Kristen gets her hair done and ponders why she struggles with upkeep, Sarah tries a facial toning deice, and we talk daily rituals – the things we do (or try to do) to start our day well, and the processes that help us unwind.

In this episode we talked about:


Taggerific || On Thursdays I post from the vault. This post is from October 2008.

On Thursdays I post from the vault. This post is from October 2008.

1. I brush my teeth and floss a lot. Some might call it obssessive.

2. I hate fish. I hate seeing them, I hate smelling them, I hate eating them. People are always offering me a bite of their entree and saying “try this, it’s not fishy”. And I always think it’s disgusting.

3. I start to go a little crazy when I haven’t been out of the US a few times a year. I don’t know why. Oh wait, yes I do. My dad is the same way.

4. I am the least athletic person ever. Ever. My head is a flying ball magnet.

5. I like to read Us Magazine more than I’d like to admit.

6. I was on Mickey Mouse Club when I was 12.

7. I know all the lyrics to Young MC’s Bust a Move, Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back, and Rob Base’s It Take Two. Yo.

I am tagging Ali, AndreaAnneBonnieDiane, and Andrew & Chad.

From skate gear to formal wear: how my teen boys clean up with style

This post is sponsored by Mirum in partnership with AXE and Walmart.

I love the social skills my boys learn in cotillion. But formal interactions and dancing with girls, as well as getting dressed up in formal-wear, can be intimidating for a tween. And shifting gears from dropping in on the half-pipe to learning the fox-trot can make any kid anxious. How do I help my boys go from skate-mode to gentleman-mode with style? Axe makes it easy with products and scents that make them feel confident.

Wednesday’s Child: Zoey

Every Wednesday I feature a child recently highlighted by a local Wednesday’s Child newscast to share the stories of children from around the country who are waiting for a family. My hope is that this can broaden exposure for the children highlighted, but also serve as a reminder that these children represent thousands of children currently in the foster-care system. Perhaps their stories will inspire you to consider opening your home to a child needing a family. For more information and to learn about other waiting children, visit AdoptUsKids.

Life Lately

Visiting a friend at @chocchildrens today and these hams somehow found a way to get on the air.

When you really want to make sure your kid is clear on your “do not use the hotspot” policy on their phone. #assholeparent

When your happy place is the same … Lea Michele and Darren Chris at @segerstromarts

Sunset skate @jaftahowerton

Ron Swanson in the house. #parksandrec

Wednesday is not here for your shenanigans.


                                                                                   Make sure to vote Leslie Knope!

#getoutthevote @officialamypoehler @amypoehlersmartgirls  #parksandrec


Lisa Leonard talks with us about how she tries to make space every day to listen to her own thoughts, the psychological pull of “scrolling” and how she sets intentions around it, and how she is learning to identify her own needs and speak them out loud. Lisa has done some deep work into her own emotional triggers and shares that as well. We learned a lot from her!

In this episode we also talked about:


Finding my footing after divorce

 This post is in collaboration with TIAA to empower women experiencing divorce, encouraging them to take control of their financial future.

Over the past three months I went through the process of sitting for my licensing exams to be a marriage and family therapist.

You may be thinking . . . wasn’t she already licensed? Yes, I was. I was in private practice for over a decade, before I had kids, and before I started a blog.

I loved being in private practice. I liked my colleagues, I liked that the job was challenging and cerebral, and I loved that I could set my own hours and work part-time for a decent wage. One of the things that drew me to this career was that I thought it would be very compatible with motherhood. I thought I could see a part-time caseload during my husband’s off days, while staying home with the kids.

This worked out well when Jafta was a baby.  And then baby #2 came. She slept about 2 hours at a time. She nursed 24-7. I was a mess physically and emotionally. I was tired all the time. I was plagued with post-partum anxiety that made me even more of a catastrophizer than I already am (which is a lot.) I was a ball of nerves all the time. I no longer felt like getting dressed and going to work was a nice reprieve. Now, it felt like a complete and total charade. I was a stressed sleep-walker in a professional pantsuit. Underneath my blazer, I had a bulky maternity bra and leaky boobs. I struggled to stay awake as my clients talked about their life. I showed up to class with spit-up stains on my shirt. I felt like a sham.

In addition to feeling more frazzled in session, I really struggled to keep up with returning phone calls and setting appointments during the week.  Once I had my third child, I could barely find the time to call back the referrals I got. The few long-standing clients I saw after her arrival were hard for me. I felt like my brain was in short-circuit mode. I just couldn’t get my head into a space where I could really be present with clients. I am an introvert, and motherhood was draining any energy I had that I could previously devote to my job. By the time child number four arrived, I decided I needed to close up shop. At least for a while. I cleaned out my office and decided to devote more time to blogging. I made a decent income from the blog, but my husband was really the breadwinner. My income from blogging was a supplement to his steady paycheck that supported our family.

And then I made a mistake that I would later come to regret: I didn’t renew my license.

It wasn’t intentional. I always planned to keep my license and thought it was a job that I could go back to someday. But life was happening all around me, and one year, we moved and I forgot to update my address with my licensing board, and I missed the mail-in renewal. I didn’t realize this until two years later, and by that point, my license had been canceled. All because I wasn’t staying diligent. I was busy being a mom, and I was abdicating the career stuff to my husband.

Fast-forward to a few years later, I found myself in the position of getting a divorce. The regret of letting my license lapse was now even more painful, because I needed to find a way to support myself beyond the supplemental income of my blog. I needed to become a breadwinner in my own right, and going back into practice, especially now that my kids are older and require less emotional energy, would have been a perfect transition. But I didn’t have the option.

I called the board and they informed me I would have to sit for my exams again. MFT exams are notoriously difficult, with very low pass rates, but I was grateful that at least my two years of grad school and three years of internships did not need to be repeated. So I set out and started studying. It was time for me to take control of my financial future.  (TIAA offers some wonderful resources here.)

Taking these exams again was a humbling experience but it was also empowering. It was humbling because I had been a supervisor and a professor. I had taught some of the subjects on the exam. But at the same time, while I was out of practice, certain laws had changed and a new diagnostic manual had been published with a lot of changes – so I was truly behind. I failed my first practice test. I had my work cut out for me.

But it was also empowering because I knew that I was working toward a career option, one that I was grateful to have. While I always wanted to be a mom, I am so glad that I also recognized that nothing is ever certain, and had the sense to study for a career in my early adulthood instead of assuming I would just stay home and let my husband support me. Even though that was my reality for a few years, I’m glad I had a backup.

In September I took the first of the two exams and passed, and then last week I took the second and passed. It has been a huge relief. I’m not sure I will go right back into private practice but I am so glad that I have it as an option.

I had the chance to take part in a conversation led by TIAA about rebuilding after a divorce. It’s a topic I feel passionately about, because I know how much finances can be a strain in that process . . . especially for women. In this video, I talk about the process of finding my financial footing after divorce.

Whether or not you are going through a divorce, I would encourage every woman to make sure she has a clear picture of her financial portfolio and plans for the future. TIAA has some amazing resources to help with that endeavor on their website – check it out to learn more about how you can take control of your financial future.


Friday Finds: Kitchen Favorites

  1. Nom Nom Paleo Ready or Not!: 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now
  2. Crock-Pot  Stainless Steel 7-Quart
  3. Klikel Square Glass Kitchen Storage Canister Jars
  4.  18 Glass Meal Prep Containers
  5. Hamilton Beach (37518) Rice Cooker
  6. Conscious Kitchenware Eco Friendly Reusable Silicone Food.
  7. Vremi 8 Piece Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set
  8. Instant Pot LUX80 8 Qt 6-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker
  9. Food52 Mighty Salads: 60 New Ways to Turn Salad into Dinner



What’s Taking So Long in Haiti? || On Thursdays I post from the vault. This post is from October 2008.

On Thursdays I post from the vault. This post is from October 2008.

People are always asking me why our adoption is taking so long. It is such a hard question to answer. How do you explain the insanity of Haiti adoption? It’s a place with absolutely no infrastructure, poor communication, every-changing rules, and absurd corruption. The hoops for completing a legal adoption are almost laughable. Except you’ve been waiting too long to laugh.

Our orphange director John was writing about one of these hurdles in a recent blog post. This story is not about us. Keanan’s birth parents are both deceased – which is a whole other bag of worms. But I think this story is a great example of the insanity of adoption in Haiti, how narrowly things can sometimes come together, how much work our orphanage director must do on a daily basis, and how every child coming home is literally a miracle.

We try to keep tabs on the biological parents because we need
them several times in the adoption process. We need them to sign various
documents, to be interviewed on the Haitian side to verify that the parent in
fact is without coercion relinquishing the child and to verify documents like
birth certificates, death certificates etc.
But over the years there have been a few times when we have lost touch of the birth parent and have prayerfully had to go looking for him/her. This is what happened this week.

We had an appointment on Wednesday, October 8th for the birth
parent to be interviewed at the consulate; but we were not able to locate this
parent. We for over a month had been trying to find her but with no
success. And then we heard that she was probably in the Dominican
Republic, at a town near the border. So last Monday Junior and I headed
for the Dominican Republic, the country which shares two thirds of the island of
Hispaniola. Haiti takes up the other third. We went in the little
Suzuki since my truck was not working. We arrived a few miles from the
border after having gone through stretches where water, left over from last
month’s storms, was covering the road. We were able to make it through the
first two but clearly we were not going to make it through the third stretch
that we came to. So we turned around and planned on coming back on
Tuesday. Remember the appointment was for Wednesday, the next day.

So the next day we headed out again, but this time in my truck
which still wasn’t fixed and was shaking big time. We headed out with no
visa to enter the Dominican Republic and with only a couple of photos of the
birth mom that we were trying to locate. We passed through ten sections
where water was covering the road. Several of the sections were quite deep
and we actually turned around once thinking that we couldn’t make it even in the
pickup truck. I suppose that these were the cautious thoughts of someone
who has submerged a car, Beth’s car, in a river. But as we
were heading back to Port-au-Prince, a pickup much like mine passed us heading
for the border. So we turned back toward the border following the
pickup. We passed through ten sections where the water was covering the
road (The photo left is not a river, but it is the road covered with water).
And at four of them we were holding our breath and praying hoping not
to stall the truck. But we made it to the border.

Now here we were with no visa to get across the border and so as we do often do we go into talking mode. In Haiti there are times when we have to do a lot of
talking to get things done and give a little money as well. In about ten
minutes we passed the Haitian border and now we faced the Dominican border,
where we had to contend with the racketeers who could see that we were not sure
what we were doing. But living in Haiti has equipped us to deal with
such situations and so after about thirty minutes and about $10.00 we were in
the Dominican Republic and heading toward the border town where we heard that
the birth parent is living. We, equipped with the photos, drove around for
about showing the pictures and asking if anyone recognized the picture and could
take us to where this parent lived. After about ten minutes we found
someone who said that he recognized her and would take us to her house.
About thirty minutes later we parked in front of the house where we found out
she used to live. She now lived about eight hours away in the

We were able to get a phone number and after only about one hour of
being in the Dominican Republic, we were able to talk with her. She said
that she would borrow money and come Thursday, but I told her that we needed her for an appointment on Wednesday and to make a long story shorter let me tell you that on Wednesday morning at 10:00 she was in our office. We prepped her
for the interview and arrived at the Consulate at 11:20 and left at about
1:30. She did great and now wait for the date for the visa

This kind of stuff has happened before and as I said,
I have mixed emotions. It is pretty amazing that we could find her and
have her here the next day. Yet really I am not surprised as there were so
many praying and even her birth daughter who will soon be traveling to her new
adoptive home. She said to her mama, I prayed real hard that John
would find you. GOD ANSWERED HER PRAYER.