Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year Thoughts

I feel a certain duty as a semi-blogger to write a New Years post, so here it goes friends:

Last year was one of the most emotionally taxing years we've had; there was loss and life and overwhelming bills that came with that sweet new life, there was life changing decisions, there was uncertainty, there was sadness. In all of that there was also starting life as a family of four, laughter, new memories, visits with family I hadn't seen in too long, there was happiness. As stressful as it all was, I will choose to hold on to the happy memories and continue to pray and get through the not so happy ones.
Long gone are the New Years that feel like something magical happens at midnight where you start fresh and continue life with a new mindset and new goals; life is just full of days that are what you make them no matter the date.
Last year, Logan turned three, Wesley arrived almost seven months ago, Rory and I celebrated seven years together and four years of marriage. I am happy that I surpassed my weight goal the last four and a half months of the year with a total of thirty six pounds lost. I am happy that I started then and did not wait until January 1st to begin getting back to "my old self". I did set some more weight loss goals, but in all fairness, those were set in motion several months ago.
Last year I really struggled with anxiety; anxiety about family members, anxiety about money, anxiety about things that are out of my control. I am sure a lot of it was because of the postpartum emotions and the struggle to breastfeed (again), having a newborn and adjusting to caring for one more persons needs.

This new year has already brought a life lost and we're four days in. I am saddened and I am joyous at the same time to know that someone I love is with the God that I love. I am grateful to be feeling better, to be healthy. I am grateful for my gorgeous daughters and my selfless loving husband. I am grateful to live in a beautiful home in a community that is supportive. I am grateful to have reconnected with someone who was very important to me for most of my life... I have even connected in a new way to my closest friends. Last year I learned that I can be myself AND be a mom at the same time and that was really a wonderful realization because I felt so isolated from people for a long time. Last year I confronted a demon and have never felt more relieved and "over" my post traumatic stress disorder. Last year was so full of struggles and I am proud of how I dealt with it all (yes, I had some not proud moments.. but overall I feel like I have been the most calm and happy I have been in my whole life).

I had been saying "with the exception of the birth of Wesley, last year was the most horrible year ever", but the truth is that it wasn't. Life is hard and people die and people get sick and people grow apart but people also LIVE and they SURVIVE and they fall in LOVE. I have several tattoos on my arm that are of important Bible verses and I suppose if I were to have to say I have a goal for this new year it is to look at my arm more often and remember those verses and live what they say; to not be anxious, to not worry, to trust in God.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Eating: Rory and Logan's chocolate chip cookies! Oh my.. I may have lost 30lbs in the last few months, but these babies are keeping me steady at my current weight. Rory has been quite the baker the last several years and when I stumbled upon an incredible cookie recipe on Pinterest, there was no turning back! This is the recipe he makes for every occasion and it's glorious guys, simply glorious! Salt, check! Dark chocolate chunks, check! Soft cookie goodness, check! It had finally started getting cooler here in the death desert that is Southern California, and Rory got the itch to bake cookies with Logan; it was her first time helping in the kitchen and it was the cutest! She is pretty excited to announce that she and daddy made the cookies each time she gets to eat one after dinner.

Thinking About: How it's kind of unbelievable that it's almost the end of the year already. Didn't I just announce that I was expecting a second little one? I will have a 3 year old in eight days and a 6 month old in less than three weeks... holy crap. I feel like I wait all year for it to be the holiday's and then it's over in a second. Trying to remember to take it all in and see the girls enjoy this holiday season. 

Looking Forward To: Christmas, of course. I feel like this is the first year that Logan really gets Santa. She's been talking about what she hopes he will bring her, Rudolph, and making him cookies to eat (it's also been helpful in threatening her to stop whatever attitude she's got going on.. woo!). I can't wait to live the magic through her and to see her enjoy Christmastime. Also, let's not forgot that it will be Wesley's first Christmas; that's important too!

Enjoying: these sisters. This last week has been such a difference in the way that they interact. Logan played Wesley a song with her train whistle the other day and had Welsey laughing and jumping up and down in her "jolly jumper".. it was the sweetest thing. And today, Logan started talking to Wesley about the argument that she and I had just had and then when Wesley started laughing just because her big sister was finally talking to her, Logan just started giggling with her; it made those few minutes of Logan yelling at me about the damn TV worth it.

Watching: The Amazing Race. We're pretty behind and I can't even remember what season we're watching right now, but Hulu just added two of the most recent seasons and Rory and I watch it once the girls have gone to bed. We spend most of the show pretending that we are in that scenario and how it would be totally ridiculous (I'd be a terrible racer). It's funny to imagine him and I as "amazing racers".. I'd make us lose the first leg. Bungee jump? Nope! Sleep in an airport? Nope! Crawl through a cave? Nope! Eat raw fish or some other "delicacy" of the nation? Nope!

Loving: the California cold. I am pretty upset that it's supposed to be in the 80's Thursday and Friday so I am enjoying my long sleeves and hoodies while I am able to wear them.


Monday, October 26, 2015

I Have What?

It's been almost five months and I've thought about this post a few times. I've gone back and forth about writing it because I honestly do feel quite uncomfortable sharing it but I also want this to be out there in the internet world so that maybe one struggling mom may stumble upon it and feel like she isn't a failure, that she isn't alone and that she doesn't have to feel pressured to try and jump on the breastfeeding bandwagon.

I've blogged before about breastfeeding (here and here); my struggles with Logan and my hopes for a better outcome with Wesley. A little recap is that I was totally naive whilst pregnant with Logan.. "you have boobs, they make milk, baby drinks milk, the end". It did not work out for Logan and I. I cried and felt pretty guilty about it for at least a year. During my pregnancy with Wesley I prepared myself to do it all differently so I'd be a successful breastfeeding mama and it still didn't work out. I opted for the hour of immediate skin to skin after delivery with Wesley (which I didn't do with Logan), I got a brand new pump (automatic and manual), my sweet old friend who is a lactation consultant reached out and came over a few times, we weighed before and after feeding, I ate lactation cookies, I was up to twenty one supplements a day and was still unable to produce more than a quarter of an ounce of breast milk a day. I tortured myself again for five weeks hoping for some improvement and my friend told me about something I had never heard of before... Insufficient glandular tissue.


I went to a breastfeeding support group with Logan and met with a highly recommended lactation consultant there and never was this condition mentioned to me. All I was told was I needed to try this and then that and then try something else when that didn't work.. Never in my mind did I ever think a medical condition (really, a breast deformation) could be the problem.

As sensitive as I feel about this, I feel like it needs to be out there. I received a diagnosis and immediately went on a Google hunt to find out more about what caused me to be unable to do the most natural thing on the planet. I was able to find one resource, but there really wasn't a lot out there. I joined a Facebook support group and nearly vomited at all of the mothers complaining about how they only pumped four ounces a day.. FOUR OUNCES!? I never even got close to that! I found the group to be pretty devastating, so I left it. All I had left was an official diagnosis from the OBGYN where she actually laughed a bit at me asking for it and after that, I had to give it all up. I stopped the pumping and the supplements and finally I let go of the hope I was clinging on to. I went online to order our first delivery of formula and I cried (a little bit at the finality of my trying and a little bit at the cost).. Rory was surprised at my emotions because I had said all along that I was going to try and if it didn't happen then it wasn't meant to be. I believe that an unexpected condition threw my emotions in to a whole other level... I just kept thinking about a statistic I read; three percent of women have insufficient glandular tissue. I mean, really!? I had to be one of the three percent?

Again, I felt like I had failed my kids. Yes, this all is totally out of my control and there's nothing I could have done to change the outcome BUT it was impossible to not feel like a total outsider again. I have friends that breastfeed toddlers, I didn't know anyone who had any breastfeeding difficulties, and all of the breastfeeding advocates seemed to be all over my social media again (I swear it is always national breastfeeding week when I give up on doing it).. I felt alone in my struggle and still feel alone with the diagnosis.

I almost allowed myself to sink in to the depression over it that I had felt for so long after Logan when my friend made a really profound statement that sort of snapped me out of my shock and the devastation, she said "it's not life or death. We don't live in a third world country." My body has failed me and it's failed my kids but how lucky am I to have access to formula and to have two healthy kids that thrive and were strictly formula fed? Honestly, it's still difficult to watch other women breastfeed. I feel like I missed out on something, like I am a misfit sitting alone in my high school cafeteria while all the cool kids (moms) get to do something I just can't do.

Each time I feel like I don't get to have what they do, I have to remind myself that 1. My kids are healthy and thriving 2. Just because my kids didn't nurse doesn't mean we are any less close or bonded and 3. I tried.. I tried really hard to be successful.

There are some really well intentioned moms who say "you can do it", "you just have to stick with it", "have you tried these pills", "I had a hard time at first too, but now I'm a dairy queen", and what those other women don't realize is that you cannot breastfeed if your body does not have adequate tissue to make breast milk! You can pump and take a million pills and be a hippy and zen-like, but when you're physically incapable of something, there's no success.. and it has to be okay. 
I had no idea that such a condition even existed so here I am, putting it out there so that it can help. I hope it helps the breastfeeding mom understand to be more sensitive to a friend who is having difficulty with it because she might have a physical problem. I hope this helps the mom who is struggling to breastfeed.. Perhaps this is news to you too and you can investigate with your doctor. I hope this helps the mom who's known she has insufficient glandular tissue and I can be one more person to add to this list of "known cases"  so you don't feel like that three percent is so small.

I feel sad and I feel relieved that there is an answer. Any future kids we may have, I will not have to go through the stress of trying to breastfeed them. It's over now; the pumping, the pills, the struggling and I am forever grateful that my children are healthy and developing the way they are supposed to. 

**If you want to learn more or need a resource, visit this article at**


Friday, October 23, 2015

The Last 23 Days

October has been an absolute whirlwind; before it even began, our calendar was full. We've been on a few little adventures that I was hoping for and we had the best days with the girls. One day we went up to the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum and this past Monday we went trick or treating at Disneyland! I am so grateful that we were able to have those two little trips to feel like we can give our girls some really good childhood memories. Living paycheck to paycheck is our life; it's hard and I am always grateful when we can find good deals on little adventures so we can actually have them!

In all of the business, I've been feeling a little down lately.. which I can't really explain because nothing really is the matter. I think it's just a mix of postpartum hormones and the anxiety I've lived with all of my life. I am trying to remember to just engage with my babes when they're laughing and smiling because everything is alright right now and I have nothing to feel anxious about. Living with anxiety is an every day battle with trying to talk yourself out of feeling sad when you're not sure why you're sad in the first place. There's always background noise; things going on that are out of my control, but nothing to dwell on when I've got a happy home life.

Thank you for reading along and I will be back soon with a post that I've been wanting to share for a few months.


Monday, September 21, 2015


While cleaning out my old nightstand, I came across a key. It was shoved in the the back of a drawer of a nightstand that I hadn't looked in in over a year. I couldn't think of what it was to, but only for a moment until a rush of emotion came over me and I realized that this was the key to my home.

My grandpa's house was across the street from a sea cliff overlooking the beach in San Clemente.. I didn't realize at the time that this place, smelling of ocean air, old wood, and 1970's shag carpeting, was my safe place.
My dad would pick my sister and I up every other weekend and, for me, it was like being transported a world away from my life of school, homework, arguments with my sister, and every day life. Even after I turned eighteen and my dad didn't need to take us on the weekends anymore, I still drove down there a lot to see my grandpa; sometimes cousins would be visiting from up North, sometimes it was just my grandpa or my dad, sometimes I'd bring a friend along.. no matter what, "The Ark" was always there for me to go home to for most of my life.

I've lived in seventeen different homes. Whether it was with my mom, my dad, with friends and family, or on my own, I've been a gypsy all of my life with dreams of settling down in one place. When I stumbled upon the key to my grandpa's home, I was reminded of the hope I had for my own stable future and now my families.

I am often envious of Rory's childhood; he had one home to rest his head at night. The 1950's track home he moved in to at six months old is still the one his parents reside in almost forty years later. Nearly forty years of the Christmas tree in the same spot, opening presents in the same living room, memories made under the same roof. I look back on my childhood and see my moms hardships, one Christmas at mom's and another at Dad's, clothes in a suitcase... always feeling unsettled.

I take all these memories of mine.. the moves, the traveling on the 405 for hours a month, the leases and hopes for a longer stay in the next place, the stability of the Mellin home on the other side of the valley, and strive for a more stable life for my kids. I cherish the home we're in now that I love, that Rory loves and that Logan even loves (she calls this rental her "beautiful home"); this will always be our home where we became a family of four, where we grew in our marriage, as parents, as people. I hold on to the hope that we can build memories in this home for many years and can one day buy a home of our own that our children and grandchildren can come back to for the rest of our lives.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Weekend Snapshots - An Attempt at an Anniversary Celebration

The weeks leading up to our anniversary, I had been scouring Groupon and Living Social for some kind of deal on a hotel for one night either in Santa Barbara or San Diego; we wanted to take the kids away for the weekend to celebrate. Unfortunately, hotel rates were absurd and we settled on a day trip to the Aquarium in Long Beach. We talked it up the morning of with Logan and she was so excited on the drive down. When we got there, she was not amused. Before we even walked in the door, Wesley spit up right in my freshly washed hair (moms, you get it right? Immediately stinky before the day even began). So in we walk, smelling like vomit, all of us sweating.. this is how we began. I did my best to shake off the acidy spit up smell that I wreaked of and the fact that every inch of me was dripping and overheated to encourage Logan to look at "all of the awesome ocean creatures" and she just wasn't in to it.

"Logan, look! Wow a seahorse!"
"Where mom? Oh. Put me down. I'm done. Let's do something else."

She did have a few moments of enjoyable time while at the "touch tank"; a shark even accidentally touched her and she didn't have a melt down. Unfortunately, mama cut the outside time at the touch tank short because I felt like I was going to pass out and die in the heat. We ventured back inside hoping that Logan would have a better time now that she had been having fun outside, but no. Some scuba divers were cleaning a tank that we walked through and she was horrified. There was a few minutes of hyperventilation and lots of stares from strangers which I felt super uncomfortable with because I wasn't quite sure if they were staring at her or me; sweating, hair a mess, face red, and smelling of puke. Needless to say, we were done. A quick walk through the gift shop where we bought nothing and out the door we went.

At least there was one smiling kid...
We darted out the door to a restaurant because we were all cranky and hungry.. Logan played with her food, the one thing I got at that particular restaurant wasn't on their menu; you know, continued chaos. After lunch, I again tried to shake off the crap shoot that had been our day and suggested we take a little stroll around the harbor... I lasted a few minutes before telling Rory we needed to get in our air conditioned car immediately.

Happy anniversary to us! Maybe next year we'll plan for something strictly indoors with no dark rooms or crowds.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Four Years

Four years ago I married my best friend; we stood in front of the most important people in our lives and promised to love each other no matter what life threw at us. Over the last four years, we've had three stressful moves, two babies, lots of big life decisions, we said goodbye to our kitty babies, made new friends, and we've changed. We've grown together, we have supported and loved each other through it all and there's no one else I'd rather live this life with. Every day I am reminded at how incredibly lucky I am to be Rory's wife; when I see him playing with our kids, caring for and loving them, and am also reminded when each morning he rides off to work to try as hard as he can to provide for his family. No one compares to this man.Today's the day we celebrate our anniversary, but truly, I celebrate every day.


see more wedding photos here and here