13
Sep

Five Minute Friday - start

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 start.

Go.

This Sunday, I start what might be my last race for a while (see how committed I am there??). I have been feeling like it is time to hang my training shoes up, maybe not forever, but for a while. I have been feeling like I have spent an entire life proving that I can do hard things, and now, I need life to be a little more kind, to me. I have been feeling like I just want to take things a little easier on myself, and like I just need some peace. Hanging up training shoes means I am also putting down my fighting gloves and it's time to start this new chapter.

And so, on Sunday, I will stand at the start of my half marathon, I will wave to my family and I will run. I hope it will clear my mind and I hope it will be healing for my soul. I hope that it will feel like I might need a few years off to regroup, recalibrate, and figure out how to make this new world I am creating just a little bit easier. It is time for me to take a little break, a little breather, and to start a brand new day.

The words that keep flooding my mind are "easier" "lighter" "calmer" "kind" "gentle" "grateful". Because after a heavy storm, the clouds part, the earth is washed, the groud is full, the plants have been fed, sometimes, leaves fall off and branches break, but there is a necessary calm. Sometimes, you have to clean up a little from the debris left behind but that's okay. It's the start of a new day and for me, it's the start of a whole new life.

Stop.

30
Aug

Five Minute Friday - back

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 back.
Go.

At the end of a summer, it feels like we have to now get back into the swing of things. Back into routines and schedules. Back into packing lunches and emptying backpacks. Back into papers filling our home...back to structure.

There is a love/hate relationship with this time of year. I push/pull that I so often feel in parenting. A feeling of I can't wait to have you go back and yet another feeling of one more summer of childhood behind us and another transition to say goodbye to. This summer was filled with childhood, love, warmth, travel, busy, camps, weeks of time at home, projects, our house becoming a home, messes, sticky counters, crunchy floors, toys everywhere, messy rooms, laundry piling high, our house filled with people, our house filled with laughter, TV and movies, rainy days, lots of painting, reading dates, framily time, just us five, walks, runs, swims, sand, family on top of family, and childhood.

And now, we are back. Back to the grind, back to school for hubby, kids and back to me feeling like I'm not the only one back at it.

With all our love summer, you filled us full.

Stop.

18
Aug

Surrender

Morning lovies, this morning, I took another yoga class, and this one really focused on the word surrender, something your mamma does not do well. When you are always trying to fight and resist, surrendering is almost impossible. And so, I set it as my intention for the morning and really focused what it would mean to surrender to the rest of my year.

It would mean that I just lean into the hard. I start to get excited about the new. I get sad about the loss of a part of me, I get upset that I am saying goodbye to 20 years of something I worked so hard to build, something I believe in so very much. It means that I surrender my body to the stress and I surrender my bones to the tired. It means I go to bed when I am exhausted. It means I surrender to when I can't sleep. It means I surrender to when you two fighting brings me an annoyance that is so irritating that I can't function. It means I surrender to the chaos the next 4+ months will be, because they just will. Resist all I want, they just will.

It means I also surrender to the plans of my future. It means I surrender to the building of what is to come. It means I get to dream and hope and map out how different things will be for me. It means I get to surrender to you planning too...how different our summer will be, how different our time will be.

It means I surrender to a lot of what I thought I was, what I thought I needed to define me and I just am. I come out as something new, something completely new. It means I surrender to the times I make big mistakes, like being obedient when I should be strong-minded. It means I surrender to the times that my interactions haunt me, they should, it's how I learn. It means that I surrender to the feelings of blue, because the next four months will be filled with so much change, so much going on, so much I have to do, so much of what I need to keep doing, and I surrender to the madness of it all.

It means when I am in class, I surrender to that time...just me and my breath and I remember to exhale. I remember to melt into the floor, not just on it, but into it. It means I am grounded in my feet and from my root, I will rise.

It means when my feet hit the pavement I surrender to the different breath I have to find in order to find my rhythm in that day's run. It means as I start what might be my last half marathon training, I realize I can do hard things. And hanging up my training shoes is not giving up, it's finding a new me, putting aside the hard and finding what else I can do.

It means when I am taking a bath, I have to surrender to the warm water on me, I have to settle into the bath, close my eyes for just five minutes and be. And then it means I leave the full day right there in the tub and wash it down. It means I have to physically watch as it throws itself down the drain, today is behind me, honestly washed away.

It means during our reading dates, I surrender myself to our family time, to our connection, to what is important. It means when you ask for me to read to you, I put whatever I am working on down to be with you, you won't call for me much longer. It means when you want little guys I joyfully say, of course. It means when you fold into me, I allow you to and I rub your back and tell you how much you still look like the baby girl I brought home.

It means I surrender to what is coming. I have called for it and we are all ready.

Mom doesn't surrender all that well lovies. But today I took my first step and I know you will feel the struggle that is coming. But, we will hold hands and I will be reminded of your faces, your smiles, and your softness. I surrender to you.

9
Aug

Five Minute Friday - again

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 again.

Go.

I spent a week with love, and the sound of water, and the feeling of sand on my feet, and warmth from the inside out. And then I came home and it started all over...again. I felt the tension, I wasn't sleeping as well, I started to feel tighter, more concerned. I was at it...again.

I kept trying to find the feelings that were there just days ago. The ones that were light and happy. The feeling of comfort, the feeling of being surrounded by family and framily, the feeling of joy, the feeling of childhood. But the more I tried, the further away it all seemed. My littles faces felt it, my body felt it, my joy was fading and slipping away and it was being replaced with worry and being shut down...all over again.

So in my last few months of this year, I have a lot I still need to do. I am finishing my year of change and I still have a lot to complete. A lot to work on, a lot to change. And it will be tough, at times, it will be brutal. And that is why I really need to remember that I have to put down the things that are too heavy. The things I cannot carry. The things that are too much for me and I need to be an example to you. We are not responsible for everything and everyone. We are not responsible for every reaction and every decision. It is time I take a hold of my life...again.

Stop.

19
Jul

Five Minute Friday - distant

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 distant.

Go.

Hello my dear old friend, my go-to, my pull that I work on pushing away. Hello to one of my many coping mechanisms, the ones that serve me well and poorly, all at the same time.

Hello to the thing that hurts me most about myself, the thing I learned to take away most from them. The thing that confuses me most about adulthood. Am I being healthy by creating distance, am I being same old me that just walks away? Is it a good idea, when is it a good idea? What would make my kids cringe when they are older, what will they understand and be proud of my boundaries? Do I have boundaries or do I have old unhealthy patterns?

Hello to yet one more pattern I worry about. Hello to what I know too much about. Hello silent treatment, hello distance, hello confusion, hello my dear old friend.

Hello to the constant nagging of "here we go again" and the "no, you need to walk away because you just feel so bad around them". Hello to the constant nagging of "why do you always go this route" and "when are you going to stop letting them in?" Hello to the constant nagging of "you take after them" and "you can't allow this negativity in anymore". Hello to being split and not knowing what is right, what is ethical, what to do.

And I watch others weave and go through life. Not having this weird part of them. Knowing when to walk away with health and courage, knowing what is worth fighting for. Knowing when to not look desperate and knowing when to not be too proud.

But me, I carry an old dear friend on my shoulders. I carry distance and being distant and anger and resentment and old ways and old ties and writing people off and just walking away. Hello dear sweet old friend...hello my dear.

Stop.


5
Jul

Five Minute Friday - take

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 take.

Go.

As a parent, sometimes it feels that all we do is give give give to little takers. Little faces that say, can I have, can you give me, can you get me, can you do this, can you carry that, can you drive me, can I go to, can I do this, can you bring me, can you make this happen, will be you there, can you read to me, what's for dinner, can I have dessert, can you get carry me?

Can you and will you to little takers. And we give and give and give and teach and teach and teach and at the end of each day, we wonder why our bones are tired. We wonder why we feel so empty. We wonder why our minds can't shut off and we wonder why we are so foggy.

It all starts at birth, however you birthed a person. Whether that was in a hospital, clinic, home, court room, it all starts with giving up of yourself to make room for a new one to enter your soul. You take over our hearts, our bodies, our being. You start on the inside and it pours out into the outer limits of our fingers and toes. You hold on to our hands and take our love, our devotion, or attention, and at times, our actual mind.

You, you're not to blame. You didn't ask to be here, we asked for you to find us. And part of the exhausting task of this exhausting part of parenting is teaching you to do for yourself. It is teaching you to get your own thing, to contribute to the family, to do it on your own little by little, part by part.

But in the meantime, yes, I can help you reach that snack. Yes, I can pour you something to drink. Yes, I can help you make your bed. Yes, I can take you to see your friend. Yes lovies, I can help. You can take and I will give because in the end, although I am empty, there is a fullness to my world, my heart that you give that replenishes my love, my ability and me. You give too.

Stop.


23
Jun

The year

I just read one of the most amazing articles of all time that put this whole school gig into the most amazing perspective. It's on the average kid, the one that doesn't make the team, isn't in every single thing, isn't straight As in all the subjects, isn't killing it since birth in an area of their life, isn't already headed for college at 10, hasn't already created something, invented something.

But the kid with heart, the one that loves to read, the shy kid, or the kid that can be friends with anyone, the kid that loves animals, or loves to color still, the one that still wants to play and just be a kid. That kid, the average kid, the one we all lost sight of, the one we are all trying to push, the one that doesn't need pushing because they are so content. And good, and kind, and smart at their thing, and thinking, and being little.

" School is the only place in the world where you’re expected to excel at everything, and all at the same time. In real life, you’ll excel at what you do best and let others excel at what they do best."

I made a promise that I would protect your childhood. Not a promise to protect you because you've got this, but your childhood. I made a promise you would get to be little, and kids, and not be over scheduled or overdone. I made a promise that it would be about being kids while I had kids because damn does that window close fast.

I don't know when or why it happened. I wasn't part of much when I was in school but I found my own way. Dad, he was part of the team, any team, but he still got to be a kid. He didn't have to start specializing at the age of 6 and somewhere along the way, parents lost their way and started down this really scary path.

And I just want you to know, my 4th and 1st grader, my little tiny faces, I am proud of the year you have had. Because you always tried, because you worked hard, because of your hearts.

Anna, I am so proud of you for knowing that all of your closest friends were all in one classroom together and instead of being upset, or sad, or even bringing it up, you made new friends. Good friend. Friends that you really love and laugh with and have so much fun with. Friends you have story after story after story about. Friends that you write notes to. Friends that you want to be around. Friends that make you feel good. You did something that has always been so hard for mom and you just put yourself out there and you connected. I am most proud that you befriended a new kid, one that you could tell was feeling shy and worried. You made the first connection and you brought her into your heart. I am proud of you for opening your arms and your heart out and as you get older, it will be harder but I hope you always remember how easy and natural it is for you to make friends.

Anna, I am proud of you for always trying, for giving your best. For putting your mind to something. Not because you are perfect at it, not even because school just comes easy to you, not because you don't get any mistakes or do everything right, but because you just keep going. When spelling was hard for you, you worked at it. You found solutions. You listened to tutors, you practiced. When things are hard, you do not give up, you do not get frustrated, you take the help and you learn and you cope and you do.

Anna, I am proud of you for really giving it your all. For leading with your heart, for being a social butterfly and loving to be around people. Anna, I love that you fell even harder for reading this year. I love that I find you all over the house reading. I love that you use the car to read. I love that you are covered in books and always have one near by. I love your love of stories. I love that you are starting to write your own and I love that you are still silly, and little and not at all growing up too fast.

Cole, I, and everyone that comes into contact with you, falls hard and heavy for your heart. I am proud of the person you are Monkey. I love that you make everyone around you feel loved. I love that everyone thinks and feels like you are their friend because you are. I love that there is nothing malicious about you. I love that there is nothing fake. I love that you just love people. I love that all the grownups in your life see that too. I love that you come in, get your homework done and just want to play play play. I love that you spend so many quiet hours with legos. I love that you make people feel loved and cared for. I love that people can always count on you. I love that you have a smile that can melt, and I love love love how funny you are.

Cole, I am proud that you wear your emotions on your sleeve. I love that you are emotional. I love that you put it all out there. I love that although sitting and listening are not your thing, you do it so well for your teachers. I love that you know what is right and what is wrong. I love that you look to them to confirm you have to step back. I love that you get excited, I love that you think most days are the best days of your life. I love that you would move heaven and earth to be with your dad. I love that you love hugs, I love that you love little guy kisses.

Kiddos, I am proud of you because you are good people. And I love you because you both love love. And that does not make you average, that makes you special. You receive what you put out and you always put out love and kindness. You put your best foot forward and you always try. You are not average, you are exceptional because you know and realize what really matters in this world. All of this other stuff, it does not matter, you have the real world figured out. Love, kindness, friendship, caring humans.

21
Jun

Five Minute Friday - question

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 question.

Go.

We all have them. We start pretty early in life trying to figure things out, or why certain things just have to be a certain way. We get in trouble for asking too many and we sometimes don't move forward because we are stuck in a cycle of them.

Although I am not motivated by a why, I am much more motivated by the because this is how "it" is "done", I do question every move I make. I do carry the thought right down to the worst case scenario. I do answer my own why but I still worry and think through, excessively think through, the decisions I make. I question myself more than I question my actions. I sit, I ponder, I think of every possible thing that could go right or wrong, and I reason it all out.

Raising two little faces that I ask to do this or that, or ask not to do this or that, I get asked why a lot. I have tried very hard to not come back with the typical, because I said so now just do it, response. Instead, I try an walk them through it all, I try and be reasonable and compassionate to all of the questions, but that's not always so easy. Patience wears thin, I have already explained it, I have answered and answered and now you're just arguing, and as always, I am tired guys. Gut-wrenching tired, bone tired, hard to stay awake ever tired.

But ask your questions, I will keep trying to answer them all. Ask your questions and dad will tell you how and why things are made. He will tell you where things are and about the history of this and that. I will tell you why I do things a certain way and how to keep yourself sane in an insane world. As you get older, remember it's okay to question yourself and your motives and your motivation and your decisions. Just do not get stuck, do not get trapped in a cycle of questions and talking yourself out of things that make you scared. Jump a little, believe just a little, trust just a little more.

Stop.

17
Jun

The fog

I talk a lot about how for years and years and years, we were in the fog of parenting. But just the other day, I was reading another mom's fog and it reminded me how desperate those times were and how desperate they felt. I can tell right away when two people are in the fog now. I can see it in their faces, I can hear it in how they talk, and I now know how normal it is.

Here's the craziest and scariest part, for us, it didn't happen in the beginning. It did not happen with newborns. No, for us, it came on three years in. Just when I thought we were not only safe, but I thought we were invincible. I found myself elated, telling him things like "we made it, we managed to avoid all of the fog." I was so damn cocky. I was so sure we sidestepped all of the crap, and we came out the other side, strong, loving, partners, leaning on each other, doing this incredible dance, it all just fit. And all of that was true, we were, we did, it was as if we were meant to do this, together. Until we started to walk on each other's toes and we no longer had any rhythm of a dance. Until it leveled me, us, what we had, who we were, what I thought we were, who I thought we were. The fog settled around us and we couldn't see each other anymore. We had lost, we were lost, and I thought we were gone.

The fog, for us it lasted for excruciating years. We did eventually figure out why. It all of a sudden all made sense. And you would think that would have fixed it but hell no. It took more years to fight our way back. I kept allowing the fog to cloud my vision, you kept shining a light in my face to have me see you and find you in the mess.

The fog settles at different times, in different ways, for different reasons for different people. The fog makes you deflated, angry, exhausted, resentful, full of contempt, unable to laugh, unable to see. It doesn't last all day every day but when it settles over, it lingers. And most of the days, you lose. You don't have a fighting chance against it. It changes you, it changes how you see your other, it changes how you see your life. It makes it too dark to see clearly so it's covered in gray. The fog makes you want, it makes you think it's greener someplace else. The fog makes you cry, hard. But, if you all hold on to each other, stumble through the mess together, if you go slowly, become more gentle, remember what is on the other side, all of a sudden, it lifts.

You have days that are clearer, you can finally see. You have days with more sunshine, they just feel warmer. You have days with more color, the green is on your side now. You realize how hard that was and how you somehow managed to make it through. I'm no longer cocky enough to think for even one second that the fog won't settle in again. I will no longer proclaim that we managed to avoid anything. Because for some, it doesn't settle in at all. But that is rare, that is not the norm. See, for others, it takes over for a short while, some others longer. And in the long run, all of it is short when you are staring at forever. But it is one of the many secrets of parenting that no one talks about, everyone is hush hush about. The fog is a real thing, it happens and it does not mean you are broken. It does not mean you are in trouble, it means you have walked through the thick of it, it's murky right now, it will once again lift.

What I have learned is that if you are with family, if you find someone you do not want to walk away from, you manage to hold on. You manage to find ways to laugh, you keep talking, you keep searching for each other, you stumble together, but you never let the other person fall. You lose, and it doesn't matter. You keep showing up for each other because you know how worth it all is. You realize this is a blip in your long long life together. You realize so many others are also walking through the fog and you shine lights in their faces too to remind them that this is all very normal. What I have learned is that you figure it out, the dance becomes more and more of the rhythm you know you have. You look across the table and you just smile because you know this is home, this is where your heart has always been, this is where you belong.

17
May

Five Minute Friday - promise

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 promise.

Dear Cory, when I met you, I made a promise to my heart. You would be a part of my family. You would be in my life, no matter what, we became connected, instant and immediate. I found home.

Dear Mia, when I met your furry little face, I was at the end of a life goal I had set. I was so young, so old, so ready for love and snuggles. And I met a little old soul puppy that had so much life and love to give. We made a promise to each other, we would raise one another, and we did.

Dear Anna, when I met you, I became a mom. I held this intense responsibility and for the first time in my life, believed in happily ever after. I met a little face that was so serious, so trusting, reaching for us, and so observant. I realized that little is so big and you were my dream. I realized that I now carry a heart in a very real way and I promised to love and hold and let go. I promised to forever carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart.

Dear Cole, when I met you, I knew what love at first sight meant. I learned that people are so attracted to you, I learned that they are drawn to you. I learned that love is attractive and that kindness is something that doesn't always need to be taught. I learned that people are loving and I made a promise, to be more like you. To learn from your natural love and light. To fall in love with love.

Dear Pearl, when I met you, I was ready. I had mourned the loss of my first puppy and I was ready for my home to be filled with puppy kisses and snuggles. What I quickly learned is that if you ask for things, they come and what I got was a lover of love. I got hugs, actual hugs and smooches and a puppy that needs to be held, needs to be noticed. I got love and I made a promise to always and forever embrace. I made a promise to stop and hug and pay attention and slow down and remember that if you live life without these connections, it's just not worth it.

I made a promise to take advantage of this second chance. I made a promise to love you as hard as I can and not regret out time together. I made a promise to not look back and wish I did it differently. Even though I mess up, I promise that I am always trying. I made a promise to you, to me, to all of us.

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