Getting Myself Right Through Forgiveness

I believe there are six blocks of wellness: physical, emotional, mental, social, vocational/educational, and spiritual. I spend a lot of time talking about emotional and mental wellness, but I realized this week that I was in serious need of some spiritual health. 

Most people associate spiritual health with religion, and of course that can be true. From a wellness perspective there is so much MORE to spirituality, and even someone who isn’t religious (like me!) can benefit from working on their spiritual block. 

My personal interpretation of spiritual wellness targets the parts of you that want to connect, and find meaning greater than yourself. It’s the desire to be part of a community where you can find hope and support. My spiritual wellness includes things like healing, compassion, relationships, love, connection, joy, peace, forgiveness, hope and trust. Some people find these things through organized religion, some find it through the flow of energy with chakras and holistic beliefs. I guess I’m completely in my own world about my beliefs, but I believe in the power of positivity and community- and those two things couldn’t exist without the hope, trust, love, etc. that I had mentioned before.

On Wednesday night I sat down to write a blog post. I re-read my post from Tuesday to remind myself where I left off. The post seemed dark to me. Depressing, hopeless, negative. It was a true representation of my feelings at the time, but certainly does not show my overall personality. I don’t have thoughts like that every day. I don’t want to continue having thoughts like that. It was time to work on some spiritual healing. 

When we are disconnected from ourselves, we have a hard time loving ourselves or giving and receiving genuine love from others. My disconnect this week made me hate my body. It made me feel useless and hopeless. It made me feel like my loved ones were emotionally too far from me to understand or help. Obviously these things were just tricks from the bully in my brain, but they are things that I can combat with self healing.

cleanse that soul.

Spirituality to me, means that I have the choice to feel, think, and act differently. Your heart can be a portal for healing. When my heart is healthy, I can give and receive love. I feel love for myself. I have hope that the bad things in life will pass. I have gratitude for everything I have in life, I enjoy being of service to others, and can slow down to appreciate quality time with the kids. When my heart isn’t healthy, the dark feelings take over. I hold grudges against both myself and others. I feel lonely, depressed, and believe I am unlovable.

There are a ton of ways to open your heart. Most will say visit a church. The hippies will tell you to do some chest-opening yoga. doTERRA representatives will try to sell you essential oils. I don’t know if all of that is necessary. I personally believe that spiritual healing comes from within, no external sources needed. 

I think the best way to be spiritually well is to practice forgiveness. Forgive yourself, forgive others, forgive society, forgive the things you can’t control. If you are holding on to hurt and anger, acknowledge that it is time to release it. When you release negativity, focus on the distance you create between yourself and it. Do you want to fill that space with hostility or healing? Understand that bad things happen. Some you can control, some you can not. But you can control the way these things affect your life by deciding to let go of hatred. 

Pray and worship if you would like. Meditate and do some yoga if that feels more like you. Use nature or creative expression. Personally, I’ll be taking some quiet time to reflect on myself, let go of my anger, and fill the space with forgiveness. 

Forgive. Have Compassion. Most importantly, give and receive love genuinely.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. STAY HOME.


Pass that Quarantine Time and Play Bingo with Me!

I’m so, so tired. I’m falling asleep on my keyboard, so I won’t be able to finish my writing but I did want to post and say hi! Sorry there’s nothing to read tonight, play some Bingo with me instead!

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home.


Can I Just Put the Good Days on Auto-Repeat?

I want to have more healthy days. I want consistency. I want to see results in changing this awful body, and I want to feel good. I want every day to be like yesterday. I want to rewire my brain so I can be a problem-solver and not a train wreck. But what am I going to do? Write these things down? Journal? Make a list? Schedule them? Honey, I do that every day.

Yesterday was the first ‘completely healthy’ day I’ve had in a very long time. I got my exercise. I ate three healthy meals without purging. I saw my therapist via telehealth (at the beach, no less!) I took my meds. I took time to breathe. I felt great.

So why is it so hard for me to stay on track? Honestly, if you know the answer please tell me. I’m so tired of fighting this battle every day. I’m on the defense against a multi-front war. My head is spinning trying to address issues from all angles. I’m busy all day, but at the end of it I haven’t really done anything at all. 

I’ve got my bipolar disorder sending me up and down, manic high to ultra depressive low. I have anxiety about homeschooling Jacen, and the pandemic in general. I have friends and family that I miss so much that it hurts. I have this body that I hate. I mean really, really hate. I’ve got these kids and a husband that I love. I mean really, really love.

I make a lot of plans, schedules and lists. I’m always trying to trick my brain into making good choices by convincing myself that things have been predetermined with no wiggle room. It works when I can get into a routine. If I repeat the same list every day, I have the most consecutive healthy days. Right now that’s not an option. The pandemic has shaken everything up. I don’t even know what day of the week it is. We have a routine written out, it just seems impossible to follow. 

There is so much on my mind these days. When I imagine what’s inside my head, it looks less like a brain and more like alphabet soup. Sometimes I can’t even gather the floating letters to form simple words, let alone big thoughts. I guess that’s why this post is coming off so rambly and unorganized. 

Yesterday was a healthy day, and I wanted more than ANYTHING to repeat it. We spent 30 minutes getting ready to go outside to be active, and opened the front door to rain. My heart sank. I unpacked the stroller I had just put SO much time, thought and energy into preparing. It knocked me off my rails for three hours. Yes, you read that right. THREE hours. Over the rain. I didn’t get my activity in. I didn’t get my fresh air. I let things get on top of me, and didn’t take time to breathe. I missed lunch. I slept when the kids napped, instead of being productive. I did, however, take my meds. So, one point to Catherine.

I want to have more healthy days. I want consistency. I want to see results in changing this awful body, and I want to feel good. I want every day to be like yesterday. I want to rewire my brain so I can be a problem-solver and not a train wreck. But what am I going to do? Write these things down? Journal? Make a list? Schedule them? Honey, I do that every day.

I usually like to wrap up my posts by taking this part to ask what small changes YOU can make to feel better. This time, I’m looking for help. What suggestions do you have for me? How do you stay consistent, especially through all of the changes the pandemic has caused?

Stay safe.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home.


Eating Disorder Relapse and Medication Withdrawal

I started a medication called Wellbutrin a few months ago. It’s supposed to lift you out of depression, and help get you out of bed when the depression monster steals your energy. Last monday (April 13th) I had a meeting with my prescriber. It was at that time she realized my script had been written for double what it was supposed to be. She told me the high dose was way too much, and I had to go to the half dose immediately.

The fall out has been intense.

The monday we spoke (the 13th) was the first day of being on the half dose, and my life has just spiraled out since. I have no energy. I can not bring myself to work out. I’m irritable. I’m binge eating daily. There were two nights I drank alcohol- which I hate the taste of, so I have no idea why I did this. I woke up with a hangover both times, more depressed than ever, and reaching for food to cope.

I am withdrawing, physically. I have the sweats, the shakes, and the awful, dark thoughts. I’ve watched the scale creep up a bit every day, and the three pounds I had worked so hard to lose this month have been regained. My confidence is level 0, and the weight gain has me feeling like a complete failure. 

I’ve blogged to get through this, but feel like I’m lying. I post uplifting script, and tips to have better mental health. Meanwhile I’m sitting here in a blanket burrito, unshowered, desk littered with empty candy wrappers.

What is wrong with me?

I think I’m over the hump, and it seems like my withdrawal symptoms are starting to get better. I’m still irritable. I’m still tired.. But less than yesterday. Even more less than Friday. I’m hopeful it will continue to even out.

I took about five steps back this week while I adjusted to the new dose. I have a lot of ground to reclaim, and a lot more ahead of me when I keep on forging forward. 

The first thing I had to do was ask for help. I had to be honest with my husband and my sister about what I was feeling so they could understand why I was acting this way.

Then I had to make a plan, including touching base with my prescriber when her office opens tomorrow (Monday) morning. I’ve also decided to start eating off the FODMAP diet for the next month, quit having any alcohol at all, and making exercise a priority- ESPECIALLY when I don’t feel like it. Most of all, I’ve opened up about my binge eating. A big part of BED (binge/purge eating disorder) is the secrecy and hiding of consuming food. By talking about it, and confessing I’m already taking steps to avoid binging today. I opened the door and wecomed my husband into my secret little world. Just by having him here, I feel less of a need to shame-binge When I can be open with him, it makes keeping any secrets feel wrong- especially food secrets.

There are a ton of factors that go into mental health- and chemicals play a huge role. Being medically treated can be a lifesaver for most people. The situation I’ve gone through this week is rare and unlikely. It has been unpleasant, for sure, but It does not make me regret seeking treatment in the least. Getting help, getting medication, was the absolute best decision I’ve made. It saved my life. Even with this little bump in the road, I still have 100% faith in my doctor and their plan. It just sucks to get through.

I’m planning on getting out for a short hike with Mike and the little girls today. I also had a cup of coffee to give me a bump of energy where the Wellbutrin has me lacking. Most of all, I’m opening up to my family and friends to get through this. They make me so happy, they distract me, they support me. Just knowing how much they care for me, and how lucky I am to have them is a major confidence bump. They love me. The greatest people in the whole world love me. That must mean I’m worth something!

photographer unknown

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face.

Stay home. Stay home. Stay home.

Stay healthy.


Who not Have

Be a who. Be more than what you have.

I want to be defined by who I am and not by what I have. 

I have bipolar disorder. 

I have body fat. 

I have anxiety. 

I have feelings of depression. 

I am more than those things. They are just things I have, and not who I am. 

I am Kate. I am Mama. I am a best friend, a daughter, a wife. I am a writer. I am a shy, but kind person. I am loving. I am hopeful. I am working hard on becoming a healthier me. 

Judge me by who I am, not what I have. 

Tell me in the comments, who are you? 

Stay healthy.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home.

Be a who. Be more than what you have.


The Empty Cup Theory

I am a die hard believer that it takes a healthy person to raise healthy people. Take care of yourself first, keep your cup full, then share with others.

Get ready guys, because this post is dedicated to my all-time favorite phrase:

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

What the heck does that mean?:

Pouring from an empty cup is the same as getting blood from a stone. You can’t fill a second vessel if there’s nothing in the first one. It’s a lot like when the flight attendant tells you to “secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” You have to help yourself first. If there’s no oxygen for you, you’ll pass out (or die) without being able to help your kids. The same can be applied to self care. You have to be a functioning human being to care for your children.

What fills a cup?:

Your cup is full when your needs are met. This is physically taking care of yourself like eating, sleeping, getting rest and exercising. Mental fulfillment like getting love, attention, peace, and happiness. Socially it will look like connecting with friends, family and peers. It may also include affection, security, feelings of success and productivity, or doing things that you like to do. Overall, you want to fill your cup with things that make you feel well.

What empties a cup?:

Cups are drained by negativity. Stress, rejection, loneliness, isolation, fighting, being insulted, failing and fatigue will all empty your cup. 

What happens when your cup isn’t full?:

kids love stealing from other people’s cups.

Usually, if your cup isn’t full, it’s tempting to steal from other people’s cups. This could be putting down others, fighting, or purposely making others unhappy. 

Sometimes, we want to draw attention to our empty cup to remind others to fill it. This could show as children acting out or adults who are irritable or passive aggressive. 

Some people seem to have bottomless cups. They need constant contact and attention. (she might kill me for saying this but-) My sister has a bottomless cup. In an adult this is a daily need to “check in” with friends, and be reassured no one is mad at you. In person she is super affectionate, and gives us all the love, hugs and kisses. She is thoughtful down to knowing and understanding all of her friends’ schedules, and has some serious FOMO- fear of missing out. She is social and loving, and wants that in return.

Sometimes we can sit still for refills- especially moms. This results in burnout, and can be avoided by taking time to ourselves, even if it’s just a moment to ‘top off’ our cup here and there. 

Moms are also guilty of being too busy filling other peoples’ cups to realize theirs is empty. We tend to stretch ourselves thin by making sure everyone else’s needs are met, neglecting our own needs. 

What fills my personal cup?: 

Rest, taking a shower, venting when I’m full of emotion, blogging, my family, my dogs, my friends.

What do I do to make sure my cup does not run empty?:

I ask for help when I need it. This skill didn’t come easy, but it has changed my life. I take time to rest, I make myself feel better by being clean and taking a shower. I blog because I love to write, to vent, and to help others. I connect with my peeps- even if it’s just on Facebook. I love seeing pictures of my friends’ happy kids, their funny parenting stories, and who doesn’t appreciate a good meme?

What fills my kids’ cups?

Jacen tells me his cup is filled with “love, affection, friendship, family time, play, succeeding and kindness. 

What happens when their cups are empty?

When Jacen’s cup loses ‘friendship’ at school, like the days he is bullied and feels isolated, he tends to lose play. His kindness turns to irritability, and then affection starts to drain. He usually tells me he needs a refill by crying. He is looking for us to replenish his affection with a hug and love. When he can go back and squash his fight with his friends, he will find his friendship and play again. Empty cups aren’t forever. There’s always a way to fill ‘em back up!

I am a die hard believer that it takes a healthy person to raise healthy people. Take care of yourself first, keep your cup full, then share with others. 

Stay healthy. Stay full.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face.



Sounds That Soothe Me – by Jacen Sherwood (Age 9)

Here are some sounds that keep me calm. One sound that keeps me calm are the soothing sounds of thunder. The second sound that calms me down is the faint sounds of the whistling winds. The third sound that calms me down is “Asriel’s theme” from ‘Undertale.’ And the fourth and final sound that calms me down is the nice sounds of crickets. And those were some sounds that keep me calm.

What kinds of sounds keep you calm, or help manage your anxiety? Let us know in the comments!

  • Jacen

My COVID-19 Tips to Retain Mama’s Sanity

Sometimes my kids are confused, and they ask questions. More importantly though, sometimes I am confused and I don’t know how to answer. At first I thought I was failing them, but now I realize it’s okay to not know all the answers. This is real life, and it’s a time where we can prepare our kids for the future by setting a good example. During my internship I once had a doctor tell me, “It’s okay not to know all the answers. The important part is knowing how to FIND the correct answers.” You are only human, so be honest. It’s okay to say ‘I don’t know’ when it’s the truth. Learn together, stay calm together, and grow together.

This is a rough time for everyone. Our routines are all jacked up, we miss friends and family, and we are all adjusting to staying home. Sometimes my kids are confused, and they ask questions. More importantly though, sometimes I am confused and I don’t know how to answer. At first I thought I was failing them, but now I realize it’s okay to not know all the answers. This is real life, and it’s a time where we can prepare our kids for the future by setting a good example. During my internship I once had a doctor tell me, “It’s okay not to know all the answers. The important part is knowing how to FIND the correct answers.” You are only human, so be honest. It’s okay to say ‘I don’t know’ when it’s the truth. Learn together, stay calm together, and grow together.

Distance learning is hard on everyone- there are distractions everywhere!

My Tips for Mama:

Girl, this is not what you signed up for. It’s frustrating to multi-task working at home and keep up with the kids’ “distance learning.” We never imagined a time that we couldn’t escape to Target, and wander the aisles with our mocha frappuccino. This is intense. It’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we have no end date. This is an especially important time to take care of YOURSELF and ask for help when you need it. 

What’s my favorite phrase, Mama? Let’s say it together: YOU CAN’T POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP. You’ve got to be a functioning human to care for your kids. It’s okay to put your kids in a safe place (Like a crib, playroom, or under the care of others) and take a moment for yourself. Sometimes when I’m anxious I have to put Lucy in her bassinet and let her cry for a minute. I step out to the kitchen, get a sip of water, relax, and come back with more patience and less anxiety. She is safe to be left alone there. It’s okay to take a break.

If you need to step out, consider a moment outside where you can get some fresh air and vitamin D. Personally, I have a huge fear of accidentally locking myself outside, so I often just open the door and stand in the doorway. It’s enough to breathe and reconnect with the outside world. Remember that you also have to eat, sleep, and shower. Prioritize fitting those things into your day. It’s going to keep that cup of yours topped off.

Be realistic about the changes at home. You aren’t a teacher by trade, and you haven’t chosen to be put in this situation. Homeschooling will change your routine and the household dynamic. Working from home will be confusing with the distractions of home. The days blend together, and you don’t know if it’s day or night. The house might get a little messy. Maybe the kids miss a bath night or two. Roll with the changes and try to stay calm. You ARE a supermom, even if you can’t get everything done. Maybe even ESPECIALLY if you can’t get everything done. It means you’re putting your time into the correct priorities, and letting go of the little things. 

Most importantly ask for help when you need it. Of course, as always, this means reaching out to a therapist or friend if you’re overwhelmed, but there are a ton of situations where you can get help. If you’re confused by homeschooling, email the teacher. Trust me, they will be happy to help. If you have concerns about your child’s behavior, call the school psychologist and touch base. They can give you tips to cope, and red flags to watch out for. If there’s too much on your to-do list, talk to your partner. Now more than ever communication is key. Don’t shut down and expect them to read your mind. The last thing you want is to run on high tension and irritability when we are in such close quarters. It’s also a great time to introduce older kids to new chores. There is extra time for one-on-one teaching, and for them to practice their new skill. Kids can sense our frustration. They fear our irritability too, and learning a new chore will give them a sense of helpfulness. We want the people we love to have an easier time. Even if they complain at first, deep down they will feel productive. Voice to them how helpful they are, and how much you appreciate the help.

My advice on the COVID-19 questions:

There’s two kinds of anxiety. The first is the one we try to reduce; the overwhelming, unproductive, irrational worry. The second is helpful anxiety. Anxiety is a natural, important emotion. It keeps us alert to danger. It causes fear that produces a rational response to keep us safe. For example, if you see a hungry shark you SHOULD be anxious. The anxiety should tell your brain “run away!”

Working on the bad anxiety, most professionals are suggesting to limit exposure to news sources. The media produces information with adult viewers as the target audience. Kids need to be informed in child-sized doses to avoid being overwhelmed. Stick to what’s relevant, but be honest. Lying always makes things worse. If the truth is uncovered, it takes a toll on the trust your child has for you. Avoid the “what if’s” and focus on relevant steps we can take to be healthy.

That good anxiety will trigger rational worry too. Our body is telling us to be a little scared, take this seriously, but don’t panic. I’ve found the best way to handle this situation is with validation and a plan. “Yes, the virus will make you sick. Yes, it can be serious for some people. We can avoid getting sick by washing our hands and following the social distancing rule.” Knowledge is power, so education about stopping the spread of the virus is our strongest tool.

My advice for “oh my God, there are so many hours in a day. What do I do with these freaking kids?”

Give them the opportunity to take the lead by asking if there are any new hobbies they would like to take up. Learn together. Youtube has lessons for just about everything.This can also be a chance to learn researching skills and how to identify valid information on the internet (yeah, I’m looking at you, Wikipedia- our kids won’t be falling for your shenanigans.)

Involve the kids in positive socializing. Bring back the art of a handwritten letter. Use email, facetime, or even produce some window art for the Heart Hunters Project. (HHP is the decorating of windows and doors to spread a little love and positivity in your neighborhood.) Count blessings together, share life skills like cooking or learning a new chore. Do an art project. Play outside. Exercise. Talk- allow them to vent about their feelings and frustrations.

“Wrap it up, Catherine. This post is getting annoyingly long”:

Okay, okay- I’ll try to make this as short as I can. This is uncharted territory for all of us, children and parents alike. It’s frustrating and confusing, but channel your inner kindergartener and ‘treat others the way you want to be treated.’ Try your best to be patient and calm. Validate their fears and feelings, but let them know you’re doing your best to keep them safe. Try to find silver linings and small moments of happiness. Most of all, just show them affection. I know a good hug always makes me feel better!

I’m obviously not a professional. By no means do I have my life together. My house is a mess, I undercooked my pasta for dinner (and tried to pass it off as fancy by calling it ‘al dente’)  and I’m on day four of dry shampoo- but I’m doing my best. I’ve got some happy and healthy kids. This is what I’m doing in my home, and I hope it helps in yours.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home.

Stay calm. Stay healthy.

-Kate and the Kids.




. “Distance Learning” is a joy for everyone.

We are almost two whole hours behind schedule.

Today we  broke the rules. We snoozed the alarm, we stayed in bed. We are almost two whole hours behind schedule.

What do we do now?

We are making the choice to get it together. To know that the deviation from our routine was worth it. It was special. It was loving. The world, however, still moves on. There are things we have to do.

Large scale or small scale, it’s never too late to get back on track. Don’t consider your entire day a wash because you slept in. Don’t wait until Monday to start that diet. Don’t wait until the pandemic has passed to check on your loved ones. Make the choice right now to change, because any moment is the right moment.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home.

Be consistent, but flexible.

And stop putting off getting back on track.











I don’t have to wear shoes.

This time quarantined has been trying for everyone. Mike is even more overworked than normal, I’m trying to juggle the mom/hometeacher/chef/maid hats, and keeping Lucy on her vaccine schedule has been especially stressful. Anna is her typical goof-ball, wild child self and Arielle has thrown us through a few loops this month. It seemed the only one keeping their cool was Jacen. He’s been playing video games during his non-school hours.(shocking I know.) He was quiet, so I assumed that meant content.

Please never lose your silly, Anna.. but maybe use the fork with your fingers instead of your toes.

Turns out the person I worried about least, actually has the most to be stressed about. I’ve been incorporating some mental health material into Jacen’s home school work, and today was the first time he indicated any anxiety.  How could I have dropped the ball on this one? His WHOLE WORLD has been rocked. He doesn’t see his friends, misses his teachers and has had his whole routine thrown right out the window. He’s trying to learn on a platform he isn’t used to, and he doesn’t have the same relationship with me as he does his teachers. We are too close, and it can be hard to be an authoritarian enforcing school work instead of the “fun mom” going to museums and zoos. He may have been able to lay low in a classroom of 30 kids, but now he has mom watching right over his shoulder. One on one. It’s a totally different atmosphere, and I’ve been challenging him. He can’t breeze through assignments that are easy for him, then relax while his classmates take their time learning at a slower pace. He’s working hard at home, he’s being watched, and he isn’t getting the social break of seeing his peers. It’s a lot on a kid. 

He’s sad that his cousin’s first birthday party was cancelled, as well as our vacation that was planned for April. He’s disappointed we won’t be going to see family on Easter. He’s starting to realize that there are a lot of things we are missing out on, and I think it just sunk in today that school will not be reopening any time soon. 

Today he wrote, [I’m feeling] “anxious because sometimes I feel that someone in our family is going to get it.” This was certainly a conversation starter. We talked a bit about how dad is around people while working in retail, which is confusing for Jacen because he was under the impression EVERYONE had to stay home. He also brought up his Nana, someone he is used to seeing on a regular basis. They saw each other from an 8 foot distance for about 2 minutes this weekend. It was the first time they had seen eachother in a month, and it just wasn’t enough. Nana is a nurse, fighting to help people. That means she’s working closely with the virus, and we are all a little stressed about it. We share custody of his step-sister. Traveling between our house and mom’s has raised a lot of concern for all of us, but we are still trying to stick with the custody schedule as long as we can. Jacen told me today that he is terrified Arielle will catch the virus in transit. 

Those are just the people who aren’t able to stay home.

He got emotional talking about the friends and family he isn’t able to see right now, and just wants to give out a million hugs. Me too bud, me too.

Things were heavy. We were both crying, wishing things were different. I was afraid to keep reading, but the next question was “What is something you like about being home?”

“I don’t have to wear shoes.”

We both started laughing. It didn’t seem funny or silly when he wrote it, it was just the first thought that popped into his mind.. But boy did it make us laugh after such a serious conversation. 

Jacen is going to remember this time more than any of my other children. I know he will remember missing his friends, staying inside, and being afraid of the things that were being said on the news. I hope he also remembers the fun we are having together, the love, and that he could do his school work while barefoot. This time is hard for everyone, but please try to find the happy moments. Some days it might seem like they don’t exist, but I promise they do. 

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home.

Stay positive.

Don’t wear shoes.

Kate and Jacen.





Stay Sane and Healthy, Go Outside at Home.

The weather is FINALLY cooperating where I live, so we were able to spend some time outside. Even when we aren’t in quarantine, I stay home with the kids. I’m embarrassed to say that even with daily opportunities, I’m really bad about getting outdoors. Don’t get me wrong, we totally do big things like the beach, park, hiking, walking/jogging for fitness, swimming, etc., but we definitely don’t spend enough time casually walking or relaxing in the yard.

The pandemic has really changed my outlook. We can no longer meet friends at the canal for a long walk, or spend time at the playground. At first I had the mentality that we were stuck literally within the confines of the house. This week I’ve started to realize all of the opportunities we have outside that are still following the social distancing rules. It opened our little world, and eased our cabin fever.

On the rainy days, I cracked the windows and opened the french doors. It was good for my anxiety to listen to the rain and breathe in some fresh air. When we woke up this morning it was starting to look like another gloomy day, so I set up an obstacle course indoors. Anna was less than pleased, longing to get out of the house and go somewhere.

Awesome, stuck in the house and Anna has an attitude. Should be a fun day.

A few hours later Lucy started to get cranky in her swing. I looked over and realized the sun was in her eyes. Wait, the sun?! I didn’t even bother to change Anna out of her Christmas pajamas. I just grabbed the kids and the bubbles and ran out the door. I didn’t want to miss our opportunity.

It’s common knowledge that the sun can help lift depression. People who suffer with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) feel worse in the winter months when the sun is less available. The depression lifts in good weather. Sunlight provides a good dose of Vitamin D, which is crucial in bone health, cardiovascular function, and inflammation control. Sunlight also energizes the t-cells that increase our immunity- and who couldn’t use a little bit of that right now?

I could write pages and pages about how outdoor play benefits child development, but I’ll try to keep it short. Playing in an outdoor environment is less stimulating than an indoor play center. It gives children a chance to slow down and appreciate their senses without being overwhelmed. It has been shown that kids who are used to outdoor smells and naturally occurring colors have less food aversions, especially to vegetables. The outdoors present unpredictable challenges, which increases imagination and problem solving. Spinning, jumping and playing on naturally diverse terrain increases inner ear function, resulting in better balance. Overall, spending time outdoors decreases stress, releases serotonin, and encourages a healthy lifestyle in people of all ages.

I grew up an only child, and I never wanted to play outside because I didn’t want to play alone. (This is one of the reasons I wanted to have a big family!) I wish I could tell my younger self that outdoor play does not need to be a sport or game that requires multiple people. If I really thought about it, I probably would have realized that I could have been reading in the fresh air, eating a picnic lunch on the deck, or doing a DIY art project in the open air. 

We are busy people. When the pandemic is over, people will go back to running around again. Even staying home right now, it’s hard to find time for yourself. Homeschooling is time consuming, probably more than anticipated. Keeping the younger kids entertained is hard enough, but now we also have to stop them from distracting the older kids during class time. Most people are still working from home, facing their own distraction challenges. We are busy, but please, make time.

To benefit from time outside you really only need to dedicate 15 minutes. (It could be 15 minutes on the phone checking on a family member you can’t see right now!) Start doing it today, and continue when the pandemic passes. You might think it will be difficult to fit into your day, or hard to remember to participate in. (I know, our to-do lists are forever getting longer.) Making a lifestyle change doesn’t have to be difficult, especially one that only takes 15 minutes.

  1. Planning Stage: Decide on a goal – spend 15 minutes outside daily.
  2. Uncomfortable Stage: It will be hard to remember or prioritize because it is a new behavior. Block off the time in your planner or set an alarm. Most importantly, just do it.
  3. Leveling out stage: You find yourself heading outside at your regular time, even without a reminder. You may even start to look forward to it.
  4. Picking up Speed stage: You’re excited about your new habit, and start to feel the benefits.
  5. Feeling Normal/ Regular stage: Congratulations, you have formed a positive habit!

It’s been said that it only takes about 21 days to make an action a habit. It only takes 90 days to make it a lifestyle change. Seriously, you could be a healthier you before the pandemic is even over- all from dedicating just 15 minutes a day.

You can totally do it.

Getting outside today wasn’t exactly a day at the beach. I wish it was 75 degrees instead of cold and raw. The ground was wet, so we couldn’t really sit down and relax. Nonetheless, 15 minutes passed quickly. Anna chased bubbles, we waved to the neighbors from a safe social distance, and we watched a squirrel run across the roof and powerlines (we pretended it was playing ‘the floor is lava’ and Anna thought it was quite hilarious.)

Anna didn’t want to come back inside, but it was a bit cold to have Lucy out there for too long. When we settled in, I realized Anna was more calm than usual, sitting on the floor and nicely playing with blocks. I felt happier, and my motivation to blog and workout returned. It only took 15 minutes.


Get outside today, but keep your 6 foot social distance.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home.

I mean it, STAY HOME.

Stay healthy,

Kate and the Kids.







Escaping this house- a meditative script.

I needed to not be in the house today, but I wasn’t able to leave. Between the coronavirus and the weather, the best I could do was open the french doors, close my eyes, and let the rain and wind take me somewhere else. This is where I went.

I have always loved to swim. It came naturally when I was a kid, and I even swam on a team when I got a little older. Laps aren’t what does it for me though. I’m talking about the way it feels to sink as deep as you can, head all the way under, as low as you can go.

The first thing I notice is the weightlessness. Especially when I was obese, the water relieved so much physical pain and pressure. Second, the mind feels lighter. My hair floats upwards. As it rises it brushes against my shoulders and face. I feel it lift away from me. I feel the negativity lift away too. It will float up with the bubbles, and I’ll stay here under water just a little longer. In my mind I’m a glorious thick-locked Disney beauty, but in reality my hair is shaped more like the fire on top of a match. 

I am aware of the breath in my chest. The air has filled my cheeks, lungs, and has even found its way to my belly. My toes stretch freely, and the tension rises upwards like my hair. My ankles relax, my legs, my hips. I feel my spine stretch taller, and my shoulders open up as my arms float to my sides. I am taller than ever, from the tip of my toe all the way up to the ends of my hair.

Under the water, outside sound begins to muffle. The deeper down, the more distant the noise becomes. Then it is gone. Just quiet. Peace, and quiet. 

From the depth, I look up to the surface. There’s a spot of white, clear water from the light above. It gradients into beautiful colors as we move away from the light. White, cyan, azure, blue. Looking below me are shades of violet, grey and black. Do the colors ever end? How far do they go? The water is so vast. I feel so small in it.

I take just one more moment here, but I know I can not stay forever. Let me leave my stress, my negative thoughts, and my anxieties here, down in the depths of the water. I head to the surface, letting the passing water cleanse the last of my soul.

I return to the surface for a new breath, a new start.

When I open my eyes, I’m back at home. Staring into the backyard as the rain falls, and I’m at peace with it. Suddenly the house doesn’t feel so small, as I still have that vast ocean in the back of my mind.

Where are you escaping to today?


CBT, Shame Boomerangs, and That Bitch Carole Baskin.

Using CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) For Anxiety

Last week I suffered with some really dark thoughts. They still come and go, but I’m getting better at keeping them at bay. CBT is a great therapy to stop the ‘looping’ cycle by proving the dark thought is not real.

A perfect example of this is when I feel worthless, and my depression says things like “the kids would be better off if I wasn’t their mother.” (definitely note that I have no intention of killing myself- I question my general worth.  please don’t misinterpret.) Historically, the thought would pop into my head. “They are better off without you.” I would get anxious and frustrated and try to push the thought away, but it came right back like a boomerang. This time it would be a little louder. “BETTER. OFF. WITHOUT. YOU.” It would be a battle of back and forth, the more I pushed it away the louder it came back. CBT breaks that cycle.

Yesterday was my day #1 of getting back on track. I made good nutrition choices, got outside, and have felt pretty good.. because those are the easy parts of being healthy. The hard part was facing my anxieties when they crept back into my mind. I heard, “You’re useless. The kids would be better off without you as a mother.” I wanted to swat it away and not deal with it, but that wouldn’t be progress in feeling better. I had to break the cycle. Instead I asked the voice “Why? Why would they be better off? What would Jacen, or Anna, or any of the kids say if you asked THEM if they’d be better off without me?” It stopped the voice. I kept going, kept thinking. 

What would Jacen say? He would say I protect him. I keep him safe. I’ve gotten him through a lot of his own anxiety attacks, and he trusts that I would never put him in danger. He knows he can come to me when things are wrong, and I’m going to do anything in my power to make it go away. He would say that I taught my boy to read so well, so young that he is now a super star at school. School is easier for him presently because of the days we spent together when he was young. 

What would Anna say? That I’ve rescued her from many failed Evel Knievel stunts just in time. It’s a miracle we haven’t had an ER trip, but those mom reflexes tend to kick in. She would say mama is the only one who clips her nails and remembers the fluoride tablets at bedtime. 

And Arielle? I hope she would say nice things about me, but that girl is at an age. (Lol) She knows that I don’t always have the same interests in the beginning, like anime and monster shows, but I try my best to learn. I try to listen, support and nurture her interests. I want her to be whatever she feels to be, and do the things she wants. I want to be a part of that, and I think that behind the preteen sass, she probably would admit that she can feel it. She knows how hard I try, and how much I love her. Catch her on a good day and she might even tell you I’m pretty fun to be around. 

My shame boomerang must have gotten a little scared, because it hasn’t returned since our “true talk” conversation. Are my kids better off without me as a mom? No. Absolutely not. That was the bully in my brain making me believe something that wasn’t true. CBT helped me sort out my wrong perception and the actual facts, and I saw an immediate lift of my anxiety. 

Today was day 2 of kicking my ass back in gear. I got out of bed. I took a shower. I helped Jacen with home school. I put together a gift bag for a friend that I love, and it made me happy to see her reaction. I have befriended a person I never thought would be on my side, and it’s beautiful. Her kind, welcoming behavior seems to be the start of a beautiful friendship. I hope it lasts forever. I kicked my anxiety attack’s ass with my CBT. I spent some much needed down time with my husband instead of rushing into depression sleep. 

I still miss my friends. I’m going to hug the crap out of my sister and niece when this thing passes. I’m going to take my nana out for a glorious day on the town. I’ll even go to bingo with her if she invites me. I’m going to let the kids pig pile on their nana and give her all the overdue hugs and kisses. Social distancing is hard. It messes with our minds, especially the minds who struggle with illness every day. Keep fighting back, because you deserve to be happy and healthy, even in a time like this. Get out of bed. Get some sun. Try your jeans on. (Trust me, quarantine snacks.)

Most of all, this too shall pass. I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But I know it will. 

Until then fight for your wellness. Fight to keep our sense of community, even from afar. Fight to have good days and good relationships.

Stay home. 

Wash your hands.

Don’t touch your face.

And Carole Baskin fed her husband to a tiger.






This has not been my first day #1. It won’t be my last.

Yesterday I got slapped in the face with a real “grow the fuck up” moment.

Yesterday I got slapped in the face with a real “grow the fuck up” moment. I knew going into my therapy appointment that my own quarantine habits were not helping my mental health, but damn did she lay it out for me.

Last week I snuggled in and watched movies all day. Sometimes with the kids, sometimes binging Tiger King by myself. I took a lot of naps when I could, and encouraged the kids to do quiet, indoor play on their own. I trusted that Jacen was keeping up with his Google Classroom work on his own, and didn’t intervene.

At the end of the week (Friday night) I had the biggest panic attack I’ve had in years. I couldn’t breathe, speak or stop throwing up. All coping mechanisms went out the window, I even failed to take my rescue medication. I felt like I was under rock bottom. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried on the floor by myself. The dark thoughts spiraled and they just wouldn’t stop. 

‘Things with Arielle seem weird today, does she love me less?’ ‘Jacen isn’t putting enough effort into his studies and it’s my fault.’ ‘Anna is so wild, is it my fault? Am I not doing a good enough job teaching her to be a lady?’ ‘Are we watching too much tv?’ ‘Those clean clothes have been waiting to get put away forever.’ ‘The weight is getting out of control, will I ever work out again?’ ‘You’re not contributing financially.’ ‘Your mental health is a burden on the family.’ ‘you are not good enough.’ ‘you don’t contribute anything.’ ‘you are worthless.’

The tears wouldn’t stop, and I couldn’t quiet the voices in my head that were just tearing me apart. On paper I can tell you that the best things for good mental health are routine, movement, socialization, getting outdoors, organization, etc. My body just did not want to participate. I didn’t have the energy or motivation. I slept as late as I could every morning, watched tv on the couch or in bed, took an afternoon nap, and looked forward to an early bedtime. The guilt started to mound while I just ignored the healthy me inside that was screaming “Get up! Get better! You can do this!”

But no, I wasted an entire week.

Monday morning I started to whine to my therapist, but she stopped me. She was right to do so. She reminded me that antidepressants are only going to do so much, and the rest is on me. That’s partly therapy- putting in the hard work of CBT, EMDR and talk therapy. It’s also the everyday stuff- getting out of bed, taking a shower, being active, getting work done. Okay, okay. I knew this already, I was just being lazy.

Today was my new day #1. I set my alarm, and got out of bed for 9. We got through our morning and breakfast routine. Jacen and I sat at side by side desks so I could be involved with his school work. I sat down to write this. I made a schedule. Even if we don’t do every single thing on the schedule every day, or even if we don’t do them at the same time everyday, it’s at least an announcement of what our expectations should be. It’s how we are going to get motivated and stay organized. It’s going to get the whole family back on track, and I’ll be the one leading the pack. I’m excited to pull myself out of this depression, even if it still feels really, really hard at this exact moment. (I’m dying to go back to sleep! Mama wants a nap!)

So, let’s lay it out. What work do I need to put in to get back on my feet? The first thing I usually do is reference my ‘overall family wellness goals.’

My Family Wellness Goals:

  1. Physical
  2. Emotional
  3. intellectual/mental
  4. Social
  5. Spiritual
  6. Vocational/educational
  7. Environmental
  8. Financial

Right in order, I’ve neglected my physical goals by relying heavily on processed “easy” food (due to my laziness for cooking) and skipping working out. Emotionally I have decided to wallow in my depression instead of taking time to resolve my problems. I have neglected to read, learn or grow my mind. Instead I have rotted it via Netflix. I leave Facebook messages on “received,” ignore calls, and avoid opening texts. I let myself use the “social distancing” excuse to isolate myself in every way. I have not connected spiritually as I prefer to. I have not been outdoors or seen the sun in weeks. I want to blame the quarantine, but there is no restriction to being outside as long as we still practice 6 foot distancing. Thankfully I haven’t messed up too much financially. I always feel guilty that I do not provide like Mike does, but I’m also not stupidly spending it either. I’m going to call that a point in my favor.

Simply jotting down a loose schedule has already solved so many of these problems for me. By blocking out time to cook meals, I know I will be preparing something healthy instead of microwaving something packaged at the last minute. I have time where I am expecting myself to workout, to read or listen to podcasts, to be outdoors with the kids, and to overall interact with my family more. It’s amazing that just writing these things down sparks a fire of motivation inside of me. I decided to change out of my loose, dirty sweatpants and into some workout leggings. I threw some dry shampoo in my hair, and even took out some meat to thaw for dinner. 

This has not been my first day #1. It won’t be my last. Everyone goes through the cycle to some degree of fluctuating between moods, motivation and success. We can not always control the organic sources, so we have to take control of what we can change. The first being our outlook. Don’t wait for a new week, or the next Monday. Don’t wait for the first of the month. Don’t wait for another day. Don’t even wait an hour. Do it now. Think of one thing that could make tomorrow easier. Implement it today, and watch your mood lift. Trust me I’m right there with you, but I have faith we can all climb out of this darkness with effort, help, and a desire to be healthy again.

Cheering for you,

And listening for your cheers to me.

















I could hear the chuckle in his voice when he yelled from the bedroom “let me find some pants.”

My family doesn’t usually serve alcohol at holidays or gatherings. When I turned 21 I thought it would be fun to bring sangria to Thanksgiving. It made me feel grown up, and I liked the thought of bringing something that had never been served before. I had a friend in high school who made sangria all the time. She had told me once that it was crucial to give the fruit a few days to soak in the wine. I put in about a week’s worth of work between researching recipes, shopping, and preparing. The night before the big day, I sampled the wine. It was amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of my pot-luck contribution. 

The recipe I used made A LOT more wine than I’d anticipated. I had stored it in a couple of plastic tupperware pitchers, but decided they didn’t look nice enough to bring to a family holiday. I had just started dating this guy who worked at Walmart. (9 years later, we are still together, married, and four kids between us!) He was heading to my apartment when his shift ended, so I asked him to pick up the biggest pitcher he could find. 

The thing was beautiful, and huge. It looked like a giant glass wine barrel, with a fancy spigot to dispense. It was absolutely perfect, especially for a wine I was so proud of. 

Mike jumped into the shower, and I focused on my wine project.. It took a bit of time to transfer all of my little plastic pitchers from the fridge into this mega barrel, and I pressed the fruit artfully against the glass. Everything was perfect.

I heard Mike shut off the water in the shower, and decided I had spent enough time on such a simple project. I grabbed the pitcher and brought it over to the fridge. How in the world did I overlook how heavy this thing would be? The pitcher itself had some serious weight to it, being so big and made of glass, and I had filled it with a massive amount of wine. Wine that had been in my refrigerator. Cold wine.Cold wine in a very heavy, glass pitcher. Cold wine that had started to accumulate condensation on the outside of the glass. I was really wishing I had thought to prop the fridge door open before picking this thing up. 

You know where this is going.

As if in slow motion, the pitcher slipped from my hands. The bathroom door squeaked open, and Mike caught the last split second before the wine hit the ground. Together we watched my kitchen disappear behind an atomic bomb of sangria. I froze. What the hell just happened? Is this real life? I looked at Mike, who just dropped his head to his chest and laughed. Still gripping a towel around his waist, he shook his head, and walked away smiling. I could hear the chuckle in his voice when he yelled from the bedroom “let me find some pants.”

Mike emerged from the bedroom to find me standing in two inches of red wine. I pushed a mop back and forth, not really doing anything but spreading around the puddle and shards of glass. I looked up and met his gaze with tears in my eyes and said, “I didn’t know where to start.” As if on cue, sangria dripped from the ceiling and onto my face. I couldn’t hold back anymore. The dam broke, and the tears came flowing out. 

Mike walked up to me, wrapped his hands around my upper arms and made me look him in the eye. “I got this,” he said with a smile. He kissed me on the forehead, and pulled the mop from my hand. 

That was the moment, right there when he looked me in the eye. That was the moment I fell in love with my husband.

I thought of this today, and it made me smile. I hope you’ve found a smile-thought today, too. 




Pandemic Panic and Mental Illness

Keeping a consistent routine is one of the basic and most useful therapies in managing bipolar disorder. Obviously COVID-19 has not made that easy. I haven’t been getting out of the house with the younger girls, we’ve been adjusting to “distance learning” for Jacen, and our custody schedule for Arielle has been all kinds of stressful. When I lost our routine, it felt like someone pulled a Jenga block from the bottom of my emotional stack: everything is pretty wobbly, I’m praying I don’t get knocked down, and I’m definitely fearful of what will  be taken from me next. 

My OCD is running high. I’m checking the stove burners and the locks on the door several times an hour.  My husband tries to make light of it by saying things like “Kate, you’re getting your steps in today” and mockingly “wait, have you checked to see if the door is locked?” It’s really embarrassing to be aware of a strange habit but not be able to stop yourself.

By far the absolute worst part of staying home has been my anxiety. I feel completely out of control- crying spells, massive panic attacks, vomiting, restlessness, irritability. All of it. All the time.

I try to remind myself that this time is actually a gift. This is more time with the kids, and at the end of my life I know that more time with them is all I’ll be wishing I had more of. There’s just a huge difference between receiving a gift and enjoying it.

I want them to remember this time as calm, safe, and loving. I want them to remember how strong mom was when the world was scary. I want them to remember fun things we did together, and things they learned at home that they wouldn’t have been taught in school. I want to enjoy this time. I fear they will remember me crying myself dry, anxiously vomiting, pacing, and worrying. I fear I won’t be remembered as the super mom that I always aspire to be, but a weak woman who fell apart in crisis. I fear the memories we make during this time will show me as overwhelmed, anxious, confused and stressed.. And all of these fears end up feeding my anxiety, making me fear even more. It’s an endless cycle. 

In both my OCD and my anxiety, I’m aware that my actions are unnecessary, but I’m unable to stop myself. I have to touch the door knob. I can’t just remind myself it’s locked and walk away. I’m aware that I appear preoccupied and unapproachable when I’m sobbing and stressing, but I just can’t stop it, no matter how much I would rather be laughing with my kids. I just want to stop. I want to change things. I want to enjoy the gift of time with my children.

This pandemic has been hard on everyone. We miss socialization. We fear for our businesses, our finances. We fear for the education of our children. We miss our family in healthcare, first responders, front liners, and essential employees whom we have not seen nearly enough of lately. We stress about getting sick, or getting someone else sick who can’t fight the virus. We fear of going without; of running out of food, soap and toilet paper. There is so much fear and sadness in the world. 

I know there has to be a way to turn this around. I’m fighting every day, trying to claw my way out of the hole I’ve dug myself into. I’m still seeing my doctors via Telehealth. I take my meds. I think of the kids. I think my next small step needs to be carving out a new routine. I do better when I know what to expect next, no surprises. No stress or guilt at the end of the day due to forgotten tasks. Organization.

I know I’m not the only one scared. I’m sure you are, too; to some degree, and in some regard. The world is a crazy place right now. I’m going to start small and get into a daily routine, because I deserve to feel better than I do right now. And so do you. No matter your reason, diagnosis or situation you can feel better. What’s your next step? Think about it. Tomorrow is a new day, and a perfect day to start turning things around.




Learning by Example

The coronavirus has my family staying home, and we are getting a little cabin fever. Yesterday we decided to move furniture to mix things up. It also made disinfecting the kids’ toys so much easier!

At one point, we had Anna’s toy buckets stacked up and drying. I bumped the pile, knocking it over and she immediately lunged for the fallen buckets. “It’s okay! It’s fine, mama! It happens!” She quickly squirreled around and collected them to restack. I was in awe for a moment. She, at two years old, had comforted me, her thirty year old mother. I wondered when she got so smart, when she became so kind and thoughtful, and how she learned how to comfort others.

I replayed her words in my head. “It’s okay. It’s fine. It happens.” Why did that sound so familiar? Oh, right. I laughed out loud at my slow realization. Those are the things I tell her when she makes mistakes. If she falls down, I try not to make a big deal of it and just say “you’re okay!” Usually this results in laughter and going back to playing instead of crying over the fall. When she spills things, I say “It’s fine. Accidents happen!”

These are phrases I use every single day, usually in times when she is upset that she has embarrassed herself, gotten a minor injury, or thinks she may get in trouble. I say them to make her feel better, so she knows things like this happen to everyone, and we have to stay calm and keep moving on. My hope is that these phrases will help her to later mentally compartmentalize accidents as ‘no big deal’ so she can focus on making them right and moving on. 

I am most impressed that Anna not only remembered these words in a moment of minor crisis, but was able to apply them with the intent to comfort me. It got me thinking of a Facebook meme I’ve seen going around lately- it reads something like ‘your children will barely remember the virus. They will remember how you reacted to it. Will you react in panic and chaos, or calm?’ 

Anna’s reaction to the buckets falling over was my “Ah-ha” moment, and those words on the meme finally clicked in my brain. I don’t want to be the mom who panics, or makes it sound like we will immediately die if we leave the house. I don’t want to be the selfish mom, the hoarding mom. I don’t want to be the yelling, mad mom.

I want to be the mom who checks on family and neighbors. I want to be the mom sending care packages to those who need it. I want to be the mom who is rational. I want to wash my hands, stay home, and not touch my face. I want to be the mom who follows the rules during a pandemic. I want to be the calm mom, the one who sometimes gets anxious but fights through it with grounding exercises, yoga, meditation and mindfulness. I want to be the mom who talks about my feelings, and listens to others talk about theirs. I want to be the mom who comes out on the other side of this pandemic with children who remember this time at home as positive.

If Anna can learn that “it’s okay, it’s fine” just from watching me respond to accidents, I know my kids can learn how to survive this time in a positive way. All I have to do is set a good example. If it sounds silly, I would have agreed with you a few days ago.( My corona plan at the time was just to survive.) It’s different now. The kids are always watching us. They learn more from our body language and facial expressions than anything else. My two year old learned to comfort mistakes just by hearing me do it. Now she will learn how to respond during a pandemic by watching me, and you bet your ass I’m going to set the best example I can.

In this time of craziness stay strong.

Stay healthy.

Stay home.

Kate and the Kids.







Feeling Undeserving of Help

I don’t think a single day has gone by in the last 30 years where I haven’t stressed about my body. I’ve been 300 pounds, I’ve been 150 pounds- and every number in between. Since having baby Lucy at the end of November, I think about my regain a thousand times throughout the day. It gives me panic attacks, it messes with my depression, and can even send me manic. 

Last month my therapist told me I needed to see an eating disorder specialist. It didn’t make sense to me. It DOESN’T make sense to me.When I think about eating disorders I immediately think of underweight girls- definitely not a category I fit into. She tried to find a provider who takes my insurance, but it hasn’t been easy. I was kind of relieved that it bought me some extra time. She put in a ton of work over the course of two weeks, and finally came up with a list of three names. Last monday she handed me the list and asked me to contact someone to schedule. I left her office, and put the list on my passenger seat. There it has stayed for the last five days, untouched. 

Now I have really dug myself a hole. I have to face my therapist Monday morning and tell her I didn’t try to follow through, after all of the work she put in. Today being Saturday, I can’t even really slap together a last ditch effort without revealing that I waited too long. Do I lie? No, Lying only makes things worse. I have to bite the bullet and be honest that I wasted her time. It’s just another thing to be anxious about. 

It doesn’t feel like I belong in this kind of treatment. If anything, I SHOULD be restricting myself to lose my remaining 27 pounds of baby weight. I wonder what the other people in the waiting room will look at me and think. I wonder if the therapist will take a look at my case and decide I don’t need to be seen. I’m embarrassed to present myself to this kind of therapy, and I don’t feel deserving of help. A big girl isn’t going to fit in with the other clientele. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to walk into that office, I know I’m going to be eyed and judged harshly. 

I don’t want to go. I don’t think I fit in. I don’t think I’m deserving of this kind of attention or help. I don’t want to face any of this. Part of me is even thinking of no-showing my regular therapy appointment on Monday, I just don’t want to admit that I dropped the ball. That’s a lot of “don’ts.” I have one “do.” I DO want to set a good, healthy example for my kids.

I worry that I will mess up my kids. I don’t want them to go through everything I did as an obese child, but I also don’t want to raise them to obsess about their weight. Neither scenario is healthy, but both are anxiously playing in my head. Constantly. How can I help them when I can’t even help myself?

I’ve always carried so much guilt with food. Guilt when I diet, and stress about staying within my calorie goals. Guilt when I binge, and stress about going astronomically over my calorie goals. I don’t want the kids to think this way, or be weighed down with the negativity that I feel every time I eat. 

This treatment is so awkward. I still don’t understand how someone who is mathematically, medically overweight would need to see an eating disorder specialist. I’m anxious, and dreading every part of this. 

Getting these words out of my chest and into writing has already brought some clarity. Time to put on my mom jeans and get over myself. I took some time between proofreading to run out to my car and grab the list. I emailed one provider. At least it’s a start. I don’t want the kids to fear food like I do. I don’t want to put that on them. I still don’t feel like I categorically should be in this kind of therapy, but I’ll take any help in keeping my kids healthy. 

Deep Breath. Ugh. Cringe.

Awkwardly, Anxiously,


So, This is Thirty.

The weeks before my birthday gave me so much anxiety. I mourned that the ‘exciting’ stuff of my 20’s were behind me- getting married, having kids, etc. – and I felt I had nothing good to look forward to. My self confidence has been shot since having Lucy. Postpartum body doesn’t make me feel very good, and I’m obsessing about the number on the scale. Planning to go out seemed like a labor intensive task on its own. I didn’t have anything to wear, needed a sitter for four kids, I hadn’t drank in about 18 months and didn’t know how alcohol would make me feel, and I carried a lot of guilt over leaving my 2 month old with my mom for a couple of hours. I was dreading the whole thing.

At the same time, I genuinely felt like I needed a break from the kids. Only a couple of hours, not all night. I forced myself to get excited. I put on my ‘going out’ boots, eyelashes, and the bravest smile I could muster. Twenty ten years old, ( you know, the number that comes after twenty nine..) and this was the best it was gonna get.

I actually got a little nervous when my ride came to pick me up. It was my last chance to cancel, but as I opened the front door to leave my sister ran toward me with a gift bag and a big old hug. How could I turn away from that? I opened the car door to find two of my long, lost friends. All of a sudden I felt a change in my chest. I was excited! I was happy.

For a while now I have wanted to build a friendship with a friend of my sister. This girl is awesome, hilarious, and we actually see eachother for most big events and holidays. When we invited her out it was 50/50. Does she know me well enough to come? Are we close enough to count as friends? My social anxiety gave my little spurts of heart palpitations. Seeing this girl in the car shot a lightning bolt of happiness through me, and I started to feel less guilty about leaving the kids. I genuinely felt like I needed to spend my mama-self care time on strengthening our friendship. I want more friends, specifically someone who makes me laugh as much as her. She is a breath of fresh air from my little gremlins at home. I truly feel that having more friends like her will round me out as a person, and make me feel like more than just a mother.

As expected, alcohol didn’t go over well. It just tastes so bad! How do people get it down? I literally ordered three drinks and only took a couple sips of each. I really AM getting old. No more falling down drunk for me! It was still so nice to sit down at the hookah bar, relax, and spend time with adults. My sister and brother in law bring me so much comfort, and make me feel incredibly loved. The two friends that came out kept things interesting, and I got to catch up on new gossip. I love hearing about the exciting lives of people without kids. (I’m not kidding.) They have the best stories. By 11:00 these wild and crazy kids were exhausted, so we headed home.. I think in the club world most people are just leaving their house at this time. (insert face palm) Still, I was more than happy to be heading toward my bed and some Tylenol.. And of course some baby snuggles!

I woke up that morning by turning twentyten. I mourned my younger days, and the things I’d missed out on in my 20’s by having my kids young. I harboured negativity. I was irritated with my husband for not taking time off of work to spend the day with me. I was annoyed that the kids made birthday cake pops, and left chocolate all over my stove. I dreaded going out, and wondered if my favorite boots would pinch my toes. I was overwhelmed with the thought of getting ready with all four kids running around, and then rounding them up to get in the car. I’d sum it up in three words :Anxious. Irritated. Overwhelmed.

Crawling into bed that night, things had changed for me. My husband (who had been sleeping when my brother in law dropped me off) sleepily gazed at the clock and noticed it was a few minutes past midnight. “It’s not your birthday anymore, you can relax again.” We both kind of laughed. I was pretty silly about this whole twentyten thing. I’m thirty. It’s dumb to think that the fun stuff is behind me. Sure, I won’t be a princess on my wedding day again, nor that glowing mama holding her new born baby, or even the kind of girl who can stay out past midnight. Those things are gone, yet fondly remembered. The fun things to come outweigh the past anyways! I get to watch my four babies and beautiful niece grow up. I’ll get to see my girls dressed as princesses, and give them all of my attention. In many years- and i do mean MANY years- I’ll hopefully be a glowing NANA holding my newborn grandchild. I won’t be the center of attention anymore, but that’s okay. I’ll be the one pointing the spotlight at the girls when it’s their time. I, of course, was disappointed my husband didn’t get to come out with us, but the silver lining was that I could focus on my friendships and try to put my mama/wife pot on the back burner. We spend plenty of time together anyways. The chocolate on my stove? It actually came off quite easily, and in the end my kids had made me birthday cake pops. They really do love me. The older kids helped out with the younger girls so I could get ready. It was such a relief, and I actually felt pretty for the first time in a very long while. And no, my boots did not pinch my toes, they just made me feel pretty sexy. If I had to sum it up in three words: Relieved. Comfortable. Accepting.

So, This is thirty? I can take this. I can handle this. I can own this. I am 30, and I’m going to try my best to make it my best chapter ever. Luckily I have the biggest and best team supporting me than ever before. I’ve got this.

Thirty and (just a tiny bit) Dirty,


Are you there Kate? It’s me, Mama.

I’m struggling to find myself outside of motherhood. Trust me, being a mom will always be my favorite role, but I’m really starting to miss the other parts of myself. For a long time I’ve had fleeting thoughts about what I could accomplish without a double stroller and a purse full of car snacks, but I try to shove them into the back of my brain and block them out. Now those thoughts are creeping to the forefront and are hard to ignore.

2010 BC (Before Children.)

I didn’t enjoy the person I was before motherhood. It’s been 10 years since I got pregnant with Jacen, so we are basically talking about a teenage me. Back in those days I felt isolated and unloved. I had one good friend and clung to her, but always felt alone. I thought becoming a mom would change those feelings, that I’d always have someone to look after and love. It’s true, from the moment I saw two lines on that pregnancy test I had someone to love and adore, but it didn’t make my lonely feelings go away. I still had to work on myself. When I say I want to be more than a mother, I certainly do not mean that I want to go back in time to the days before babies. I don’t want to be that girl again, and I’d rather not repeat all that hard work I’ve put into bettering myself. I just really feel like there has to be more to life than cleaning up legos and watching the Paw Patrol Christmas special for the millionth time. 

Maybe it’s just January cabin fever kicking in. Maybe my depression is less controlled than I thought. Either way, I find myself watching the clock and waiting for Mike to get home. I long for conversation without baby talk, but when there are adults around I can only talk about the kids. I don’t do anything without them. Sometimes they are the only people I see for days at a time. I have nothing interesting to say, no new stories that don’t include them. My world is starting to feel very small, and I am feeling like a very uninteresting person. 

Everyone wants to solve my problem by reminding my to take time away from the kids. Self care.That’s easier said than done. Even when I do have time away from them, I can’t shut off my mom brain. If I’m on that once-in-a-blue-moon solo trip to the store, I instinctively navigate to the fruit snacks and clearance baby clothes. When I get home I realize I forgot the tampons that I ran out for in the first place, but the kids are stocked for a long, cold winter. Self care ends up feeling forced. I’m hyper aware of the time limit I have, what other things are on my to-do list, and the guilt of having an exhausted husband take the kids after a long day of work. In the words of Jerry Smith, “Have you ever tried to relax? It’s a paradox!” It’s never alone time when the kids are always on your mind. The more you try to forget, the more you think about them.

Figure Skating 2008ish

I miss having hobbies. I was never any good at figure skating when I was young, (even when I was competing) but as an adult I like skating laps. When Jacen and Arielle started school, I could go to the rink on my days off. I had the ice to myself on weekdays, and I could re-learn how to skate without judgmental eyes. Ice skating was one of the many skills I rediscovered after my weight loss, but I was only able to go for a few months before finding out I was pregnant with Anna. My doctor told me the pregnancy was too high risk, and skating needed to be put on hold. I hoped to resume after baby, but trustworthy babysitters are hard to find and the rink is way too cold for an infant. 

Jan 2020, working out at home. (Please take note of her burrito.)

These days I don’t even get out to the gym. I had to cancel my YMCA membership last Christmas because Anna melted down in the babysitting room, so now working out has become ‘mommy and me’ time. I asked for a cheap gym membership for Christmas this year, but instead Mike got me an exercise bike for the living room. It seemed logical- no need for childcare, no reason to leave the house. In reality it’s just more time staring at the same walls I feel closing in on me. It’s more baby talk. It’s more time splitting my focus between the task at hand and keeping my littles alive. It’s taking things slow, being patient, and multitasking. No wonder the scale isn’t moving. For a few years there my fitness journey was part of my personality. Now it’s merged with motherhood, and I can’t decide if I even enjoy it anymore. 

Last weekend I cleaned out my workspace, and ended up donating a ton of yarn I’ll never get to use. It isn’t easy to crochet with a toddler on your lap, and the last time I tried, Anna pulled out an hour worth of stitches in about thirty seconds. I tidied books I haven’t been able to read, fabric longing to be sewn, even seasonal crafts I haven’t been able to sit down and complete with the older kids. What a waste.

I’m not an ice skater. I’m not a gym rat. I’m not a hooker, (person who can crochet, get your mind out of the gutter!) I’m not a bookworm, not a crafter. Hell, I’m not even ‘the girl with the eyelashes’ anymore. I’m just a mama.

This weekend I turn 30. We’re planning on going to a piano bar- my first time out since the summer of 2018. I’ve been thinking about it all week. I only own sweatpants, and I threw out my tackle box full of makeup a few years ago. What the heck do I wear? Do I remember how to put get my eyelashes on? More importantly, What in the world do I talk about? I ONLY have stories about the kids. Fingers crossed no one asks me, “what’s new” because the only response I have is “Lucy is sleeping through the night.” Oh, and the thought of meeting a new person? “Tell me about yourself.” uhhhhhhh, I have kids? What else is there?

Unfortunately my husband is working the night we are going out. My mom is going to take the kids in the evening, but I still have to get ready with all four of them home. I’ll be taking my shower with Anna splashing in the tub at my feet. There will be fingerprints and smudge marks in my nail polish. I won’t be taking the double stroller on a last minute run for makeup or an eyebrow wax, so who knows if I’ll even feel pretty. Honestly, it’s a gamble if I’ll even make it out the door. 

nov 2013- first honeymoon

Mike wants to take a vacation, a second honeymoon. Something all inclusive, so we can sit on the beach and drink. Somewhere 21+, no kids allowed. That seems like years away considering Lucy is only two months old. On a smaller scale, I just want to sit down and watch Frozen 2. I haven’t even made the attempt yet because I love Frozen too much to watch it unfocused, while Anna begs me to switch back to Spongebob. Oh, just watch it when the kids go to bed? I haven’t heard that one before! Just kidding, I hear it every day. My kids all go to bed at 8:30. I fall asleep at 8:35. It doesn’t matter if I’m lying in bed, sitting on the couch or standing. Most nights Anna is still standing at the babygate whining to stay up a little later. I can’t hear her, I’m snoozin’.  An honest break from being a parent is just impossible while they’re this young. Not for one movie, not for a trip to the store, not for a vacation. Guess we will reevaluate when Lucy starts kindergarten in five years.

I love being a mom, I promise I do. I just feel like every day I lose a bit of my own personality, and morph into a sitcom housewife. I want to have a thing- a hobby, and interest. Something. I’m not looking to ditch my kids and go out EVERY night. I just want to go out for my birthday and feel that I’m interesting enough to hold a conversation. To be honest, I even love the double stroller.. And walking with my sister and our side by side strollers? Literally the cutest thing ever. But there was a time where we spent our days taking spontaneous trips, clothes shopping without crossing to the kids’ side, and even doing shots in the parking lot before a concert. Now we whisper when we want to curse. Who are we? Who the heck am I?

Seriously. Who am I?


Chipping Away at Depression Ruins

Self care doesn’t need to cost a thing. It comes in many forms, and sometimes it isn’t easy. Sometimes it isn’t relaxing. Sometimes it isn’t fun.

Over the summer I wrote a post called “I’m Back, Baby!” and you know what? I really tried to be back. I really tried. In said post I shared that someone in my life had used my blog posts against me. They took my very real, very vulnerable recounts of my worst mental health moments and tried to make me out to be a bad mother. I wanted so badly to overcome it. I wanted to prove them wrong, rise above, and keep doing what I loved. I couldn’t. At that time I just wasn’t strong enough. 

Next month I turn 30. That’s 30 years of a whole lot of crap that I’ve lived through. Really dark stuff, really difficult stuff. I’ve felt really terrible about myself but the one thing I always felt like I had going for me was that I was a good mom. Having someone cherry pick my worst moments and represent me as a horrible mother got in my head. I started to believe them. My depression worsened, and I questioned our choice of having another baby. I started spiraling out, needing validation from others for even the most simple of tasks. I chased sleep to escape my own thoughts and quiet my anxieties. I canceled plans consistently and isolated myself from the people I love. I latched on to my husband and prayed he would face my battles for me. I couldn’t blog. I couldn’t think. I could barely even survive. 

November 2019 (9 months pregnant, 230 pounds, peak depression.)

I only had so much energy, and when it was gone there was no finding more. I prioritized the kids. I tried to keep the family areas clean and food in their bellies.I neglected myself because there was just nothing left to fuel my body. All the gas was used up on the kids. I stopped showering every day. I didn’t exercise. I went so long without leaving the house that my car battery had to be jumped before I could drive it postpartum. I frequently walked into my office/work space, got overwhelmed and walked away crying. My desk was no longer a place of creating and healing, but a place I dumped the things I didn’t want to deal with – both physical clutter and my own feelings. 

November 27, 2019 ( 201 pounds postpartum)

The negative repercussions of my blog posts have died down. My children have reconfirmed how much we love each other, and that (in their opinion at least) I AM a good mother. Really, their opinions are the only ones I care about anyways. I gave birth to baby Lucy on November 27th, and my health complications started to resolve almost instantly. The miracle workers at Women’s Behavioral health have helped me come back into good mental health. I’m back in counseling, seeing an eating disorder specialist, taking my meds and (hopefully) back to blogging. 

As we come up on two months postpartum, I’ve made a lot of progress in taking care of myself. I’m back to showering, working out and trying to stay on top of the chores – but seriously a family of 6 makes a whole lot of laundry. I’m not a god. Yesterday I walked into my work space and those familiar overwhelming feelings came flooding back. For the first time in months I didn’t turn away and ignore them. It was time to face the mess, and take back my space. 

Self care has become a little misunderstood. It’s trendy to grab some Starbucks and an expensive face mask and tell everyone on snapchat you’re taking care of yourself. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those things if they give you the boost you need.) Self care doesn’t need to cost a thing. It comes in many forms, and sometimes it isn’t easy. Sometimes it isn’t relaxing. Sometimes it isn’t fun.

My self care this week was taking back my space. It was difficult, it was time consuming. It was hard work, especially with the kids calling “mamaaaaa” every three seconds. Most of all, it was necessary. Clearing out the clutter has lifted me up and renewed my spirit. I have more confidence in myself, more pride in my home, and my desire for writing has already come back. 

January 25, 2020
Januray 2020 (180 pounds)

My bipolar disorder makes maintaining consistency very difficult. Having four children seems to make maintaining a routine impossible. Between the two it feels almost impossible to keep blogging, but I do this for myself. Writing is my self care, and a way to manage all of the emotions that come with parenting and mental illness. As a perk, my readers give me motivation and validation. Hearing stories about others relating to my journey makes me feel a little more normal, and gives me a boost of self worth. I look forward to the posts my future holds, and continuing to bond with my readers. Just know I’m trying my best over here, and I’m thinking about you all even when blogging is impossible. 

With a healing heart,


Pregnancy as a Recovering Binge Eater

‘Do as I say, not as I do’ has been ringing in my ears lately. I know what changes I need to make, but can’t seem to physically follow through with them. I wake up every morning with the best intentions of turning things around, but fall flat rather quickly. It’s so easy to make the excuse, “I’m pregnant, it’s a craving. I’m allowed to eat it.” No one is going to tell a pregnant woman to stop eating, but it’s something I really need to hear.

This pregnancy has not been easy. It seems our medical complications have grown with each child. The stress has really affected my energy, mental health and weight. Most of all, I struggle with my binge eating every minute of every day.

My activity level has been limited due to an abdominal hernia and a torn ligament in my belly. The baby and I both have cardiac issues, so working out has been a real struggle. Ideally we would balance the limited activity with a healthy diet but there’s something in my brain that just won’t let that happen. 

My friends and family are some of the sweetest people on the planet, but don’t realize how detrimental they can be to my eating habits. If I crave something once, my husband will continue to buy it a million times to surprise me. Everytime he goes to the supermarket, he picks me up a donut and raids the bakery. Considering carbs and sugar have always been my drug of choice, the sweets have really been dangerous to keep in the house. I had been so strong against them for almost three years, but once I opened the door for one, the bingeing came flooding back. 

I struggle every single day with my desire to eat- pregnant or not. On a normal day, I have the support to restrict my eating and be healthy. As a pregnant woman, people think eating is the healthy choice. It means they like to offer food whenever they can, and it’s almost never anything healthy. When I have support, I can say no to temptation. When temptation is offered to me, I struggle to stay away. 

The old ‘eating for two’ thing is completely wrong. Doctors today suggest that a woman of average weight only needs to gain about 25 pounds during their pregnancy. Most of that number is the weight of the baby, placenta, and extra fluid. In the beginning 25 pounds didn’t seem so bad, but as the number on the scale creeps up so does my anxiety. Am I gaining healthy baby weight, or am I gaining carbohydrate fat?

It is almost never a good idea to start a weight loss diet during pregnancy- unless a doctor directs you otherwise. In my case, I have brought up my weight at every visit, and my doctor has shot down every calorie-reduced idea I’ve had. He tells me to try and reach for healthier options when I’m hungry, but not to count calories and drive myself crazy.. The truth is, NOT counting drives me even crazier. 

I’m losing sleep over my weight gain, and my self confidence has plummeted. I’m only seven months along, and fall comfort food has already started appearing on our dinner plates. I’m mentally preparing for the holidays and our family’s “birthday season.” I struggle to plan events knowing that there will be an abundance of food. Attending events is a daunting thought. Today is Jacen’s birthday, and I’m already stressing my food choices for the night. I want to enjoy this time of year, but my issues with food stand in the way. 

‘Do as I say, not as I do’ has been ringing in my ears lately. I know what changes I need to make, but can’t seem to physically follow through with them. I wake up every morning with the best intentions of turning things around, but fall flat rather quickly. It’s so easy to make the excuse, “I’m pregnant, it’s a craving. I’m allowed to eat it.” No one is going to tell a pregnant woman to stop eating, but it’s something I really need to hear. 

I’m fighting the battle today. I fought it yesterday, I’ll have to fight it tomorrow. Repeat for the rest of my life. Food will always be there- it’s necessary to stay alive. It’s one of the only drugs that an addict can’t quit completely, and must use daily in moderation. It makes recovery all the more difficult. 

My goal today is to be mindful. I want to try and be in tune with my body and hunger cues. I want to focus on baby Lucy, and constantly remind myself that my decisions affect the health of both me and her. I want to eat for nourishment and not for enjoyment – this is sure to be a challenge when Jacen’s birthday cake comes out. It’s only 9 AM, still plenty of time to make today a good day. I’ve had rough days lately, but can not change the past. I can only focus on making today as healthy as possible. 

Stand with me. Make healthy choices today, and let’s feel better about tomorrow.

With healthy hearts,

Kate and the Kids.

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