Olivers Labels Agent, Sara Panza

The Practical Easter Bunny

Don’t worry, my kid doesn’t read my blog. I hope your kid doesn’t read my blog either.  Kids, if you’re reading, sign off now!


Easter BunnyI went shopping this week.  One of the things I loved most about holidays (besides my Christmas stocking) were my Valentine’s and Easter goodies.  I want to keep that going because I’m not sure how long I have left with Easter Bunny and Ava. I’m scared this is my last year. Some jerk will probably ruin it and my carefree little girl will probably find out that they’re not real.  Till then, I won’t think about that.

I went Easter shopping this week at the grocery store (ours is awesome and has a great book selection). Do you know how hard that is when you have a nosy almost 3 year old in the cart? Kind of hard.  Good thing I’m a ninja and she can’t see what’s under her seat in the cart.  Target filled the bill for the rest of the goodies, but I went the practical route because that’s how I roll.

What’s in our baskets this year?  Not a bunch of plastic trinket crap.

  • sunglasses (both are interested now and I’d like them to stop stealing mine)
  • flashlights (we’re going camping next month–that’s a whole other story)
  • toothbrushes
  • Build a Bear stuffies
  • a little candy
  • Coloring books
  • books
  • Flip flops for Ava, a shirt for Allie

That’s it! Easter isn’t about all the junk so we’ll be doing egg hunts and then going to church.  Ava is making her first communion this year so she should at least know what Easter is all about.

We’ll be dying eggs this weekend only because I want eggs. We don’t actually hide them because the horror of leaving one around the house would be disgusting.

What’s in your basket?

Climbing Out of the Darkness (#TheSemicolonProject)

I remember standing in an aisle at the store and freaking out because I was overwhelmed.  Thanks, anxiety. Only I didn’t know what it was at that time. I’d never dealt with it before.  At least I knew what to expect when I thought of depression.

When I was about 6 months postpartum I read something this on the Postpartum Progress website. It wasn’t until I read it that it hit me: I have postpartum depression and anxiety.

I know too many people who have walked the road I have. Some have had more mountains than hills but they all keep going.  The key is to keep going.  I’ve seen friends, family, read about people brave enough to share their stories. I think once you realize that there’s people around you going through what you do, you realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  To those of you still fighting your battles, I promise it’ll get better. I’m here to help and give that support.

Stigma attached to mental health makes us afraid to speak out, ask for help. We rationalize that we’re just tired, we’re just stressed, we’re just wordswordswords.  It’s not. Maybe we’re just scared to admit it.  Maybe it’s the fear that we’re broken. WHY? Where’s the education and awareness?

I’ll admit that some days I just thought that this was the life I was resigned to live. I accepted that anxiety was going to be an everyday part of life. The mehs. I’d just have to put on my face and work a little harder at it. Thankfully I have the right people and an amazing husband to support me, and resources to help me get better. I’m a survivor.   Of course there are good days and there are bad.  But it is an open sentence that keeps on going, depression isn’t who you are.

Today is April 16, a day to celebrate #TheSemicolonProject.  What is it? It’s a day for those with depression, anxiety, those who have chosen to keep on going when the road got rough and to have hope because that it gets better and the sentence is never over.  It’s marked by hope and moving forward each new day.


I’m your neighbor. Your friend. Your coworker.

I beat depression.

I fight from anxiety.

I AM NOT depression or anxiety.

I AM a survivor.

For me, it’s about being proud I kicked ass for me, for my husband and girls, for those who love me. It’s about staying on this side of the light.  For a while, I wore a charm on my bracelet that I’d look at as a reminder when I was frustrated and tired.  I shared it with some friends who needed the reminder in the midst of their battles.


Please help us raise money so that we can continue to raise awareness of how women are devastated by perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, make sure women know what they need to know about PPD, eliminate stigma and support the mamas who need it. Even $5 makes a difference to an organization that  solely funded by donations.

Climb Out of the Darkness is the annual awareness raising and fundraising event for Postpartum Progress.  I’m climbing a mountain with some of my fellow warrior moms on June 21 here in Austin and I’m asking for your help.  Can’t donate? Just join us to raise awareness and educate those around you. We can all make a difference.

Fundraising Websites – Crowdrise


Oh crazy weather.

I finally got my storms yesterday. They ruined the cleaned out bush beds but they brought lovely rain.

And this…
When I sent the pic to my cousin he asked if that was ice from an ice chest. Nope.

Straight up hail. That’s why my kids are standing on it in awe. Maybe Allie was hoping Elsa would pop out so they could begin a duet of “Let it Go”. Who knows. Clearly I need to take her to visit her aunt and uncle so she can see snow again.

Bummed I missed it in person, but wow. It’s not snow on tax day, but 40 degrees in Austin is pretty nuts.

Happy tax day! Kidding. Not awesome.

The Hangover.

photo (3)During law school I had a migraine/chronic headache for 6 months straight.  Not a dull little headache that a single advil dose can help you with. A writhing in pain, try all of the meds, try to get into a headache study and get rejected because there’s no break in your headache, get a headache treatment in the hospital for a week but it still doesn’t work kind of headache.

Yeah, I think that’s when my pain tolerance became Superman level.

How I functioned, I have no idea. All I know is I finished that summer’s law school class, managed to get through the FUNNEST classes that fall ::sarcasm font:: and went on my way.

I don’t really get migraines that often, but it’s the perfect storm right now. Allergies, massive weather change and humidity has made me ripe and overdue for a migraine.

Oh hello, old nemesis. Not so nice to see you again.  The thing about migraines is they’re the gift that keeps on giving.  First you get the lovely head bursting pain. Then I get the restlessness that keeps me from being able to sleep.  And then of course there’s the hangover headache that comes the next day.  Oh, thanks for that!

I read something the other day  about a family who went without added sugars for a year.  Do you know how much sugar is added to stuff? A lot. Everything. Why? I don’t know. The article said shelf life and I wouldn’t doubt it.

I’ve given up sweets for Lent and it’s almost over. I can’t tell you how bad I’ve needed a comfort piece of pie or cake. Yes I can, like the flowers need rain in the drought covered Texas sun. I don’t think it’s made a difference and I’m still exhausted. Then again, I love carbs so I doubt I’m sugar free or even close. I know I’ll have a sugar hangover, but goodness, it’ll be worth it. Sweet sweet carbs!

I’m not sure. I know I want to clean up how I eat, but it’s so incredibly hard. Especially with a picky household and always being on the go.  I found this great picture on Pinterest (sorry I have no specific link other than gympins.com).  It seems not so hard!



If you’ve got suggestions to take baby steps to clean eating, I’m open. ONE MONTH TILL RUNNING!!! Protein is a necessity and would be a great snack with some veggies. Honestly I think eating sweets again will help. I can quench my need for comfort food (or a snack) with a little something and avoid overcompensating by eating 1,000 other things.

So yeah, headache glasses and storms for the win today.  And breakfast tacos.  And Chinese food for lunch. I like to eat.

My friend.

This morning I ran into a lovely older gentlemen at Starbucks. He had just finished chatting with an 85 year old man who wanted to talk.

“Allie! Get up off that dirty floor!”

“Allie! Please don’t grab those breakable coffee mugs!”

“Aww you’re taking all the fun out of it, mom,” he said.

I laughed.

“That’s what grandparents are for.”

Clearly he was one. We chatted while we waited for our lattes. We talked current events, taxes, and careers. All in about 5 minutes. It’s funny how talking to a stranger can be so easy sometimes.

It was in that moment I realized I was lucky to have such a lovely person to talk to like that–my dad.

Grandpa, dad, confidante, motivator. He’s the one I turn to and he’s the one who’s there.  In the midst of all the bad when I was at my lowest and fighting to get better, he listened from 600 miles away. I can only imagine how hard it was.  We went to Disney World as a family, even my brother, and it’s one of the things I love the most. I hate that I was so caught up in the marathon that me, of all people, I forgot to take more pics.  I’m bummed I don’t have one pic of us as a family there.  We haven’t taken a vacation together since I was a few months pregnant with Ava and I’d just taken the bar exam (2005).  I can’t wait to do another family trip some day.

When my mom was sick, when she was dying, he was there. They weren’t married any more, but he was there.  For her, for us.  He put everything aside to be there for all of us when we needed it.  I am eternally grateful that I wasn’t alone to plan.  To do. To go to her house alone after she was gone. Those are things a dad does, even when he doesn’t have to.

It’s funny how looking back on things all I can think is, gah what a little brat I was when I was younger! All the frustrations you have as a teen know it all.

And now he’s more than a dad. He’s a friend. And I’m thankful everyday for that.

Thanks, dad.

One Month.

Enough of the sad. Sorry (not sorry) about that yesterday.

It’s been exactly two months since my foot surgery.  While it’s healing awesome and I can actually wear  real shoes more (not flip flops), I still haven’t run.

In one month, exactly, I can run.


I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am. I am running. Running is me. I’m so happy I’ll be able to get back in the groove. so will my clothes  I knew I’d miss it, but not this much!  The good news is that with my surgery I can probably run better and without pain. Running a marathon kind of takes its toll on you.

But I’m still so glad I did it and so proud of my accomplishment. And now the bug is in me and I can’t wait to run my next one, even if it isn’t with Mickey and it isn’t a Dopey challenge (5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon in ONE weekend).  Definitely I’ll run a marathon in February (knock on wood) but maybe this time I can improve my time–even if I didn’t do too bad and wasn’t in the top half. I finished and that’s what counts.  Maybe I’ll actually train and go past 15 miles.  Oops.

Wanna join me?

marathon results

Not so Sweet Dreams

I rarely dream about my mom.  It’s one of the things that bugs me most.

I have avoided the show “Resurrection” like the plague. I’ve seen commercials and it looks like people who have died come back to life.  It makes me mad and sad all at once.  If you’ve lost someone you love, the thought that they could ever come back is there. And that’s weird, I know it’s weird but you just miss them and think they’re wherever they are doing whatever it is they’re doing–but they’re not gone.

But last night I dreamed about her.  I was hugging Allie this morning and while rocking her realized like a light that I had dreamed about her. I desperately clung to the memory digging for anything I could to remember.

It’s dreams like that that I force myself to remember because they’re so fleeting.

All I know was she was there as real as can be and I was angry.  Where had she been?! I needed her and she was gone.

“Oh I’ve been here!”

She said happily.  All I knew was she isn’t. Not now. Not to me and I was sad and angry.  That’s not how I want to have dreams. I don’t want to be mad. I just want to talk like we always did and I want a hug and to be happy.

It’s not the kind of dream I like but she was there. And it was her.

And that’s all I can get.

I’ll hang on to it for dear life. Because for now, that’s my mom.

Not so Sleeping Beauty

photo 2

Sleep hasn’t been so very awesome in our house.  Allie moved to her big girl bed a few months ago and it was going fine. She’ll happily sleep through the night in her bed as long as you don’t shut her door. Except not.

Anyway, now we have time change and she tells me that it’s not sleep time because the sun is out. Yeah, sure kid. Thanks, farmers.  kidding, farmers grow the food I eat so I like them. 

It’s taking the girl forever to go to bed. I don’t particularly care if she sits up there and reads her books for 20 minutes. Fine. Just put yourself to sleep when you’re done. Which was working.  But then not so much.

We’ve tried moving bedtime back a bit to let her run off her energy. We bathe her nightly so she’ll be nice fresh and happy. Plus also, routine.  We’ve tried calming hippy stuff, no worky.  We’ve tried (and taken away for night potty training purposes) milk/water at bed.

In desperation my girl Shannon suggested that I try blocking the sunlight. Sure! That’s it! Hooray. Maybe that’ll get her moving to bed sooner. Or something.

photo 1 (1)

The last week she’s been waking up right around 10:30. I go in there, tell her to go back to bed and she does. No water, no milk, no touches.  

I know what you’re thinking, “Jess, why do you even bother?”

Oh friends, let me tell you. Because this girl may look cute and small and innocent, but oh she can scream and wake up every small creature in the neighborhood. She doesn’t mess around and if you wanna play chicken with her? She’ll win. I know, I’ve played for like an hour and a half and she doesn’t stop.  She’s boss at staying up–better than mom, for sure.

Honestly, the way she’s been waking up and the way she’s been during the day, I’m pretty positive that she’s either having bad dreams (sleep cycle) and/or she’s missing me. Either way, I feel bad for her. I really do.

We’ll get through this because it always passes. So no big, it’ll happen. Kids go through phases and it is what it is.

So yeah, in case you happen to be having the battle of the sleeps at your house, just wanted to share because you aren’t alone.

10 things About Me–Your Turn!

So my Candian sister from another mister (hence use of the spelling “favourite”), Kim from All Work and No Play (she’s hilarious but be warned, she uses naughty language), nominated me for a Liebster award. Whatever that means. She tells me to write and I do because, well, what else am I gonna write about?

  • Are you that guy in your neighborhood who feeds the wildlife?


No. God no. You know why? Because I don’t invite snakes and raccoons and deer into my yard. To each his own, but it’s enough to feed our two Chihuahuas.  I do like squirrels and love watching them jump through the trees. But I don’t feed them, because I just don’t.

  • Where do you write? (10 bonus points if you admit that one of those places is the bathroom. Don’t lie. We all do it.)

Anywhere. Usually on my phone or my iPad because if the mood strikes, I run with it. I wish I had an office space, but let’s be real.  The kids wouldn’t let me sit long enough to do it. And by kids, I mean Allie.

  • My New Year’s Resolution was “More thongs, less yoga pants”. What was yours and are you sticking to it?

I don’t do resolutions because who keeps them? It was probably to yell less and run more.  I ran a marathon in January and I’m currently a gimp until May, so I’m temporarily failing. As for the yelling…still a work in progress. As in, I need significant progress.

  • Lucky Charms for breakfast or are you one of those “I like my heart” kind of people?

Nope, because I don’t do Lucky Charms. I’m from Texas and we do breakfast tacos. Or biscuits and gravy. NOM.

  • What are your thoughts on global warming? Kidding. Do you like pizza? Some people don’t like pizza and those people cannot be trusted.

Pizza?  Always. The cheesier the better. And the more toppings, too.

  • What is your favourite colour and have you used that colour (or a variation of it) to paint your walls?

I like purple.  I guess I’ve used it for a shade of it with gray. No I haven’t read 50 Shades of Gray and don’t plan to. I like the tint it gives and just a hint of color. I don’t think a house that’s purple would probably ever sell well, so yeah, not so much.

  • What do you look forward to in the spring?


RAIN. But again, I live in Texas so I doubt it. My BFF in Canada thinks it’s hilarious how excited I get over the rain. But it’s like seeing a leprechaun! It just doesn’t happen. I guess the bluebonnets and flowers because they’re so pretty! Last year we were in drought so it sucked and we hardly saw any flowers. Still in drought but at least some are popping up.

UPDATE: It stormed last night. I was pumped!

  • Is there a piece of jewelry that you wear every day? Is there any significance to it?

image (1)

Besides my wedding ring, watch, and usually my earrings, I wear my prayer beads and a bracelet I got at a cathedral in San Antonio while I was wandering downtown.  I was at a particularly inquisitive time in my religious beliefs so it means a lot that I stumbled upon it.  The other thing is my 26.2 marathon bracelet. Why? Because I did that. I RAN IT.

  • Cold pillow or warm pillow and are you a pillow flipper in the middle of the night?

I love some cold sheets and I ALWAYS sleep with a blanket. I’d rather it be cold in the room and warm under my covers. Even if I wake up sweating like a pig. It’s worth it.

  • Favourite picture of you and why?

This is a weird question. I’m not really sure about it.  I am so proud of my accomplishment.  It’s not the best picture. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do (run a marathon, and awesome that it was at Disney). I mean, that’s Cinderella’s castle. And I ran through it! Not to mention the other 3 parks and the Orlando scenic route. Loved.

photo (1)

Now it’s your turn.  I suck at this stuff, so I don’t know who will do this, but I definitely know that I would love to read all of your posts. So when you’re done, come back and share because I want to know.

  1. What are you most scared of (like a thing, not like losing your family, because who isn’t?)
  2. What’s your favorite type of food, or favorite food if you can narrow it down.
  3. Dream vacation?
  4. Perfect day alone?
  5. How do you take your coffee?
  6. What is something you’re super proud of?
  7. Favorite place you’ve lived or a place that you call home. Where would you like to call home?
  8. Summer, fall, winter or spring?
  9. Favorite music/musician/etc?
  10. Musical or drama?

Brain Juice, Allergies & FREE Sample {Giveaway-CLOSED}

Seattle’s Best is awesome and they’re still my favorite people from Blissdom. They sent me a House Blend coffee kit to try with no expectation of anything. They are letting me host this giveaway for y’all just for sharing the fact you can get a free k-cup House Blend sample on Facebook! They rock. Seriously.

Right now, allergies are kicking the collective ass of my household. We have beautiful trees and wildflowers to show for it, but goodness it’s bad. Last night I couldn’t breathe through my nose, had a massive headache, and was dizzy. It was good times!  I fell asleep early and didn’t bother getting up till this morning.  Still miserable, still tired thanks to Allie’s 5:30 wakeup call.  It’s like an eternal fog.

Enter Advil (duh) and coffee (more duh).

Seriously, I don’t know how I’d function without caffeine.  I have a Keurig but I still drink Seattle’s because I have one of those nifty reusable cups to put my grounds in. No waste. HOORAY FOR ME.

So yeah, Seattle’s all the way. We still don’t have one here in Austin so I have to do it myself. ::Psssst, Seattle’s, come to Austin!::

Seattle's Best is the best

Seattle’s has a funny little commercial with a play on Dunkin Donuts (since there are more coffee drinkers who choose Seattle’s).  It made me smile with all the Duncans who like Seattle’s. It doesn’t take much to amuse me.

Anyway, on to the FREE part. Seattle’s Best is giving away House Blend coffee kits to five of you guys, including a bag of House Blend packaged coffee, a House Blend K-Cup sample and a Seattle’s Best Coffee travel mug.  Dudes, seriously, the mug is the best mug EVER. It’s way better than any little mug I’ve ever used. It has a flip top lid!

How do you win? Just comment on what your favorite way to take coffee is. Are you a frozen (Elsaaaaa??? hehe) or iced kinda girl?  Extra hot? Latte only?

I’ll pick 5 winners on 4/2/14, Win it Wednesday (ha! just came up with that…again with the amusing myself thing).

Even if you don’t win one of the awesome packs (and even if you do), you can still go to Seattle’s Facebook page before April 30 and get a free sample! Who doesn’t like free K-cups?