The Sob Heard Around the World

I’ve been inspired by C. Jane Kendrick, a favorite blogger of mine, to write for 8 minutes based on prompts from writer Ann Dee Ellis. Today’s topic: Learning New Things.

The ultrasound tech asked us, very casually, if we wanted to know the gender of the baby. We had already decided yes. I was convinced it was a girl. G was convinced it was a boy.

It was a boy.

When I heard this news, I started crying, a low sob that made me embarrassed. How could I admit that I wanted a girl? The correct line is always, “I just want a healthy baby.” But I was so sad. Her name would be Eleanor Grace, named for my grandmother. I already had the name, way before the baby. 

And then the ultrasound tech said another thing and I stopped crying immediately. “I’m just going to get the doctor. I can’t see all four chambers of the heart.” 

This is when I was supposed to cry, when the medical professional tells you that something terrible is potentially wrong with your baby. But there were no more tears. 

The doctor arrived and soon located all four chambers of the baby’s heart. In fact, everything looked good. Our moment of panic was over. My husband was beaming: our first child was going to be a boy. 

After a particularly awful labor, that baby boy was immediately taken away to be suctioned and while he cried, while I was lying on the hospital bed and couldn’t move, it didn’t matter that he wasn’t a girl. All of the sudden, my whole world was there in that room, with my husband and crying son. 

Our second baby was also a boy. I didn’t cry when I learned the news. I simply said I wanted a healthy baby. 

Your Most Important Hair Moment

I’ve been inspired by C. Jane Kendrick, a favorite blogger of mine, to write for 8 minutes based on prompts from writer Ann Dee Ellis. Today’s topic: Important Hair Moments.

I have a dirty little secret: that hair you see in my wedding photos? It’s not my real hair color. Many years prior to my wedding, I started getting low-lights and highlights in my hair. I absolutely loved the way it looked, but about a year before the wedding, I stopped getting my hair colored because 1) it was expensive and 2) I really wanted my natural color to be on display for my wedding. My hair doesn’t grow very fast, so I had to decide if I wanted my stylist to dye my hair all over in a color that was close to my natural color, or figure out a hair style that covered the fact that I had four-inch roots. I dyed my hair. I really liked the color and I think I look pretty in wedding photos, but that’s not my hair color.

I am very vain about my hair color. I love it. I call it auburn. But I absolutely hate the texture of my hair. When I was 10 or 11, I had hair down to the middle of my back, and I begged and begged my mom to let me cut it. She finally gave in, and I distinctly remember the Chinese ladies in the hair salon in Hong Kong making audible gasps of horror as the barber chopped it off. I now had a big, poofy auburn-colored afro, and not in a good way. You see, I have thick hair that’s sometimes wavy, sometimes curly, and in the humidity of Hong Kong, it was extra big.

When I met my husband, I had those aforementioned low-lights and highlights, and he still asks me when I’m going to get those again. And then I tell him how much it costs to maintain and his jaw drops and he shakes his head, and then forgets and asks me a few months later. When we met, I also straightened my hair every day and in the dry heat of Eastern Washington, my hair was beautiful. In Utah, I had a cute bob and my hair thrived in that climate – never big, straight if I wanted, and I loved it.

And then I moved back to the PNW, but this time to the colder, rainier, more humid part of the PNW and my previously lovely hair curled again. I’ve tried to fight it, but now I have two kids, and I’ve given up trying to make my wavy hair straight. According to my hair dresser, hair changes due to hormones are very common, so not only did I move to a different climate, I had another child, and thanks to pregnancy hormones, I still have little sprouts of hair springing from my scalp that even long bangs don’t hide.

My youngest is blonde, just like I was as a baby. When my parents took the three of us to Korea when we were little, we were all blonde, and people repeatedly stroked our heads, marveling at these blonde foreigners. My hair is no longer a marvel, just another part of me that I try not to hate.



I’ve been inspired by C. Jane Kendrick, a favorite blogger of mine, to write for 8 minutes based on prompts from writer Ann Dee Ellis. Today’s topic: Decisions.  

What do you share on social media? Only the beautiful but not the mundane?

When I started this blog, I was in law school, separated from most of my friends and family by thousands of miles and two time zones. I moved to the D.C.-area so I could live near my fiance while he worked his dream job on the Hill and went to graduate school.

I shared both the beautiful and the mundane – early readers will remember the stories of life in D.C., everything from the squirrel who made his home in our attic; the time the power went out on the 4th of July; and the terrible neighbors who routinely came home drunk and screaming at 2 in the morning.

I’ve blogged for years, off and on in regularity, because I love to write. I decided to continue this blog even when most of my friends – IRL or online – stopped because it’s a public journal and the details matter to me, details that don’t make it into Facebook or Twitter posts. I know, of course, that I could have a private version of this blog and simply write there, but the community that comes through blogging has proved invaluable to me.

I’m glad I decided to keep blogging, even though it’s not the trendy thing to do anymore. It wasn’t a hard decision for me.

What’s for dinner? Now that’s a hard decision.

Losing Things

I’ve been inspired by C. Jane Kendrick, a favorite blogger of mine, to write for 8 minutes based on prompts from writer Ann Dee Ellis. Today’s topic: Losing Things.  

My son’s room is an absolute disaster, which is a surprise because since he started Kindergarten two weeks ago, he’s hardly ever home. But when he is home, he’s always looking for something. Last night it was his “first Bible book.” I had no idea what he was talking about. He knew exactly what he meant, and after about a half hour of looking, he found the book…in the living room. Meanwhile, his room literally looks like a tornado has been through it. I am not pleased.

My husband loses his wallet and keys on a semi-regular basis. When he does, he is absolutely positive they are gone forever and he’ll have to cancel our credit cards, get a new license, make new keys, etc. Except they always turn up, maybe in unexpected places, but there it is, the wallet in the center console of the car, or the keys in a suit pocket that’s lying on the stroller in the garage.

Me, I don’t lose things very often, but lately I’ve felt the absence of friendship. I went to dinner with a new friend and lamented that because of life – job, kids, husband, commute, laziness – I feel like some of my long-time friendships are changing, dissolving, getting lost in the shuffle. It’s no one’s fault; it’s everyone’s fault. That’s why I have to hold back tears whenever I hear Adele’s “When We Were Young.” I want to shake my 20-year old self and tell her to hold on, hold on tight to those women who made such an impact on my life. If only I was better at picking up the phone for a long chat, if only I was better at checking in with long-beloved friends; I blame Facebook for my laziness – who needs a phone call when I’m up to date with their lives?

But let’s face it: Facebook is not the true picture of real life. It’s a mere snapshot. I felt this most keenly when a friend got married and I didn’t even know she was engaged until a photo of her bridal shower popped up on Facebook. It wasn’t a wedding I could have attended but I would have liked an invitation. I was at a loss for words for a while and then I found them: “Congratulations. Miss you.” Because it’s true: I do miss her, but apparently not enough to pick up the phone to say it.

Mom Code

Yesterday I was out for an early birthday lunch and while standing with my co-worker waiting for our food, I noticed a mom with two little boys. They were adorable and I felt a pang of guilt as I waited for my food, kid-free and not harried. I felt guilty that I wasn’t home with my own kids. 

The oldest little boy was around 2 and somehow kicked off his Snoopy shoe. Without even thinking twice, I ran over to help him. His mom was carrying the other boy on her chest and I remember far too well how impossible it is to lean down to help your other child while wearing a baby. I told the little boy to sit down and then put his shoe back on. The mother thanked me and I went back to waiting for my food.

The whole thing took less than 30 seconds but my co-worker was surprised at my actions. “Is that some sort of mom code?” he asked. “I saw the little boy lose his shoe but it never would have dawned on me to help.” 

And it never would have dawned on me not to. 

I’ve never thought of it that way – that there’s a mom code and in helping each other, even strangers, we are acknowledging that we’re all in it together. It makes me wish there were other invisible signals we could send each other – to the depressed person, the grieving person, the anxious person, the nervous person – that would say “please help me today. I don’t know how to say it out loud, but I could really use a hand.”

Just like mom code, but for other things, too. 

So if you’re reading this and need help today, I’m here. Send me a signal, whatever signal you’d like. 

5 Times I Wish I Could Speak Baby

  1. While changing diapers. It’s not like we haven’t done it before, kid. Do you want to go to sleep with a dirty diaper? No. Stop kicking me. 
  2. While traveling in a double stroller. Please stop kicking your brother. Please stop yelling. Please stop. I thought walks were supposed to put you to sleep. 
  3. While dining in a restaurant. No, you don’t need all the crayons. Share them with your brother. Share at least one. If you share one for two minutes you can have chocolate milk. 
  4. While traveling in the car. You threw all of the toys I gave you 20 seconds ago onto the floor and I can’t retrieve them while driving. Please stop screaming. Please stop eating your brother’s toe. 
  5. While eating breakfast. I cannot make pancakes, fill a bottle, pour cereal and heat up breakfast links at the same time. Here, have some chocolate chips. Peace and quiet for 30 seconds while Mommy drinks her coffee is worth the impending sugar high. 

Heavy Boobs? Never Fear, Title Nine is Here

If you’re anything like me when it comes to bra shopping, you go to the nearest TJ Maxx or Ross, try on a bunch of different sizes and then buy the cheapest bra that “fits”. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to suffer boob spillage from the top of your bra, uncomfortable straps digging in to your shoulders, or any discomfort at all. The caveat? You need to get fitted for a bra that actually fits your body.

I had the opportunity to visit the Title Nine Portland store for a sport bra fitting, and you too can get a personalized bra fitting during Title Nine’s Fit Fest on Wednesday, June 1, or Thursday, June 2. RSVP here.

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Marvel Bra

The first bra I tried on was the Marvel, which I wanted to really like, but the band didn’t fit well. If you’re looking for a supportive sports bra with underwire, this is a great option. Just make sure you try it on before buying, because as much as I wanted to love this bra, I didn’t love the fit.  I did the jump up and down test, and can promise that your boobs will barely move in this bra. If you’re a runner, this would be a great option.

I also tried on the 2-in-1 Adjustable Sports Bra, and almost ended up taking this one home. This is the perfect bra to wear all day at work, and then go directly to a workout. My only complaint is that it doesn’t come in any fun patterns.

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2-in-1 Adjustable Sports Bra

The third bra I tried on was the 7 Wonders – at first I hated this bra because it was difficult to get into, but it turned out I just needed a different size. After trying on the correct size, I immediately decided this bra had to come home with me. It was comfortable, very supportive, and when I do run, my boobs won’t bounce. I also love that it comes in fun patterns.

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7 Wonders

The also ended up loving the Tech Athena bra. It’s not as supportive as the 7 Wonders, but if I’m just going on a walk with my family, this is the bra I would wear. If I planned to run, it wouldn’t provide the support I need, but it’s super comfortable and the type of bra you could wear all day when you’re lounging at home or running errands.

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Tech Athena

I also tried on the Last Resort – I promise you that your boobs will not move in this bra, no matter what size you are. It’s ugly and hard to get into, but you will not move an inch. Since I’m not a marathon runner, or much of a runner at all (yet), I didn’t see the need for something so…restrictive. The Aero bra was one of the last bras I tried on, and while it was comfortable, the only color in store was a boring beige color and I felt like I was wearing a grandma bra. The woman helping me said the Aero bra is a favorite with large chested women, but I liked the Tech Athena and 7 Wonders better.

So, now that you’ve heard about my experience, don’t you want to try on a bunch of bras for yourself? I promise it’s fun, and the bra fitters (bravangelists!) are patient, kind, and non-judgmental. If you visit Title Nine during Fit Fest, I’d love to hear about your experience. Go try on a bra and enter to win one by tweeting at me (@hazzeltoz) using @TitleNine and #T9FitFest in your tweet. (Open to US residents only. Giveaway ends June 3.)

Fine Print: I received 1 (one) complimentary bra from Title Nine during the preview event of the upcoming FitFest at the Portland location.