Writing Samples

Fear and Love on the Road (excerpt)

Rova Magazine, print

Fear is weird. 
It’s messy and complicated.
 It doesn’t care about your feelings or your plans.
 It will burn the whole house down if you let it.

Fear is a primary emotion and incredibly humanizing. It's a survival tool that has kept our civilization alive.

But for me, it gets out of hand. It plays with my mind, and it loves to tell me NO. It tries to convince me to turn back around.
For me, fear is something I often wrestle with because I live on the road.
My husband, three kids and I left our cozy suburban life for a year-long trip in our Airstream. We sold our quaint mid-century home in Southern California to head out into the unknown. We left our beds and walls; we left our backyard and the way it smelled fresh and wild. We left family and friends, and schools, and soccer, and carpools and exchanged it all to roam free. We want to see beauty, to come closer as a family of five and experience something unique together.

Maybe it’s dangerous, and maybe I’ll get hurt, maybe my kids will turn out strange and need therapy after this, maybe someone will need emergency services, maybe I’ll find myself changing a tire in the dark, while it rains, no, snows, wait... hails lobsters! I’ve thought of all the scenarios, even ones involving land roving seafood, and I’ve still decided to press on.

I’m always trying to walk the line between fear and love. I’m forever attempting to amplify love’s voice louder to drown out fear’s cautionary warnings.

Ideally, I would identify with being adventurous; my blood is wild. I am free, screaming into a canyon, jumping off cliffs and writing passionate words on my hands and feet. In reality, I am a mother of three young kids. I always give fear a place at the table. I calculate all the dangers before jumping. I make sure that no one runs through the tall grass because of ticks and OMG Lyme Disease!! Nobody can jump off rocks, because they’ll slip and break their ankle! Don’t dive in that lake it has leaches! I mean, that last example makes good sense, right? Who wants to emerge from a lake covered in leeches? Not me.

I asked my daughter what she does when she feels scared. She shrugged her shoulders and then answered plainly, “I take a deep breath and then do it.” Like it’s that simple. But sometimes it is that simple. Just take a breath and walk through it.
“But what if the thing you’re doing is super duper scary?” I pressed her.
“I think about how good I feel after. That helps me not think about how afraid I am. Like, if I'm climbing a tree, all I think about is getting to the top, and what it's going to look like up there, and I don't look down."

Waiting For The Sun To Rise

Harness Magazine, print

what is normal

for me its the rain, the way it ba-ba booms
it’s this crusty bread wearing a thick coat of butter
it’s three pairs of blue eyes

everything else is strange:

boarding up our homes
locking the door
the news

right now we’re in an endless loop of evenings

all I want to do is go to the beach and collapse in the sunny sand
I want to go somewhere beautiful and breathe in the open air.

it’s kinda neat though
staying in, all together

we are together

hygienically and metaphorically holding hands
aligning our heartbeats
we have the same song to sing

but privilege makes our melodies different
the haves and the have-nots
some take the high parts, others take the low

I drove through a low-income neighborhood the other day and saw a line around the block for a food bank.

I sighed a heavy sigh
and swallowed hard

our melodies are different
the night is dark,
and we are all just waiting for the sun to rise.

New Life is Life-Changing

The Orange County Register Newspaper + OC Family Magazine

A 1-year-old’s birthday is balloons and cake with inch-thick frosting that coats the roof of your mouth. It is invitations and paper napkins. It is noise and collaboration. It is a mound of gifts to be opened to the soundtrack of laughter, squeals of delight and the movement of celebration vibrating through the room.

You’ve made it! You’ve parented a child through the hardest, most sleep-deprived stage. You have a reason to sing! That accomplishment deserves a melody and streamers and a themed tablecloth that sits under the cake that is glowing with the fire of a candle that reads “1.”

But for us, we decided to document our third child, Silas, with a gentle gesture. We decided to lift the obligation of fanfare that would only serve to dilute the day. There was no guest list, no bounce house, no party cups or themed goodie bags. We didn’t have an elaborate party, there wasn’t a huge crowd, it was just our family.

Our hands were the ones that surrounded him, encouraged him and prayed over him. Because his birth was a miracle – well, all births are when you think about it. But his was tangled in knots, his was a harrowing pause that fills up my mind with equal parts of joy and fear, and sometimes I squish it all into the pockets of my brain. But it’s wild and it burns, and I have to share it with you because it’s a reminder that we are a part of something bigger and that this life of ours is a gift, and these children of ours are our sweet reward.

I had experienced a healthy pregnancy until two weeks before my due date. I was expecting a second VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean), because my first child was an unplanned C-section. Hours and hours into my labor and pushing with my first-born, the doctors deemed her head too big, my pelvis too small, and cut her out of me. I always felt robbed with that birth experience, like something had been taken from me without my consent.

I felt if I had more control over the labor, if I had been more proactive, if I hadn’t acquiesced to the nurses giving me drugs and had labored on my own for longer, maybe I would have had a chance at avoiding surgery. But Berlyn, my sweet girl was born, and she was beautiful and healthy. When I became pregnant the second time, I was determined to have a VBAC, and I did, and it was good, and my son Hudson was born.

So for my third, I expected the delivery to be easier because I had done it before and my pregnancy had been ordinary and uneventful. I did yoga, didn’t gain too much weight, I walked, ate healthy foods and I was all set to go into labor on my own. Then the unexpected happened.

It was a Saturday. I was at 38 weeks. I was in my bedroom getting ready for the day. My other two children were downstairs with their daddy when I started feeling light-headed. Suddenly, I was leaking bright red. I was scared but calm, nervous but collected. I called for my husband, and arrangements were made to head to the hospital.

My belly was contracting, but instead of coming and going it was just one tight contraction – it never let up. We didn’t know what was happening. We didn’t know how severe things were.

We made it to the admitting area, which was this tiny room with three beds. The nurse tossed me a gown and pointed to the bathroom, I quickly changed, then told them I was bleeding. Immediately all the focus in the room turned to me.

A hurried ultrasound exam revealed that my baby wasn’t doing well. I laid on the bed breathing slowly, as I saw hands flutter around my body. I heard his heart beat on the monitor. It was slow.

WHOOSH, silence, silence, silence, WHOOSH, silence, silence, silence, WHOOSH …

Code blue.

My husband was at the nurses’ station filling out paper work.

I was alone.

“Is my baby OK?” I asked the doctor.

No answer.

I swallowed hard, the bitter liquid in my mouth stung my throat.

“My baby?”

“We’ll do the best we can, ma’am.”

That was my only comfort, “We’ll do the best we can.” I had to trust in this hospital. I had to trust that I had a fighter. I had to trust in a power higher than myself.

I was pushed into the OR. The bright lights, the slow sounds of the baby’s heartbeats, my steady breath, the anesthesiologist’s voice all soothed me, and after a gas mask was placed over my face, I went to sleep.

I was buoyant, everything around me faded into gray and black and white, like when your cable doesn’t get a signal anymore; static. It was at this palpable moment that I felt a release. I had to make peace with the possibility that my baby might not make it.

So I let him go.

I let everything go in that space of almost alive, mostly asleep blackness. Because I was forced to, I had no choice. Fear wasn’t even an option anymore, only acceptance.

I was tied to an anchor and I was going down. I had to trust that the rope was tight and I would get pulled back up. I was drowning in water, but I was warm and I felt safe.

Then I was lifted out of the water and the sun poured in. A nurse called my name and delivered the news.

“You had a baby,” she said.

“Is it a boy?” I asked. We had not found out the gender beforehand. It was supposed to be a surprise.

“Yes, a boy, he’s resting in the NICU now,” she responded.

During the surgery the doctors found his head wasn’t in my uterus. It was freely floating inside my body, he was outside of the place that was suppose to protect him. My uterus had ruptured and he was losing his supply of blood, nutrients and oxygen. When they pulled him out of my toxic body, he took a great gasping breath and made his first sound of life.


I remember seeing him during those first days and he would be asleep in his cozy isolette, his fleshy pink body looked oddly out of place there next to the teeny preemies. But even there, with wires and tubes, he looked strong.

That first week, time stood still. My husband and I resigned from reality to focus on Silas and the overwhelming events that had taken place. Several times a day, we would walk the halls like zombies to visit our son. I remember shuffling down dark corridors while carrying a syringe of breast milk, there would be a strange emptiness that would perch itself on my shoulder. I had done this before, given birth, had babies, but this was the first time my child was kept from me. We didn’t comprehend all of it, but it circled us. Its heaviness sat tight on our ribs.

All we wanted was to be like all the other parents who had their babies with them as they celebrated with balloons and photographs, smiles and spirited visitors. Instead, we got special treatment from nurses and sad eyes from our guests who would shift uncomfortably in their seats because we didn’t know what to expect.

During the hospital stay, we held our breath tight in our lungs, and each day we let a little bit more air out as we would get tests results back: Lungs, good. Brain, good. Heart, good. After days of searching, they found nothing. Then they finally released him to me and the doctor told me with a smile pulling at his lips that, “he has sustained no consequences from his catastrophic birth.”

The nurses cut the tubes, and carefully peeled the stickers off him and handed him to me. He was ours.

Experiences like these have a way of gifting us with fresh perspective. For me, I have been given an uncomfortable anxiety and a sweeping fear of the unknown. I can’t help but be intensely grateful, but at the same time fear that something devastating is lurking. If I push deeper into that fear, I am reminded of life’s fragility. We all hang on to this delicate string, dangling and swaying, and any minute the thread can snap. But rather than fear the snap, I am learning to recognize the joy, the beauty and the undeniable sweetness.

So when our fragile, strong, amazing, miraculous son turned 1, we didn’t have a smash cake or a mountain of torn wrapping paper. There wasn’t a hipster taco truck or artisanal doughnuts. Instead, we pared it down to simplicity. Instead, we had enough. I made a humble carrot cake with droopy white frosting. We danced around the house with smiles and laughter. We focused on gratitude and the calming light that surrounds our son. He is strong and fought hard to get here, he was tested and passed. And now we celebrate.

During Silas’ birth, my husband and I were forged closer together. Those fleeting days that dissolved together into a clump of hospital beeps and wires tightened our bond and left and left us more dependent on each other. We existed in an obscure dimension where tubes of breast milk at 3 a.m. was our normal, and waves of emotion would knock us over with brute force at strange times. Eating green Jell-O with visitors would be enough of an emotional roller coaster to send us both over the edge. But we emerged.

My husband and I looked around the room the day that Silas turned 1 and we felt full. We saw the beaming faces we created and we squeezed each other’s hands tight, and a ripple of joy was sent through us. We took a heavy breath and released it into the candle that burned with the number “1“ and made a wish that these grateful hearts would never leave our chests. That no matter what happens with our lives, we would always find joy, and on that day we had a reason to sing.


8 Myths of Cloth Diapering

Blog Post

Many new parents are cloth-curious when it comes to their diapering choices, and that's good news for mother earth. Cloth diapering is on the rise, which means parents have options, cute ones too. Yet, there are some misconceptions out there that might make it hard to make the switch.

After learning a bit more, you'll see that cloth diapering is just like regular diapering, just with cloth! Let's dispel some myths about cloth diapers:

Myth #1 It takes too much time.
Not true. It takes about an extra 15 minutes of active time cleaning and putting away diapers a week. That's less than a trip to a giant baby warehouse store, right?

Myth #2 Your water and gas bill are high
This mommy did the math and saw a slight bump in her electric and water bill. She reported that combined, she was paying an average $1.96 a month more in utilities a month.

Myth #3 You're ALWAYS doing laundry
Most cloth diapering parents have 12 cloth diapers per child. Depending on your child's age, they might use about 5-6 a day. That means an extra load every other day. Honestly, it's not all that time-consuming.

Myth #4 you have to touch poo
Lots of parents swear by liners. They're like a flushable paper towel that you put between the baby and the diaper. It collects all the solid stuff, and then you flush it down. If poop on gets the diaper, rinse it first before throwing it in the laundry. Always wash your hands after changing baby, same as disposable diaper changes.

Myth #5 I already started using disposable with my baby. It's too late to switch
Never too late! They even make cloth training pants. The sooner you start, the sooner you save money and the environment, but you don't have to be sad about joining the party late. Grab some cloth nappies and dive in!

Myth #6 You have to choose between cloth or disposable
NO WAY. Cloth isn't all an or nothing kind of deal. You can use disposables at night, when you're anticipating a big poop, or traveling. Most parents like to mix it up and use them when they feel like it makes the most sense. It's totally up to you.

Myth #7 Cloth diapers aren't really that environmentally friendly
Sure, you have to do another load of laundry. But when you factor in the process in which disposables are made (ahem, I'm looking at you, petroleum), they are a great option. Disposable diapers are plastic and don't compost or break down once they're thrown away. Most babies go through approximately 6000 diapers from birth to potty training; that's a lot of trash. Every time you choose a cloth diaper, you're making a good choice for mama earth.

Myth #8 it's expensive
There is indeed an initial setup cost. But after that, you end up saving in the long run. You can register for cloth diapers or buy them second-hand.

Here are some of cloth diapering essentials:

There are so many brands out there; it will make your head spin. But shopping for cloth diapers is pretty great. So many moms before have done the research and helped paved the way for us. Plus the designs are so adorable.

Bambino Mio
Gro via

Laundry soap
While it's true that you don't need special soap to wash cloth diapers, using an eco-friendly soap is best. Some common detergents will build up and coat your diapers which can make them less absorbent. Additionally, choosing a cloth diaper detergent is easier on your baby's delicate skin and the environment. Save the turtles.

Wet bag
These are a must when you're out and about. Just stuff the soiled diaper into the zippered bag, and you're good to go. The wet bag can also be used for damp bathing suits or accidents when you're potty training.

Diaper pail
You're going to need a place to store those wet nappies before laundry day. A diaper pail that can also pull double duty as a place to pre-soak is the way to go.

When you cloth diaper, it's easy to cloth wipe too. Just throw the whole lot into the laundry; no need to sort out the disposable wipe.

Diaper spray
A quick spray keeps your baby's skin fresh, clean, and calm. Now carry on.

These are a must when cloth diapering. Lay a fresh sheet down before snapping baby into a new diaper. When your baby goes number two, you can lift the whole mess out and into the toilet, easy peasy.

You got this.

More of my published works for OC Family & OC Register can be found here.

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