variety of sizes of clothes in my closet making it look like I have so much to wear but really … no. Just the same pants I wore yesterday.) When my friend brought over a chocolate milkshake I put it in the freezer for later. By which I mean I hid it in the back of the freezer behind the frozen salmon. And then I forgot about it. By which I mean plotted my binge, waiting until every one else was dead asleep before coming downstairs to dig it out of the deep freeze and dig in.

I told myself I deserved it. A little treat for myself. Which really, is so considerate, right? I mean why not give myself something that will make me feel ill for a couple days – milk does me no favors … but this was a chocolate milkshake. in my house.

I enjoyed it to the last drop. By which I mean I inhaled it before I thought better of it berating myself the entire time. I know, total bliss right?

And then—why am I telling you this—I wrapped the empty cup in a plastic bag and threw it in the garbage hid it in the washing machine. Because that’s normal. And went to bed.

I woke up feeling, not surprisingly, sick and a little bit stupid. But not as stupid as I felt when I saw the garbage bag—yeah the same one I’d so carefully tucked among the towels loaded in the washing machine—sitting open in the sink.

Some of you know we haven’t been living in wedded bliss over here so my first thought wasn’t “Busted! How funny!”

It was more like a sinking feeling in my stomach followed by mortification quickly overtaken by rage: “What a jerk! Leaving the bag in the sink to shame me like this.” Because I am super good at jumping to negative conclusions. Awesome at it.

And because 6:30 in the morning is a good time as any to pick a fight I called my husband to inquire about this random garbage bag in the sink.

Husband:  It was weird. I don’t know, the kids must have stuck it in the washing machine.

Me: I think the real question is what you were doing digging around the washing machine at 5 a.m.

Husband: Really? That’s the question?

Me: Well, also why you put the bag in the sink and not the garbage.

Husband: Because there was a metal spoon in it! And so you’d know one of the boys put garbage in the washer.

Me: I will totally have a talk with them.


Yeah, we’re healthy like that.

Feel better about yourself?

You're welcome.



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{Project Life: week 20}

The Mom Creative

It’s crazy to think the half-year mark is creepin’. I was delighted to see that people are still going strong on their Project Life projects, and even those who aren’t are still interested and supportive! I love it when I stop posting about something and get emails encouraging me to bring it back. Thank you.

Friends, here is week 20 of 2012:

As always, apologies for the poor quality photos. I still haven’t figured out how to get these shots looking better.

You can click on the images to enlarge them for a closer peek.

{Project Life: week 20}


Week 20 , left side


Week 20, right side


Week 20: notes


Monday: Sam saying grace at dinner and I included the words in the journaling card because it seems like one of those things I’ll never forget but … just in case I’ve got it down.


Tuesday: Sam being his goofy, creative self playing the part of Super Grover 2.0 which includes a (random) costume, designed by him. It also includes stuffing his boots full of the “tools” he needs so I got a close up of that for one of the smaller pockets. Wednesday: we ate at Jem 100 in Newberg for the first time (how have we missed this awesome place all these years?!?). Inside the card I added journaling about our experience there and how fun it is to be getting “good” at using coupons. Thursday: pic is the kids including bff’s Ella and Addie in the backseat and some journaling on missing our old neighborhood. Friday: Sam got his sticker from the fire department because the week before they had to leave early and respond to the fire at Woodburn High School. I included a photo from the news because I thought that was an interesting, unusual way for Firefighter Day to end! IMG_0750

Saturday: This one was hard to write because I wasn’t super proud of it. It was Armed Forces Day and I wrote about how easy it is to be supportive of what other families sacrifice. But when I think about it being my sons … not so much. I literally almost barfed on this kind man’s shoes when he pointed out the someday my boys would be in uniform.

I also included the little card that came with our Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University kit to document our journey toward that end. (It is awesome! And hard!)

Finally, I wrapped up the week using my favorite Cathy Zielske journaling card:

week 20 in review

To learn more about the awesomeness that is Project Life created by the brilliant Becky Higgins click here. To see more of my Project Life posts click here

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Christmas (Box)ers

We’ve been reading The Polar Express, You Can Do It, Sam, and A Very Mater Christmas* every night at bedtime this week. Also, Sam is going crazy decking the halls. Here he’s decorated my room with random ornaments.

Which begs the obvious question: WHY?

I’d love to say this is some kind of “fun mom” boredom buster activity but alas … that’s totally not true.

The other day, the Cinco de Mayo, to be precise, Matt was out of clean underwear and didn’t have time to wait for the dryer to finish. So … I dug the last pair of clean boxers in the house out of the Christmas bins. Which is to say I lugged four heavy boxes out from the corner of my closet and rummaged through them until I found Matt’s least favorite, yet clean, article of clothing and tossed them to him. Feliz Navidad!

He didn’t laugh as hard as I did … or at all. But karma got me back as I am still, ten days later, trying to put Christmas back in the box it came from. (Which reminds me of my friend Marcus’ awesome post called The Christmas Thud).

The kids have had a blast with this little seasonal detour making merry with the New Year’s Eve noisemakers and sticking clovers anywhere they can. Finally, I’m caught up on laundry and the darling boxers are tucked away for their December debut. The boys, I’m betting can be distracted by sand, the ice cream truck (that aggressively circles our house at naptime) and sprinklers.

I thought this post nicely shows how life with little ones can make simple things like getting something out of storage turn into a ten-day collect the ornaments from all around the house extravaganza.

Having our Christmas books out did remind me of something I wanted to do this summer to be ready for December 1st. I’ll post on that soon – subscribe if you want so you don’t have to keep checking back to see when I’ve posted. Or is that just you, Mom? xo

Note: And yes, that is the aforementioned boxers lying on the floor right next to the laundry hamper. Which is totally not why our marriage has been a little rocky but … really, dudes … come.on.

Also … no, Matt doesn’t read my blog and yes he’d be a little annoyed that I wrote that but I’d totally win that argument because, hello?! I openly admit my little … quirks … like running out of clean clothes for instance.

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{Project Life: week 17}

The Mom Creative


And then nine weeks happened. I think I should rename this Project Life Goes On because I have managed to keep taking pictures and notes on the ordinary and extraordinary highs, lows and mediocre meanderings of our days.

And because, no matter what, life does go on and there is always something to be thankful for. Project Life (goes on) is one of the things I am so very grateful for, so here is week 17 and I will post weeks 9-16 later.

Title card: I was inspired by Maria to dress this card up – it’s one of my least favorites in the kit but when I saw her cute, simple addition I changed my mind and used it for the first time this year. I don’t love how the “week #17” turned out … but whatever.

(You can click on each picture to enlarge it and take a closer peek).


{Week 17: left side}


{Week 17: right side}


{Week 18 in progress}


Notes: I use a lot of index cards around here ala Anne Lamott. I’ve started recycling the backs of them in place of Post-its and write my ideas for journaling or pics I took, or want to take … my current Project Life hack is to tuck the days of the week stickers in the next week’s pocket so it’s right there as I’m popping pictures in the pockets. Not having those stickers immediately accessible was a small thing creating a big block in progress. Your block is probably different than mine but can likely be fixed with a tweak in your thinking, process or expectations.

This week I was inspired by Maria at Crazy Lovely Madhouse and by Christine Newman at My Scrapbook Art – Home is where the art is

I love what Maria said about the Project Life honeymoon seemingly being over. It’s not that I lost my enthusiasm personally but I hit a rhythm and stopped seeking out the inspiration and ideas of others in the PL community. Their posts inspired me to share again and that makes me happy!

To see all my other Project Life posts click here and here.

My {secret} birth story



With Mother’s Day around the corner it seemed like as good a time as any to share my birth story. (Psst … Mother’s Day is next Sunday – don’t miss this chance to celebrate someone who matters to you, or your children … to my Dude friends … Mother’s Day means a lot to your moms and wives … for. real.)

This particular story about my beginning is one I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. (Here’s the link again.)Reading that will give the background for the posts to follow.

My column is only 600 words long. Since I’ve been writing that story since I was 14 years old, there was a lot of my story I had to leave out. The rest I’m writing here in a series of posts to cover that part of my journey …  as a rough draft of sorts and I am thankful for all your comments, input and questions. Truly and totally grateful.

Q: So do your parents know about this project?
A: Not yet. They will as soon as they land overseas. And get email access. Surprise! And p.s. I asked them last time I saw them if it would be okay with them for me to start writing about this stuff. The condensed version of their answer: It’s your story. xo 

FAQ #1: Do you know your real mom?

FAQ #2: So do you know what you are?

FAQ #3: But they lied to you?!

FAQ#4: Do you ever want to find your real* mom? Note: If the questions are asked in this order then this question might say “biological” mom since we’ve already clarified who my “real” mom is!

Did I miss any? Let me know by commenting here or shooting me an email. You can click on the letter image on the upper left corner of your screen. Cute, right? I hope you like it because after downloading this adorable freebie from the awesome Cathe Holden it took me 75 minutes to figure out how to make it work. But now it does, so you know, email me!

Baby pic

If you like reading this stuff would you consider subscribing to my blog? I won't do anything crazy with your address. Promise. 

Still rewriting the story of me


Whether you grow up in Disneyland or Dysfunction Junction, friction is a natural part of family life. Who doesn't have moments when they look around the dinner table and wonder how they could possibly be related to these people?

Imagine my surprise when I found out, 21 years ago, that this occasional passing fantasy was actually fact in my case.

Let me set the stage for you. It was my freshman year in high school. The assignment was to write an autobiography, with the incentive of extra credit for creativity.

I decided to use a picture of my mom, pregnant with me, for the cover. But I couldn't find any such picture.

I tried to substitute one from the period my mom was pregnant with my brother. None of those existed either.

I found it difficult to believe my father, who even takes pictures of his food*, didn't have a working camera available during a pair of nine-month spans. So, overachiever that I was, I had no choice but to take my project to the next level.

When my parents were out one evening, I went into reporter mode, snooping through my mom's red address book. One by one, I called close family friends to announce I was doing a project for school.

Naturally, they were all happy to help. That is, until I asked: "Could you tell me your favorite memory of my mom pregnant?"

Whether by hesitation, an awkward pause or the sharp inhalation of surprise, my suspicions were confirmed.

A couple of them wanted to know if my mom knew about this project. She sure didn't, but this was pre-cell phone, so no one could text my parents a heads up. 

Why didn't I simply ask my parents? I did in 1991, and purely by coincidence, it was on Mother's Day.

After a painfully awkward brunch on Bainbridge Island, and a silent drive home, my parents finally told me the truth about my birth.

I felt as if my foundation had cracked.

In retrospect I wonder what that news changed exactly. I mean, besides where I spent my first week of life, everything else was the same.

But it wasn't. Not really. 

I wish I could tell you I handled the situation with grace and understanding. But, alas, I was 14. So there was plenty of drama.

Unconsciously, I started to ignore the idea that my parents loved me and instead dwell on the fact that someone I'd never met didn't - at least not enough to keep me. 

Now I understand the best way my birth mother could show her love was by acknowledging she couldn't do for me what my parents could. But back then, I started telling myself the secret truth about me was that I was simply unlovable.

This became a core belief of mine, one I sought out and affirmed in my relationships.

It wasn't until very recently that I learned the story I was telling myself wasn't true. How could I have been so wrong about something I was so certain about?

The thing about our birth stories is that they're just that: stories. The meaning we give the story is what matters.

I could focus on the fact that nobody was with me during the first week of my life, or I could instead remember that my parents canceled a ski trip to come and get me as soon as they heard they could.

At every birthday since, I've heard that story. And it delights me every single time. 

I don't know very much about my biological mom, besides the fact that she was an Irish X-ray technician with four children. But I can tell you my real mom has cutting boards stained green with parsley, can make goulash in her sleep, has fingers calloused from a lifetime of hard work yet still capable of soothing a feverish forehead, keeps her nails clean and cuticles trimmed, has a favorite apron in green, and smells like Gucci and geraniums.

She is probably reading this with tears in her eyes. She should know that while I'm sorry for that one awful Mother's Day, I have loved her as my real and only mom on every one of them before and since. 

By the way, I did get extra credit for my bonus chapter: "My Adoption." I like to think of that as my first investigative reporting piece, inspiring a career in journalism. 

Nathalie Hardy invites your feedback at or at her website,

*My dad photographed food before it was a thing on Facebook. Before Facebook was a thing, even. Like x years before.  

Friday Favorites and other happy crack

I miss some of my regular blog features so I’m starting with bringing back my Friday Favorites which is really just a way to share some happy crack with you all and a reminder to me that there is always something to celebrate … even in chaos.

1. Every day this month Christina Katz is giving away a book on her blog: The Prosperous Writer. Check out the Writer Mama Every Day in May Giveaway to meet some cool authors and get some insight into your own writing with prompts and good conversation.

2. Speaking of the writerly life, participating in the world as a writer and showing up for each other and local events makes me happy. So this Sunday I’ll be at the final Northwest Author Series Presentation featuring Heather Vogel Frederick. I’d love to meet some of you there but we can only talk during commercials 'cause I'm totally taking notes! To learn more about this author click here.

3. Discovering Dave Ramsey = total happy crack. IMG_0456_thumb[9]

Yep, that’s my credit card those are my credit cards tucked in this little envelope. This is really its own post so for today I’m just giving a shout out to the hopefulness that comes with staring down what scares you the most and realizing that with diligence, patience and persistence you really can accomplish just about anything.

4. Happiness is … not waiting for someone else to do it for you. This sweet little rub-on sign that says “Bless this house with love and laughter” had ironically become a source of personal bitterness.

It has moved with me to two houses in hopes of my husband putting it up for me. “Next weekend” never came and I never wanted to “do it wrong” and as it fell under the vague category of “his arena” it just didn’t get done. For.Ever. So when he moved out* … I realized if it’s going to get put up, I need to do it. Which, duh!, was true before but I needed to be okay with him being mad if I “did it wrong” or whatever. And that is the true happy crack I discovered this week: if my intentions are good and I am honest with myself about my true motives it is okay for people to be mad at me! (Also a post for another day.) That realization, 36 years later, is liberating. Every time I see this at the top of my stairs I smile. *As an interesting aside: when he moved back home, he didn’t notice it. Good thing I spent so much energy being ticked about it, huh?!


5. And, last but not least, a little Happy Crack for kids:IMG_0297_thumb[15]

Heart-shaped muffin cups + water +  food dye + freezer = super fun bath time!

Disclaimer: if you start this you might as well keep a “batch” of these in a Ziplock in your freezer because they will be frequently requested.