30
Oct

Five Minute Friday - Bacon

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 bacon.

Go.

Is this really the prompt this week?
Bacon?
How is a vegetarian who has not touched meat for 14 years going to write a meaningful post on bacon?
Here I go.

I became the CEO of a non-profit many years ago.
And there are days that it feels like it just happened
and I can remember making this unbelievable decision.
I can remember sitting and talking to board members about my qualifications and if I can do it,
all like it was just there.
And there are times that I feel like I have done nothing else but this job.
There are times that I can't remember my life before it.
And just last night, we held another event to push the mission forward.
Another event in which the community poured into our venue and people showed up for our kids, our work.

And last night, more than any other time in my career,
I realized how much more important it is to be who we are
be true to ourselves
commit to the work
commit to the kids
tell the community our story
than it is to just bring home the bacon.

We are good
we are strong
we are fighting for a cause that I believe in down to my toes
we will shine
we will continue forward
we will make it about our work
we will show up
we will continue to give it our all.

We will fight this glorious fight because they need our voice.
They need a childhood
in order to become healthy adults.
We will show up and we will do more than bring home the bacon.
We will be their light.

Stop.

26
Oct

Different ways

We are having a tough time recently.
Work for both is stress.
We're tired.
They are tired.
We are always on the go.
We still have house projects and feeling like we have no time to connect,
no time to unwind.
We are also working very hard at parenting with gentleness instead of force.
Working on creating peace and kindness so that our children are gentle.
And every time we fall back into old patterns, we feel even more stress.
Because now we are making you stressed too.

And worse, I feel that we make you feel unloved.
Like it's all too much and you are part of that too much.
It must be hard on you too.
Which is why you are coming off hard.
You are asking to be loved and supported and happy.
You are asking for us to let you be kids.
You are asking me to remember you have a heart, and it is easily broken.

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I can see the change in you.
When we practice peace.
When we are gentle.
When we are loving.
You are different.
You are kind.
You are loving.
You are happy.
You wrap your arms around us and say "olive juice".
Your melt downs are less.
Your sense of self, your sense of worth, you feel an importance.
You matter.

And so, in case you are ever wondering if I love you,
how much I love you
I do.
A lot.
More than I can ever explain.

And I am realizing that there are so many ways for me to say I love you.
So many different ways you need to hear it like:

I am sorry.
I forgive you.
I am listening.
I am proud of you.
You filled my bucket.
I am so lucky to be your mom.
Thank you.
You have a kind heart.
Can you help me?
Can I help you?
Let's play!
I know you'll make the right decision.
I trust you.
I love to watch you.
At night, I watch you dream.
When you were little...
Come snuggle with me.
You have dad's eyes.
You have my personality.
I'm so glad we're doing this together.
Let me tell you about the day you were born.
You look so happy!
Even though I miss little you, I love watching you grow up.
I love your face
and your heart
and your soul.
Let's read, you and me.
Today, I am thankful for...
Mistakes happen and everyone makes them.
We will figure it out together.
We're a team.
Let's go for a bike ride, all of us.
Let's go for a run, just you and me.
You worked really hard.
You make me smile.
Thank you for picking me.
Olive juice.

And when I remember to make you feel a part of us
when I remember how important it is to make you feel like a person that matters
when I remember that respect and kindness are taught and how much you follow my lead
I get happy, loving you.
I get childhood
I get gentle
I get smiles
I get love
I get warmth
I get the real you.

And I realize all of the amazing ways to say it,
I love you.

Houser12-2

18
Oct

Me

One day, I read a real post, written by a real person who told her real story and it inspired me to tell mine.

Because I am introverted,
I love the rain.
And cold rainy days.
And storms.

Because I have always felt like I needed to prove myself,
I spend an insane amount of time worrying about what other people think of me.
And even if I don't like who you are, what you think bothers me.
I am learning that I don't have time
for all of them
and all of the noise created.
But letting people go is never easy, even if they hurt me.

Because I feel like I have failed as a daughter,
I am consumed about not failing as a mother.
It's all I think about.
I make constant tweaks on my parenting to make sure I am raising them well
raising them kind
raising them with love.
I am petrified that I am breaking them.

Because I feel things more,
everything is more intense for me.
I feel feelings more
weather more
noises more
shows, movies, books, podcasts, they all stay with me
everything, everyone, leaves a mark.

I am self-conscious about all of me.
My smile.
My style.
My words.
My mind.
My writing.
My work.
My parenting.

Because I am better alone
I try to avoid big groups so that I won't feel invisible.
It's why I cling to you.
It's why I won't let you let go of my hand.
It's why I find my circle in the crowd.

Because through writing I can tell my story from behind a screen,
I want to write a book.
So badly.
But even as I write this post, I think
is there anyone that would find any of this interesting?

Because clutter somehow equates to noise for me
weird things quiet my mind.
Like a clean house
and clean faces
and clean clothes
and things put away
and no clutter
and no piles
and no dirty dishes
and no messy playroom
and no messy areas
and no more stuff.

Because I completely understand how crazy I am
and how difficult I am to live with,
I look at you in wonder.
It's the reason I can't believe you find any of it amusing.
It's the reason I can't believe you still wake up next to me.

Because I struggle with my worth,
I end every day thinking, was I enough today.
Enough of a mother
enough of a leader
enough of a guide
did I love enough
show it enough
was I good enough today for all of them?

And because I feel more intensely,
I cry. A lot.
When I'm happy.
When I'm sad.
When I'm scared.
When I'm angry.
When I'm stressed.
When I'm overwhelmed.
I am either quiet or crying,
I know, it's a lot.

Because our story started in the operating room
I have a scar.
And it tells a very long story.
Of us
and how we began.
And how I feel about me and us.
And how our journey started out exactly as life and parenthood start out,
not anything like you thought it would look like.
This scar means we survived
and we showed up to fight for us and we always will.

Because I am tired
so very very tired
I stop moving at 8pm.
I cannot be a mother
or a friend
or a wife
or a leader
anymore.
And my sweet person takes over for me.

Because I am a fighter,
I have to remind myself that not all things deserve a fight.
I can put my gloves down every once and a while and just allow myself to walk away from this one.
Not all things are worth my time.

Because I worry
I am never present.
I am either regretting the past
or concerned with the future.
But, because I love you
all of you
I will always fight to be present with you.
Because you are all worth the fight.

16
Oct

Five Minute Friday - green

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 green.
Go.

The color of hope at the end of a long winter.
When you see that first green leaf, trying to break through the cold.
The color of summer and all that comes with it,
grass and plants and flowers and trees.
All around you is green.

The color that has always meant go.

And as Upstate New York says goodbye to an incredible summer
full of warmth
and sun
and beaches
and sand in our toes
and being outside for as long as possible
and long summer days
and sprinklers
and pools
and bike rides
and long family walks
and laughter
and childhood unfolding before our eyes.

We start to say hello to fall and all that comes with it,
70 degree days that we are loving
change of colors everywhere from green to the color of warmth
oranges and yellows and red
the colors that make fall incredible around here.
Cooler nights and mornings
leaf piles
and pumpkins
and childhood laughter
and childhood unfolding before our eyes.

And we know that winter is right there, right around that corner.
And soon all of the color in our little piece of the world will be gone
and we will be covered in a blanket of white.
And all that comes with it,
shorter days
and sledding
and mittens
and snow suits
and hats
and boots
and childhood unfolding before our eyes.

Because not matter the season
kids find a way to make every change exciting
full of new
full of love
full of childhood.
They have no favorite.
They love the season they are in,
because each one brings a change they are ready for.
Each one brings a new experience.
Each one brings out a part of their childhood.
And that is one of the things I envy most in children.
Their ability to just be present in the moment.
Green isn't the only color that means go to a kid.

Stop.

11
Oct

Stifling

It started pretty early with you.
The stifling
of you
of your movement
of your actions
the NO! that we scream multiple times a day.
You were always so much more active,
squirmy
quick to grab
take.
You always wanted to be on the go
run run run
climb
jump
dance.
It was always movement.
Yes, you are even active while you sleep.
Constantly tossing and turning,
moving.
Forever in motion.
And so, we learned how to say "no!" quickly and it has always stuck.

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Even as I write this, during what is supposed to be your quiet time,
your time to regroup
maybe take a little nap,
I hear those little feet scrambling.
I hear you in and out of that room.
I am up and down the stairs trying to get you to just rest,
even for a few minutes.

Houser25

But, my sweet boy.
You need to move.
You need to be active.
You need it for your soul.
It is a part of your purpose
it is what defines you.
Motion, movement, action, play, climbing, jumping,
motion.
And WE have to find ways to accept that
WE have to find ways to channel all of that energy and make it all ok.

We have to find a way to be ok with you falling.
And hurting yourself
and maybe even breaking a bone (did I just write that??!)
Because you need to climb.
You need to run
you will trip
you will topple over
you will fall from something high
but you also need to move.

IMG_6685

And these stifling parents that you have,
the ones that always say no
the ones that are always taking you down,
the ones that are always pulling you off of something or somewhere high
the ones that are telling you to slow down
the ones that are always yelling no
these stifling parents of yours
they will catch up
to you.

9
Oct

Five Minute Friday - trust

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 trust.
Go.

You put your faith, your trust, in us.
You picked us to walk this life with.
And it all started with faith and trust in each other.
It started in feeling like we were strong, our foundation was solid.
We could grow this love that we had.
We wanted and tried for you, we dreamed of holding you.
And everyday, you trust us.
To have the answers
and make the right decisions
and to know what to say and what to do
and how to handle every situation.
You trust us to know what is best
to do our best
for you
and our team.

You trust us with your care.
And your childhood.
And your smile.
And your health.
And your spirit.
And your love.
And your heart.
You trust us to take very good care of your heart.
You trust us to be your biggest fan.
Your guide.
Your constant.
Your open arms.
Your light.

You trust us to be knowledgeable.
You trust us to show you the way.
You trust us to listen to you.
You trust us to model respect.
You trust us to always have your back.
Always.

You take this blind walk of faith.
Everyday, you trust in two people who made a vow to always love.
To keep our promise, our word to you.
You trust in us.
Because we trusted each other.

Stop.

5
Oct

Serious

You were born old.
And you were all business.
You were so serious.
You had this no joke facial expression.
You were always so stern,
really made us work for a smile,
just a moment of childhood.
As you grew and grew, I knew that this is one thing you got from me.
You were pensive, taking it all in.
You were years older than your age.
You were an observer
you were a processor
you were serious.

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And there were times that I was so worried that with my serious outlook
you too would be a worrier.
You too would be anxious.
Always thinking about the past, always worried about the future.
Never present.
You too would have to work to find joy.

IMG_2136

And during those first few years, you calmed me.
You brought out the silly in me.
Joy was so easy for me back then.
I was trying to take your serious away and therefore I became a kid.
I got my second chance at a childhood, through you.

Houser056

And then this baby I had became a toddler became a kid.
And her silly side was found.
Her childhood comes flying out of her.
And instead of embracing this,
instead of loving every moment of her
I became serious me again.
I became old.
And all business.
I was and am so serious.
My facial expressions, they are no joke.
I became stern.
I really make you work for a smile,
just a moment of childhood.
I am serious.
I lost joy.
I lost childhood.
I found my worry
my concern
my need to control
and I started to lose you.

IMG_4723 DSC_2231

And this,
this on top of all of the things I have mom guilt about,
and there are many many many many
this weighs most heavy on my soul.
All I have lost when there is too much I have gained.

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You would go into a new class learning a new skill and be beaming with energy and excitement.
Me, I am reserved and terrified.
You would tackle every challenge
you find joy in it.
Me, I see it all as daunting.
You would find joy and laughter in everyday things.
Me, I have to remind myself to laugh.
You go up to any child and find a way to make a new friend.
I have spent this last year so lonely, so alone, so afraid to branch out and not knowing who to turn to.
You shriek with laughter
even if you are making it up.
Me, I work to find my joy, I have to remind myself that this is worth laughing at.
I have to remember that you were once my calm,
my silly
my second chance.

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And then, I catch a glimpse of who I wanted to be
and I really like her.
The silly mom
the one that is making you laugh
that belly laugh that fills me full.
The one that loves to hear your shrieks of joy
and isn't annoyed by your childhood
the one that reads to you, that cuddles with you.
The one that gets down on her knees at night and thanks anyone that will listen for all we are grateful for
all that we are sorry for
all the patience that we ask for.
The one who is not stern
not angry
not waking up anxious.
The one that knows love and shows love.
The one that loves and loves
the one that you can trust and turn to
the one that laughs with you for you
the one that has open arms and no judgments
the one that you trusted to take this ride with
the one that has always loved you.
The one that is not so serious.

2
Oct

Five Minute Friday - family

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 family.
Go.

It's defined by Friday night family movie night
with pizza
and the fireplace
and snuggles
and heavy blankets
and warmth
and laughter
and sometimes tears
and love
and snuggles
and holding hands
and holding on tight.

It's defined by Sunday breakfast
and pancakes
and music
and dancing
and gooey goodness
and too much food
and I love yous
and Olive Juice family flowing.

It's defined as tantrums
and mistakes
and I'm sorrys
and learning
and growing
and becoming who you want them to be
and tears of joy
tears of sadness
tears of frustration
tears of anger
tears of fear.

It's defined by a heavy weight
that sits on your soul
but makes you feel light as a feather.
It's defined by two worlds
two lives that contradict each other
but somehow fit.

It is defined by friendships
and those you get to pick to be your family.
And their laughter
and comfort
and light.

It is defined by finding your person.
Your rock
your stable
your balance
and learning and growing and changing with them.

It is defined by time.
And fleeting
and changes
and growing pains
and learning to let go of what was because of what is to come.

And yes,
it is defined by love.
Too much love
so much that it bursts and fixes all you have broken
all they have broken.
Love that binds
love that is always enough
love that means trust
and faith
and forgiveness
and honesty
and careful
and take care of me, be careful with me.

It is defined by what we created.
What we wished and wanted.
It is what I have been searching my whole life for,
family.

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