Amber is wife to her elementary school crush and mother to three kiddos, ages 10, 7, and 4. Having recently moved to Portland from California, Amber is embracing her “new normal” as she navigates parks in the rain (bring a towel), the line outside Pip’s Donuts (it’s worth it), and where to find good Mexican food (still searching). As bio mom to her two oldest and adoptive mom to her youngest, special needs child, Amber understands and appreciates the importance of “mommy-time." Amber is also a grad student and soon-to-be Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapist. She shares the highlights and gems of what she's learning on her Instagram: @learnandliveproject.

Motherhood and the Art of Self-Bullying

I would never talk to someone the way I talk to myself when I'm in self-bullying mode. Whoever coined the phrase, "You are your own worst critic" wasn’t kidding. But I’m not always negative;...
A lit candle next to nuts and dried berries on a wooden table

Eat, Play, Love: Three Tips for a Stress-Less Holiday

There is nothing quite like holiday stress. Between the packed calendars, strained budgets, and family dynamic dances, it’s a good thing December only comes once a year. Here are a few tips for making...
row of bikinis on rack

I Modeled Bikinis to Teach My Daughter a Body Image Lesson

One night, while passing out plates of chocolate cake, my seven-year-old daughter's favorite, she refused, saying “No thank you. I’m feeling a bit fat today.” My jaw dropped. I asked her to clarify her...
Yellow school bus against blue sky with clouds

Please Be Nice to My Son: A Mom’s Thoughts on the First Day of...

As I walked my youngest into his classroom on the first day of school, I was eyeing the kids inside and silently begging, “Please be kind to my son.” His sweet teacher must have...
mom in therapy

Going to Therapy Makes Me a Better Mom

As moms, we spend a massive amount of our waking hours listening and responding to others. The incoming conversations change over the years, but they take up a lot of brain space, nonetheless. When...

Can I Put “Mom” on My Resume’s List of Skills?

After ten years as a stay-at-home mom, I've begun taking steps towards my dream career. Three years ago I enrolled in a graduate program, and course by course, credit by credit, I'm making my...

3 Reasons to Join Your School’s PTO

When we moved to Oregon, I was desperate to meet other people and feel connected with our new community. I decided to try a parent-teacher organization (PTO) meeting at our new school. Thanks to...
splash pad moms

5 Types of Portland Splash Pad Moms

We don’t live near an outdoor community pool (and swimming inside feels offensive to the season), we’ve become familiar with the local park’s splash pad. My kids enjoy having the option of playing in...

“Mommy Juice,” Wine Tees, and Other Ways We’re Not Helping Our Friends in Recovery

I attended my first AA meeting a few weeks back. I am in graduate school to become a counselor, and one of my class assignments required me to sit in on three different 12-step...
simplify summer

Simplifying Summer: 3 Tips for Ditching Mom-Guilt and Enjoying the Break

When my kids were younger, the start of summer felt like try-outs for some “world’s best mom” competition. Facebook was filled with pictures of friend's refrigerators covered in hand-lettered “Bucket Lists,” chore charts with...