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You know what I super love? Getting lost on our own property. We have around 20 acres of property and the more we really explore and climb and crawl and swipe ticks off our body, the more land I want. 



My husband, resident big thinker, brought out our old school push mower so we could work on a path to get to the back of the property. Total genius move and saved hacking/pulling every little tree along the trail. Maybe the best weekend we’ve ever had, simply getting dirty while being eaten alive by mosquitoes.



Leopard print so predators stay away. Obviously.
And by predators, I sorta [definitely] mean our own kids. 



Of my many found things (including a super old, half-buried wagon wheel and approximately 8 golf balls) was a pile of old beer cans. Ummm... when did Miller have ‘Miller Ice’??!



In conclusion: get outside! Explore! Explore your back yard, dig in the dirt. 
Don’t have a back yard? Give me a buzz and you can come explore mine with me. I think our noisy, critter-filled woods are maybe my favorite place on earth.

Second only to the sauna room at my gym. 
Because, always cold.

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This has been said before, but I’m back! Fun things in the hopper - like my ultimate, all-time favorite matcha mint green tea latte from a neighborhood coffee shop. But maybe not because I don’t actually have the top secret recipe.
Whatever.
Stay tuned! 
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Warning - this is a little dark and the main reason I’ve struggled with writing for a very long time.

Oh anxiety. Why now?! You have me second guessing every word out of my mouth, and yet rambling like never before. You have me nervous to interact with anyone and everyone, including my husband and children. You make me sound angry but feel scared. You make me wonder if my marriage is in question, if my husband doesn’t want me any more because I’m such a wreck, on such a short fuse and so quick to cry. You make me question the love of my children, if they truly need me, if they would be better without me, if my love isn’t enough for them and they can’t feel it radiating from my pores with every breath I take. You have me shove food into my face I don’t want to eat, certainly don’t need to eat, until I’m aching and miserable and can’t breathe. You make me yearn for silence and dark, my crisp sheets with the curtains drawn. 

I’m trying to claw my way to the surface of this grave my brain has buried me in. I’m trying to find the peace and the joy in the simple tasks I love, the people I love fiercely and wholly, far more than myself. I’m trying to find connection with family on all sides, a sense of home among relatives. Im trying to open to friends and allow them back into my heart although so many have left me behind to wallow. I’m trying to push away my self-placed ache of not belonging, being unnecessary, having no reason except to bring pain to those I love. But when I use my voice in a strong, brief moment I get strange looks, rolled eyes, blatant cold shoulders and it plunges me back into the dark. Texts aren’t returned. Voicemails are ignored. Invitations are sent to all but me. And it’s so hard to believe and be and try when no one wants my effort. 

I am enough. I am enough. I am enough. 
I will repeat this until I believe it. 


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FALSE ALARM! I repeat: FALSE ALARM! No cancerous growths, thank God. I had a 3D mammo and ultrasound by a gaspy, panicky woman who freaked me out and a lovely woman who I’d actually met previously and thought very highly of. I’ll let you decide which is which. 

Ultimately: 


Thank you and much love to all of you who sent luck and prayers and warm & fuzzy thoughts my way.  
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Recording my thoughts as I drive and as I sit in a parking lot and while I am in the radiology waiting room. I can’t remember how this started. Middle of the night insomnia, and a self-exam out of 3 a.m. boredom. 


Yes, I don’t actually know anything. Yes, the statistics are in my favor. All of the statistics. I am under 40 years old and I am healthy. While I did have clogged ducts while breast-feeding I never developed mastitis. There is no history of women in my immediate family developing breast cancer, at least not that I know of. And yet here I am, after going in to question a lump I discovered a few weeks ago. Here I am less than a week later, rushed in for a mammogram that I thought I would not experience until my 40s, when I would have to begrudgingly make that silly appointment. I have to get an ultrasound on my right breast to find out what those- not one – but two large lumps actually are. And I’m confident that it is nothing. Except right now I am not confident. Yesterday? I was OK. Saturday evening I was swell, with a beer in hand and sarcasm in my voice as I talked to a friend about her experiences with silly offices and boobs and whatnot. But on this sunshiny but cold Monday I am scared to death. 


It would be more likely that I would get hit by a semi in an intersection and die from that than to have breast cancer, which doesn’t even necessarily translate to fatality. But here is the bile in the back of my throat and the insomnia for days on end of unspoken fears and jittery scatterings in every interaction I have today. 


I had a huge binging episode on Saturday and briefly again on Sunday. I drank away my fears with a good friend who had loads of excellent input, and teary-eyed texted another who I miss dearly and know has been through a similar situation.


And then today I stupidly searched Google for images of what a positive ultrasound looks like just in case it comes to that. I googled what it would look like to have a cyst or to have one of the many other possibilities of this foreign mass in my body and then I dragged myself into the shower and cried for 30 minutes straight. I wrote a workout for this evening’s gym HIIT class that seems a lifetime away but really is only in 3 hours. I forced myself to eat some ham lunch meat to stop the coffee churning in my stomach, and then I sat and watched a fluffy movie. I gave my kids extra hugs and watched them play sweetly (and bicker just the same). I dry-heaved until I didn’t and ridded myself of the measley protein I had consumed. I grasped my husband tightly before I left the house. 


And now I can’t delay any longer, and I have to leave my car and all I want is to curl into my children and my husband and love and be loved. 




But instead, it’s time to squish a boob and take a super expensive picture. 


Let’s do this.

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With just one more wake up until Christmas, I'm sure you are all panicking on what to get me for this magical holiday. But thanks to our good friends at Amazon.com there is still time to send me (or someone else, I guess. Harumph.) a unique and kind of amazing gift with it only being a hot second late. Check out my little list of cool do-dads I've found in the last few days for just about every price range!



This sweet little camera setup gives you instantaneous images for all your selfie-loving selves. 




Carry your library books for all your snot-nosed babes in retro-chic style.




Wanna keep a secret? So does this subtly-cool leather bracelet with your own message printed inside.






Married to the gym? Not one for arm candy? Ditch the Fitbit and slip into something a bit more subtle - this activity tracker ring is a waterproof way to track your steps and heart rate without smashing your device with a kettle bell swing.




Step up your beer-in-the-shower-pregame routine with an innovative beer and wine glass holder with super strong suction so your glass is never too far from your reach. Afraid of dropping said glass with slippery hands? Pop a bendy straw in your pinot. Duh.




Green thumbs, rejoice! Eat fresh even in the most frigid of seasons with this magical all-in-one aero-garden.



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The other day I was grabbing piles of catalogs and Black Friday fliers and late-to-postmark political advertisement slicks (for all I know. Seriously. I keep getting these and that was so last month) and among those was a brightly illustrated large envelope. Assuming it was a faux key to a local car dealership running some shenanigan promotion, I was majorly close to tossing the package. Last second I decided to glance at whatever junk was inside, and BLAMMO. I basically committed mail fraud because the letter was so totally not addressed to me.


Again this year I utilized the thorough and fear-inducing positive-attitude-motivating site and service, www.packagefromsanta.com! Killer met it with her typical suspicion and then excitement, whereas the Moose experienced nothing short of pure elation and joy. Kid almost pooped himself, he was so excited! 





The Silver package includes: 
  • A personalized (and editable) letter from the Big Guy himself
  • Personalized Nice List certificate (because maybe seeing it in writing helps these rottens actually act like they deserve to be there)
  • 8 1/2 x 11 photo of Mr. Kringle - perfect size for framing and adding to your Pinterest-worthy hallway gallery wall, ya'll!
  • Personalized Santa flight plan - my kids freaked out about this, seeing Wisconsin with a big ol' star 
  • Special shipping label addressed to your child - not to you. See the above paragraph. Do not commit a federal crime by opening your kids' mail. Duh. 
  • Genuine North Pole Stamp(This is the really good stuff!)
  • Personalized video greeting from Santa!
  • Personalized call from Santa!
  • Personalized Nice List Guide

Plus, you have the option to upgrade to even more goodies - and trust me, there are a lot more options to spoil and/or scare your kids to death. Packages start at $14.95, making this a great affordable gift for a friend's child - it isn't just another dang thing to get broken in a few days, it's an experience that years from now they'll remember and think about in a non-jerk way. 
AND AND AND! My readers get 25% off at www.packagefromsanta.com using code FAM2060! Bam!





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Ready for this? It's time to be ready.
Oh yes.
Start a magical Christmas family tradition that your child will cherish forever!
Give the one-of-a-kind memorable EXPERIENCE of receiving a package from the big guy in the red suit... Santa!
Every package from Santa includes both tangible and technological delights including:
* a personalized Santa letter that arrives in the mail
* a personalized VIDEO starring your child, via email
* a personalized PHONE CALL
* a personalized printable NICE LIST GUIDE
* and the option to upgrade with even MORE goodies!

Get 25% off every package you order using code FAM2060
This uniquely personalized gift experience creates Christmas wonder and excitement that your offspring will never forget! Have your camera ready to video every step of this special Santa experience! It all starts at the mail box when the Package from Santa arrives from the North Pole! Delight in the process of making Christmas magic come alive in a very personal way for your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or any little one you know!

This esteem-building personalized gift is an amazing experience of memories, wonder and happiness!

PackageFromSanta.com has options for EVERY BUDGET starting at $14.95 with an array of add-on goodies to choose from. Create a custom package for each child!

Get 25% off every package you order using code FAM2060

EVERY package comes with:
* Personalized letter from the HoHoHo King
* Santa's special North Pole return address label
* Genuine North Pole stamp
* 90-day money-back guarantee
* Free personalized video
* Free personalized phone call from Santa
* Free personalized printable nice list guide



Order this holiday must-have for your child at https://www.packagefromsanta.com/
Get 25% off using code FAM2060
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