12
Jan

Five Minute Friday - simplify

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 simplify.
Go.

Oh how I need to.
This upholder needs to work so much smarter and less hard.
And so, with the start of the new year and how different things are going to be, I am starting all over again.
Because yesterday is over and it's time to write another story.

This year, I start with automation of my home.
Figuring out the little areas that I am spending a little time here and there that are taking up too much of my time.
I can automate the lights going on/off with special bulbs that detect dawn and dusk.
I can automate when things I get every month show up at my house.
I can automate my budget spreadsheet with formulas so things populate on their own.

I am simplifying the things I bring into my home, like cleaners.
I no longer want a cleaner for each surface of my home.
It seems strange to even think of that as an area that consumes time, but thinking through how much cleaner I have to dust vs how much toilet cleaner vs how much floor cleaner vs how much bathroom sink cleaner vs how much kitchen surface cleaner vs how much sink cleaner and then adding them to different lists and getting them at the store...stop!
I have simplified down to 3 and 2 of them are easy homemade.

I am simplifying my routines.
I am using my knowledge of me to not take on challenges.
I am saying no to things that take up my time and fortunate enough to say, is there a way I can pay someone else to just do that for me.
I am starting this year with a new different thing each month and not making all of the changes all at once and feeling overwhelmed.
Slow, I am going slow and smart.

I am going to be proud of the simple ways I inject love into my family.
Like all of our traditions that make my kids feel grounded, close, connected, loved and build a strong foundation.
I am going to find simple ways to connect with friends that don't live near me, so we all feel together.
I am going to take a step back from complicated relationships that make me feel weighted down.
I am going to remove so much of the noise that this loud loud world brings.

I am going to sit in the white clean simple empty space and all of its beauty.
This year is different.
And as this mamma gets closer and closer to 40, she is ready to own this life she built.

12
Nov

Parenting

I think by now you know I don't have most of the answers.
I, like every single person that is a parent, am trying my best.
The curve balls you bring, the constant questions are all almost impossible to answer.
Most frightening, a situation I never saw coming.
How am I going to react to that? I think most days.
What should I say?
For real though, how I respond to this matters because they are going to remember my response.
When they are grown, they are going to tell someone this story and I am either going to nail it or suck...for kids, there is no in between for parents.
Because it is not until you are one, that you realize, we are all just trying.

But, in the quiet light of day, I can think of all of the things I want to teach you.
All of the lessons I want you to walk away from us having.
So this right here is my little list for you...without any feedback or questions as to why or how...here is what I hope you hold on to as you do you.

You are not going to be liked by everyone. That is more than ok. You are not going to like everyone and that too, is more than ok. Part of this journey is finding out who gives you energy and who takes it. Most of your life will be figuring people out, their intentions, yours. Being kind to all does not mean all end up in your circle. Walking away from unhealthy anything, including people, is always the right thing to do.

Work hard like me and smart like dad. Not for any other reason other than to make yourself proud. I can't promise you it will lead to success or money or good anything. I can't so I won't. But, I promise you that the best feeling I ever have is feeling good about myself. Proud of my work, my accomplishments, what I overcame, who I am, and most importantly, I am proud of those I allow in to my circle (this is clearly important to me). I am proud of the fact that I became a mom, I am so amazed I get to mother you, you make me proud of me.

Chaos and mess lead to clutter in your mind. I know, I am type A. I know I have a way the house needs to look, I know it is my calm. But here's something dad won't share with you because it means he has to keep up with it without reminders...order makes us all calm. I swear it, I promise. A made bed makes us all feel better, a clean floor and clean counters give us space to breathe and allow us to think. Clutter and too much stuff takes away space, it adds clutter to your mind and makes it hard for all of us to think. It's easier to toss and walk away, it's easier to not put a thing away, it's easier to get up and go, but in the end, it is always harder. It is harder to clean up big messes than small. It is harder to think in that mess, it is harder to even know where to begin so start and end each day with a once over. Keep up with the little messes.

Play sports and learn to be a good teammate. It will teach you about showing up and having others count on you. It will teach you how to rely on others. It will teach you to move your body and feel good about that. It will teach you to feel a part of something bigger than you. And speaking of your body, be so good to you. Don't push it too hard too young, be gentle be kind, be loving. There will come a day you might want to change every single thing about yourself and know that none of that is true. Your body needs you and your spirit.

Everything will matter to you and being mature means only the important things matter. The quicker you learn that the little things like who invited who to a party, or who was wearing what, or who said what, the better for you and you alone. Do what is good for you and you alone when it comes to the little things. Get so comfortable in who you are and know that of course you will change and grow, but at your core, you stay the same. What should matter to you is taking care of yourself, being kind to others, falling in love with learning, none of that should ever change. Come to realize that you are loved and that real relationships does not mean a ton of relationships. Always find genuine in your life and normally that means intimate, which means small. Be comfortable with you and know that your foundation, your home base, we are right here. You are honestly never ever alone. We could not love you more or less.

Taking care of others is just what we do. Notice how I give those who don't have a home food whenever I pass them. Remember our random acts of kindness. Remember that we are a family that is dedicated to taking care. People matter guys, making people feel accepted matters.

I don't know what social media will be when you are older, I don't know if it was an explosion for me in my 20s and by the time you are a teenager it will be over but I really don't think so. Be better than that. Be better than being addicted to someone else's dinner and plans and fake life. Use it for connections but make sure it is not replacing actual people.

You are going to make a lot of mistakes. I did make a lot of mistakes and I continue to make a lot of mistakes. That's fine, that's life, that's human. Always take responsibility. Always say sorry, always learn from them and try as hard as you can to not repeat them. Do not shift blame to anyone, own it, stare it in the eye, use your courage to apologize and mean it.

Be brave sweet children. I swear to God, if I ever see you back away or back down from something because you are scared I will find you, I will grab you by the shoulders and I will shake you. Please remember that your mom was scared every damn day of her life. She could hardly breathe from the amount of panic. I always feel like I will fail, I will lose, I will not be enough. I am not kidding about this, every day, in all decisions. But, I try and if I ever see you not trying, I will find you. If I am no longer walking this earth, I will haunt you. Do you understand how important this is to me? I showed you every second of my life that even though I'm scared, I try and you will too.

One day, you are going to define your family. Be loyal to whomever that is, put them as your only priority. Don't take them for granted. Don't walk away from them, don't make anything else more important.

In case I don't make all of these things obvious in my day to day, I promise I will continue to try. Because that is the best we all can do, try.

10
Nov

Five Minute Friday - silence

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 silence.
Go.

It's my favorite sound, the quiet.
It's what most parents, most mothers seek.
It's the sound we long for.
The quiet, the still, the silence.

Because we all know that most of parenting is loud.
Noise is common, noise from them, noise from us, noise from toys, the noise we allow in, the noise we bring in.
But even while all together, we can find moments of special silence.

Like when we snuggle on the coach for our weekly family movie night.
Like when we tuck you in at night and finally allow the day to stand still, to sit in our silent love.
Like when we have reading dates and everything comes to a slow stop and we regroup.
Like when we hug, when we steal moments of affection throughout the day, hold on to each other and allow whispers and silence to wash over us.

And I fully realize that one day, my house full of loud
full of shouts
full of laughter
full of temper tantrum tears
full of crazy
full of stomping feet
full of slamming doors
it will all fall silent.
I will read this journey back and I will think, why did I complain about a little bit of noise?
What's wrong with noise anyway?

But in the thick of it, it's hard to see past the fog.
Which is why the moments of quiet that we steal, they fill me to keep pushing through the noise of it all.

See guys, you fill our home, with love and noise and stuff and lessons and chaos and humor
but you cannot complete me and you cannot be all of us.
Because you don't belong here forever.
You belong out there, doing loud amazing you and your father and I, we belong right here
serving as your rock, your home base
sitting in the quiet of our love and remembering all of the noise we once had.

Stop.

14
Jul

Five Minute Friday - comfort

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 comfort.
Go.

I find comfort in the closeness.
In the love and projection of family.
I find it in the small and in the simple.
I find it in the whispers of love.
And I find it in you, the ones that gave me my second chance.
I find it in our traditions, big and small.
I find it when I can clearly see family time is important to you too.
And so, I created a life that celebrates our family and underlines the importance of us.
I created comfort.

I created second chances
I created little arms around my neck
I created little hands cradled in mine
I created time
I created comfort in us.

I created traditions
and I have so many of them.
Traditions are my parenting strength.
They are so important to me, but even better, they are so important to you.
You have no idea how much you fill my soul when you say "it's Friday...it's our family movie night!"
or as I am kissing you goodnight on a Saturday and you say, "tomorrow is pancake Sunday and we have a reading date!"
The smile and excitement that comes across your face.
The actual joy and comfort it brings you.
How much you look forward to all the small ways that we make you feel that this is important to us.
I created comfort in us.

And that's why I did this.
I wanted something that tied us together, even as you grow and want more and more independence.
I wanted something that made you feel that this time together is important to all of us, because we are important to all of us.
I wanted you to feel that this loved, in the smallest of ways, because you are loved from top to bottom.
I wanted something that reminded all of us how simple parenting is, how all they need is us, the rest is extra.
How little stress there is in this time, how loving it is to just be together.
How my worries melt.
How our childhood comes out.
How close we all get.
I wanted to define family for you,
in its purest form.
I created comfort in us.

I find comfort in the simple
in the love
in the gathering
in the close
in the second chances
in the quiet
in the cozy
I find comfort in us.

Stop.

23
Apr

Dear kids

I make a lot of mistakes from day to day.
Each time I am presented with a situation, I feel as though I have a major decision to make.
This little decision determines so much, too much.
It determines how you come to me in the future.
It determines if you come to me in the future.
It determines how safe and comforted you feel.
And this my loves, this is the hardest part of parenting.
This is the part that keeps me up.
The thought of losing our trust, our connection, our bond.
The thought of you feeling alone out there, not having a home base, not wanting to "get in trouble" so keeping it to yourself.

And so, I want you to know...

I will always believe in you.
Always believe in who you are.
Always believe in your goodness.
We all make mistakes, I will be disappointed, but I will never be disappointed in who you are, only what you did.
Because I will always and forever believe in you.
I will believe in your heart, your soul, the core of who you are.
Whenever you feel that you don't even believe in yourself, know that I believe in you the most.
I will always believe in you.

You do not need to have any part of your life figured out.
And you don't have to have it figured out for a really long time.
And even when you are all grown up and have it figured out, you still can change your mind.
Adults put a lot of emphasis on what you're going to be when you grow up.
What are you going to do?
What is it that you will major in?
What career will you follow?
But, you don't need to have a single part of it figured out always and forever.
That is what life is, figuring it out, owning that part and then keep developing.
Keep changing, keep growing.
Never feel like a failure because your life isn't figured out yet.
Direction and passion and what excites you, all of that will come.
And sometimes, it will go.
And then another thing will pop up and then you will follow that
and that too may go.
You will figure things out on your own terms.

I see the good in you, the unique, the really really good.
I spend a lot of time focusing on what you need to improve.
I spend a lot of time trying to guide you
and redirect
and teach.
But the truth is, at your base, there is so much good.
Like how adventurous you are.
Like how you always try, always.
Like how much you love life, really love all the things about it.
Like how you play well together.
Like how you read to him.
Like how you comfort each other when you're upset or in trouble.
Like how you want him to be included.
Like how you are her shadow.
Like how hard you both work at school.
Like how respectful you both are of your teachers.
Like how you love love.
Like how well you both sleep.
Like how much you love your food.
Like how your face lights up when you see us.
Like how you always ask for dad to play with you.
Like how you find our traditions as important as I do.
Like how loving you both are.
Like how gentle you can be.
I see the good guys and I need to call you out on it more.

You can always trust me.
With your words
with your actions
with your mistakes
with your worries
with your thoughts
with your insecurities
with your choices.
I will protect all of it.
I will always be on your side, even if I am disappointed.
Even if I feel you know/knew better.
Even if I feel you had a choice and you knew the right one and you still choose the wrong one.
Because mistakes and bad choices, all of that is learning.
I am your trust, right here.
I will never turn my back on you,
I make you face your consequences and take responsibility,
but I will never turn my back on you.

Because this is home, and you can always come back to home base.
Even as adults, you can come back to comfort and warmth and us.
We all need that every once in a while, just a few minutes of safe to get back out there.
We are home.

10
Mar

Five Minute Friday - abandon

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 abandon.
Go.

There was a time in my life when I felt so desperately alone
I felt abandoned and left,
even though I was the one to leave.
And that brought out a loyal and cautious soul.

I don't ever give up.
I never abandon the ship, even when it's sinking.
Yes, it can be seen as loyal
as committed
as determined
as love.
But it can also be seen as just too much, I don't know how to walk away.
Not from friends turned family
not from jobs turned careers
not from love
not from hope
and at times, not from darkness.

And then there are times I give up so easily
when the pain comes rushing back and I remember how I just run when that happens.
I run away and I hide and I cut it off.
I am all in, one way or the other, all in.

And because they decided I needed balance, my little faces show me the way.
They show me that loyal and reckless abandonment can both be seen as gorgeous.

You sweet loving adorable Cole,
you are reckless
you lack inhibition or restraint
every action is do now, ask for forgiveness later.
And although there are times I wish you listened more
although there are times I wish for my own heart you would be a little more cautious
a little more reserved
this careful, deliberate, worried, and overly tightly wound mother adores your balance in my life.
She adores your reckless abandonment
of the rules
of the way one "should".

And you Anna,
my little me
my little one that always over thinks
my little face that also will not desert
my stubborn mind that always forges ahead
you too will be loyal.
You too will be determined.
You too will not give up, on anyone or anything.
You too will never abandon a friend in need
you too will protect
you too will give it your all
you too will never abandon your family
you too will never abandon your goals.

It's all a give and take,
know when to walk away
when the pain is too great
when the respect is no longer there
abandon the moments that hurt.
But also remember that family, however it is defined by you,
stays.
Family is not left
family is never ending,
family you can't walk away from
family you can't abandon.

Stop.

27
Jan

Five Minute Friday - control

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 control.
Go.

This is my word.
This is my mission.
This is my calling, control.
The irony is that I left a home of control,
I left a home of feeling like I had no control,
and I took off.
What started as a stand that I was in charge and in control of me
quickly turned into an anthem of control of everything.
My life, theirs, the world, loss of control is so difficult for me.

And even though I met a person that allows me to feel as though I am in control, even though he is my partner in every way,
the more I want.
The more I fight for it.
The more I put on my fighting gloves and am in pain when I get knocked down from something out of my control.

This year, my new anthem is more.
And with that, I have to let go...more.
I have to let them go, more.
I have to let them decide, more.
I have to let them be, more.
I have to let them choose, more.
I have to let them figure out, more.
I have to let them conclude, more.

Because I am not in control of anything other than my reactions.
And I need to get a handle on those reactions, more.
I have to be their guide, their rock, more.
I have to be more of their joy.

Because the one thing I learned, the big lesson I took away,
was the more control you put on your kids, your life, your world, the more you are spun out of control.
The more the universe takes over.
The more your kids rebel and fight you, instead of turn toward you.
The more you lose, while trying to keep it all together.

And so, my little faces, it is time I give you the wheel and I turn some of the control over to you.
Because that clearly tells you that I don't just love you, but I trust you.
You've got this.

Stop.

13
Jan

Five Minute Friday - Middle

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 middle.
Go.

I am in the middle of a reawakening.
I am in the middle of a transition.
I am in the middle of putting the pieces of me together again.
We are in the middle of a discovery.
We are in the middle of falling back in love, with all of us.
We are in the middle of traditions.
We are in the middle of kids, just kids being kids.
We are in the middle of deep family.

When you spend so long wishing your life away,
and denying love,
or connection,
or real family,
you wake up to realize how much you have missed
and you change courses.

Because at every state, we are in this together.
At every stage, we have to take care of one another.
In these four walls, in our neighborhood, in our community and globally.

Because although I am in the middle of chaos
and stubborn
and finding out who they are
and having to redefine who I am...
I am also in the middle of the most love I will ever receive.
I am also in the middle of the Friday family movie nights
and Sunday pancake breakfast
and kids laughing
and all the holiday magic we get to create
and believing in magic period
and night snuggled reading
and so much hand holding
and so many smooches
and so many nights in front of the fireplace
and so many "I love you"s
and so much sharing of your day
and so many smiles
and so much of your joy
and so happy to see us
and love, just simple, deep, heavy, filling love.

I am just where I wanted to be,
in the middle of it all.

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.

13
Nov

Love

There is no doubt that this has been a difficult week.
For our nation, for our communities, for my friends, for my family and for me.
This week, I found myself explaining harder and more than ever to both of my children the importance of love.

Because here is what I have always believed...
love can fix the broken
love can put us back together
love can cure
love can heal
love can recapture your past
love can move you towards your future
love is always the answer.

Love can be seen in hugs
in smooches
in words
in touching
in holding hands
in family.

Love can be heard in hellos
in goodbyes
in words of encouragement
between friends
and family
and children
and parents
and in heroes.

Love can be felt with words that lift
in warmth
in comfort
in the common and ordinary
in cozy
in affection.

Love is everywhere, everywhere.
You look for it, you keep showing it, you don't give up on it, ever.
You don't give up on kindness and gentle.
You don't give up on communities and people that need it.
You show up.
You show up for love because
love is showing up for everyone
even if you are tired
even if you are worried
love is showing up and telling the world how we will be treated.

Love is important, the most important.
Because love dictates words and priorities and time spent and how and when we reach out.
Love what you turn to
focus on
love is what brings you back
to you.
And who you are
and what you believe in
and what you know in your heart to be right and good and true.
Love is an honor to receive
and free to give out.

Love is the answer
to every and any question
love is always the answer.

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