29
Jul

Marriage

It's like I am staring at a puzzle and the pieces are all there.
I can see them right out in front of me, scattered all over the table.
I know that if I start to arrange them "properly" if I get them a little organized I can start to see the picture come to life.
And some days, I am able to put part of that huge puzzle together.
Some days I am able to work on it and there is almost an ease because once a few pieces fall into place, others are more clearly seen.
Some days I can quickly figure out that I need to have the border done first to get the foundation.
I understand that the foundation is key.
And then from there, the colors of the picture come to life.
From that strong foundation holding all the jagged pieces together, they just find their way to beauty.

But some days the puzzle looks like a heap, almost a mountain to climb.
Some days, the puzzle is insurmountable.
Some days ot looks so large and scary I don't know where to start.
Instead, I don't start.
Instead, I feel like just throwing the pieces all over the place.
I destroy the work I put in.
I get too confused and I cannot focus.
I get frustrated and hold this resentment as if I am the only one working on the damn thing.
Because in my angry world, I am the only one.

But my angry world doesn't get to be the way life always is.
Because I find my way back, I have to, I have to come home again.

Some days, it is friends or framily or family that is telling me, this fits here.
Place this one piece here, it fits.
And most days, it is you.
Eye to eye, nose to nose, and face to face,
you are telling me that it fits, we fit.
And because of you, I find my way back.
That's how I always know I am not the only one working away.
Because it is you that brings us back.
It is you that forces me to sit down, pick up one more piece and place it where it belongs.
It is you that reaches for me, reminds me of us.
It is you that actually does most of the picking up, even if I am the one that made the mess to begin with.

Here come the cliches...
Marriage is beautiful.
Marriage is work.
Marriage is togetherness and lonely and sometimes those two exist together.
Marriage is this ride, an actual up and down ride.
A hold on to each other, don't let go of me because we are going over a huge bump ride.
A hold on to me because we are about to crash ride.
A hold on to me because the way up is taking my breath away and I need you ride.
And it's a book with chapter after chapter.
Some that look the exact same for so long you are screaming in your head for a change.
Some that look so different that you are screaming in your head for how it once was.
Some that are so boring that you can't breathe.
Some that are so exciting that you can't breathe.
Some that are so loving tears pour out of you.
Some that are so scary, so harmful, so hurtful that tears pour out of you.
And ours is no different.

So, once again I sit down at the table.
I pick up another piece.
I remind myself of the foundation and I build the edges.
I remind myself that all the pieces are there.
Love.
Patience.
Respect.
Grace.
A loving heart.
A gracious heart.
Pride.
Aweness.
Comfort.
Touch.
Hand holding.
Toe touching.
Smooches.
Talking.
Listening.
Leaning.
They are all there.
And I get to work.

As I do, I remind myself
this puzzle isn't only worth it,
it's not only going to remind me that we can do it, or how gorgeous it is,
it's the only thing that matters.
Because we fit.

8
Jul

I am better, with you.

Find your circle
find your family
find your framily
find those that make you better and hold on, never let them go.
Surround yourself with those that make you the best you.

Because mom did and it has been why I am able to do
be
breathe
become
create
do more
ask more of myself
because everywhere I turn I can say...

You make me better,
a better person,
a better mom,
a better bride.
I am better with you.

You make my eyes wake up,
you allow my feet to touch the ground,
even on cold and early days.

You make me a better person.

You make me forgive quickly, you help me come back to reality.
You laugh at my crazy with me
you make me feel not so crazy.
I am better with you

You made me believe in something big.
You made me believe in family.
You made me believe in love at first sight.
You made me believe in happily ever after.
You made me believe people care.

You make me joyful.
You make me seek joy.
You make me smile bigger,
laugh a little harder.
I am better with you.

There are people that will come and go.
There are people that leave on purpose.
There are people you will push out.
There will be people that you love but life gets too busy.
There will be people you wish lived closer.
There will be times you feel lonely.
There will be times you feel whole.
There will always be people that make you feel worse.
There will always be people that try and step on you.
There will always be people that make themselves feel better by making you feel bad.
But, not your circle.
Not the real family you need in your life.
Not the real framily you create.
Not the ones that you decide, this is who I belong with.

So, go and find those you can honestly say...
I am better, with you.

17
Jun

Adventure day with dad

In case you missed his amazing adventure days, here is the post he wrote:

Adventure Day with Dad

He is a good father because he worries that he isn't.
He is a good father because he enjoys their milestones as much as they do.
He is a good father because he grows with them, he doesn't push away or pull towards.
He is a good father because he sees all their potential and wants and wants and wants for that.
He is a good father because he basks in where they are, right now, here today, he basks in it.
He is a good father because parenthood was always a part of his story.
He is a good father because he cares about them.
He is a good father because he thinks of them, he wants to see them smile.
He is a good father because he plans their adventure days.
He is a good father because he plans their vacations.
He is a good father because he plans their activities.
He is a good father because he plans their birthdays.
He is a good father because he isn't a planner but he is for them.
He is a good father because he loved them even before he met them.
He is a good father because he knew they would come to us.
He is a good father because he plays with them, really plays with them.
He is a good father because he reads to them.
He is a good father because he taught them to ride their bike.
He is a good father because his summer is all about them.
He is a good father because he is.

25
Mar

My hardest step

I set goals
and deadlines
I like to think about my future and where I am headed
where I want to be
what I want to focus on.

Since I was little, I had a goal.
I focused all my effort and attention on one thing.
And at 21, I made it.
Goal...game set match, I was done.
Somehow, I had forgotten to plan for the next thing.
I had forgotten to go past 21 and so I didn't know where to go or what to do next.
I was lost and confused and searching for me and a purpose.

So I did what I always do and I got to work.
Planning and planning
working harder and harder
keeping my future in my sights so I would never lose it again.

Until I met you and well you changed everything.
You happened at the exact time I was lost and getting myself back on track and you took me off the rails.
You made me take my hardest step,
the one in which I believe in me in a completely different way.
I no longer had to just believe in my determination
or in only my commitment
or in me being able to do everything alone.
It was now time to believe in myself as a part of a family.
It was time to believe I mattered as part of something.
It was time for me to believe in me, fear or no fear.
And so, I fell, for you, for us and as I took my hardest step, I believed.

And I started plugging away.
Happy, content, very comfortable.
Until I met you and well, you changed everything.
All over again.
You made me take my hardest step,
the one in which I believe in me in a completely different way.
Not only in my love but my ability to love in a way that no one dreams possible.
It was time to believe in me as a mother
and motherhood
and parenting
and it was now time to believe in me as part of a new family.
One that included a child
and sacrifice
and an outpouring of every emotion.
It was time to come to life as a mother.
It was time for me to believe in me, fear or no fear.
And so, I fell, for you, for us and as I took my hardest step, I believed.

And there I was, happy and content again.
Having this whole thing under control, because control matters to me and realizing that I kicked ass at motherhood mattered to me.
I was once again happy, content, very comfortable and filled with this overwhelming joy.
Until I met you and well, you changed everything.
All over again.
You made me take my hardest step,
the one in which our family is complete.
The one in which I have to say goodbye to little
goodbye to the last firsts
the one in which I become a velveteen mother.
It was time for me to believe in all that I had.
It was time for me to believe in myself, my ability to mother you, my experience and inexperience because you were determined to be different.
It was time to push through my wanting to run towards and away and back towards love.
It was time for me to believe in me, fear or no fear.
And so, I fell, for you, for us and as I took my hardest step, I believed.

I fell for each of you in a very real way.
I fell for your smile, the one that told me all would be ok.
I fell for your connection, the one that told me you were mine.
I fell for your love, the only love at first sight that I have ever felt.

You each made me take a step you didn't even realize I was taking,
my hardest step that had nothing to do with grit and determination.
This step had me believing in a different part of me.
A part that was all mush, all love, all warmth.

It was time for me to believe in me, fear or no fear.
And so, I fell, for you, for us and as I took my hardest step, I believed.

18
Mar

Thinking out loud

When your legs don't work like they used to before
And I can't sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?

It's a song that makes even our kids stop to smile
look at us and watch us melt right back into each other.
Because the day has come when we no longer look the part of the 2 kids that met
we have aches, pains, scars that have changed us.
But damn, we still smile from our cheeks.
Because when you meet family, you don't let go.

Because it started with a smile
a touch of a hand
that led to touching toes
and a lifetime of us.

So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I'm thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are

Our home is filled with love and chaos and fights and screams and mistakes.
Our home is filled with forgiveness and lessons and kindness, we finally found kindness again.
My home is in your warm loving arms
my nook that I sleep in every night
your smile of excitement and continuous joy
the one you found again.

Because it started with a smile
a touch of a hand
that led to touching toes
and a lifetime of us.

So, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Oh, darling, place your head on my beating heart
I'm thinking out loud
But maybe we found love right where we are

We found and lost and refound and reclaimed the love we forever had.
Right where we are, not where we will be tomorrow and certainly not where we were yesterday.
Instead, right where we stand, right where we are.

We found and lost and refound and reclaimed the love we forever had and will forever have.
Because you are my love.
Because you are my balance
because I realized that I now need to be your balance
because I finally realized that I have to be the joy and the soft and the calm
because I finally realized that it was my turn to take on what you have always been for me but just can't be right now.
And we found and reclaimed the love that we forever had and will forever have.

Because it started with a smile
a touch of a hand
that led to touching toes
and a lifetime of us.
And that's where we found love, right where we are.

11
Feb

I notice you

I am quick to remind you of all the things you're not doing.
I am quick to get annoyed.
I am quick to excuse it all with my exhaustion, my lack of patience, how I was raised.
But I am slow at figuring this all out.
Slow at seeing all you bring
all that is important to you and how you show love.
I am slow at the thank yous and I am never coming with the "I am sorry".

So, today, on my track to being different
today on my month of gratitude
I want to thank you for all you do.
For me
for us
for them
for the family.

Because I want you to know, I notice.
I notice you and all you do, I notice your smile when you look over at them.
I notice your happy face when he pulls out his Starwars guys
I notice your pride when she is working hard and not giving up
I notice you.

And I know, words don't resonate as much with you as they do with me,
but I think it's important to document my gratitude for all you do.
Like how you don't make me feel crazy for my crazy
like how you don't let me get away with it either
like how you are a doer, you always get stuff done for us
like how you have poured all of you into this house
like how you are the one he turns to in the middle of the night because "dad stays to snuggle longer"
like how you are the one she gets homework help from
like how you are patient with their learning
like how you see them for what they will become
like how you always saw them, even when I didn't
like how you were the first person to believe in me
like how you made me believe in love
like how you made me a mom
like how you never give up on us
like how you will never let us be angry forever
like how you always say sorry first
like how you need hugs
like how you tell me I'm still pretty
like how you tell me I am strong
like how you never question my hours
like how you never worry

I notice.
I notice all you do
I notice how much you work at all of this
I am proud of you
and I heart you.
I notice you, sweet love, I do.

28
Jan

When love becomes family.

You will fall madly deeply in love.
Not just once, but several times.
You will meet people that leave actual marks on your heart.
They will be with you always.
You will dream about them well into adulthood, that is what love does.
But, if you decide to be with someone, always and forever be with someone, I want to share some things with you, and them.

First, I promise to find room in my heart for those you pick to love.
Your dad won't even have to work at this, it will come naturally for him.
Me, I will make it my mission to not be crazy
and love them
because you do.

I also realize that when you fall in love you bend and mold with them.
I promise I will not remind you that you are changing and making that seem bad because you should be.
We all grow with our person to become the best version of us.

I will also be the one to tell you if it feels off.
I will also call you out on your crazy
because forever is work.
Even when you are so in love you can't imagine it, forever is work.

Your mom and dad are deeply madly and forever in love with one another.
We are not perfect, because nothing is.
We are not without faults, blame or mistakes, we have made so many.
But, we always come back to us because there is something here that is worth it.
And that something is family.

People will tell you to be with your best friend
be with someone that makes you laugh
be with someone that challenges you
opposites attract
find your foundation
find someone to share things with
find common ground
find your soul mate.
All of it and none of it is true.

Find your family.
Find your person.
Find your connection that cannot be defined in any other way.
That is how you know.
They are family and you can't walk away from family.

There are many things that work for me and dad
like he is my balance, I am his.
We do have a strong foundation of common interests that were there from the beginning.
Your dad introduced me to things I didn't even realize I would love but I do, like being a sports fan
like home projects
like parenting.
He does make me laugh, even when I am mad, he makes me laugh.
I am a better person when I am with him, so is he.
He does challenge me, I do the same for him.
We show our love
we are affectionate
we tell each other how much we love each other
he won't allow either of us to walk away, I won't allow us to stand still.

There are many things we work at and on...
I need to be kinder, specifically to him and me.
I don't make him laugh, I'm just not that funny, he is just fine with that.
We do things very differently and drive each other crazy in the process.
I yell, he now does too.
I am a ball of stress, he now is too.
We fight, too much.

But, we are family and I never once felt differently.
From the moment we met, there was a familiarity with him, a connection that washed over me in a way that I hadn't experienced before.
He was my comfort, he made me feel at ease.
My body actual took a breath when I met him.
It melted and the anger, anxiety and hurt I had been carrying, it melted too.

And even through the dark times, that doesn't go away.
You can be angry with someone
you can not like them
you can need space from them
you can lose a feeling of warmth
but you never lose the feeling of family.

I don't know if we will be your compas
I don't know if you will look to us as what to look for
but if you do, this is the one thing that we did right.
We found family and never let go.

So, whoever you end up with, whoever you decide to share your life with
don't think about anything
don't search and search for a reason
don't weigh the pros and cons
don't think about their faults, their abilities
just go find your family and hold on for the ride.

We did.

14
Jan

One clap

Sweet Cole,

There was a time when you would tell people how much you loved them through claps.
We would ask how much you loved anything and you would tell us by clapping and the amount of joy this brought you was incredible.
It started with one clap and then you quickly caught on that you can add to the claps depending on how much love you were feeling.
One clap meant love.
Four claps meant SO much love!
How much do you love me?...one clap
How much do you love Mia?...one to two claps.
How much do you love that breakfast...again and again.
And again and again and again.
It was adorable.
Sometimes you would say it...
"I love you 3 claps"
Most times you would show us.

And so, the little dance began...
how much do you love me...one clap
how much do you love dad...four claps
and the funniest part is then you would always finish with
mom, I love dad four and you one
as if I wasn't there to watch it all.

I would feign jealousy
COLE! Only one clap for me and 4 for dad??
But the truth is, I just loved it.

Who do you want to go with today?
Dad.
Dad has to run to the store.
Can I come?
Dad, can we have an epic battle today?
Dad, can I help?
Dad, want to play with me?

Dad.
Dad.
Dad.

And I adore every single moment of it.
See, you are a small version of dad.
You are him, inside and out.
You have his smile, his eyes, his heart, his soul, his messy everything, his love for food, his joy.

And being around the crazy whirlwind you are might be taking your dad down to his knees
but for me, I adore it.
I adore your crazy mess, because it is my balance and reminds me that none of it matters.
And, it's making me fall in love with dad all over again.
You remind me of the joy that I fell in love with.
You make me laugh, your soul is so new, you love this life.

Dad.
Dad.
Dad.

You follow him around.
When he is working on a project, you grab your toolbox.
When he is making food you have to "help".
You play like him, loud and toys crashing into each other.
You get so messy like him, food all over you, always dirty.
You eat like him, always hungry, always needing more.
You sleep like him, tossing and turning.
You can't sit still, like him.
You need to get out of the house like him.
You can't hear like him.
You break things like him.
You lose things like him.
You make people melt with a smile like him.
You ruin your eyeglasses like him.
You have a big heart, like him.
Small things make you laugh so hard, like him.
You love with everything you have, like him.
You are emotional like him.
You love to play like him.
You love a new anything, like him.
You are sweet and kind, like him.

Dad.
Dad.
Dad.

He is your best buddy.
He is your everything.
You have to physically be touching him most of the time.

So, I pretend to be jealous.
I pretend to be sad.
I pretend but the truth is, I could watch you two all day.
I could live on the outside of your little world together and I fall in love with you both, over and over.

So, I understand why he is four claps and I am one.

7
Jan

Here's to us

Here is to almost 18 years of us.
From page to page, chapter to chapter, book to book to book.
I have loved writing our story even during the times when the chapters were glum.

So here's to the years we were happily dating.
Here's to the years we have been married.
Here's to the years of family, the one we wanted and created.
Here's to the ups the downs the highs and the lows.
Here's to the boring, the awful the scary and the thrilling.
Here's to us.

Here's to our vows, the ones we made to one another.
The ones we cling to.
The ones we swore to.
The ones that light our way in the dark.
Here's to our concerns, our wishes, our hopes.
Here's to our wants, our needs, our fulfillment.
Here's to us.

Here's to our wedding bands, the ones I still look at and feel as though it can't be real.
Here's to the day you got down on one knee and asked me to take on forever with you.
Here's to me feeling that was always our path, ring be damned.
Here's to us.

Here's to our friendship.
The one we have to remind ourselves of when we don't like each other that much.
Here's to our foundation and our love for movies and concerts and sports and board games and playing cards.
Here's to our love of close friends and times of laughter.
Here's to us.

Here's to my worry.
Here's to all that scares me.
Here's to the one I need to feel safe.
Here's to my crazy, the crazy you balance.
Here's to us.

Here's to you never giving up on me or us.
Here's to me never giving up on you or them.
Here's to you reminding me how important we are.
Here's to me reminding you that sometimes we need to be more.
Here's to me pushing the status quo.
Here's to you being content in the boring.
Here's to us.

Here's to half a decade of wrong and trouble.
Here's to the reminder of lessons learned and mistakes made.
Here's to the apologies and tears.
Here's to us.

Here's to your hugs, the ones that you want to melt everything away.
Here's to feeling safe together.
Here's to touching toes and snuggles on the coach.
Here's to your nook, the one that belongs to me.
Here's to holding hands with my boyfriend and husband.
Here's to us.

Here's to your socks that I love to wear even though it drives you nuts.
Here's to the sweaters I have shrunk and claimed as my own.
Here's to my boyfriend sweatshirts
and to all of the sports shirts I know own because I met you.
Here's to us.

Here's to all of my planning.
Here's to all of your doing.
Here's to my determination and grit and drive.
Here's to your calming me down, but being my handyman in all of this.
Here's to your amazing work, love, and attention poured into our home.
Here's to my eye, and yours.
Here's to our vision of forever home
forever us.

Here's to us.

17
Dec

I lost my hum

There is something that happens when you say yes to everything.
There is something that happens when you think, sure, I can do that too.
There is something that happens when you keep on going and forget to eat, or breathe or think.
You lose your hum.

There is something that happens when you don't delegate.
There is something that happens when you take control of it all.
There is something that happens when you keep plugging along.
There is something that happens when you keep adding to your plate.
You take other things away.
You make your priorities out of whack.
And in the end, you lose your hum.

I first heard someone describe the hum on a Ted Talk and as soon as she opened, I immediately cried.
Tears of anguish
tears of guilt
tear of understanding
tears of being understood
tears of heartbreak
tears of wanting a different life
tears of realizing how beautiful my life is if only I stopped to look.

But, there is something that happens when you don't stop to look
you lose your hum.

I have acknowledged the hum before but in five minutes, I couldn't exactly dig deep...
So, here is how the hum goes...
I introduce myself by the number of hours I work in a week.
I wear it like a badge of honor.
I define my life by it.
Because a mom that loves her work and loves to work has to justify it, to someone and everyone.
And I do love to work.
I love working
I love the joy, the accomplishment, the tasks, the wave, the ride, the emotions, the winning.
I love to work.
It makes sense to me, I love that there is a right and wrong answer.
I love that I can get better at it.
I love that math makes the world seem real and I understand it.
I love that I get to be good at something.
I love to work.
And so, I do it all of the time.
I do it in my sleep
I do it instead of other things
I do it instead of things that I am worried I am not good at
I do it instead of sitting in quiet
I do it all of the time.

And the harder I worked, the better I got, the higher up I was promoted, the more work I was responsible for
and the hum got louder
and the harder I worked
and the more I was promoted
and the more I was responsible for
and the hum got louder
and so on and so on and so on.
Until, there was nowhere else to go.
And I was doing so much of the work
and I am a hard worker so she can do that too
and I won't let it fail so I work harder
and I won't give up so I keep going
and the hum got louder.

And then one day, it was gone.
The hum, the drive, the determination.
I lost my hum.
Suddenly, none of it made sense.
None of it seemed right.
Suddenly I was filled with regrets and what ifs and I should haves and what did I do and resentment and anger.
Because the hum made me think and feel
the hum was my guide.

So, I doubled down and searched everywhere for the hum.
I hear it when I am working, so I will work harder.
I hear it when the work makes sense so let me stay right here until it all makes sense.
I hear it when everything comes into focus so let me stare at the problem, I can find a solution again.
I just need to work harder.
But the hum was gone.
And I went into mourning.
I mourned a loss.
Of my work
my time
what I sacrificed
what I allowed to be sacrificed
I mourned me.

And then, I rooted to rise.
I ground down to rise up
and I found a new definition.
I found a new badge to wear.
I found other things to be proud of
and I learned to find a hum in different places.

It is still my go to
and when things get stressful and work becomes overwhelming
I still put my head down and forget to come up for air.
It is only when my depleted and exhausted and angry body climbs out of bed in the dark that I realize
I am here again.
I am in the bad place and I have to set a different plan in motion.
I have to determine a time, a limit.
I have to set a schedule of I will allow this for this amount of time and then,
I find my hum someplace else.

I cannot do it all
I cannot say yes to all
I cannot be it all
but I can still love the work
and the life.
I can say yes to my kids
I can read to them
I can train with them
I can journal with them
I can play board games
I can comb their hair
I can have quiet snuggles
I can be present when I am with them
I can make this life I asked for lovely
I can find my hum.

This Ted Talk changed me...http://www.ted.com/talks/shonda_rhimes_my_year_of_saying_yes_to_everything

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