British Columbia : part two (the unexpected story)

Squamish bc dec 2016

This is a story that I didn't expect to tell, about a trip that I didn't expect to take, about something happening that I didn't expect to happen...

Dan & I had spent American Thanksgiving weekend in British Columbia, visiting with Austin. We stayed at a beautiful AirBnB and spent some time in Vancouver & Whistler Village. We headed to Los Angeles after for me, running on the beach in Venice for Dan. I'll get to those posts at some point. 

I was in a meeting at work last Monday, when I got a call from Austin. Those with University-aged kids can attest to the fact that when you get an actual phone call instead of a text or email....well, it gets your attention. I excused myself from the meeting, and heard this news, "Mom, please don't worry, but I had a seizure and I'm in the hospital." Here's what happened...

Austin woke up on Monday not feeling particularly well. He went to class, and was in the cafeteria on a mid-morning break. While paying for his food, he had a seizure. He was taken to the local hospital, and observed for several hours. He was in the process of being released when he had a second seizure. After being re-admitted, he had a third. At that point, the decision was made to transfer him to a hospital in Vancouver. At some point, he had a fourth seizure. 

I arrived in Van on Tuesday evening, just as Austin was being released. A CT scan showed no evidence of brain tumor (the scariest possibility, for sure). We spent Wednesday back in Squamish, allowing Austin to get a little more rest before flying home on Thursday. We still don't know what caused the seizures. We start follow-up appointments later today. 

Through all of this, I have been really grateful for our community of friends & family. So many of you reached out with messages of love & support. So many of you called on your higher power & faith to send white light & healing. I'm eternally grateful to Austin's girlfriend, Emily, for being his advocate at the hospitals and keeping me informed (seriously, she is a ROCKSTAR). Y'all are my favorite.

hard things & lessons.


It has been a FULL week...and I mean full as in so many things, not full as in seven simple days. I feel like I have finally caught my breath. And then I read this article and was finally able to exhale.

Last week, Dan & I showed up & stood for ourselves, our relationship, and our family. It wasn't fun. It didn't feel good. It wasn't my favorite. *And we survived...grateful for each other, and grateful that we can do hard things. Then I got on a plane Saturday morning, and the adrenaline wore off...and my mind started to spin a bit. Just a bit, b/c I spent the weekend with Barb, and y'all already know that she can stop the spin with wine, laughter, and all the talking. And then I flew home, and sprinted through the Detroit airport, and landed in VT more than a little physically & emotionally drained. We headed to Montreal that night for our (almost) weekly Self Expression & Leadership Program. Brutal truth - tensions had flared just before we walked into the course, and I kinda lost it during the course (kindly referred to as a breakdown). I cried on the way home. I raised my voice on the way home, and yet still couldn't find the words to express what I was really feeling. The bottom line? I was feeling raw & hurt by the hard things from last week. 

By the time we were back home, after all the talking...all was well. I still felt a little beat-up by life, but I also felt loved by Dan.

Today, I opened up Feedly, and read the above post from Hands Free Mama. So effin' much of that post resonates with me. "That hurtful person can teach you how to be a more compassionate human being who someday makes someone else’s life better with that knowledge." Yes. The *situation that was hurtful last week can teach me to be more compassionate. 

The post talks about making a pledge. "Whatever they did, make a pledge. Promise yourself that you’ll never treat anyone the way they treated you. This is how you become a kinder and more compassionate person. This is how you learn from their mistakes."  Wise words. Today, I'm pledging to be an unapologetic "bonus mom." I'm pledging to trust in the life that Dan & I are creating. I'm pledging to be gentle with myself. I'm pledging to acknowledge my strength. I'm pledging to be vulnerable & authentic. 

*I's one of those annoying cryptic blog posts. Rest assured, this post is NOT about me & Dan. We are happy, healthy, and planning on becoming Mr & Mrs Holtz. Just wanted to clarify for those of you who worry!


on doing the work.


"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light." 

Brené Brown

Just grateful for doing the work today. Grateful for creating a life that is a stand for freedom, ease, lightness, & strength. Grateful to be surrounded by love (seriously, I have the best friends & family). Grateful for my four awesome kids. Grateful for this awesome life.


#startandendhappy : mindful happiness


Some of you may have seen Elizabeth Gilbert's Facebook post last week, pointing to Sarah Trimmer's Ted Talk. I'm a fan of any/all exercises that encourage hitting the pause button on life & remembering the good. Over the years, I've relied on gratitude/happiness texts & emails with my friends when times are tough. It occurred to me while listening to Sarah's Ted Talk that I tend to get a little lazy with that practice when times are terrific. I feel grateful, but I'm not incredibly mindful about it. I have a LOT of happiness in my life, but I don't always pause to celebrate that. Make sense? So...I love the list the Sarah describes in her talk. Wanna play along? Share in the comments!


Flannel sheets. The right to vote. Texting. Coffee. My lunch (made by Dan...thanks babe!).


Being encouraging. Practicing generous listening. 


Laughing with co-workers. Remembering Dan laughing (hysterically) about a squirrel story. The fact that it's cleaning day, and I'll go home to a sparkling house tonight (HSJ - you rock!). 


About 2 story podcasts that the Littles might like. 


Practice mindful happiness.

currently 10.27.16


drinking more & more coffee. It's my winter consumption creeps up, and then I start to balance out with hot tea. 

wearing this Garnet Hill skirt often. It's so comfy. I'm perplexed about a winter capsule wardrobe. Needing winter clothes at home, and warm-weather clothes for a lot of our winter travel. 

getting excited about visiting Barb & Austin next month. Sadly, not at the same time. I'm headed to Chicago in a couple of weeks, and then Dan & I are heading to BC for (American) Thanksgiving weekend. 

wishing that Hope could be there, also. 

eating far too many carbs, and craving all the cheese. My commitment to follow an 80/20 paleo split has been a dismal failure. #cheesefries 

listening to the sound of rain (that was snow earlier). I'm not a fan of winter. 

preparing for an onslaught of Halloween activities this weekend. Parties upon parties. I'm not a huge fan of this holiday, but I'm rallying in support of Dan's enthusiasm, and the Little's excitement.

wanting a few more hours of sleep sprinkled in my weeks. 

feeling the pull toward scrapbooking again. Likely Project Life. 

wondering if I still know how to make pretty things with paper. 

healing from a minor incision a couple of weeks ago. All clear on the biopsy. Be diligent about #selfcare, friends!


fall weekending.

It was a rainy, chilly weekend we focused on indoor fun. 

Library Collage

We love the library! We came home with about a dozen books. Standouts - Walter the Farting Dog, and The Three Little Tamales. 

Cupcakes Collage

There is a cupcake shop just across the street from the library, so we've established a tradition/reward for positive behavior. If we use our inside voices at the library, and are mindful of our actions...we get mini-cupcakes! And when it is chilly & rainy, we get hot chocolate & hot apple cider, too.

We did a lot of Halloween decorating, a little donut making, and some (reluctant) room cleaning before wrapping up the Littles portion of the weekend. Time always flies too quickly! 

Peter Mulvey

Dan & I closed out the weekend with a FABULOUS house concert hosted by one of our neighbors. If you haven't heard of Peter Mulvey before (confession...I hadn't)...I highly recommend that you look him up. Super talented.

Hope your weekend was awesome!

fall reads : october 2016

Fall books

I've been reading & listening quite a bit this month. I've still got titles from my Summer reading list waiting for attention...but I chose to simply go where my attention led me. 

French Kids Eat Everything - I picked up the Kindle edition on sale after a few conversations about our frustrations with the Littles' eating habits. Too much snacking, too much complaining, too much whining. French customs around food are fascinating! We've started to incorporate a few of the practices from the book...less snacking, more real food. 

Love Warrior - So much YES to this. Spoiler alert: Glennon & her husband separated again just as this book launched. They continue to practice forgiveness, grace, and authenticity. I'd really like to have a coffee with her. Y'know, when she's not hanging out with Oprah & all...

Present Over Perfect - I adore Shauna's writing, and I adore listening to her this audio book was definitely a fave. “I'm learning that both body and soul require more tenderness and attentiveness than I had imagined.” A hearty HELLS YES to that. 

In addition to books, I've been listening to a new-to-me podcast - The Living Experiment. So good!! 

What's the last book that you read or listened to? 

the littles.

Totally borrowing this idea from Ali....

These Littles have been in my life for 2+ years. Many people have asked me what it's like to "start over again." My answer? It's a lot of work, and a lot of fun...


name: McCartney

age: 5 years & 8ish months

totally into: Horses. Different foods that she wants to discover. 

likes: Ice cream. Being silly. Kindergarten. 

dislikes: Throwing up. Tomatoes. When Wilder is annoying. Caramel.

wants to be: a horse trainer.

name: Wilder

age: 3 years & 6ish months.

totally into: Going to the playground. Daddy's truck. Candy.

likes: Cars. Chocolate milk. His police officer costume. Our house. 

dislikes: Naps. Being quiet. 

wants to be: a knight.

hello october 2016

Leaf on pebbles unsplash

Oh hey y'all! I'm kicking off October in Texas & Oklahoma...combining a visit with my family and some work appts. Facing down the last quarter of the year seems impossible! Let's start with a few hellos...

hello vacation planning. Fall & winter trips on the calendar...need flights, hotels, and details sorted. 

hello paleo eating (sort of. sometimes.). I do well with fairly black & white guidelines around eating (ie...I don't eat meat. There's nothing to interpret there). Post-Whole 30, I'm trying to figure out what 80/20 Paleo looks like in a functional way. 

hello 20. Austin leaves his teenage years behind tomorrow. What??

hello fall routines. Dan & I got a little dizzy looking at our calendars for the next few months. Time for a few routines to balance the chaos. I'm so grateful that he is a true partner...always the first to say "let me handle that, babe." 

hello new capsule wardrobe. I picked up a new pair of boots, refreshed all my black leggings, and added a new sweater. I need to round out with a few additional items. I've taken a break from Stitch Fix for a bit, mostly b/c the selections were hit & miss for me. 

hello family. I'm often able to combine business & pleasure when I travel. I spent this past weekend in OK/TX visiting with my brother, parents, aunt & uncle, and cousins. Tomorrow night, I'll have dinner with two of my oldest & dearest friends. Good stuff. 

hello details. Changing banks has to be one of the most annoying parts of adulting. Switching auto-payments, direct deposits, saved accounts, etc. Ugh. 

What are you saying hello to this month? 




i survived Whole 30® (& lived to tell about it)


I finished up Whole 30® last week, and gave myself a few days to recover before writing about it. Mostly b/c an earlier post might have included all the swear words, and my Mom gets cranky with me over that. Thoughts from the other side...

  • I have little tolerance/patience for people who don't do the work. I wandered about the online forum on the official site, and joined a Whole 30® Facebook group, and was constantly irritated by people who clearly hadn't read a single free PDF about the program. Why would you attempt a program that you clearly know nothing about?? Sigh. I was SO relieved when my friend Melanie added me to a private FB group of Whole 30® folks. They were informed, supportive, and doing the work.
  • I found very few obstacles with eating in restaurants. Calling ahead, asking questions, and being willing to compromise created pleasant experiences with business dinners and travel. 
  • I fast-tracked adding eggs back in, primarily due to travel. As I mentioned in a previous post, my naturopath had recommended eliminating eggs for 6 weeks based on food intolerance results. Not particularly surprising, given that I had an intolerance to eggs as a child. After facing down breakfast in the Concierge Lounge...I chose to add eggs back in. I've certainly reduced the amount that I'm eating, and haven't had any issues.
  • I'm not being systematic about reintroduction, but I am being mindful. Corn is not my friend. Rice is fine (thank god! I would miss sushi!). I haven't added dairy (other than butter). I've had some gluten, but not enough to really determine if it's an issue. 
  • Final results? I lost a few lbs (literally only a few), likely lost some inches through a combo of Whole 30® & weight lifting, started sleeping more soundly, and definitely turned the corner on some digestive annoyances. 

So, what now? 

  • I'm basically adopting an 80/20 Paleo approach. 
  • I'm continuing with weight lifting, adding intervals, and plan to get back to a regular yoga practice. 
  • I'm going back to practicing intermittent fasting b/c I feel good when I do it.
  • I'll continue to take collagen, probiotics, L-glutamin, and digestive enzymes. I'm sporadic about all of them except collagen. 

Thank you to all who texted/emailed, cheered me on, and were understanding throughout this experience. I appreciate you!!