29
Mar

I see

We play I spy in the car a lot. It always starts out kind of cute and time makes it drag on too much. Now, I'm playing my own kind of I spy and you guys aren't really all that aware.

I see a lot of families going for walks together.

A lot of siblings playing together.

A whole bunch of family games being played in backyards.

I see families gathered outside by a fire.

I see them cooking together.

I see friends finding each other and supporting each other and sending smiles any way they can.

I see communities coming together.

I see the world getting smaller.

I see real leaders stepping up.

I see love, a lot of it.

I see worry lines and tired faces.

I see loved ones leaning on each other.

I see priorities getting clearer.

I see A LOT of family time.

I see introverts living their best lives.

I see introverts hiding under covers.

I see people trying to do anything they can to help.

I see love, a lot of it.

I see books being devoured.

I see binge-watching at its finest.

I see liquor stores doing quite well.

I see house projects being completed.

I see workouts getting a new routine.

I see happy pets.

I see love, a lot of it.

I see kiddos reading to each other.

I see siblings going from a loving moment to screaming matches in seconds.

I see forts being built.

I see a ton of Legos...everywhere I turn.

I see family puzzles.

I see family dinners.

I see BBQs in March.

I see couples working together.

I see love, a lot of it.

15
Dec

Full circle

Lovies, things are starting to come full circle. It's the end of a very long year, the end of three very long years, the end of 20 incredible but forever long years. And, I tried really hard to embrace change this year. But, what ended up happening instead, is I got stuck a lot.

I have no idea how you guys will deal with change. Part of me thinks you will struggle because I raised you to love a tradition and love the consistency of knowing what is ahead. Part of me thinks you will be fine because it never hits you as hard...you rebound pretty well. But for me, change is so brutal I had to actually make it my word for an entire year to remind myself that it is also inevitable. I can never ever think it just won't happen and hide. It always finds all of us.

And just this week, there were three reminders of why I have to embrace the change that will always come our way.

First, I made a decision to stop long races for a while and enjoy running for the love of running. I started a new route, one by the lake right by our house. I never went this way before because it was a little scary, the road can be a little desolate and I was always worried. But, I started to go this way with our Pearl girl with me...and she loves it. And turns out, I love it too. I changed my mind and now really look forward to this little route. And this fall, this stretch really brought me back, made me stop and stare. It made me really ground my feet and take a deep breath and take it all in. I don't know if we had an incredible fall or if I was finally embracing the change that comes with the season but running this road full of falling gorgeous color with a puppy who was actually smiling because she was so happy made me appreciate the change.

Then, last week, the lake was just gorgeous water, as it has been all fall. I run around it and really try to see it for what it is, this incredible view I get right by my house. One I always shied away from, until I made a change. And then, one week later, the temps dropped and the lake turned to solid ice and it was a gorgeous mirror. It looked exactly like glass. It actually made me stop in my tracks because I was blown away by how in only one week, it could change that much.

Well, the very next day, the temps went way up, and the lake became marble. The cracks in the ice made it look like someone's beautifully hand-picked marble, but for as far as your eye can see. And since it was so warm, there was this layer of water sitting on top of it...all in one days time.

Change can be beautiful guys. I'm sure most normal people know this, realize it, move forward with it. I'm sure most normal people, especially grownups, don't throw actual tantrums over it, don't try and desperately hold on to things. I'm sure most people realize growing up that everything changes and you have to be really flexible. That's all part of maturing. All part of what your mom never really dipped her toe into.

As small as this was, or may seem, for me, this was a moment. This was me going with it, appreciating it, and loving the changes. Maybe I always would have, maybe I would have gotten there without dedicating a solid year to the word, maybe I would have seen it for the beauty it really is...maybe not. Maybe I needed a year of hardship, at times torture, loss of control, loss of myself, finding myself again, losing things I really cared about, finding my way back to them too...to finally get to this place. Change can be really beautiful. And your mamma has come full circle.

3
Nov

It's simple to find little things

This week, I read a beautiful post from a wonderful woman who spoke on how it can be so simple to find little things in this world to make you smile. Make you happy. Make you slow down a little, appreciate a little more. She set out a challenge...find what makes you keep going. Write that shit down. Make yourself remember the things that make you feel like you are living, actually living. Things that breathe life back into you, make you so content, comfortable, and at home. So, I made a list. And not my regular "get this done" list but instead, a make yourself remember there are so many things to be happy and appreciative of list. This is my list of love.

  • Rain…the sound, the smell, the clouds, the gray, the dark.
  • Waking up before anyone especially if it’s still dark out.
  • But also, sleeping and napping at all hours, any time of day.
  • The heaviest of blankets.
  • The smell on my hubby’s chest, it smells like home.
  • My kids’ actual belly laugh.
  • My puppers kisses and hugs…because I have a dog that gives actual hugs.
  • Seeing my husband love on our dog.
  • Seeing my husband belly laugh at our kids.
  • Pop-tarts…for real though.
  • Looking through old pics of the kids.
  • My fireplace and how much my puppy loves the fireplace.
  • How much my puppy loves her crate.
  • How much my puppy loves her family and you can physically see it!
  • The glow of soft lights.
  • Coffee, I have such a deep-rooted love for coffee.
  • A lit candle.
  • My bathtub.
  • A good robe.
  • The sound of a bat as it hits a ball, that crack gets me.
  • The look of a grown man’s face when he is so happy you can actually see the little boy in him.
  • Watching basketball, especially college, most especially with my family.
  • Long runs when I have 0 training scheduled, because I'm just running for the love of running.
  • The very end of yoga because laying down is my favorite.
  • Waking up and realizing I have so many more hours of sleep ahead of me but I’m not struggling to fall back to sleep. Because again, I love to sleep!
  • A really good kiss, because you are a really good kisser, even decades after our first. 
  • This fall, I don't know if I was just ready to really watch it all happen this year or if this fall has been especially exceptional but we really do live in an amazing area. I feel like we are living in a movie about a place that has a beautiful fall. There are leaves everywhere, the air is crisp but still warm, the colors are gorgeous…it has been magic.
  • Family bike rides and family walks with the puppy.
  • Playing a game together as a fam, I just love spending time with you guys. 
  • A gray day.
  • A new snowfall.
  • Snowshoeing!
  • Watching the kids sleep.
  • Holding hands.
  • Quiet.

I have so much to love on every single day. I need to remember how lucky I am and how much good I can find in my days. It is not always easy, I focus a lot on what I can be doing, should be doing, could do differently, need to work on and lists that look so different. But this list, this is a list we can all make and all take in. And slow the hell down and remember that life gives you reasons to smile. Life gives you reasons to slow down, you just have to take a breath and remember that your own list is there for you.

3
Mar

What happened?

Do you ever look around and think, how did we get here? What decisions did we make along the way that got us to this spot? I think about it a lot because I remember it being exactly what we always wanted.

Remember when you knew exactly what you wanted to do, exactly what you wanted to be when you grew up? And then, all be damned, you went and did it. You knew when you were nine and then you became the thing you always wanted. Every day, you're doing it, you're getting to go in and be all you ever wanted to be...remember?

Remember when my work and the mission and the agency and the mission and the work and the agency and the work were all that I could ever dream about? Remember when I left the first time, how sad I was to walk away from something that I believed in so much, with all my heart so much. Remember how when I got back I felt like I was home, exactly where I belonged. And then as I got more and more involved and more and more into it, remember how much more I loved it...remember?

Remember when you told me we were going to be parents? You knew, you always and forever knew they were a part of our story? Remember how you said it...we're having kids, it will be fine, you will love them, we are going to be parents. Remember when before they got here how we would talk about them? Their names, what they would look like, how we would handle this scenario or that, who would do what, when we would do this all? I remember, I would stare at you and wonder if they would get your eyes, or your smile? I would hope for my hair and green eyes are pretty too. Remember the few months it didn't work how heartbroken we were? Remember how much it physically hurt? Like they were somehow taken from us. That, by the way, that was how I knew you were right, I did want this. I wanted them before they came. You always wanted them...remember?

Remember how we could not imagine life without Mia? Remember how we would talk about it, we knew it would happen and we would wonder how and who and reactions and life after and timing? Remember how we thought you would be the strong one, I didn't even know if I could be there? Remember how she was our one and only for so so so so long? She was our reason, what we came home to, what we worried about, what we poured love into. Remember how I would joke that she would hate our kids, how mad she would be? Remember how everyone told me I would love her less once they got here, except I knew it would only make me love her more...remember?

Remember the promises we made...better or worse, sickness and health, together, strong...touching toes and holding hands kind of strong? Remember how eyes wide open I thought we went into parenting? Remember how easy it was to love each other, how silly the fights were, how walking away didn't seem ever possible? Remember how we always felt like family...remember?

So, we did it. You know, we really did it. All the big and little dreams. The ones like homes and careers and kids and moves. The ones like easy mornings with coffee and traditions that bind and movies that still define who we are. The ones like everyday living and big life planning. The ones like saying goodbye to our one and only and welcoming in a puppy that is a lover of love. The ones like adding kids and even more love and hearts growing. The ones like heartache and fights that shake us and how it takes actual effort and holding on to not walk away now. The ones like how your nook is still my spot, the ones like how we expanded our arms to fit them all in. The ones like hearts exploding and breaking and how love and time continue to put all the pieces back together again.

We did it, all we ever wanted, all we ever wished and dreamed for so we can look around and just be so thankful. Thankful that they are healthy. Thankful that we have space to fight over a parental decision or reaction. Thankful that it's messy. Thankful that it's loud. Thankful that they are good kids. Thankful that we do somethings with them right. Thankful that saying goodbye to Mia was so painful and we knew that pain only because we did love her as hard as we could. Thankful that we allowed Pearl in. Thankful that you convinced me this was our story to tell, thankful that you convinced me to have not just one but two little faces. Thankful that I convinced you to add another puppy and thankful that you said yes. Thankful for the work we wanted being our lives. Thankful for growing into bigger dreams for us. Thankful for the house turned home, the one we built together. Thankful for your ability to do anything, thankful for mine to want to tackle everything. Thankful for laughter, thankful for the tears, thankful for the fits of anger that crumble, and the hugs that heal. Thankful for all the smooches to end our day, thankful because we did it.

What happened was that we made it. We got our wish, so although that doesn't mean we stop, we can at least take a beat and say, we landed in the place we always wanted to be.

17
Feb

I love you because...

Each year, I hang little notes of why. Why I love you to bits. Reminders that we all need of what we possess that others notice, what and why others love us. I can't even begin to explain what having you has meant, has done, has changed. Your dad always knew you would be a part of our story, I needed way more convincing and we are just so lucky to get to do this with you, for you.

Bella, I love you because...

You always try.
You are a book worm.
You run with me.
You really love Pearl.
You miss Mia.
You care about your friends.
You love our traditions and demand them as much as I do.  
When you laugh, you do it with your whole body.
You love family movie nights.
We share books together.
You kiss noses.
You love to learn.
You work at the piano and you sound so lovely.
You love your family.
You are my Valentine.
Love, mom.

Anna, I love you because...
Because of your love of books.
You are an amazing artist.
You are open to trying new things.
Love, dad.

Anna, I love you because...
You are a rock star!
You love Pearl.
You have the best singing voice.
Love, Cole.


Monkey, I love you because...
Your heart is always full.
You are a very good friend.
You care about school.
You are an amazing little brother.
You are dad's best buddy.
You love with all of your heart and know no other way.
You love food and dance when you eat.
You give me little guys.
You are a great student.
Everyone who meets you knows you have an amazing heart.
You have dad's gorgeous eyes and smile.
You make us laugh.
You love love.
You are my Valentine.
Love, mom.

Buddy, I love you because...
Because of your kind heart.
Because you are my best buddy.
Because you are a great little brother.
Love, dad.

Coley, I love you because...
You are silly!
You are there for me.
You work to reach your goals.
Love, Anna.

Coach, I love you because...
You work so hard on our house and I love to show you off for it.
You have always believed in our kids and you won't settle for anything but their best.
You believe in me.
Our kids look like you and you are so handsome.
You took a chance on yourself.
You are my Valentine.
Love, your bride.

Dad, I love you because...
You share Harry Potter with me.
You share stories with me.
You work hard and never stop till you get there.
Love, Anna.

Daddy, I love you because...
You read Strange Scouts to me.
You are my best buddy.
Love, Coley.

Pearl girl, we all love you!
Because you are the best lover of love.
You love to play outside.
You're snuggly and give great hugs.
Because you run to the door when I walk in.
Because you love our family.
Because you love the snow.
Because you're cute.
Because you ring the bell to go out.
Because you love the fireplace.

Mom, we love you too...
You give me back scratches. Love, Cory
You are beautiful. Love, Cory
You never give up on me. Love, Cory
I love your love of naps. Love, Cory
You buy us stuff that makes us a matching family like PJs! Love, Anna
You are smart. Love, Anna
You love Cape Cod. Love, Anna
You love me. Love, Cole
You are great. Love, Cole
You're the best mom. Love, Cole
You are a fiercely loyal friend. Love, Cory
You work hard all day long. Love, Anna.
Your heart is so full mom. Love, Cole
You work very hard mom. Love, Cole
You are relentless in the pursuit of your goals. Love, Cory
You snuggle with me. Love, Anna
I just love you. Love, Cory

I just love you all too. Love, me

30
Dec

Change

Close your eyes, fall asleep and stay there. Something that has always been so simple, is so simple. But for me, I am always up, my heart racing, and I have been missing sleep. I am struggling to stay there, and I know why. All of my worries, concerns, and stress are waking me up and telling me I can't. Nothing can change, it all has to stay the same.

That's what time added up over years and years that have led to a decade over a decade does, it makes you too comfortable. It allows you to fall into a routine, your routine, and it hates change. And I hate change, I hate things changing, I always have. But that's okay, I have come to realize, it all has to change.

2018 was my year of different. It was my year of trying and retrying and making things happen. I stumbled, I thought I fell, I thought I was lost, but I regained consciousness and I kept going. I built each month on a different theme and I followed through, I built a year around words and actions. I built who I need to be and I remembered who I always was. I got myself ready for this moment and now, everything has to change.

Everything has to change because everything always changes and it is time this stuck in the routine girl, the one that keeps going in the same direction using the same tools, has to take a very different route. It's time for this woman who hates change to embrace it. And what better way than to make it my word for the whole year?

I will start with you my little faces. It starts with changing our busy routine and grounding into us.

January will be all about family time, even if it's moments each day, ending our day all together, all calm and allowing light to be our only guide. January will be a change to how we end our day.

February will be a change of heart with our letters of love. But this year, the whole family will get involved. A gentle reminder of why you are important, why I am important, why we need each other.

March will be a change in attitude. I will learn how to meditate and ground myself. I need this, my year might be an uphill battle but change is coming and change is good and my responsibilities are shared. I am not in this, any of this, alone. I need to stay grounded, follow my breath, allow the air to move in and out. I need to find a way to put my head on the ground and remember that I am only one and the world does not fall all on me. I will find peace within myself, not outward, but from within. March will be a change in attitude.

April will be a change with my relationship with joy. I will find a way to reconnect with joy and find it in my path every single damn day. I will remind myself that all of this sacrifice is for the ultimate which is joy. Not happiness which is planning for the future, but joy which is present in the here and now.

May will be a change to put aside the big and bold and more and a reminder to focus on the little. The little things in life, the little all around me, the little that is changing and becoming more and more big.

Junewill be to change my relationship with sleep. Once a week I will go to bed with my kiddos. I will close my eyes as my children are and I will be swept away into dream land. I will be okay with the amount of sleep my tired body needs.

July, I will be halfway there, I have made it halfway and I've got this. So June will be to change my relationship with stress. I will find ways to cope that are out of the box, I will find a way out of my own head.

August will be to find my style and dress with how I am most comfortable and feel like my best self.

September will be to connect with me, what I do well, how my year is going, what changes I need to make right away.

October will be to learn a new skill! I have been dying to learn how to use my camera for six years, this is finally the time!

November will be to change my view on resentment and let go of the black and dark I hold. Say goodbye to grudges and move on. Be okay with letting go and move on to all that matters.

December will be to decompress and a chance to reflect and see what other changes I need to make as I walk into a new life, a new purpose a new chapter.

Change I am ready for you, I am embracing you, I am an all in girl and I am all in with the changes I need to make. Each and every step will bring me closer to me, hold me closer to who I am, bring me closer to you. With tender love I say goodbye to you 2018. You were glorious and scary, you were full and lonely, you were my preparation and I am now ready.

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.

21
Jan

Pearls of wisdom

We were heartbroken when we said goodnight to our Mia.
We felt this empty void of love.
We felt lost and searching.
We lost our reason.
But, we also needed time.
Time to let her go, time to heal, time to feel like she was really gone and what that actually looks like.
We needed to give her memory time.

Mia was always wise.
She was all-knowing and felt energy.
She felt a room, was connected to our feelings and lead us towards each other, kept us close.
She was an old soul.
She was my reason.

But Pearl, she is so new.
She is so excited.
She is so all loving.
She too keeps us all close.
But even in the new and wide-eyed puppy love that she is...
she comes with her own pearls of wisdom.

Like to love the entire family.
To find comfort in warmth.
To exercise so you don't go crazy.
To give so many kisses you knock people over.
To hug, always hug.
To not accept no as an answer to an offering of comfort and love.
To be affectionate.
To be excited.
To greet with enthusiasm.
To be loving.
To want to be around those you love and sad when you can't be.
To demand walks in life.
To play so much you smile.
To run wild.
To run towards love so hard you can't stop and skid right into it.
To nuzzle those you love and even those you don't.
To be ready to learn.
To be eager to make those around you happy.
To love food.
To demand attention and affection.
To stand up for your family and warm them when danger comes close.
To sit and wait for something you want, it is always worth it.

This new love is full of her own wisdom.
Maybe not one that comes from being old and all-knowing
but one that comes from new and exciting.
She has mended broken hearts.
She is demanding of our time and pulls us back home, where we belong.

She comes with her very own pearls of wisdom and I am learning from her.

24
Sep

Blankets

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

Blankets are my security.
They are my go-to for snuggles and comfort and warmth and feeling secure.
Bad day? I wrap a blanket around myself and settle in.
Having a crisis? The warmth of a blanket can make it all feel ok.
Bad breakup? The comfort of a blanket feels like loving arms.
Feeling sick? Blankets make you feel instantly warmer, getting better.
I have blankets all over my house.
Extra ones hiding in all sorts of places.
At night, I need to feel the weight of a blanket on me, keeping me tucked in.
Blankets have always been important to me.
They are significant, they have meaning in my world.

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

When I went away to college, my experience wasn't "normal".
I left home and went to college.
I left behind a family
a house
a familiar surrounding
a situation
and a life.
A life I knew, even if I wasn't in love with it, even if it wasn't the one I wanted, it was all that I knew.
And I landed in a college that felt like a warm blanket around me.
It's how I always describe my college, my experience there.
I felt taken care of and comforted, it felt familiar, homey.
And for a girl that was stepping into fear, she needed this comfort.
And for a woman that would continue to walk through fear, I continue to use blankets for protection.

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

When I met my person, it was so easy between us.
I instantly felt safe, I felt his joy, and that too covered me in warmth and comfort.
He felt like the most amazing blanket, keeping me protected from the darkness.
He was my light, my warmth, my security.
And I knew, right away, he was it.
He always kept me warm, always kept safe, always kept me feeling perfectly covered.
He was my blanket.

Because wrapped up in a blanket, I feel loved, I feel calm, I feel good about my life.
I feel taken care of, I feel nurtured.
I feel like I can concentrate on the moment.
I am here, not rushing off to a million places, I am here.

And then last week a friend told me about a book he was reading and how a quote hit him hard...
...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

Because now, I am that blanket for others.
I am the one who is covering you up in love, in security, in safe.
But, no parent can cover it all.
Even though I work so hard on intentionality with my kids.
Especially since they have hit school years and I feel like important memories and words are sticking, it's more and more important that I am not reacting to them.
That I am not white on rice with them.
That I am listening more than speaking.
That I am answering questions honestly.
That I am there, really present with them.

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

But, days get long.
Patience runs out.
It feels like nothing is getting done
and you just can't cover it all.

You can't be everywhere.
You can't be everything.
You can't do everything.
You can't always be kind.
You can't always speak with intention.
The blanket is too small and something, someone, is being left out in the cold.

But, not to them.
They don't think that I am stretched too thin.
Because even if I'm too small for me, I am still the biggest most comforting blanket for you.
I am who you want when you are cold
sad
lonely
bored
scarred
worried
sick.
I am your warmth and comfort and protection from the cold.

No matter how small I feel, you see me as able, enough.
You see me as heavy and sturdy and strong enough to continue to stretch from corner to corner.
You never feel I am not covering every corner.
I am the one now wrapping you in comfort.
I have become a blanket for your life.

And just like dad is for me, I always will be the warmth and comfort you need.

21
May

Pearl Rose

Hi sweet love, it's mom.
It's hard to believe but it's been over 6 months since we said goodnight to you.
And it's been sad, and it's been blue and it's been lonely.

And so, we decided it was time to heal, it was time to open our home to love.
And when I saw Pearl I fell in love.
So similar to when I met you, just seeing a picture of her, I knew she was ours.
Dad needed more time, he just wasn't sure.
Because another puppy that wasn't you, was too hard for him still.
Then he got his hands on her and it was moon and stars love.
But it brought you back up and made us think of you all of the time.

She would really like you, she misses other dogs.
She would really really have loved to play with you.
You, you would have put her in her place.
You would have taught her the way.
You would have shown her.

But, she is just wonderful.
And has brought so much love and light.
Because that is what we needed most.
We find ourselves saying Mia never, or Mia always, or when I was training Mia...
But Mia did her incredible job of raising us and it was her time.

Here is the biggest difference
she came to us with an 8 and almost 5 year old and she knows no different.
So, she loves them.
She sits by Anna and waits.
She sits outside her door
she sleeps on her lap
she has to be touching her.
She lets Cole lay on her, struggle to cuddle and smooch her.
She embraces his love of love.
She too loves loves.
She folds into people
she curls right up to their love and attention.

You were much more confident in you, you were not needy
and love from the kids, you were not interested because it was only our love that you were loyal to.

She knows her name now,
she is starting to finally understand potty training.
She is ringing her outside bell and knows that's the cue to go out.

She too hates the rain and the cold
she refuses to even put up with it.
She is playful, she too loves tug of war.
She loves to be snuggled, loves the comfort and safe.
She adores that fireplace that was your home for all of those years.
That is her forever spot.

She looks to us for what is right, she knows when she is being naughty and hides.
She is getting more brave, more confident, but she still is needy for love and attention.

It's been over six months and hearing the sound of paws has been the light our hearts needed.
Being attached physically to her has been good for my soul.
I have missed you, I will continue to miss you and I hope you like watching us with her,
knowing she hasn't replaced our love, but instead, brought it back out.

Welcome home Pearl Rose.
You are love.

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