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

27
Jan

Try and get better

You said to me, isn't the expression practice makes perfect? And NO, came shouting out of my mouth. There is no such thing sweet girl. So just know that practice will make you better, end of story. And that's why trying and trying again is so important. It's how you get better, even at hard things. But better never means perfect, sometimes it doesn't even mean your best, it just means better than before.

Because here's the 100% very ugly truth about me...

Did you know that after YEARS of doing yoga, I still look like the strangest person in the room and my form is still off? Did you know it's been over three years and I still can't do a handstand for more than a few seconds? Did you know that I can't do a headstand from a tripod position? Did you know that my balance is hit or miss just depending on the day? Did you know that with every "let's try this" I fall, sometimes right on my face? Did you know that I get repositioned, reset, even after all these years? But did you also know that when the instructor asks the room to try, I always do. I always at least try and then I work and work on it. Did you also know that I come home and quietly find space and time to keep working so that I get better.

Or, did you know that even though I have been running since I was 8, my feet flare out when I run and I look like a mad woman? That people know it's me without even having to see my face? That strangers come up to me in bars and ask if I run on their road because I am that memorable, my run is that memorable. Oh, and did I mention how incredibly slow I am while I run and how much I get passed by everyone? How right before and right after every half marathon, I cry. Nerves get in my head, I don't want to actually do it, how much it hurts, and how much I have to talk myself into it? Do you remember finding me on a curb, head between my legs, crying and hurting and unable to talk for a while? How every year, while getting ready to train, I actually dread it? But year after year, there I am, back at it, trying again and trying to hit my time again. Because when I turned 38 I hit my best run, my best time. I got better. And at 39 I got worse by at least 2 minutes but that doesn't mean I won't show up at 40.

Remember how I told you that I learned to swim when I was 37...weeks before my first triathlon? Well, did I also tell you that the classes were my version of torture? They were at 8pm at night, in the freezing cold pool, I was the worst at it, I didn't have goggles at first, I looked like a drowning rat, it was all horrible. The teacher was so annoyed with me, I couldn't get it, and she was actually worried about my tri. She didn't know if I was going to make it in the open water. And, at my first race, I did make it out of the water, just to meet the bike with a flat tire and had to race over 3 miles carrying my bike on my back. Everything hurt when I was done, and the next year, I did it again and this time, I was the last person to finish on the bike. The last person to finish the bike. And the next year I did it again and then again, I have done four and I'm not done. The training at times is one and a half hours a day, I am exhausted, I am worried, the water is in the low 60s and that walk in, the feeling of sinking myself into that water is the most terrifying part of my life. But in my fourth one, I got better. My swim was my strongest, I made it all the way up the hill on my bike, and every time, I finish. Now, once a week, I hit the pool to prove to myself that I can. And just this month, I am swimming 1,000 yards and I am always passed, always the slowest in the water, but I am getting better.

I work for an agency that I believe in as much as I do you and this spring will be 19 years. You would think after 19 years in one place I would be perfect, I would get it all right all of the time but absolutely not. I make so many mistakes, daily mistakes. But now they are lessons and they are how I learn and how I get better.

In starting my own company, the fear drapes over me like the heaviest weight, but I still show up. I still go on and I have learned to be me with every interaction, every communication because that is how I get better. Staying true to who I am and trying and trying something in a different way, and messing up and learning from it and finding a potential solution and seeing if that worked and then going from there. Better, I am getting better.

Better takes time, it takes so much damn patience, it takes commitment, it takes want. Nothing will ever be perfect, you will never stop learning, you will always have to work at it, especially if you love it. Better is what you strive for, it's what your goals have to be because anything else is not obtainable or not worth it.

25
Jan

Five Minute Friday - convenient

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 convenient.

Go.

I wish I took advantage of it more, the conveniences all around me. I wish I didn't make things harder than they need to be. And what I really need to change is working smarter, not harder. Harder I've got down, harder I can handle, harder I know how to do and I know it inside and out. Smarter is where I need to focus.

And again, in my year of change, I need to realize that smarter has to be my choice and what I dedicate myself to and that means finding ways to make things more convenient for me and for them. I need to rely more on others, I need to let go of certain things, but I also need to stay true to who I am and what is important to me, or else I will wind up in a dark place of anxiety.

Instead, I need to open myself up to see that I am not alone. I am allowed to share my workload, I am allowed to ask for help, and I am allowed to find space to be and breathe. I am privileged enough to find that space, I am lucky enough to be able to find my creatures of comfort, and I am in a place where I have no choice but to give in to it all. I can't just wish this part of me away, the one that makes things so much harder. I have no choice but to face it and make myself change. I have to see that there are times it serves me and others well and there are times it crushes my light. I am smart enough to know the difference and I have to rely on just me to make it stop. Things do not need to be hard to be accomplished, they do not need to be thick as mud. And most times, when they are forced, they are not well taken care of and allowed to come to be more natural, which is always the better way. In my year of change, there are certain elements that fall squarely on me to change and learning how to make my life more convenient is certainly one of them.

Stop.

26
Oct

Five Minute Friday - moment

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 moment.

Go.

They hit like lightning bolts, real ones do.
They can strike you, knock you over and remind you of the truth.
Mine struck me where it counted when it mattered most.

The moment I finally saw clearly.
After months of fog and exhaustion and drowning, I saw clearly.
The moment I heard laughter and it made my heart warm.
Made me fill back up a place that has been too empty.
The moment I got clarity.
Reminded myself who I am, what I stand for, what I believe in, my worth, my truth, me, right there, right here.
The moment I figured it out.
My plan, my promise to myself, my way, me taking back my life, my thoughts, my joy.
The moment I started building.
No longer putting out fires, no longer reacting but building.
The moment I started to believe in myself again.
Walking through fear as I always do, not conquering it, not getting rid of the doubts, but walking straight through.
The moment I laughed and cried and released.
What I needed, release and mourning and moving on.
The moment real friends showed up
took a hold, reminded me why I love, who I love, how I love.
The moment real at all showed up
not what I was creating, imaging, projecting.

One moment in time, one.
One significant thing that changed it all.
I'm not all the way there, I am not naive enough to think, say, or feel otherwise.
But I am on the right path finally, the one I belong on.

17
Aug

Five Minute Friday - loved

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 loved.

Go.

The way it feels to be around you.

I had this week with friends who know my whole story.
We talked and talked and talked.
We ate and laughed and watched.
We watched our children (no longer babies) love on each other.
We watched them become the sort of friends that will also know each other's whole story.
We watched the waves come in and out.
We watched the sunshine warm us all.
We watched the water make our little faces silly.
We watched love.

The way it feels to be around you.

I once wrote about when love becomes family.
How important that feeling is.
How you just know that it means this person will be in your life, you are connected.
And it can happen with partners.
It can happen with friends.
It can happen with the family you were given and the one you pick for yourself.
But along the way, all you have to keep in mind is the bond, the connection, the feeling of loving and being loved.
It is all that matters.
Not the squabbles.
Not the ups and downs.
All of those tell your beautiful story, give your life the color it needs.
But the family, the connection, the wanting to love them and being loved by them, that's family.
That's love.

The way it feels to be around you.

I didn't know if I would be a mom.
I didn't know if I would take this on.
And just the week, I was reminded by someone who only hears snippets of my life that I love it.
And I do.
I love being a mom, no, I love being your mom.
I love holding you.
I love hugging you.
I love the smooches.
I love the traditions.
I love making it special.
I love your childhood.
I relish in your little.
I am in love with your points of view.
I protect this time.
But, none of that comes naturally to me.
All of my mothering is a lot of work.
I work and work and work at being your mom.
But, want to know why that's okay, because it is the work that I love.
My whole life has led me to this moment, has led me to you, has led me to love my mothering.
My whole life, I didn't even realize how much I wanted this but now that it is here, I love being your mom.
Because when I am with you, I am loved.

It is my year of different.
And as the year is quickly rolling by, I need reminders of why I wanted it to be different.
I needed to find peace, calm, health, me.
I needed to find acceptance, gratitude, and reminders of all the love.
The love I give, the love I get, the love that surrounds us.

Because being loved is the way it feels to be around you.

Stop.

15
Jun

Five Minute Friday - restore

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 restore.
Go.

It's the end of another school year.
It's the end of another season.
It's the end of sports and lessons and so many schedules.
It's time for this family to sit back and restore.

It's the end of our tri.
It's the end of all of that training.
It's the beginning of the racing season but for now
it's time for my body to rest, it's time for me to restore.

It's the start of my kids acting up.
It's the exhaustion coming through.
It's the lack of patience from every single one of us.
It's time for our unit to regroup, come back together, find the simple and bask in it.
It's time for us to restore.

It's time for a summer bucket list, the only one we stick to.
It's time for some new traditions and in my year of different, it's time for me to find my restoration too.

It's time to get back in front of framily.
It's time to fill myself full with all the right people.
It's time for me to step back from those I do not feel good about or good about myself with.
It's time for me to find where my heart is full.
It's time for me to find those that are comfortable with my crazy and admit to their own.
It's time for me to find my restoration too.

It's time for my kids to feel a part of a happy family again.
It's time for us to find all the relaxing parts of life again.
It's time for us to feel connected and squished together again.
It's time for this family unit to be restored.

23
Mar

Five Minute Friday - routine

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 routine.
Go.

It is kind of absurd how much I love a routine.
How much I crave knowing what my day looks like
what I do when.
And I can say it is because my days are so long
so hectic
so out of my control, in the hands of others.
I am tied to meetings and agendas and to-dos.
But if I am being honest, I love a routine because that is who I am.
I am tied to meetings and agenda and to-dos because that is the profession I chose and would do it all over again.
It is who I am and it is time for me to be okay with me.

So let me begin...
there is order in a routine
there is a knowing
there is a feeling of freedom from not having to think
it's a dance
it's pretty to me
it's me.

There is balance in a routine
it brings the crazy back down
it lines things up
it creates space
it allows me to exhale
it's calm
and it is calming
it is me.

And inside something so cold and so sterile
I created warmth and tradition after tradition after tradition.
I created space and time and focus on us.
I created beauty and affection
I created your love of knowing
and I made time, fleeting time, special.

Yes, I love my routine.
I love my schedule of schedules
I love the lists
the actions
I love how I took something so crazy about myself, so list oriented
and I made something gorgeous in us.

Stop.

20
Oct

Five Minute Friday - discover

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 discover.
Go.

Sweet daughter:
What has amazed me to the most about you is how old you were when you were born.
The world seemed so familiar to you, and you seemed so knowledgeable.
What I have loved watching is you discover your childish side.
The playful
the excitement
the kid you are and therefore should be allowed to be.
I don't know why I squash that person when she tips over to the other side and why I remind her of maturity.
You are a child for a short time, you will be an adult for the rest of forever.
Keep discovering that kid, never let her go.
Hold her close no matter what number your age says.
Keep discovering a new childish part of your old self
and thank you for allowing me to discover mine.
You are me and together, we have to remember that life is not that serious.
We have to discover the joy we want in our lives
take my hand let's lead each other to this discovery.

Sweet boy:
What I have loved watching is you discover this world.
That first year of life, when everything was amazing to you and you were taking it all in, it was a year of amazement to me too.
You came to me new, fresh, eyes ready to learn.
You were and are brand new.
You have reminded me that life should be full of discovery, you have reminded me of young.
Not because you work hard at it but because it comes so naturally to you.
Youth and childhood and new and discoveries are what you do best.
Being around you forces one to stop digging in their heals and remember how perfect young is.
You have taken the lead, you are in charge of childhood and you remind each of us that you don't have to look hard, it's right there, at our fingertips.
You don't have to discover the joys of life, you just clearly see them and for that, you are a wonder and wonderful.

You have each brought me on a journey in discovering who I am once you take away the lists, the to dos, the have tos the worry.

Stop.

16
Dec

Five Minute Friday - now

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on now.
Go.

The one place I do not live in.
Because I am forever looking back, or forward.
Forever wishing I had a redo, or worried of what is to come.
Unable to sit in the now.
With the time I am currently in,
because I am either holding on, not wanting to move ahead, or 20 steps ahead.
I do not sit in the present and move with you all.
The now.

And on this last Five Minute Friday of 2016
when my world is a bit of a blur
I have no one but me to fix.
Because it is difficult to love when holding on to the past and worried of the future.
It is difficult to find joy too.
It is difficult to breathe when you live in those two opposing worlds and cannot sit with where you are.

Each year, I make a promise to myself for the following year.
Some call it a resolution, I call it more of a healing of me.
In 2017, my promise is to take what is coming in the now, yes I am a planner and need that plan ahead of me
yes, I am sentimental and love the memories behind me
but this year, I will sit with all that is in front of me, and stop.
To be with each of you
and each of us
right where we are
in the now.

Because now is when I have started my new business.
Because now is when I have a 7 and 4 year old, that even if they are not babies, are children that need me.
Because now is when my husband and I are turning towards each other and trying to hold on to who we are today,
building on who we were yesterday so we can be us tomorrow.
Because now is when our lives are dangerous and risky, but we are taking chances on us.
Because now is when we are a family of four.
Because now is when I am needed and loved and I need and love you all too.

This year, my healing is more love, inward and outward.
Allowing more love in and giving more love out.
And I will only be able to do that if I sit in the now.

I will be with you all, here, today.
I will tell you stories about yesterday in a hope that you realize how important and warm those memories are for all of us.
I will plan for the future because that is who I am.
But I will be here, today,
sitting surrounded by all of you,
in the now.

5
Feb

Five Minute Friday - focus

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on quiet.
Go.

On you
and your words
and your development
and your milestones
and your stories
and our time together.
Our short and very limited time together.
On what is important.

Instead I get distracted.
And I am focused on lists
and have tos
and to dos
and work
and careers
and cleaning
and organizing
and putting it all away
and finding time.

Until I'm not.
Until I turn it off
and I find you
I find us
we sit
we snuggle
we hold hands
we whisper our feelings
I see you smile and burst with love.
Until your hair is flapping in your face
and curls are stuck to your head
and happy is all around us.
Simple happy
simple sort of life happy.

And that is the ultimate balance of life.
Especially in a type A introverted mother.
What to focus on because
it is the balance in finding peace in the organized and the quiet
it is the balance of focusing on your childhood and my love of work
it is the balance of go and do, and sit and be
it is the balance of teaching you how to do and teaching you the importance of how to be
it is the balance of focusing on the have tos and all of us.

Stop.

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