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

15
Feb

Five Minute Friday - Confident

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 confident.

Go.

I'm not.
I'm just not.
I can't pretend to be, because I just don't have it in me and I can't fake it. Because I am not.
In anything that I do, anything.
I am not. I am scared instead and damn do I question.
My parenting, my leadership, my choices, my words, my decisions, my wants even. I'm just not.  
And I will be okay. Maybe more than okay.
Because what I have painfully learned is that confidence has nothing to do with me. But that doesn't mean I stop trying to be the best me.
Confidence doesn't live in me, but that doesn't mean I stop at all.
Fear propels me, it keeps me on my toes and it keeps my nerves tingling and it keeps me alive and working for what I want.
Fear more than any confidence makes me me.
I walk through it, I push, and although I don't believe in myself always, I also know I won't let me down.
I don't let others down.
I work for what I want, I fight myself to get there.
I worry because I love the "it" standing in front of me and although I am not confident in me, I am confident in the thing. I know the thing is worth fighting for.
And so I fight for it, I work for it, I put me into it and that's all I've got to give, me and my very best.
You know what I confident in?
You, of course it's you.
It's always been you and all you stand for.
Love and family and us and your belief in us.
I'm confident in you and in us.
I'm not, and I know others are.
I'm not and I know at times it knocks me off my balance.
I'm not and I will be okay.   
And I will be okay, more than okay. 

Stop.

3
Feb

The next thing you know

She will be driving.
He will be in high school.
There will be significant others.
Phones or another gadget(s) will be coveted.
Privacy will be demanded.
Doors will be slammed.
But, we will still be us. 
And I will be okay. 

Because we have a base, we have a really strong foundation and we have ways that at the end of a hard day, week, month, cycle, we come back in small and meaningful ways. And it starts with all of our traditions. Lovies, I started them to remind you all that this is where we come home to. This is who we are, at our core, this is where we will always belong.

The next thing you know
prom will be a thing.
Graduation will come.
Schools will be researched.
The house will be quieter.
And I will be okay. 

The next thing you know
this chaos will be our "remember when"... 
And tomorrow we will laugh at what made us cry hard and worry today. 
The next thing you know, all the things that make us worry will no longer matter. They will be fine, they will be good, they will be them. Not our version of them, not our hopes of them, but them. The them they were meant to be, the them they want to be. 
And I will be okay. 

The next thing you know, their mess will be gone. The legos will be put away, the instruments will be no more, the running around will stop, the sign-ups for sports and things will be a thing of the past.
And I will be okay. 

The next thing you know, it will go from just us five to four to three. And I, the one who struggles most with change, will be dragged into a new reality. One in which their decisions are out of our hands. One in which my time is again all mine. One in which I hope we remember how much we all loved and tried in this house.
And I will be okay. 

The next thing you know, our foundation will matter most. Our little reminders of love, our little reminders of us, our little ways of reconnecting. Because schedules will only get worse. Because time will only get more limited. Because we will have to divide and conquer. Because we will continue to be pulled in too many directions. Because we will be losing our minds at times. Because responsibilities will only get heavier. Because things will pile up and up. But, us, the real us, we're right here. The real us that will have warm pizza and a movie every Friday. The real us that will pile around the island and talk about our week over pancakes every Sunday. The real us that will connect over shows we are showing you from our childhood. The real us that always gives warm goodnights. The real us that piles on top of each other to read together. The real us that talks about our gracious heart. The real us that holds hands. The real us that sings in the car. The real us that eats ice cream for dinner to celebrate. The real us that vacations together every summer. The real us that hugs with all of our body. The real us that tries to laugh every day. The real us that makes dinner together important. The real us that snuggles. The real us that talks about love constantly. The real us that knows how to get home. The real us that realizes the power of puppy love. The real us that realizes we are a team. The real us.
And I will be okay. 

1
Feb

Five Minute Friday - where

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 where.

Go.

It's my year of change and that means a different direction and embracing all the change that has to come my way. That means being comfortable with them getting older. That means, for the first time in 40 years, being comfortable in my own skin. That means leaving something I spent 19 years building to someone else. That means stepping into something that is terrifying and changing how I see my future. That means changing how I am viewing my year of change and changing what I say about it. That means changing, period and end of story changing.

So where am I going? Where am I headed and what direction is this life about to take me? Where do I want to be at the end of this year? Where do I want to say I have been? Where do I want to spend my time and my focus? Where do I want to say I belong? Where do I go when things feel overwhelming? Where do I go when I feel lost and too scared to make it one foot in front of the other? Where do I soak my tired bones? Where do I feel safe? Where do I focus my attention, where do I want to be?

When change feels not only frightening but actually devastating, these are questions you shy away from. They are questions you don't want to answer because you just want things to stay the same. You want the comfort, you want the protection. But, kids get older too. Life moves on regardless of if you are on board. Change is our constant, like it or not. When you force yourself to look in the mirror, these are questions I had to answer. And so I did. I sat myself down and said I can't hold on to motherhood in the first year of parenting when you have a 6 and 9-year-old. They have grown and changed and you have to too. You can't hold on to a 19-year-old plan because it is time for fresh eyes. Where I am headed has to be different and I have to be not only ready, I have to want this. I have to tell the universe that I want it and I have to listen to it telling me not to force it.

Where I want to be at the end of this year is not where I am, change is coming my way.

Stop.

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.

13
Jan

I'm getting older too

"I built my life around you".

I have spent years of my childhood and young adult life building a life around proving someone wrong. Standing up for myself, standing up for what I can do, walking through fear, and saying "I can" to myself (even when I knew I was in over my head). It was lonely, it was scary, it was overwhelming, and it consumed my every thought. 

But, it also served me very well. It got me through, it told me I really can do hard things. It allowed me to walk and keep walking through fear and it defined real bravery for me. It showed me what strength really means and it taught me that I can. It reminded me I will never be confident, I will always and forever be afraid of everything, but I still can and will do things. 

I always had you in the back of my mind, I was always trying to prove to you how wrong you were about me, and although I will never shake this feeling, I also know I have to stop trying. The one thing I never wanted was for you to have control over me, my decisions, my life and instead, what I willfully gave you is full control. Because every move was to either hurt you or prove you wrong. And even though it has been almost 20 years of no longer wanting to hurt you, I still set out to prove all I had accomplished without you. I still clung to wanting you to finally see how strong I am, what I can do, what I have built, not because of you, but in spite of. You will never feel that way, I know you won't. You too are trying to protect yourself and your bubble and you need to feel as though I have always needed you and every decision I made on my own led me down the wrong path, not to the life I built.

You have gotten older, you are who you are, who you have always been, and you are trying. Not to change, but trying to be in this world. Not to accept it, not to embrace it, not to let things roll off your back but to be in it. That all by itself is a major accomplishment for you right now. Me, I'm getting older too and I am headed in a different direction this year. One that reminds me that it is time to put this part of me to rest.  And although I can tell myself that I have already done that a long time ago, what I really did was say goodbye to the anger and blame, what I still carried was proving myself. 

Because like I said, proving myself to you has served me well. I have felt a determination and grit and truth be told, if I put that down to rest, what else will I let go of and who will I become? I have been afraid to let this last part of us go. As I have watched you age, I realized this is not a game we play together, I am in it alone. You do not realize I am even playing, you are just living. And maybe, just maybe, you too are playing a solo game of she needs me. I do not need to know this, I do not need information on how the game has worked or hindered you. I just need to stop showing up for my part.

I am me because of so much that I have gotten from you. My hard work, determination, grit, sleepless nights, working fingers to the bone, and loving loudly, loving deeply, showing up for those you love, all come from what you taught me. I am also me from what I learned for me. Like to love kindly, to not have those around me be afraid of me, to be open and let them know we are a team and I always have your back, those are things I do better. There are so many things I thank you for, many others I have reminded myself that like all of us, you did the best you could with what you had.

So, not out of spite, anger or resentment, but with love...I am trying to build a different life now. One that is not built around you. One that starts with the foundation which has a mixture of all you have done well mixed in with all I want to do better. This will not be a snap of the fingers, there is always still stuff, I will of course linger too long in the past. I will of course think of a situation that will bring me all back, I will of course be reminded of the anger I held, of the burden I felt I carried, of the times it was just me. But it is time for me to embrace all change, and this is a big part of it. It is time for me to end this hold. I do not need to prove myself to you, I know who I am, what I have, what I still need, and I won't lose sight of that. I am willing to let the resentment go and allow you to think there was a need there, because, in some reality, there was. And more importantly I love you and want what is best for you. That is the meaning of love. I wish nothing but the best of what this world can give you and what you deserve after all you too have sacrificed. 

I am thankful for my life that could have gone in so many different directions. I am thankful for who I found and who I hold close. I am thankful for my foundation that told me I should expect better out of people. I am thankful for our relationship and my understanding of what has transpired. I am thankful that I get to wake up and be with the people I love most. I am thankful for how hard I work and the plans I make. I am thankful that I have goals and I am even thankful that I am still scared because I can relate so well to those that feel too frightened to move. I am thankful for all I have accomplished and even of my years of trying to prove you wrong, even my years full of anger, they have all brought me to a different place. They have all contributed to the final product. I walked through a lot and I found love and joy. I found what I was always looking for, family as I define it. 

"Well, I've been 'fraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm gettin' older, too
I'm gettin' older, too"

11
Jan

Five Minute Friday - better

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 better.

Go.

It's my year of change, my year to embrace it, my year to wrap it around me. And unlike the me of yesterday, today's me cannot focus on better. I cannot focus on improvements, I cannot focus on getting better, getting more, I need to stay grounded in grateful and grace.

So many changes are coming my way, so many scary moments for me, so many things to let go, so many things I have been meaning to say goodbye to, so many things I have never wanted to say goodbye to but am being reminded the choice is not mine to make. And so, in this drastically changing year, I will focus on staying right here. My mind always races to the future, always lingers in the past, and although I have my plan, although I have a path to keep me okay, better is not in my plan. Better cannot be what I spend my time on, better cannot be a part of me this year.

Because this year will be a wonderful challenge. This year will be building the foundation of all I have planned, this year will be ever changing. And I cannot say that it will be better, I cannot say it will be glorious, but it is necessary. And although I am not making it all better, I still have growth in mind, I still have changes I need to make for me, for them, for us. Is it possible they will make us better? Yes, but that is not the goal, the focus, the end. I am okay, I am trying and I am doing the absolute best I can for right now. Better is the me of yesterday, the me I have to let go, the me that strives for too much. Today, I will be ignited by change and the new me I need to become.




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.

21
Dec

Five Minute Friday - with

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 with.

Go.

With grace and poise and love and light in my heart.

Here we are, heading into 2019, a year that promises to be filled with change, work, determination, and plans.

A year that will allow me to plan for me and a year I will need to remember that I can only do this determination and hard work yes, but also with grace, poise, and love and light in my heart.

A year that will test me, ask me what I really want, ask me how much I really want it. A year that will come with stuff and work and even more hard work.

But my year nonetheless. My year to make my mark, make my change, turn the tide in my direction and a year to be me. And all that comes with me. All that embodies me, and a year to remember there are still those that love me, even with all the extra I bring. A year to remember that only I can get to the end of my tunnel, only I can do this, so thank goodness I am me.

I will no longer say it will be a hard year, I know the universe listens and will deliver. Instead, I will say that it will be a year of transition. A year to share my responsibilities because my responsibilities are shared, a year that the transition will be smooth and seamless, a year that transition will lead to transformation.

A year that I will start with grace, poise, determination, and love and light in my heart. A year I will hold on to it, hold it close to my chest. And when the tightness might make it hard to breathe, I will remember that I carry it all with me. I will remember that the transition will lead to transformation and I will continue to move with light.

Stop

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