Episode 26: The Shower Debate

Sometimes I begin a podcast thinking we’ll have something poignant to say and then it devolves into arguments over having time to make eggs for breakfast and taking long showers. This is one of those times

As a follow up – this morning Kamel got up at 530 and got showered and dressed before the kids got up. I also got up at 530 and prepped a bottle for Fae in case she woke up before 6 and I wouldn’t have to scramble. The kids chilled in their room until a little after 6:00. It was a great morning where everyone got to eat breakfast. Success!

Things, August

The Olympics are everywhere and there is something about them that is so inspiring. Even amidst all the terrible politics and the crushing debt. I do really hope that they benefit the host country after all. I hope they sell a ton of merch and that everyone loves Brazil and their tourism flourishes. Unfortunately Zika effed them over (and so many babies, can’t think of the babies). But I digress. There have already been a handful of fantastic moments and we aren’t even finished with week 1 yet, but the best thing I have seen in a long long time are the epic fails by the Philippine divers. Oh man, if you need a little chuckle pick-me-up please watch that video. Two things are happening: If you’re going to try and totally biff it, biff it ALL THE WAY. And, their shrug-it-off attitude makes this that much better. I definitely couldn’t do any of those flips or even that one-legged jump off the diving board, but I for sure could back-flop like that. THERE IS AN OLYMPIAN IN EACH OF US!

So, we’re already full-steam-ahead in packing. My packing involves a lot of cleaning and donating and getting rid of a ton of stuff. Will we move into an empty cavernous house? Yes. Will it be strange and exciting and echo-y? Yes. But I don’t want to hold onto stuff I don’t love. I don’t care if it takes me 5 years to finally complete my living room furniture, I only want to buy things I actually like. We can all sit on the floor until then. And guess what closet?! Shit that doesn’t fit, is maternity (overtly maternity, the good maternity will stay), or I never ever wear because I hate it? These things have no place in this fresh start. I’ve collected a ton of clothes that I don’t feel confident in or doesn’t fit really well, or whatever. No more!! Let me have just 5 outfits if that’s what it takes, but I will love those outfits with a fiery passion. We have already packed up our living room. All books and games and movies are in boxes, all drawers and bookshelves are cleared. And this weekend we will clear out the closets, the nursery, and do a heave-ho of all the toys that no longer get used or things I think we can upgrade.

This will be the third move in Gabriel’s short 3.5 years, so we are really good at this. Even if I am hating every second of it. We hired movers because there is no way we could get this all done with two kids by ourselves, nor do I want to. I just don’t have time for it. Here is the complete list of the furniture we’ll move:

1 couch

1 bookshelf (if the movers can take it apart without breaking it to pieces, thanks ikea)

1 crib/toddler bed

1 filing cabinet

3 dressers

2 nightstands

1 overstuffed chair

1 play kitchen

…maybe our kitchen table, TBD.

That feels like nothing. It’s like barely two rooms worth of furniture. AH CAN YOU SMELL THE FRESH START?

Turning 1 has been rough on Fae. She got 7ish new teeth all at once, including a molar. Another molar is on its way on the other side. She only wants mama, she is not her usual chill self. It is very sad. It is also really inconvenient. I cannot lug around my 25 lbs 1 year old all day while she whimpers. The alternative is she scream cries and throws herself on the ground or is given to another person and throws her body toward me, reaching. So that’s not gut wrenching and heart breaking. I remember one being rough with Gabriel too. All that growing is hard.

We have become a family that goes through 2 boxes of waffles by Thursday after buying them on Sunday.

Gabe is super into Dr. Seuss and it is the GREATEST. I love reading him the classics at bedtime. And also – oh my god have you read Fox in Socks lately? That ish is HARD. God bless my parents and all of those tongue twisters.

Episode 25: A Subdued Nighttime Announcement

We have some exciting, daunting, not-quiet-yet-official news! But, you all have been along for the twisty turvy, nauseous ride – so we couldn’t leave you out now, could we?

Ps. I apologize for any grumpiness on my end during the podcast. Nighttime is not when I am my best self.


Fae’s First Birthday

Again, the plight of the sad second child is to have all posts about them up not even in their birthday month. Sorry Fae! The perk of the second child is that we are veterans at birthday parties by now and I think we did this one right.



Way back in January I entered a lottery to rent a beach hot from the Seattle Parks Department. Talk about foresight! Growing up my family had most of the birthdays in the spring or in the fall. That continued with Kamel being September and Gabe being March. But now finally we get to celebrate a full-fledged summer baby.





We did hot dogs on the grill, potato salad, macaroni salad, all the chips, and a cake that I had made from Safeway where I specified “covered in flowers.”


It was really good.






All the babies came to play. Babies upon babies, passed around, chased away from the grill, rolled in grass, cuddled, and tossed, and sunscreened.














Fae was super impressed with all of her gifts and made her signature “ohh!!” face the entire present-opening time.




To everyone who couldn’t make it, we missed you! And to everyone who came – thank you so much for making Fae’s first birthday so incredibly fun, laid back, and super summery.

*Kamel is the man behind the camera, but we need to do a better job of making sure he is actually IN the photos. 

**My dad was also ever-present, running about as he does, handling all the things and chatting with all of the people. I was so disappointed he wasn't pictured, but he is a hard one to pin down!

Wealthy White Men

I live in one of the, if not THE, wealthiest neighborhoods in Seattle. As a renter, obvi. But it is a privilege to walk my kids down beautiful tree-lined streets with craftsmen mansions on either side, dreaming of what we’d do if we ever won the lottery. It’s a great neighborhood to exist in. But I have found my fare share of rich person entitlement. People have asked me on several occasions if I’m “from the neighborhood” and which streets I live on. I get the feeling they are wondering if I’m a home owner/renter/passing through. I’ve been asked if I’m the nanny while at the park, and it’s clear on Halloween that we are not part of the cool kid club of parents who hang out and drink on the stoops while their kids run up and down the block. What a life.

There is also some wealthy-neighborhood silliness, like the constant hum of leaf blowers, as everyone’s lawn service descends onto the block rain or shine, whether their are leaves to blow, grass to mow, or not. Right at nap time, even on Sundays.

And living in an apartment has its sacrifices. Dealing with partying neighbors at 10pm in the summer when everyone’s windows are open and you’re gritting your teeth because “They are going to wake up the kids and oh my god it is SO LATE when is this going to END.” Old people stuff.

We live on the back end of the apartment building with views of Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains over the roof tops of these very large, million dollar homes. Directly behind our building is an ally where kids ride their bikes or play basketball, homeowners have access to their garages and backyards, etc. And I can hear everything that happens in these homes’ backyards. Every pool party, every barbecue, every lost dog, argument, shrieking child. And mostly it is nice. The neighborhood sounds.

Last week at some point I kept hearing voices and it would jar me awake, thinking it was the kids waking up. I think one of the neighbors was having a camp out in their backyard. Then on Friday night I kept waking up to the sound of music. I didn’t realize how late it was until I heard a woman yell out, “It is ONE AM can you PLEASE BE QUIET!!”

I’m going to operate on a hunch that this was a mom. I recognized the frazzled, desperate, frustrated tone. It wasn’t just that the neighbors across the ally from us were being loud and keeping her up, they were also keeping up the kids, preventing them from falling asleep, etc etc. Fae has been teething all week and has been up every 45 min multiple times a night last week and this weekend. Gabe slept through, but I could hear the other babies in the building start to wake up. At 1:00am.

It was three men, clearly drunk, listening to a really, really loud exercise video? Or something? It had blaring music accompanied with a female voice’s encouraging instructions. They were fucking around in their garage with the garage door open. And when they heard someone yell down (Trust me, they heard, we all heard, because of the homes and the brick building we live in everything is amplified), they turned the music UP. Now these are not college kids, they are not lone wolfs, these are dads- at least one of them is. The people who live in that house have two kids, a boy and a girl, and he sometimes plays basketball with them in the ally.

And in that moment I felt like…. you fucking rich fucks in your fucking giant house. What? The kids are at camp? You’re having a boys’ night in? And you don’t give a fuck about anyone else but yourself? Ok, so you live in your perfect capital hill house, in the most ideal neighborhood, and you think your actions don’t impact anyone else? Better yet, you just don’t care. You know they do, but you don’t give a single fuck.

When we’ve been looking for homes, our agents will often warn us about being near apartment buildings because of resale. And yes, people in apartments can be noisy because everyone shares walls and floors and ceilings. We’re all crammed in here and I’m sure the neighbors are intimately aware of any disagreement Kamel and I have. Just like I know all about my landlord’s mother in law. But it has been a rare thing to experience overt unneighborly behavior.

I’ve lost my point in a sea of frustration. Nice neighborhoods don’t make nice neighbors. And the entitlement of wealthy white men is suffocating me at every turn this summer. There is no reprieve, not even when I’m sleeping.

Fae Lira is Baptized

In June we had Fae baptized and it was such a fantastic day. Being home and part of this community is something I didn’t always know was going to be possible. We were also lucky enough to have Kamel’s parents fly in for the weekend, so it was an all-family affair.


Claire Jesse and Fer Ruiz de Corona are Fae’s godmother’s, but Fer couldn’t join as she was in Mexico. Claire did a great job representing them both.



I’m a huge fan of getting a photographer for big life moments so that no one has to be in charge taking photos and everyone can be included. Aimee Tayag, an old high school yearbook friend of mine who is now a photographer (and who also has just recently had her very own baby girl) was gracious enough take these lovely photos of the event! If you are in the Seattle area, I highly recommend her. She is super reliable and lovely to work with.





Thank you to everyone who came to make this day exceptionally lovely and special. The community at St. Joes in Seattle has been so incredibly lovely and welcoming. I love continuing to grow this aspect of our family.



(Gabriel’s godmother, Kathleen, up at the front with Gabe as he watched his sister get baptized.)


Fae Lira! You did it!

Episode 24: The Budget Crisis

Guess what everybody? Turns out Kamel has a weird view of our finances that *he* covers some stuff while *I* cover other stuff instead of it just being about who is responsible for not forgetting to pay which bill. But then turns out, that the idea of completely melting our hard earned money together is not my favorite concept. I mean, Kamel’s hard earned money as the “household” money is totally fine by me. But my money? That is … mine. Right?

How do you household? How do you budget and finance? We explain in what turned into a longer conversation than could have ever happened in 1 podcast (And will be a two part-er eventually) in this week’s episode!

Ps. Shout out to Laura who requested this topic!

Episode 23: Celebrations

This weekend we are (finally) going to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary! But it is really easy to neglect celebrating your partner in the face of LIFE and EXPENSES and SHOULD WE REALLY SPEND THE MONEY ON THAT?

The answer should be yes! But it isn’t always. This week, Kamel and I break down how we approach celebrations and how we should probably not neglect each other for Christmas, even though that seems like it is maybe becoming a trend. :/

Fae’s First Year: The Video

I am so late to this! But at least it is still July? A video of Fae’s first year. [All the heart eyes! All of them!] Ps. Gabe was SO LITTLE when she was born. It breaks me into a million pieces.

Things, July

This month is kicking my butt. I have no extra time and no extra money. I am late on getting Fae’s birthday video (coming soon) and showing you some photos from her baptism (coming soon). I had to skip a podcast week because we just couldn’t find the time to record and I have no more banked episodes (fail). I am drowning. Again. Even more. Next week is worse. Doctor appointments and dentist appointments and more more more.

There are some good things though. I have seen my best friends almost every weekend, and during the week for nearly a month now, and it will be this way well into September. Wedding events for Claire, Fae’s birthday, brunches, babysitting, drinks on rooftops, shopping excursions, and on and on. This is a big reason why I moved home. I am so happy to be living in the same place as my people.

I’m annoyed at my body. Not to the point where I can’t get dressed, I just don’t have time for that bullshit to be honest. But, I’m mad that I workout regularly, indulge rarely, and yet still… the postpartum stomach pooch, the thickness in the middle that is making clothes shopping so hard, the stubborn lbs that won’t come off. I’m just so frustrated. And I know that yes, I could restrict my diet further, I could be hungrier, I could. But fuuuuck, I just don’t want to more than I am. I really don’t. And part of me is totally ok with that. And the other part of me like… it’s been a year. Why can’t I shake these last 5 lbs? And even if I did, I’m sure I would still have this skin bulk right in my middle that makes dress shopping so frustrating, that makes muffin top pants so so so annoyingly real, that makes my workouts seem pointless. ERGH.

I have next week’s podcast all planned out, but I would very much like some topic suggestions. If you have a question, that is awesome! Email me at birlpodcast@gmail.com or betterinrealife@gmail.com, but even if you don’t have a question and just want to hear Kamel and I debate/discuss something, let me know in comments. My inspiration well is running a tad bit dry with all of the life stuff swirling around us.

Fae is transitioning out of the baby room and is headed into the “waddler” room. Like she’s no longer a real baby anymore or something. Not a fan of this thought process. Will she always seems so so little to me? Is that how youngest children work? Because the oldest is also little, but the littler one is SUPER little. Is that what they mean when they say, “You’ll always be my baby”? I wonder what her first word will be. It might be “ow” to be honest…

I want THINX underpants!!! I just haven’t gotten my shit together enough to spend $30 a pair on them!! This is me yelling at myself about it!! After having Gabriel nothing really changed with my period, even though I had heard that having babies can make your period heavier. But after having Fae – I leak through super tampons like they aren’t even there. (TMI, sorry, I warned you too late.) I end up wearing an annoying horrible pad for at least 3-4 days because at any given moment I can just spring a damn leak. So instead I want period underpants! But $30! A pair! My underpant plight is constant and ongoing. There is no justice.

Everyone is going on vacations. I see it all over the internet. I am not. I desperately wish I was. That is all.

I have been at home and not in an office since May of 2015. Isn’t that weird? I have always worked. And I mean, I am working, full time, but I’m just here, on my coach. Maybe it would feel less like I’m just sitting around in my underwear if I was sitting around in my underwear at a desk, in an office. But for now I am on my couch, being professional as shit, without a bra on, feeling waves of impostor syndrome wash over me. And not going on any vacations.