27
Sep

We tri'd!

All week long, summer lingered.
The weather was perfect.
It was in the 90s, the sun was strong, warm.
And even though school had started, everything about it felt like summer.
Our last week of training, it was so hot, but it felt just perfect.

And the day we went to pick up our packets, the weather turned,
ugly.
It was cold and all of a sudden, it hit 50 degrees.
In three days, it went from 90 to 80 to 50.
And with the cold, came a cold November rain (even though it was early September).
But that's not where this story starts.

This story starts four months before our race,
when he came to me and asked if I was willing to run my bucket list race this year,
this fall,
four months from now.
After another spring/summer of not feeling well and not being able to run as much as I usually do
and trying to figure out what is wrong with me and why I had to stop every difficult physical thing that I do,
I said yes.
The doctor told me there was nothing structurally wrong with me and so I slowly started yoga again.
The cross training would be better, easier and more gentle on my body.
And so, I needed to learn how to swim, and fast.
I started with calling places to find out if they offer swim lessons
"no, not for my kids, for me. Yes, for adults."

In class, I did not flourish.
It was rough.
Learning to put my face in the water
learning a stroke (just one, just one little stroke)
learning how to breathe
realizing no part of me floats
learning how to kick
learning how to turn my body but keep my head down.
And, I wasn't good.
My instructors knew it
the other people in my class knew it
the two kids who were 10 knew it.
I wasn't good.
But, I kept going.
And even though at the end of the 6 week session, my instructor thought I couldn't swim 200 yards let alone 1/2 a mile, I still went and practiced and worked.

For four months,
we ran and biked and swam.
We tried to do as much as we could together as a family,
there were nights we took it on just one at at time.
Towards the end of the training, we were hitting the road 5 times a week and 4 out of 5 of those times, it was for 1-2 hours.
He worked so hard.
I worked so hard.
It was the first time we did anything like this, together.
It was the first time he did anything like this, period.
And the kids really tried.
Anna kind of understood how crazy important this was and would ride her bike while I ran, would stay in the hitched trailer while we biked and biked for hours on Sunday.
Cole would be my buddy, on the bike, in the stroller.
It was just time consuming.

And the day of the race hung over my head like a ticking time bomb.
Every time someone mentioned it, the swim, tears would stream down my face.
Every time someone mentioned the lake, how was my swimming coming along, I would panic.

But finally, September hit and we headed out to Rochester.
The day before the race, of course the weather changed.
Of course the rain poured down.
Of course the lake looked like it was going to eat me alive.
As we rounded the lake to go pick up our packets, I pulled Cory aside.
"Look at that water.
Look how angry it is right now?
Do you think it's freezing?
It looks so so cold.
I really don't think I am going to make it."

The morning of, we got there so early, it was still very dark, carrying our bikes and helmets and stuff, just stuff.
And as soon as we arrived, they asked us to strip down so they could mark our body with our bib number.
As I was standing there, freezing cold, I started to get it.
They are marking me.
If something happens, this number leads them to my name,
my family.
And so, I asked.
Is this to identify me?
Since she could clearly see the fear, the absolute fear in my eyes and the shake of my voice,
all she could do was nod yes.

I put on my wet suit and I was shaking.
Shaking from the cold
the nerves
the fear
the terror.
And as they called my leg to go into the pen
I turned to him and honestly said goodbye.
Just in case, I needed him to know, I don't regret our life and I love you all.

Getting out of the water, and feeling so accomplished and alive,
heading over to the bikes,
the challenge of all the hills and that damn wind that wouldn't even let you enjoy the downhill
getting a flat for the first time ever in my life
walking miles and miles and miles carrying a bike and watching my time crumble
hugging the mechanic who helped me get back on the road
the smile on Cory's face, you could hear his smile when he talked
knowing he was crossing the finish
seeing my little faces as I was half way through the run
seeing all of them as I crossed
hugging him close and so so proud
he made it
he did it
I made it
we made it.
I thought of you Anna,
I thought of how much fun you have in the water
I thought of how brave you are for always jumping into any class
willing to learn
willing to try
and always having fun.
I thought of your summer swim lessons and the absolute joy you got.
I thought of your six year old strength.
It wasn't the time I wanted.
It wasn't the race I had thought of.
I didn't fail where I thought I would,
but still stumbled and had to shake it off and keep going.
We tri'd
we finished
and we will be tri'ng again!

Thank you This Mama Runs for inspiring us to take on this challenge and try our first triathlon. You are an inspiration to your children and the families out there that are all trying to make it work. #StrongIsTheNewPretty

25
Sep

Five Minute Friday - doubt

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. 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 doubt.
Go.

My parenting,
my choices
my decisions for you.

My work
how I spend my time
my decisions for me.

My future
your future
future decisions for us.

There is a shadow that is always surrounding me.
A shadow that hangs over my light and makes things a little darker
and it is doubt.

That's all doubt does
is make you worry
it makes you hide from decisions
it makes you not feel the warmth of light because its shadow is so strong
it takes away your ability to act
and your ability to trust.
It covers you in darkness
it destroys all things light.
It makes you worry
about your past and your future and it erases the now.

I have to trust those I have put in my life
I have to trust those I have created
I have to trust me
and realize that we won't always get it right
but we will always try.
We will always always try until it all feels right again.

Stop.

20
Sep

Holding on too tight

He came into this world so calm, so new.
He was and is my love at first sight.
He and I, we have a connection.
It's different than the connection and attachment you have to dad.
Dad is your moon and stars, he is your world.
You and I, we connect.
We get it, each other.
We are always holding hands.
You are always reaching for loving arms.
We have always held on too tight, to each other.

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Your very first word was mamma.
Your very first glance and eye contact, was with me.
Your first kiss, was from me.
And we just held on too tight, to each other.

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And all of our worries, all of our concerns, all of your fighting, we did together.
We understood that this time around, things were going to be different with you.
And although you always have had me running towards and away from love,
you and me together, we held on too tight, to each other.

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Until I let go.
And sent you off.
Until the day came that you have been most looking forward to.
Until you put on your backpack and even if it is for only a few hours, you walked out of our lives.
You started you.
Glorious, awesome and kind you.
Even if it's only preschool, and kindergarten will be so much for difficult for me,
you walked into that classroom and didn't turn back.
You were not just ready, you were desperate to be big,
and grow up
and make your way
and say the words, I go to school now.
You were aching for this freedom and independence,
and I let go of our tight hold.
I let go of our quiet time together.
I let go of my last baby.
I let go of your tiny hand, gave it one last kiss, told you that I eat you up,
and I left.
No longer holding on too tight.

18
Sep

Five Minute Friday- celebrate

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. 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 celebrate.
Go.

"Celebrate we will
because life is short but sweet for certain
"

Birthday parties and holidays
Families together
Balloons and cake and too much food
Smiles and childhood joy

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"Celebrate we will
because life is short but sweet for certain
"

Engagements, weddings and new beginnings
Hospital visits and new arrivals
Tears of joy and anticipation
The start of it all

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"Celebrate we will
because life is short but sweet for certain
"

But, for us
The best part of being us
Is finding a way to celebrate a little part of each day.

A welcome home celebration of hugs all around.
A Friday night family movie night, all snuggled and holding hands and can't get close enough because we made it through one more week celebration.
A Sunday morning gather around the island, eating pancakes and sending Olive Juice "I love yous" as many as possible because we love slow Sundays celebration.
A family,
trying
loving
finding ways to celebrate moments
big and small.

Stop.

14
Sep

Simple

People fall in love in the most mysterious ways.
Maybe it's the touch of a hand,
maybe it's a look,
maybe it's a moment that you can't forget.
Maybe its' because from the moment I met you, I felt like I always knew you.
Maybe because you smell like home.
Maybe because you were always my comfort, my balance, my calm.
And maybe we found love in simple.
Not complicated.
Not mysterious.
Not rushes of romance and flowers and screaming our love in the pouring rain.
Just simple.
Just wanting to be with each other and working to make it happen.

And then, life gets complicated.
As it always does.
And even through some of those first obstacles, we floated through.
We were graceful and kind in our love.
We were graceful and kind to each other.
We kept our love, our lives, simple.

And then, life got more complicated.
As it always does.
And we stumbled a bit, but we didn't fall.
It got a bit harder to see each other
and we were fighting off debts
and moving
and new jobs
and multiple jobs
and planning a wedding
and...
and still,
we were us.
We were simple and always found each other.
And the end of the day, we touched toes, we held hands.
We kept our love, our lives, simple.

And then, life got more complicated.
As it always does.
And we brought more love into our lives.
We created two faces that filled us full.
Two faces that made our house a home.
We created a simple family.
We kept our love, our lives, simple.

Until it wasn't.

Until it was loud.
Until it was heartbreaking.
Until we stumbled and even fell a bit.
Until the work became hard.
Until it became chaos.
Until is became too messy.
Until it became working all day everyday, in all that we do, there is work.
Until the two people we always knew were changing.
Until we didn't know how to keep up.
Until we realized, it's time to get back to us.
It's time to get back to simple.

And in this season of our lives,
in this season that we are most loved,
in this season of constantly being needed, and talked to, and demanded to do, and asked a million questions,
in this season of dressing and bathing and carrying,
in this season of feeding and cleaning up and wiping faces and noses,
in this season of needed and wanted,
we will stand back on our two feet.
Because it is time.
It's time to brush ourselves off.
It's time to find the simple of us.
It's time to remember that this is so much work, but it doesn't have to be hard.
Not if we focus on the good.
Not if we focus on childhood.
Not if we focus on family.
Not if we hold on to each other as we go.

It is time to go back to simple.
It is time to go back to our love, our lives,
simple.

11
Sep

Five Minute Friday - same

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. 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 same.
Go.

It's the wash and repeat of parenting.
It's the do the same thing and expect a different result.
It's the same, each and every day.
It's the routine, the schedules, the deadlines.
It's pushing the same damn rock up the same damn big hill.
It's the wash and repeat of adulthood.

But change, it can be so difficult.
Change can be so scary.
Change means the end of one journey, the beginning of a new.
Change for the introverted mother means an end.

It's the discipline that isn't working.
It's the schedules that are always too full.
It's the tired.
The exhaustion.
It's the not wanting another day doing the same.
It's all the same.

Until you have a a moment.
That's all you need.
You have a moment of love and connection.
You have a morning that she just wants, needs, to be around you.
A morning in which she is by your side, cheering you on.
A morning in which she is your power, you are her guide, you are her moon and stars.
You become her parent.

It's the wash and repeat.
It's the same day in and out.
It's the change that is hard to navigate, but always comes.
It's the end of one journey, one phase and the start of new.

Stop.

6
Sep

Hold on to me as we go

"Hold on to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave (wave) is stringing us along
Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm gonna make this place your home
"

We are being washed away by waves that are crashing down.
We are standing on unfamiliar territory.
Trying to navigate through the storm.
Hold on to me as we go.
Cause I'm gonna make this place our home.

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And then, you see it.
You see your reflection and your imperfections in your little little child.
And it punches you hard, in the stomach.
You see all you have hurt, all you have screamed and yelled,
all of the fights and the emotions.
You see your tantrum in them.
And you feel your exhaustion, your failures, you feel crumbled.

"The trouble—it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found
Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm gonna make this place your home
"

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The troubles, they might drag us down.
We do feel lost, ready to be found.
Our worries make our feet, our heart, our head, feel heavy.
Hold on to me as we go,
cause I'm going to make this place our home.

Let's go back to where we started, and find the love to put us back together again.
Let's remember, we're not alone.

"Hold on to me as we go"

Hold on to us, hold on to me.
Hold on to who we were, who we are and who we are about to become.
Navigate all of these troubling waters with me.
Hold on to our smiles, our touching toes.
Our snuggles.
Our little ones that bring about big life.
Hold on to the humor we once had and have to find again.
Our laugh, hold on to me as we find a way to laugh.
There's no one I love to laugh with, more than you.

"If you get lost, you can always be found"

We're not alone.
Not when we have each other.
Not when we live in this house turned home.

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We're not alone.
Not when we lean hard on one another.
We haven't lost anything yet.
Let's take a step back.
Break our cycle
and find another way.

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And then, just like that,
how we are defined comes rushing all back.
In the most mysterious of ways.

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On your way into another long, difficult, exhausting day.
You hear a song that makes you want to turn the car around and hug them all hard.

"Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear...
Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm gonna make this place your home
"

Tell them that we are a family of love.
We are worth it.
We make this house a home.

"If you get lost, you can always be found
Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm gonna make this place your home
"

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You open a message, and get a glimpse of a picture of who you really are.
A picture that says,
we are holding on.
Because we made this place our home.

We have so much to learn,
about parenting and balance and self care and laughing through the loud, and childhood and kids and life and love.
But, you are my rock.
You are the one I will smile through all the pain.
You are the one I will hold on to.

I found my peace through a lens.
Capturing a moment in time,
when childhood was whirling around us
and we held on, to make our house a home.

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A shot of a family that is trying.
A family that is holding on so hard and so strong,
to each other.

"Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble—it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found
Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm gonna make this place your home
"

We have made this place our home.

4
Sep

Five minute Friday - yes!

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. 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 yes.
Go.

It started when you became a toddler and we were trying to keep you safe.
It started with a no no, don't do that.
No no, stay over here.
No no, don't touch that.
No no, stop hitting, biting, taking your shoes off, crying.
No no.

And then, somewhere between the toddler years and going through them again for the second time,
no just became our favorite word.
Just because.
No other reason.

So what if that were to stop?
What if I were to open myself back up to the possibilities of yes and allowing you to navigate this world?
What if I stopped being your enemy, your go through
and started becoming the person you go to, your mom.
What if I just started to say yes to your can I?
What if I allowed you to make those decisions?
What if I gave you the freedom you are demanding and was a guide, not a barrier.
What if as long as you were safe, and there was no actual good reason to deny, what if yes became our new favorite word?
What would you become?
How would that make you feel?
What weight would I lift?
What would that do to us?
What if I became the mom I know I am?
What if I said yes?

Stop.

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