Our morning started out early.
I was at the hospital by 6, ready for surgery to start at 8.
As I was laying there, ready, not ready, alone, but in a room filled with strangers, I cried.
Knowing this would be the last time I would hold a baby on the inside.
Knowing our lives would forever change.
And then cheerful, thrilled, couldn't wait to hold you dad came in.
You could see his smile from ear to ear.
You could feel his joy.
And you were here.
Head to head, nose to nose, we snuggled.
And then, it happened just like that.
I turned around, and you stopped being small enough to fit on my belly.
You stopped sleeping 20 hours a day.
You stopped making little baby sounds.

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All of a sudden, you are three.
You are a person.
You have words, sentences, opinions, tantrums, likes, dislikes, worries,
you are a person.
You are Cole.
Cole Blake Houser.

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You are silly, you are goofy,
you are angry, you are strong minded, strong willed.
You are loud, you don't have an inside voice.
You are loving, your hugs melt hearts.
You cry often, you scream, your laugh can be heard through crowds and you love to laugh.
You look up to her,
you love and adore her, but you also take 0 bull from her.
She doesn't run you, she doesn't tell you how or where or when,
she is your equal dammit!

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Your dad,
he is your moon and stars.
You love love love love love your dad.
He is your ultimate joy.
He is your buddy.
You need him.
You need to be around him,
helping him,
playing with him.
He has a tool, you need a tool.
He's working outside, you're helping.
He is your moon and stars,
your hero.

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You still hum when you're happy.
You still eat with your whole mouth.
You still hug with your whole body.
Your feet never stop.
Your mind is always going, words still spill out of you.
You don't think before you act.
You are the definition of fearless.
You embrace life, you are not going to take any second of it for granted.

You are Cole Blake Houser.

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You completed a family that didn't realize was missing a piece.
You warm hearts, people cling to you.
You woe crowds.
You flirt!
You love to hit on people.
You are suave, you have game.


You are love.
You are my love.
Loving you came so naturally, from the very beginning.
You were my love at first sight.
Thank you for coming into our lives.
For completing it, for growing our hearts, for teaching us patience, for finding us.
You, are Cole Blake Houser.

Happy birthday...sweet monkey man.
"Please don't take my Coley away"...


Five minute Friday - blue

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 blue.

The color of calm,
the color of water,
the color of my mind, when things start to come apart.

The color I paint in my mind, on weeks like this one.
Weeks in which it all seems to be unraveling,
everything falling apart and no one, not even those that know you down to your core, understand.
You are left feeling alone, isolated, quiet, blue.

The thing I hate the most when I get here, is how often I forget to focus on the good.
How sad and overwhelmed I am.
How life decisions feel like hurtles.
How joy is gone.

But sometimes, I need to sit in the blue of it all.
I need to feel the way I do, in order to get to the other side.
I don't want to fake it, I want to actually be on the other side,
I want to feel better, capable, okay again.

So please loud family,
Please give me a little time.
Please let me quiet my mind, try and feel better,
try and get stronger.
Please let this introverted mother retreat.
Please give her a minute.
Please understand her.
Please understand that not being able to move my body hurts me more than most.
Please understand that a house in shambles creates clutter in my mind.
Please understand that my son's birthday tomorrow means losing a little more baby, entering another milestone,
filling and breaking my heart.
Please understand that an overwhelmed mother doesn't want to keep shouting,
she doesn't want to help you to understand,
she just wants you to.

Please world, for a minute, shh.
Let me wallow in my blue.
Let me soak it in, find my way out.
Let me cover myself in ironically my favorite color,
let me wear it like a blanket to keep me warm.

I promise, I swear with all I have, I will find the joy on the other side.
I won't be able to help myself and will fall in love with your childhood,
your laughter, your excitement.
Just allow me this brief moment in time, to sit in blue.



I can't believe it

I got up early and didn't go straight to work.
This time, this morning, I headed into your room and pulled out some books, laid down on your bed and started to read.
You curled up, your entire body in a tight little ball.
You couldn't get close enough to me.
You rested your head on my shoulder.
And as the three books I promised to read became one,
you were sad...I don't want it to be over, I wish there were more.
I do too sweet girl.

I can't believe I get to mother you.
I can't believe I get to love you and be loved by you.
I can't believe that you love me this much, that we are family.

I almost didn't come in, I almost thought, maybe she won't remember that I promised her a reading date in the morning.
I almost missed this.

I sneak into your room for our final routine.
We sing the song, our song, and I pause for your parts, and you fill them right in.
"You'll never know Cole, how much I love you, so please don't take my Coley away".
You reach out, put both of your chubby still baby hands around my cheeks, you pull me close, and smooch my nose.
"Mom, say don't get your nose"...
"don't you get me, don't you get my nose Cole"

I can't believe I get to mother you.
I can't believe I get to love you and be loved by you.
I can't believe that you love me this much, that we are family.

I can't believe how I almost didn't come in.
How tired I was from the day and I thought, we gave a quick kiss good-night downstairs, he can sleep now.
But, I heard you call for me, "mom, time to say good-night to me".
I almost missed this.

I don't know how many moments I have missed.
Those times where the exhaustion won.
I don't know what I wasn't a part of.
But, the times I do find a way to wring out one more ounce of love, one more ounce of me to you,
I am never regretful.
I am always filled,
filled full.

When I was young, I didn't dream of you.
I didn't know you were going to be here.
I didn't know this was going to be my life.
I didn't imagine this in my head because I couldn't.
I couldn't of even imagined that life could be this good, this peaceful, this calm, this loving.
Even through the loud.
Even through the chaos.
Even through the hard.
Even through the fights, the molding of people.
Even through the bad.
Even through the bad days.
Even through the horrible days.
I never imagined I would be this happy.

I promise to always find time for you.
I promise to always find quiet with you.
I promise to always find a way to connect.
It is in these moments that the I love yous are too many.
It is in these moments that the words come pouring out so naturally, so lovingly.
It is in these moments that you open up, you feel close to me, you know I am here for you.
You realize this is our time, you realize I am not distracted.
I am all yours.

I can't believe I get to mother you.
I can't believe I get to love you and be loved by you.
I can't believe that you love me this much, that we are family.


Five Minute Friday - rise

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 rise.

We get to start over.
we get another try.
We get to start all over again.

As soon as we open our eyes,
stretch and plant our feet,
it's all new and the only thing that matters about yesterday are the lessons.

Today is new,
today is just starting.

And so, for the woman that knows how to hold grudges,
for the woman that remembers every detail and then brings them back up time and time again,
rise and start over.
Rise and use yesterday as a lesson, not a map to find today.

You may have yelled,
we may have fought,
you may have failed,
they may have pushed every button,
it may have been wonderful,
you may have felt like it was the greatest part of parenting,
of couple-hood,
but today, we start again, no matter what.

Plant your feet,
splash water on your face.
Greet them with your warm, safe arms.
Let go and rise.



Dear new mom

Dear new mom...

"All you really need are a tiny bit of clothes, a blanket, diapers, some sort of food, and your arms. The rest is extra." -

I read this from a blogger I follow, WhiteHouseBlackShutters, who typically writes about remodeling. But, she is pregnant with baby number five and the new mom nerves are starting to settle in.

This one little line, in her long list and letter to herself, it grabbed me, took hold and wouldn't let go kind of grab.

It reminded me how simple parenting a little one is suppose to be.
How terrified we all are of getting it wrong,
how forgiving new faces are
and what it really means to be someone's mother.

I kind of went into parenting with eyes wide open.
I knew that the day to day was not a Pampers commercial.
I knew that my body would not rebound.
I knew that I would age.
I knew that it would be hard, and tiring and terrifying and take my breath away.
And then she came.


And what I didn't realize is how little she actually needed.
How natural it felt to be her mom.
How comfortable it felt.
I didn't realize how much I would love her.
I didn't take that part into consideration.

I didn't realize that in my arms, she too was comfortable, she too felt natural and safe.
I didn't realize I wasn't complete, that I was missing this extension of me, in her.

The rest is extra.


They age, and it becomes more complicated, or at least you think it does.
The natural love becomes more challenging.
The tantrums more frequent, the demands more exhausting.
And you think there is more they need.
That class, that lesson, that sport, that field trip.
They age and you forget that all they need are your arms, the rest is extra.


I don't know how to categorize a mom six years and two kids in.
I am certainly not a new mother anymore but I am also not experienced.
I have walked through some mounds of awful, I have held the wonderful.
I have aged, I have too many stories.
But, I am still just starting out.
I don't have any of the answers, not for you, and definitely not for me.
But I will hold on to this nugget of advice.
I will carry this knowledgeable and experienced mom's advice with me.

And so, my only advice, the only thing I know to be true is...
love them.
Wrap your kind and loving arms around them.
Let them know that is where they are safe,
at 6 hours old, at 6 years old, at 16 years old, at 46 years old.
Wrap yourself so lovingly into them that you don't know where one ends and the other begins.
Show them your arms, tell them they are for them.
We carry the weight of parenting and the weight of family forever.
We carry them even though we have put them down years ago.
Let them know they are always welcome in your safe and loving arms.

no matter their age,
no matter the challenge,
no matter the demands,
no matter what you think they need,

all they truly need are your arms, the rest is extra.



Five Minute Friday - follow

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 follow.

We met, and I followed your lead.
You took my hand and led me to normal,
to family.
we met, and you followed me home.
To a place I was terrified to be as a kid,
and needed to prove myself as an adult.

We brought them here and they follow us everywhere.
He is your little buddy, your shadow.
He can't get enough of you.
She wants to be just like me, even to a fault.

Our hope is that they don't always follow the crowd,
that they find their own road to go down.
That they are able to lead when needed.

Our hope is that they follow their hearts but listen to their minds.
Have a good balance of what feels right and what makes sense.
Follow what feels right.

My hope, is that we all continue to follow love.

We met and led and followed each other through storms and blue skies.
We met and it all began.



A mother's day love letter

I love hearing you both laugh.
A real laugh, right from your belly.
I love hearing Cole say "nice and cozy"
I love hearing Anna tell me about her day.
I love how crushing the small in our house is right now.
The messy crazy small.
I love our Friday nights, our Sunday mornings.
I love seeing you in PJs, fresh out of the tub.
I love the way you guys smell when you come in from playing outside.
I love hearing you ask if you can play outside.
I still love saying goodnight to you, I love this special calm moment of our day.
I love how small your clothes still are.
I love how tiny your shoes are.
I love hearing you talk about future plans and I love hearing you retell parts of your childhood.
I love your memory.
I love your words.
I love you both.

Dear Anna,

This year, you started school.
Get on a bus and navigate your own schedule kind of school.
This year, I held your hand as you walked to the stop,
I watched my little one grow, right before my eyes.
I watched your excitement, your joy of independence.
I got to watch you become more like me, in every way.
This year, I got to watch you do you.

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Dear Cole,
This year, you started to laugh loud.
You fell madly, deeply, effortlessly in love with your dad.
This year, he became your hero, your moon and stars.
This year, we started a new night-time routine, just us two.
I come in to sing our song and as I start, you place your chubby still baby hands around my face,
you fill in the parts I leave for you and together we finish with
"you'll never know Cole, how much I love you, please don't take my Coley away."

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This year, you both grew.
This year, you are both still little.

This year, my gift doesn't fit in any box,
it can't be written into a card.
It's just that I am lucky enough to be yours.
Your mom.
I get to love you.
And I'm not always the best at that.
But I am always trying my best.
I am proud of you.
I am joyful because you are my children, in my life.
I am happy to be carrying the weight of family.

I love you both.
Endlessly, fiercely, effortlessly.




Five Minute Friday - meet

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 meet.

If I were walking down the street, the 36 year old me.
The one that is closer to 40 than 30 and 20 is a distant memory.
And there she was, the 20 year old me, I see her, I want to meet her.
And this is what I would say...

Sabrina, you are going to be okay.
You worked really hard to get here, you had one goal in mind since you were 8 and you did it.
But, it's not over.
This isn't the end.

Sabrina, I know you are scared all of the time.
No, that part of you will never go away.
Every time you start, try, think about something new, your first reaction is still fear.
But, and this is the important part so really listen to me.
Fear, it makes you hungrier.
Fear drives you and makes you work harder and do more so embrace it.
Let it guide you.
Just make sure you never say no to an opportunity because of it.

Sabrina, you have created and defined a family that will all go and lead their own lives.
So, you will do it again, and this time, it's for good.
You are going to meet a really good person,
he is going to be your balance.
Laugh with him.

Sabrina, you are going to have two kids.
Stop fighting it, they are coming, and they are great.
You already know all the crazy that comes with parenthood and I know how much weight there is but
you are going to love it.
I can't tell you why, it doesn't make any sense, but you love it.
And, not just because you love them.
Do not be a serious parent, do not be harsh, have so much fun with this crew because once again, they are going to go out and define their own family so treat your precious time together as precious.

If I could meet her, I would tell her to keep working hard, keep running, eventually you will be running towards something and not away.

If I could meet her, I would tell her to



Just us four

It happens on Friday nights.
We all gather around the island,
we eat messy pizza
we watch any movie
and the world stops.
It is just us four.

It happens on Sunday morning,
with a big breakfast and warm coffee.
It's calm, it's slow,
it's us.
It is just us four.


Most days, our lives are full of things.
Things to do, places to be, deadlines looming.
Things, too many things, too many to dos.
Our patience is thin, we are all tired.
Little faces do not realize how tired manifests itself.
They don't realize that they are not them because of their exhaustion and they don't realize that mom and dad are also not themselves because they are too tired.
Instead, the tension rises, the tired sets in and love gets pushed aside.

But, in these rare moments, in these times of just us four,
we are swooped up in love.
You can see it radiating off of my face.
My heart is almost in pain from the fullness.
All snuggled together,
an introverted mother getting her fill.

In these moments, we sit so close,
we try and hold hands with the other three,
we are tangled in each other.
Their curls pressed to their faces,
the warmth of the fireplace keeping us snug,
or the breeze from the open door pulling us back out of hibernation,
no matter the season,
these are my moments.
This is what I live for.
This is why we work so hard,
at our jobs, at our parenting, for each other.

This is what reminds me why I fell in love with you in the first place Cory.
You were the definition of these times.
You were always my comfort, my smile, my simple joy.
You were my lack of drama, my lack of fighting,
there was no fight left in me but I no longer needed to with you.

These moments are why I decided to become a mom.
They were the times I wanted to instill in them young and the times I hope they still run home for when they are old.
Just my little family.
Just us four.


Five Minute Friday - door

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 door.

Last weekend, I had a difficult mom day.
My daughter was tired, she was overly extended and like most tired kids, she melted.
The fight in her was very much alive and when we got home, she was in her room, door closed, for the day.
As I stood on the other side, listening to her scream and cry and tantrum,
I thought to myself, how many times will there be a barrier, a division between us.


I know that if I am doing this right, we will battle.
I know that if I am doing this right, we will also respect each other.
I cringe to think of the day she will be in that room and will close the door to keep me out, instead of me trying to keep her in.

I am trying to build self confidence, I am trying to build independence and esteem, I am trying to build a loving person.

I hope that when things in your life are troubling, you will know you have a mom that will listen and not judge.
I hope that when things in your life are worrisome, you will know you have a mom that will listen and not judge.
I am here Anna, I will always have an ear and a warm heart.
I will try very hard not to give advice, I will try very hard not to always tell you what to do and I will try very hard to listen.
And all I ask of you Anna, please let me in.


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