31
Aug

The first

And it starts.
Your very first day of school.
Real school.
Riding the bus,
meeting new friends,
having a teacher with you for longer hours than we are with you,
school.
And I wonder...
how did we get here?

How did the person I made five years ago get here?
How did she grow up?
How did I get from the horrible 2 turning 3 year old that made every day feel like a year
to a place where the past five years feel like moments?

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How did we do this?
And, what did we do?
Did we do enough?

The memories Anna,
they are crushing
heartbreaking,
smiling,
warm,
loving.
They are not all good,
but there is so much good.
The first time I met you, long after everyone else got their hands on you,
hours after you were introduced,
we finally had our moment.
The day we brought you home, walking through our front door with you.
Telling you all about your new space and meeting Mia.
Then came the day, the exact moment I fell hard for you.

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Your first words (woof...it was how you called for Mia)
how you crawled
your first steps.
How you were always stubborn.
Always always always on your own time line,
always doing things your way, in your time, on your terms.
But having this wonderful heart,
filled with so much determination and just wanting to be loved.

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And I wonder about all I feel I still have to teach you before you go...
will you be kind?
will you know how to handle it when others are not?
will you make good choices with your teachers?
will you follow too much?
will you make the sort of friends that will stay with you, become family?
will you love it?
will you work through the things that are difficult for you?
will you continue to love a challenge?
love to learn something new?
will you continue to love to learn?
will you want to tell me all about it?
will you want to still talk to us?
have I taught you that we are here for you?
have I taught you that there is no time our love will end?

Have I built enough good?
Have I done enough to show you all you have changed,
how much you have made us grow?
Have I built enough memories.
Have I built a warm and loving home for you to come home to?
Have I built enough?
Have I given enough attention,
enough hugs,
enough smooches,
enough hand holding,
enough cuddles,
do you know that my arms are always open to you baby girl?
As a newborn, as a two year old, at five or fifteen or thirty-five, or however long I am on this earth,
our arms are always open to you.

Do you know?
Do you know that some will be mean,
either to you or others?
Do you know that some will become a part of your family,
and your story, the real you, will be known only through them?
Do you know that there are days you will come home beaming
and other days when you will feel crushed?
Do you know that you have to try and work?
Do you know that this is fun, and learning is a wonderful part of life?
Do you know you will find who you really are?
Do you know that love will always be waiting for you at home?

And so, on Tuesday night,
I will make sure your backpack is all set.
We will put out your outfit,
make sure you feel special in it.
We will make your lunch together, make sure it is exactly what you want for school.
We will give our nightly hugs, and I will listen as you and dad say goodbye to your summer.
I will hear you two go through your favorite moments,
breakfast at the track
getting your picture with Rosie,
getting to spend almost a week at grandma and grandpa's house,
adventure days with dad,
the library,
all the books we read,
swimming,
playground fun,
sprinklers,
basketball camp or gymnastics,
walks,
going to Boston,
the Yankees game?
I will listen as you two say goodbye to this incredible time you have together.
And how lucky we all are that you do have this time.

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And then, I will tell you that I carry your heart.

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We will open our eyes the next day and get the day started.
We will take pictures,
I will walk you to that bus stop, I will hold your hand the whole time.
I will take more pictures,
I will tell you that I am proud of you and that I am so excited for your big day,
and then, I will watch.
I will watch your little body get on that bus,
I will see only your backpack because you are making your way in.
I will watch you sit down and maybe you'll remember to wave to me, maybe.
I will blow you a kiss sweet girl, and then,
I will watch you pull away.
I will watch you start you.
And, I will remember the start of us,
all that we have done,
all that we have left to do,
and I will whisper,
I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart.

29
Aug

Five Minute Friday - reach

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 reach.
Go.

It's the middle of the night,
and I'm awake again.
Maybe it's because I'm stressed.
Maybe it's because I have an event coming up and I'm running through all the details in my mind,
or maybe it just ended and I'm worried about all the ways to make it better.
Maybe it's because our house hasn't been my calming place for months because of the construction,
or maybe I'm just so worried about all the unknowns with the construction.
Maybe it's because I have MS and of course they found a new lesion just now, just when we are our most tired,
just when the house is at its worst and we are holding on by a hair.
And maybe it's because the only thing that they can give me is a terrible round of steroids that keeps me up,
makes me jittery
and angry
and cry
and quiet
and shake.
No matter the reason, it's the middle of the night and you must have heard me stirring, for hours, and you reach for me.
And that brings about a sense of calm and peace that you will never know.

We're walking out of a store,
and we're happy.
You did well in there and I know that you and stores don't mix.
Most kids and stores don't mix.
And as we're walking into that parking lot, your five year old hand will reach for my hand and you give it a kiss and look up to me and say,
"I love you mom"
and that, is the greatest feeling in the world.

It's first thing in the morning,
and you are dying to get up.
"Somebody, somebody I want out"
and as I walk in,
in the littlest two year old voice I hear a whisper,
"hi mom"
as your arms reach out and you say,
"up please".
And as I scoop up that reach, I ask for a hug, you know, like the bears do.
And your squeeze can melt away the coldest of days.

Stop.

24
Aug

Hi

I am guilty of it.
I write a blog about how having children has allowed me to relive a childhood.
I post pictures of their amazing little faces.
Whenever something good happens, I talk about it.
I am guilty of it.

We are not great parents because we are crafty,
not because our homes are clean,
not because our kids have the best manners
not because it's this wonderful world you step into.
But because of the fact that it is the exact opposite of all of that,
and we love anyway.

And this week, I have read from so many parents who are starting to unravel.
And the most common thread...guilt.
Guilt for unraveling,
guilt for losing it,
guilt for yelling,
guilt for feeling crazy, sad, depressed, not loving enough, not doing enough, not supporting enough.
Guilt for the look in their eyes when you do lose it.

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Because we want them to feel special.
We want to hear their laughter.
We want to see their childhood unfold,
in front of our eyes.
We want happy.

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The one and only thing I have learned about parenting (and I do talk about this)
is that it is 95% of the time, it is terribly hard.
And that means, most of the time,
most of the time, you are wondering why?
Why did I do this?
Why did I decide on this life?
Why are you so difficult?
Why are you screaming because I won't let you play with a knife?
Why are you always taking your shoes and socks off?
Why are you so messy?
Why are you so loud?
Why are you crying again?
Why are you whining?
I just gave you this glorious day...why are you not appreciative??
Why don't you know to say "thank you",
why are you upset again?
Why are you two fighting?

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And the why comes 5% of the time.
And that 5% is so incredible, so amazing, that it carries you through the 95% of difficult.
That's HOW amazing that 5% is.
That's why it's so important.
They are the moments you will remember on your death bed.
They will be your final thoughts.

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Because, parenting,
is hard.
Exhausting,
draining,
take the wind out of you,
crumble you to the ground,
hard.
It's work and so much more work.
It's patience and constant caring.
It's worry,
it's caution
it's learning
it's growing
it's crying
it's thankless
it's teaching
it's role modeling
and it's hard.

So, here is our story.
Hi.
I'm a mom of two little faces.
Two little faces that I created with this wonderful person who trusted me to do this with him.
See them?
See how incredible they are?
No really look at them.

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These two little faces push buttons.
They scream.
They cry, they whine, they throw tantrums, they stomp feet, they slam doors, they fight, they hit each other,
they hug, they kiss,
they scream "no!" they throw their bodies on the ground,
they say olive juice family, they sleep like angels, they hold hands,
they run away, they don't listen, one is always crying,
they kiss your hand, they are amazing at night, they can love like nothing in this world,
they are messy, they always have food on their clothes and on their faces, they are not great in the car,
they tell you how much they love you, they call you mom and dad, they are so proud when they learn something new,
they hug, they smile, they laugh, they love to read,
they belong to us.
They say things like, you're my favorite mom and I carry your heart too.
They make us family.
They make us scream at each other, fight like crazy
and remember why we love each other so much.
They are frustrating, they are so difficult
they are warm
they are love.

So, it's okay.
It's okay that no part of you is enjoying today.
It's okay that you spent most of it screaming at someone for something.
It's okay that you want to run away.
It's okay that you may get really quiet and just plain stop talking for a while.
It's okay.
You're okay,
we're okay.
Because we love anyway.

22
Aug

Five Minute Friday - Change

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 change.
Go.

It's what I struggle with the most.
Change.
Letting go of the moment and enjoying the one I am in.
Enjoying the milestones.
Enjoying the change in you.
Because with every moment of change,
it is letting something go,
letting you go a little more.
I have always struggled with it,
and, no matter what,
I will continue to struggle with it all.
It doesn't mean I am not proud or excited for you,
it just means that a new beginning also means an end.

And, especially now, this moment,
with school right around the corner for the baby I just brought home yesterday,
and a two year old that is moving at the speed of light,
change, it's only getting harder for me.

But, just because I have to in order to survive,
you both have taught me that I have no choice but to move along with you.
I have no choice but to keep pushing forward and move forward.
Because, no matter what, you are pushing ahead.

And, there is so much change coming our way.
So many parts of our little world, our little family are going to look so very different.
So very different.
I will work with you all on this.
I will push through my fears and my sadness and join you in all of your changes.
I will change with you all.

With love,
mom.

Stop.

17
Aug

This is family

Show me big blue eyes.
and childhood smiles
and curls that fall all over.
Show me faces that look like dad
and minds that think and worry like mom.
Show me Sunday breakfast all piled around the table
and bike rides.
Show me mush, and crowded and together.

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Show me holding hands
and so many hugs that you can't keep track
and laughter.
Show me no privacy
and a messy house to match that messy face.
Show me siblings that play and fight but can't keep away from each other.

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Show me love,
touching toes when you sleep love.
Being close because you have to be love.
Hand in hand always, everyday
love.

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Show me frustration
and tantrums.
Show me yelling and testing and timeouts.
Show me meltdowns and tears.
Show me tempers and feet stomping.
Show me irrational behavior
and reactions
and screams and crying like you wouldn't believe.
But then show me faces that make your heart melt,
and grow
to twice its original size.

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Show me warm and gentle good nights,
with so many snuggles while reading.
And so much love.
And so much quiet.
And saying goodbye to another long day.

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Show me morning time
crazy and loud
and energy
and tired.
Show me a mom and dad who are exhausted.
Run down
tired.
Show me how they continue to get up
start the day with a smile and hope for the best.

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Show me so much hard work.
Not sure if it's worth it work.
Not sure if it's ever going to be worth it work.
(But knowing it will be)

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Show me parents who are scared.
Unsure of their decisions.
Always questioning if they are making the right choice,
fighting the right fight,
letting enough go to not always be fighting
but saying enough to make you understand.

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This, is family.
This defines family.
In every way at all times.
The ups the downs.
The tired, the loud, the yelling, the love.
This defines family.
Trying, struggling, happy, scared, unsure
in love.

This, is family.

We're not alone
because we are always hand in hand.
This, is family.

15
Aug

Five Minute Friday - tell

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 tell.
Go.

I tell you that I love you.
I whisper it in your ear.
It's the first thing you hear when we see each other.
It's the last thing you hear when you go to bed.
And all day long.
At all parts of the day,
I try and make sure you hear it over and over.

But words, telling,
they only go so far.

I want to make sure you know it by me showing you too.
By being patient.
By being kind.
By showing and modeling a good heart.
By showing and modeling how much a part of everyone else we are.
By listening to you.
By getting excited for you and with you.
By being so proud of you.
By pushing you to be your best.
By dancing with you.
By reading to you.
By hugging you.
Kisses all over your face.

I want to tell you through my hugs.
Through my warmth.
Through my eyes.

I want you to know that everywhere you go,
you are loved
you are love.

I want to tell you through holding hands.
Through touching toes.
Through kissing noses.

I want to tell you everyday,
you are loved
you are love.

Stop.

10
Aug

Walk slow

I have forgotten how to walk slow with you.

I have forgotten that this little moment in time,
you are small,
you are curious,
you are both living childhood.

And I rush.
I rush you through your days.
I rush you through your summer.
I rush you through mornings
and long walks
and bike rides.

I rush you through walks where you want to take it all in.
I rush you through rain falls.
I rush you through wanting to talk to me
be with me
play with me
ask me questions.
I am rushing us through your time.
Your really precious time.

It's not that I forget how fleeting this all is,
or that each day, I lose you a little more to the you that you will become.
It's that,
like all parents,
it's hard to remember how short the years are when the days are so long.
It's hard to remember after a long work day that you need us too.
It's hard for dad to remember when kids at work are at him all day
that his kids need to be with him at night.

And you keep trying to remind me.
You keep trying to take every moment in,
that's what kids do.
Without even trying, you are drinking in your moments,
your days,
your memories.

And I wonder what each of you will remember when you look back.
I remember what your most colorful memories will be.
I wonder if you will remember the yelling,
the frustrations,
the love,
the hugs,
the early morning snuggles.
I wonder if you remember how wonderful saying goodnight is,
how calming it is.

I wonder if you remember us constantly telling you to hurry up,
gather your belongings,
let's go already!
Or, if you will remember that there isn't much we do without being hand in hand.
There isn't much we can't accomplish together.
I wonder if you will remember adventure days with dad.
All the days we spent at the track,
I wonder if you will remember how much we loved,
and tried,
and adored each of you.

But, once piece of advice we all need to remember is
walk slow.
This life moves so quickly around us and it's up to us to slow it down.
It's up to us to build our memories.
It's up to us to love.
Walk slow little faces of mine.
Walk as slow as you need to.
It's not a race, it's a marathon and we will cross that line together.

I love you.

8
Aug

Five Minute Friday - fill

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 fill.
Go.

The laughter.
The hugs.
The smooches.
The sound of "I love you mom".
The smiles.
The cuddles.
The smallness.
The childhood.
This life,
this home,
this family of mine...
you fill me full.

Siblings.
Puppy kisses.
Holding hands.
Touching toes when we sleep kind of love.
Snuggles.
Playing tag.
Watching childhood in you.
Watching your reaction to new.
This life,
this home,
this family of mine...
you fill me full.

Arguments.
Screaming matches.
Time outs.
Temper tantrums.
Sobbing.
Two year old stubborn.
Five year old independent.
This life,
this home,
this family of mine...
you fill me full.

Good nights.
The moment we are putting you both to sleep.
The two hours of us time before we collapse in bed.
Bath time.
Reading together.
Love.
Family love.
Love that fills me full.

This life,
this home,
this family of mine...
you fill me full.

Stop.

3
Aug

Dear Anna

Let's start from the beginning.
I love you.
I always will.
No, always.
No matter what.
I will love you and love you.
It will embarrass you how much I love you.
It will make you roll your eyes and worry that your friends are watching.
I will love you enough that I hope you never have to seek the "wrong kind of love".

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Love just to feel loved.
You have love
you have it here,
in this house,
in these arms,
with me
and your dad
and Cole
and even Mia.
You have love all over us and it is safe love.

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It is the kind of love that will allow you to always be truthful.
You can tell us what is bothering you, what is making you nervous.
You can tell us when you have made a decision you are not proud of.
You can tell us when you are in trouble.
You can tell us when you are scared.
You can tell us the truth.
We will never walk away from you.
We will never take our love away,
never.
No matter what.

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We will love you when you are being difficult.
We will love you through to the other side.
We will love you enough to teach you right from wrong.
We will love you enough to remind you that one day, we will not be watching, but you still have to be glorious you.
You still have to work, for you, not for us.
We will love you enough to allow you to go.
We will love you enough to teach you how to be on your own.

And, because all of that is difficult.
Because all of that is us parenting and you testing,
you will feel that it is not love.
Because there will be tears, for all of us.
There will be meltdowns, for all of us.
There will be yelling, from all of us.
There will be stubbornness, from all of us.
There will be mistakes, for all of us.
There will be breakdowns, for all of us.
But, we will always love you.

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Throw your temper tantrums.
We will love you.
Stomp your feet.
We will love you.
Yell.
We will love you.
Scream,
cry,
throw yourself to the ground.
Test me.
Scream in my face kind of testing.
I will love you.

I will not walk away.
I will not change my mind.
You are safe.
We will see the other side of this together.
You are so loved.
You are so so loved.
The kind of love that you will understand someday.
Love that looks like this...

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1
Aug

Five Minute Friday - begin

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 begin.
Go.

Just last week, I wrote on finish.
So, let's go full circle,
let's write about how to begin.

I began my life with you.
I started down a journey that was new,
one you allowed me to believe in.

And in the beginning,
it was so new, so exciting, so easy and we fell into our groove.
Family was defined by you, and us, and our little family of three.

And then, as we began to add to us,
each time we started a new beginning,
a new chapter,
we add to our story.
We add to what it's all about.
We redefine who we are.

It is time for a new beginning for me, for us.
I don't know how the next chapter will read,
but I know that together, we will rearrange the pages and the words to make our ending fantastic.
Hand in hand, heart to heart.

You are my beginning, you will be my end.
You are support, you are comfort, you are a friend, a hand, toes touching when we sleep love.

We will never forget how we started, how easy it was.
We will never forget the middle, and how challenging these times are.
We will look forward to and be sad about the future, and how unknown it is,
how many different ways the story can end.

But, it all begins with us.

Stop.

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