27
Oct

What I need our Anna to know

Dear Anna,
There are so many things I want to tell you, about love, about life, about parenting, about jobs, about careers, about people, about being a girl and being a woman, about finding yourself and your balance. There is so much I want to tell you about what you have changed in me and about me. You have given me the most amazing gift, you made me a mom to a little girl and I don't know where to begin or end so I will just...

- Love your life, if you don't, change your life.
- Don't just wish it, work hard for it.
- You will stumble, don't mistake it for a fall.
- Challenge yourself.
- Trust yourself.
- Get up, keep trying, if you want it, you have to go get it.
- If it makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t do it, wear it or say it.
- Make sure your first kiss is special.
- You will love again.
- Time does heal pain.
- Your last first kiss will be amazing. Trust me on this.
- The painful truth is always easier than a messy lie.
- Don't forget Italian.
- Go away to college.
- Cole will be your best friend and partner.
- Be each other's protection.
- Be kind.
- Be loving.
- Be gentle.
- People don't just see you smile, they can hear it too.
- And please do smile, it makes your face glow.
- Listen with your eyes.
- Wear your emotions on the outside of your body.
- You are beautiful, no matter what you look like.
- You made me feel beautiful, and that means a lot.
- I am learning a lot from you.
- Watch how your dad treats you and me, that's what you deserve and that's who you go out there and find.
- Your dad is the first man that fell in love with you, love at first sight kind of love.
- Your dad will be the one to teach you about history, and maps, and how to get places, and...
- I work a lot. That's okay because just because I love my work doesn't mean I don't have room in my heart for my family. You all always come first. Always.
- I don't like to shop. I promise to have you go with anyone else.
- Surround yourself with happy people that enjoy their life.
- Be a good friend.
- Find friends that make you laugh, with your whole body.
- Find your person and work at your relationship.
- You are smart and capable - so don't waste that.
- Work towards your goals.
- Education is important.
- Friends are important.
- Family is important.
- Fun is important.
- Work is important.
- It's all important.
- Own a pet (preferably a dog).
- Volunteer and donate - make a difference in this world.
- Make others feel special because they are.
- Be okay with being comfortable, with yourself, your ideas, in your skin.
- Passion goes from a flame to a flicker of light but love starts as a spark and grows into an amazing warm fire.
- Hold hands with those you love.
- You will make mistakes.
- You will change, but don't lose sight of who you are.
- Keep dancing.
- Be active.
- Your body is strong and capable so treat your body well and be healthy.
- Eat well and love your food. Don't eat to live, live to eat!
- Cook a lot of your food at home...find a passion in it.
- Be kind and forgiving, to yourself.
- Wear cozy socks, they make your feet smile.
- Take hot showers, they make your skin smile.
- Have a happy childhood, everyday of your life.
- Feel the weight of a child, on your skin, on your back, wrapped around you.
- If you decide to be a mom, you will be really great at it.
- Childbirth hurts...a lot. No, seriously, a lot.
- If you have children or not, remember that kids have a power in them that needs to be lighted and we are all responsible for building them up.
- All moms are amazing...period.
- It's okay to be scared, but don't let it frighten you away.
- It's okay to be cautious, but don't over think it.
- It's okay to be deliberate, but don't let it paralyze you.
- Don't let life stop you from living.
- Love your work, it won't feel like work if you do.
- Don't be mean. Ever. I am serious.
- When you fight, don't use name calling. It draws attention away from your point and you have a point so stick to it.
- Never forget to laugh.
- If you are drawing attention to yourself based only on what you are wearing, you are drawing the wrong kind of attention.
- Have fun in your 20s...and 30s...and all the way up to your 90s.
- Make retirement plans.
- Read... a lot.
- Listen to music as often as you can.
- Watch movies and eat popcorn - it's an amazing way to get lost.
- Whatever your family looks like and however you define it, have a weekly family night with them.
- Life is hard.
- Life is simple.
- Life is glorious.
- Try to forgive and really, really let it go.
- You will cry, allow for this time.
- You will be sad, allow for this time.
- You will mourn, allow for this time.
- You will heal, always.
- People will inspire you or drain you - pick them wisely.
- Nothing you tell us ever, will make us turn away from you.
- I will always be on your side...always.
- Nothing could make me love you less or more.
- Home is defined not by bricks, but by the love you create inside the walls.
- Your name means grace and gracious, you are both.
- Getting married has to mean marrying your best friend. It's not worth it any other way.
- You will be successful only if you are happy. Always strive for happy. Always.
- Having the life I created, and getting to be a mom to you and Cole (and Mia) is how I define success.
- We need each other because we are family and depend on that love.
- Know that we are here.
- But also know that you won't always need us.
- Know that we will always love each other.
- Know that we tried with you.
- We love you.
- We wanted you.
- We tried our best.
- We made mistakes, but we loved.

A day will come when I am not with you. I will not be whispering in your ear to go, and be, and achieve. I will not be telling you to conquer the world and to be a loving, gentle, kind soul. A day will come when you will be off on your own. I don't know where you will settle and I don't know if you will settle or just travel everywhere. But, at least I have today. I have this time, these words, this moment to teach and preach. At least I had you and I got to hold you and wake up to years of hugs from you. I got to hear, "I missed you mommy" in the morning, just because we spent time apart while sleeping. I still get to kiss noses with you and tell you that I love you over and over, a lottle. I get to tuck you in, I get to smooch you, and snuggle with you, and chase you, and tickle you, and watch cartoons with you. I get to watch you grow into this person. This spirited, amazing person that can't and won't be stopped. I got to be your mom and I am thankful for every moment, every breath, every part.

I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart. So where ever you are my Anna, I'll be, we'll never be apart.

Love, Mom

25
Oct

Five Minute Fridays - Together

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on Together

Go.

For nine years, it was just the three of us. This little family that had me, my person, and a sweet little puppy I still consider having started my mothering career.

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And then, just like you said I would, you talked me into them. You told me that we would be parents and we would be amazing and we would love them.

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You told me that they would drive us to drink, drive us apart, drive us together, build us up, make us whole, make us a loving family. We would be parents to two little people and they would be our children. You told me that we would still love Mia, still hold her and tell her how much she means to us, you told me it wouldn't ruin our marriage, or us. And so, today, our together looks so much different. In the four years that have passed, we are now a small family of five (because Mia still counts). Our together consists of family movie night, and Friday night pizza, and balancing our jobs, and the kids, and us. Our together consists of having dinner as a family every night, and bath time, and packing of bags to start the next day.

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But, we know that at the end of this lifetime, together is what we will always have. When the house is too quiet and we are staring at our wrinkled faces, we will ache for the days together when we were were five.

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Stop.

20
Oct

Danny and Annie

It's the story of Annie and Danny. It's the story of love, the story of happily ever after, the story of two people living their lives through faith in each other. "Being married is like having a color television set, you never want to go back to black and white".

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They made it over 25 years together, because they never lost sight of each other. They still remember their first date, they still remember their wedding day. He leaves her love notes, she still makes his heart flutter. "I always said the only thing I have to give you is a poor gift and it's myself, and I always gave it...She lights up my life when she says to me at night wouldn't you like a little ice cream, or would you please drink more water? I mean, those aren't very romantic things to say, but they stir my heart."

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It's the story of family, of life, of togetherness, and in the end, of letting go. "The deal of it is, we try to give each other hope. And not hope that I'll live, hope that she'll do well after I pass...I walked in with you alone, I'm walking out with you alone."

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Love, real love, it embraces your heart, your world, your smile. It's your shelter, you have found your person. You create a home, a life, a family. You create a safe place, a comfort, an ordinary life.

Our story, our love story, begins with two kids. Two 21 year old kids who met while renting a movie. Our story, our love story, it didn't take place in a movie. It isn't filled with romantic gestures that will bring you to your knees. Our story, our love story is real. It's filled with growing up, growing together. It's filled with fights, and illness, and jobs that pull us from each other. Our story, our love story, it's filled with life, and kids, and a puppy, and a home. It's filled with what we created and what we decide is important to us.

We have to forget about soul mates and fairy tales. We have to stop believing that real love is like a movie. He's not going to run through an airport for you. But, if you both work at it everyday, he will carry you on his shoulders.

He will be your calm and he will be your balance. He will fix you a drink, pour you a tall glass of wine and help the day melt away. At night, after the kids have been put to bed, he will bake you cookies while you rest your feet. He will give you a sweet hug and make you feel comfort, he will kiss you like it's the first time you're kissing, even 13 years later. He will hold your hand while you labor, he will cry with you and for you. He will weather the diseases, the illnesses, and he will take care of everything when you're sick. He will give you shots for your meds, through the blood, through the cries of pain, through you begging him to not do it anymore because it hurts. He will look you in the eye, tell you it's your medication, remind you he loves you, and plunge a needle into your muscle, for you.

He will raise children with you. He will help you to be reasonable when the crazy sets in. He will let you take long naps on the weekends. He will support you when you are running for hours to train for a race.

Your job, he will love how much you love your job. He will help, he will be okay with all the hours you pour into your work and just when he thinks you can't put it anymore hours, he will support you through the weeks you are working 80 instead of 65. He will be their mother and father, he will take care of the house, and dinner, and still find a way to make it seem like you are the hero.

He will reach across the bed and make sure he is touching your feet, he will make sure you're touching as you say goodnight. He will say sorry first, he will hold your hand and remind you why we are worth it, why we need to go on. He will be your furnace when it's cold, he will let you add layers to the bed when he's already burning up. He will be your shelter, he will be your person.

You have to remind each other that each day, you make a decision. You have to decide, with all of your body, I still want to be with you today. Through all the life that is happening around us, I will want to be with you today. I want to kiss you good morning, I want to kiss you goodnight, I want to be with you. I want to make you smile, I want to make you laugh, I want to comfort you, I want to be your shelter, I want to be your person.

I will accept you for who you are. I will remind myself that you do show your love too. I will not change you because I love you. I will be your shelter, I will be your person.

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Danny and Annie not only remind us, but they inspire and move us to go back to the simple little things in love. Little reminders of what you mean, as a person and as a couple. Faith in each other, comfort in your love. And when life gets in the way, it's the little things that get forgotten. But, time and time again, we are reminded that at the end of this lifetime, the kids will grow up, the house will be too quiet, we will have retired from our careers, and our lives will be with each other. Our plans will be ours, our house and our calendars will be empty, and there will only be us. Our faces, our wrinkles, our memories, our lifetime.

You are my everything, you are my person.

I will leave you love notes, I will wake up thanking you for entering my life, I will say yes to your date nights, I will hold your hand. I will hug you hello, and smooch you goodnight. I will snuggle with you, I will scratch your back so you will fall asleep. I will help you during your bad days, I will thank you for the kids, I will thank you for being exceptional.

I will offer you a cup of coffee, I will love making dinner with you, I will beam watching you with our kids. I will reach for you, I will use your shoulder to cry on, I will use your arms to protect me. I will tell you everything because you are my everything. You are my person.

"In my heart, there has never been, there is not now, and never will be another Annie"

In my heart, there has never been, there is not now, and never will be another Cory. You are my everything. You, are my person.
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18
Oct

Five Minute Fridays - Laundry

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words.

Each week, I look at the filled hampers and I start my weekend with a load here, a load there. I fold, I dry, I separate. Each week, it starts again. I try to move past the weight telling me I am a failure if the laundry waits. I try to move past the looks I get when something they need isn't clean. Each week, it's a battle and I am always convinced I will win. I try and move past the worry that it will never end, I try and move past the voice telling me this is the definition of ordinary. I try and move past the voice telling me this is how I define my success. I am so much more than the laundry. I am so much more for my family then the person that cleans their laundry. We are so much more important than our clean cloths. I am their mom, I am a bride, I am a home owner, I am a dog lover. I just happen to do the laundry too.

Laundry Cloths drying

13
Oct

Anna's story

I have been reading a lot of "birth stories" this month and so many brave women, with so many brave stories, have shared their motherhood journey. They have inspired me and it's time to put our story into words. It has taken me some time to get over that day and to be honest, to get over myself. Our story isn't tragic. It isn't sad. It's not what I imagined but no part of parenthood is what you imagine. I am not complaining, I am no longer saddened by my body and how it stopped working for you that day. This is just our story and my journey of motherhood.

I remember everything.

I remember deciding to have you. I remember your dad and I making a decision that we were going to have you and I remember knowing you were going to be a girl. I wanted you to find us, I wanted to be your mom, I wanted to start this journey with you and your dad. But the fear would not go away. I was terrified of being your mom, anyone's mom. I was so worried what it would do to me and your dad, I was worried about my health, your health, I was worried about not sleeping, my job, Mia, money, my ability to love a baby, my ability to raise an independent and happy adult, my ability to keep you happy but responsible, my ability to one day let you go.

I remember the day I decided to take the test. I knew you were there. It was at this moment that we became connected and I realized you were going to let me know aspects of our journey together. Not the whole story, but snippets and I would relish them. I remember your dad reading the instructions out loud to me. I remember going back into the washroom before the time was up to put the cap on the stick and seeing the two lines. I asked what that meant, two lines? I remember your dad saying (and you could hear the smile on his face), two lines means we're pregnant! I remember the fear washing over me and saying, "the time isn't up yet, let's wait the full minute". He, like he always does, called me out and said, "the lines aren't going to fade with time, they will only get stronger...we're having a baby Brina". And then I told him, "we're having a girl".

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I remember seeing you for the first time on the screen, six weeks in, a flickering light. Your little heartbeat pounding away. The tears streaming down my face, you were literally a peanut and you looked like you were kicking ass. Your dad, I can't put into words how he looked that day. Shaking, teary, looking at his baby, but you were so far off that it was hard to imagine.

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We found out that you were in fact a sweet baby girl 20 weeks in. We decided I insisted we keep this our little secret and plan on telling everyone together. I remember sitting on the table and the nurse confirming, it's a girl. The fear washed over me again. We were going to butt heads, we were going to get under each other's skin, you were going to wear cloths that drive me nuts, you were going to say things that broke my heart, you were going to grow up to be a woman and I was responsible for getting you there. I was afraid Anna. I was so worried for you, I just didn't want to let you down.

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You were THE PERFECT pregnancy. And I mean PERFECT! Not a moment of morning sickness, I was tired and slept better than I have ever slept, I had so much energy, I felt so strong, so capable. You slept through the night, every night. You spent your days kicking only when hungry or after I ate. You kept me so hungry. You were so easy. Every moment of our time together, every moment, I loved. I loved feeling you move, I loved feeling you roll over. I loved knowing you were always with me. I didn't want to let you go, I didn't want to share you with the world. I loved being pregnant and I cherished being pregnant with you.

1 - 7.24.08 End of week 4 (1) Week 4 26 - 10.9.08 End of week 15 (1) Week 15 73 - 1.22.09 End of week 30 (2) Week 30 108 - 4.2.09 End of week 40 (1) Week 40

You were due on Friday April 3rd but you told me you would make your entrance on April 6th. Our connection let me know I would be a mom on that day. I had NO birth plan. No idea of what it would be like in there. The only thing I knew was that I was going to go in with an open mind. When I felt like I needed meds, I would ask, when I felt like I needed help, I would ask. I really thought to myself, I can do this.

April 5th, 2009 at 6:45pm. We were home and and my water broke, like it doesn't for most women. But, having your water break is the one and only way you know for sure you're in labor. And you Anna, like the perfect pregnancy you were, wanted to let me know, no doubts, you were coming. But like with all things Anna, you were slow and deliberate. You were cautious and purposeful. You wanted to enter this world on your terms, in your way, on your time. It was 24 hours, to the minute. Because you were born on Monday, April 6th, the day you told me you would come.

I remember those 24 hours. I remember every minute of those 24 deliberate, painful, hurtful hours of us. I labored for 21, I had three epidurals, I didn't sleep, I was having trouble dilating, I pushed for two, I threw up, I lost my temper, I cried, I laughed, I tried to keep believing, I asked your dad to take me home, I blacked out, I was convinced I wasn't strong enough, I was convinced I was. And then, I told your dad I needed to stop, my body was done and I needed to stop. He begged me to keep going. Told me I could, told me they would come take you if I gave up, told me I had it in me. We just looked at each other and for me, time stopped, just for that moment. And it wasn't my decision anymore. Our midwife left, walked out the door and left us there. That's when the doctor walked in and said it was time to take you. You were stuck Anna. You were big and you were face up and you were stuck. It wasn't what I had imagined. I wasn't ready for surgery. I wasn't ready to hear that I was heading to the O.R. and that your dad would be taken away and I would be alone until it was time. My mom came in to tell me she loved me and then the room was empty. I sat for 30 minutes by myself, filled with outrage at myself, fear of your health, fear of surgery and complications, filled with guilt, hating my body, my inability, I defined myself as weak at that moment.

I remember my entire body shaking, I remember being so cold, I remember being taken to the O.R. and being surrounded by strangers. I remember dad walking in with scrubs and a mask and crying so hard that the mask was soaked. I remember telling him it was all going to be okay, you would be here soon, we would see you soon and get to hold you. He just sobbed. I told him that I love him and it's his job to take care of you when you got here. They started, I was even colder, I was shivering, they were holding me down and talking us through it. They asked dad if he wanted to see you enter the world, you cried. I heard you cry and then it all went black.

I remember flashes. Flashes of hearing the doctor scream at a nurse because there was something wrong and I was bleeding too much. Flashes of nurses scrambling around trying to fix me. Flashes of dad in a chair with his phone telling the world you were here. Flashes of the nurses yelling because my family wouldn't leave until they saw me. But, no flashes of you.

I remember I didn't get to hold you when you came, I didn't get to introduce you, I didn't get to tell people your name, your importance, your meaning, sing happy birthday to you. I didn't get to feed you, I didn't get skin time. I wasn't alone with you, we didn't have pictures taken. I didn't get to tell you, I am your mom and I loved you before I even saw you.

Then, I remember coming back. The fog lifted and I remember forcing myself awake. They told me you were here. You were 9 pounds, you were healthy, you were hungry, dad had fed you, they had given you a bath, you met the family, everyone knew your name. But still, no you and me. My family came, they told me your hair was curly, they told me you were perfect, you were big, you were a Houser and I should see you, I should make them bring you to me. But still, no you and me.

I remember Dad coming in, he was wheeling you behind him, you were here. They placed this tiny baby stranger into my arms and told me you were mine. This is Anna James. You were here. April 6th, 6:45pm, you entered this world. Just like we had planned Anna. Just like you and I knew you would.

I remember the next few weeks. I remember grandma and grandpa coming and filling up with tears and pride and love. They fell in love with you the moment they saw you. The moment they held you. You were their granddaughter and they were beaming.

I remember Nonna, I remember her holding you like you were a precious little angel. I remember Nonno, I remember him being so careful because he didn't want to hurt you.

I remember Dad. He couldn't get enough of you. He was your moon and your stars. You were his world. He fell in love, madly in love, and you had him wrapped around each finger, each toe. He would look at you in wonder. You would snuggle right into his nook. You two were perfect together, you were the perfect fit and exactly what you both needed. You found each other.

I remember us. I remember loving you, each and every part of you. And, like your pregnancy, you were a perfect little baby. You loved to sleep, you loved to eat, you were gentle and still. Even though emotions were running through me, I was waiting for our connection to kick in. I was waiting for a moment when I felt you like I did when we were together during those nine months. And then it came. It was the day you stopped being a stranger. The day I became your mom, the day I knew I would love you forever. The day I felt like I was the one that could take care of you. The day you looked at me with confidence in our relationship, the day you became my daughter and I fell in love...

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You are my daughter. You are my wonderful girl and you are strong, and strong willed, and strong headed and strong minded.

You are my daughter. You are stubborn, deliberate, and particular.

You are my daughter. You are joyful, playful, and happy.

You are my daughter. You are loving, capable, and friendly.

You are my daughter. You are success and you are pride.

You are my daughter. You too remember everything, you too love to sleep, you too are a worrier.

You are my daughter. You gave me my mom title, you are my first born.

You are my daughter. You are a reason to love, to believe in love, to believe in childhood, to believe in faith.

You are my daughter. You are a reason to believe in bubbles, and fun, and throwing leaves, and swings, and playgrounds.

You are my daughter. This is your story and this is our journey.

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11
Oct

Ordinary

I was once afraid of living an ordinary life. Of being a mom, married, with a mortgage, and a mom car, living in the suburbs...living this ordinary life. And then, I met you. I met the one person who made ordinary extraordinary. You make my ordinary world filled with life, and reason, and purpose. You make family feel warm and exciting and make me want to hold on. You changed my point of view, you change my perspective, you made me want the ordinary. You remind me that mowing the lawn, and running the errands, and picking up after the kids, and the dog, and taking care of a house, and bills, and dinner, that it's life. And most importantly, it's a life worth living. You make ordinary feel extraordinary. rh101605_16

Want to know more about blogger Lisa-Jo Baker and FiveMinuteFridays ?

6
Oct

We must have done something right

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Because you both care with your heart
Because you both give really good hugs
Because you both know what a smooch means
Because you both like to snuggle

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Because you are helpful
Because you want us to be proud of you
Because it hurts your heart when I'm sick
Because you ask me what's wrong if I'm crying

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Because you both love each other
Because you both light up when we come home
Because you both play together
Because you both kiss each other goodnight

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Because you look for her when you wake up
Because you run to the door to greet dad
Because you cry with your whole body
Because you love to sleep like mom

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Because you are both silly
Because you both show love
Because you both have smiles that light up a room and laughs that light up a heart
Because you both look like dad

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Because you called him your best friend when you first met him
Because you are upset if he's crying and we can make it stop
Because you like to hug him
Because you know that compliments make people feel good

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Because you both clearly care about each other
Because you both are happy
Because you both are strong
Because you both trust us

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Because you look up to her
Because you love her
Because you love attention
Because you are gentle with Mia

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Because you both picked us
Because you both make us proud
Because you both fill our hearts
Because you both made us a family

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Because you love to read
Because you hate to hear us fight
Because you ask a lot of questions
Because you told us how much you love your home

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Because you were the final piece to our puzzle
Because you completed our family
Because I fell in love with you the moment I met you
Because you reach for me

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Because we get to be your parents
Because you made us who we are
Because we grew as people when we met you
Because we would pick you too

4
Oct

Write

I follow another blogger Lisa-Jo Baker and on Fridays, she does a "five minute Friday" asking us to write, unedited, for five minutes on one topic. The topic of this week, "write".

I write mainly for myself. It's calming to get the crazy that is in my head out. It's my quiet, it's my time. Being the mom of two little ones with a job that keeps me going full speed, I need this quiet time to reflect and remember what is important and what keeps me, well, me. I struggle finding words in person, but somehow, I feel like I connect with people in a different way this way, through writing.
But, I also write for them. I never realized how much I would love being a mom. I didn't know how many emotions would come pouring over me, and I need them to know what these years have meant to me. What having them has meant to me. I try and tell them as much as I can, but somehow, I find my words on a blank screen. Sometimes, looking into their big blue like daddy's eyes and saying "I love you" isn't enough. Sometimes I need more, because they mean more then all the I love yous.

That's why I write. It's what I do for me and I just love sharing it with all of you. My five minutes is up. Happy Friday.

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