It's easy to get wrapped up in the negative.
It's easy to focus on the hard.
It's easy to remember all of the struggles.
It's easy to hold on to pain
to loss
to confusion
to noise.

2015 was not our best year yet, but this time, I will #FocusOnTheGood
and all I am grateful for like...
Cole started preschool and is amazing!
His teachers adore his kindness and calm...COLE!!
Anna started first grade and her teacher can't get over how big of a heart she has.
"Always kind and helpful to her friends, always polite, a really good friend"...that's my girl!
Anna falls in love with reading again and again and is just so smart!
Cole is learning his alphabet and numbers and is just so smart!
We realized this year we were hurting our kids' hearts by the way we were parenting and so we changed.
We changed.
We grew.
We realized how much it wasn't working and we did something about it.
And, in a few short months, change is happening in them.
We are getting them back.
My kids are coming back to me.
And I feel whole again.
We learned, from them.
We got a second chance, from them.
Both want us to be proud of them, and we are.
Both want us to love them, and we do.


Mia stayed one more year.
One entire year full of memories, time together, night time snuggles.
Her hearing is a little less.
Her mobility is a little less.
Her sight is a little less.
Her patience is a little less.
But Mia is still here.
Will all of her heart.
All of her love,
and lots of days filled with puppy kisses and running around.
Mia is still with us.


The house.
The addition and renovations are almost behind us.
My house started to become mine again and for an introvert, that means I could find my sense of calm.
I could restore my energy.
I could be in my space.
We got our roof fixed.
We are getting pictures back up, which makes me feel cozy.
Our office was completed.
Paint jobs are getting complete.
We are starting to settle and even though we have a lot of little things left, it is starting to feel like home.
Our home.

Cole and framing

I stumbled a lot this year.
But that means I have to make changes.
I have to figure out my world so that my body does not respond in protest to my stress.
I have to become more than lists
and busy.
I have to be present.
With them, and him, and her, and in our home, and me.
And I have taken little steps like
I have fallen madly in love with yoga and how I can build strength through calm and breath.
I found a new chapter.
I was gifted a book that could have and should have been written by me!
A book about being healthy,
being around
not allowing regret to become a part of your future.
There are signs all over,
and I am finally listening universe.
I will slow down
I will be
I will regain my health
I will regain my emotions
I will regain my energy
I will be more than a list
I will be me again.


We stole 4 days away just us two, in warmth.
We learned how to rebuild from ashes.
We learned how important our foundation is.
We learned that we are strong.
We are capable.
We are in love.
We want a future but we want to be present.
We want laughter
and childhood
and fun
back in our lives
back in our house becoming home.
We want more than what we are
and we are strong enough to become it.
We are in love.


We spent a week at the Cape with amazing friends that are family.
We met local friends that make us feel giddy and whole.
We have friends all over the place, but felt so lonely
so isolated.
We couldn't find our circle, until we did.
We couldn't find our joy, until we did.
We couldn't find happy and laughter, until we did.


I am grateful for hugs
and smooches
and touching toes
and holding hands
and olive juice phrases
and clear eyes
and full hearts
and joy
and laughter
and childhood
and second chances
and friends
and family given and created
and homes
and responsibilities
and love.
I am grateful for all of them and all they have meant to me and for me.
I am grateful they made and make me better.
I am grateful for all of you
and all you do
and all you teach
and all you give
and all I give
and all we are.



I crept into your room and even though dad had just put you down, I knew you were almost asleep.
Exhausted from your day
from your not napping
from the running around.
I knew you were almost done.

And so, I opened the door and your heavy eyes opened one last time
as you looked at me,


And I snuggled in.
To the face that I made,
the one that I love,
the little three year old boy that is all energy.
Who's switch had finally been flicked off.
And I saw how soft you have always been,
even when you're hard.


It's a word that rarely gets used to describe you.
The one in constant motion,
the one that is constantly storming,
always loud
always all in.
Soft, it's rare that anyone calls you soft.


And in these moments,
I think about all of the ways I fell short today.
How many times I was too harsh,
when I wasn't the adult in the room,
when I was too hard
And I think about what I have left you with.
What memories did I make?
How many more nights will I get to see this little little boy?


And you sweet boy,
you remind me of second chances.
Because no matter how difficult our day was
no matter how hard it was on us,
you are soft.
No matter how harsh I may have been
how many do overs I needed,
no matter how hard I was,
you always forgive because you are soft.
You still wrap your loving and forgiving arms around me
still tell me you love me
still find the ability to be silly.
When life is hard,
you remind me to be soft.
When you are hard,
I have to remember to approach it softly.
When I am hard on you, on our day, on our little family,
you are the one that teaches me to be softer.
When things get hard,
you plead with me to take the soft way out.
Because you are forgiving,
to me
and others
to yourself
and your family.
You are soft,
to me
and others
and yourself
and others.

You remind me how easy it is to start over.
How easy it is to let go.
How easy it is to forgive and move on.
How easy it is to be soft, gentle, and loving.

You are full of love
full of second chances
full of life
full of joy
even when you are hard, you are soft.



Five Minute Friday - dwell

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 dwell.

On the past and what I could have, should have done differently.
On my future and what I need to do for me, for them, for us.
On my life.

This word carries weight with me.
It carries a sense of regret and lingering over a period of time.
Because all it means is that I am overthinking,
I am stuck in yesterday,
I am struggling to move on,
And I am allowing negativity to wash over me,

We are closing out another year
and in a handful of weeks, we will start the new year.
Everyone's attempt at starting over
motivated for change.
But there are those of us that change is fear.
There are those of us that mourn any loss
no matter how small.
There are those of us that dwell
too long
too hard
and therefore are stuck.

Stuck in their own stories,
the one they are telling themselves, no one else is writing that part for you.
Stuck in our own heads.
And we climb inside a really small jar
close the lid super tight and live inside this small world.

Do we know it's unhealthy?
Do we know it's all on us?
Do we know that no one else is putting this immense pressure on our shoulders?
Do we want it to be different?

And so, as the page turns and 2015 becomes 2016
I will work hard to not dwell.
Because it is not reflecting, it is lingering.
I will work to apologize for the bad and move on.
Because it is not regret for all, but for that moment.
I will work on change.
Because it is not all fearful and happens every moment of every day.
I will work on happy and I will #FocusOnTheGood.
Because there is so much good, as long as you don't dwell.



Promise me

That you will always choose happy.
That you will apologize when you are wrong and take responsibility for your actions.
That you will not work until you drop.
That you will create and define your family.
That you will remember what is really important.
That you will see that stuff equals noise.
That you will find your quiet calm.
That you will love,
your family
your life.
Just promise me that we will all be all right.

Please promise me that you will find your way.
That you will define success by how many times you laugh
by how joyful you are
by how much you say "I love you" in one day.
That your work will be important to you
but not define you.
That your children will be important to you
but not define you.
That your person will be important to you
but not define you.
Because all of it makes up who you are.
Not one piece
not any one part.
All of it, makes up you.
And just because one is not doing well
one is struggling,
does not mean that it all falls apart.
Just promise me that we will all be all right.

Promise me that you will make time
for you
for fun
for laughter
for joy
for hugs
for smooches
for all of the I love yous.
Promise me that you see me and how important all of that is for us.
Promise me that you will have a family movie night
and time with friends
and a big Sunday breakfast together.
Just promise me that we will all be all right.

Promise me that you will always eat with your entire face
and hum when you love the food
and that your feet will dance with every bite.
Promise me that you will always nap
and sit in quiet
and be still
and take your little faces in
and realize how immense and big little is.
Just promise me that we will all be all right.

Promise me that you will find your way to the beach
and the trails
and water
and sun
and snow.
Promise me that you will remember to keep having a childhood
especially when adulthood gets too serious.
Just promise me that we will all be all right.

Please promise me that you will find real friends.
The ones that you can laugh with, the kind of laughter that takes over every part of your body.
The ones that you are not judged by
the ones that make you feel good down to your toes and lift your heart,
even if you spend the night crying in their arms.
Promise me that you will always be a good friend
and gentle and kind
to them
to you
to your family.
Promise me that when you are picking the family you get to choose for yourself,
you will realize how important of a decision it is.
Because those you spend your time with
they also define who you are as a person.
Promise me you will treat others well.
That you will make things all right for them.
Just promise me that we will all be all right.

Promise me you will keep your smile
and good nature and heart.
Promise me that your soul will always be the real you
and that you will feed it too.
Promise me that you will remember all that we created when we created you
and how many times we told and showed you that love.
Promise me a happy childhood
and second chances
and moments that matter.
Just promise me that we will all be all right.

Promise me you will be all right.
Just promise me that we will all be all right.


Five Minute Friday - weary

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 weary.

Has it really been six months since you've been in all of this pain?
Yes, it started in April, so really close to eight months.
And now tell me about this appointment, this test, what's happening with this doctor?
Lists and lists and lists of all I have been through.
But you still ran a triathlon?
Well, when I found out that the pain wasn't structural, I thought, I have to push through this.
Are you really starting to work at 5?
Yes, I am so overwhelmed and it's all I can think to do.
You know that's probably adding to it right?
I do.
And how are you doing? You know, emotionally?
I am exhausted.

It's a new normal I guess.
When you're so tired, you can't even say it anymore.
When your body is so drained.
The push and pull of life.
When you know the only thing you should do is shut everything down and take care of just you.
But, the to do lists crush you.
Every time you close your eyes, it's all you see.
All you have left to do.
And you tell yourself, just get through this week, this month, this time.
Just a little while longer.
Until you can no longer recognize the way your life should be.

Until my weary body and mind are no longer making sense of it all.
Until my weary heart is in actual pain, on the brink of tears.
Until I can no longer process, think critically.
Until you are putting them on the back burner to fit it all in.
Until you hear yourself saying all too often, god I missed you today.
Something has to give, something has to change.
I will pick up this weary body,
I will not be defined by busy.
I will shake off the nonsense,
the noise,
the chaos.

Because I will be defined by the moments that matter.
I will be defined by love and gentle and the fact that I was and am a good mom.
I was and am a caring friend.
Not by my weary body, not by my cluttered mind.
I will reawaken, it will all be different.



Moments that matter

I know I have a good memory.
Things, people, places, stories...they all stay with me.
I can't wash them away.
But I want and need to remember it all.
I need to capture every moment of what you are giving me and I need to put it in a safe bottle.
One with a lid for protection.
And most importantly, a lid I can open.
Every time I need a reminder of what you have been able to do
for my second chance
for my surprises at motherhood
for my life
I can open this bottle and drink you in.
And so, I promise to keep a running list.
Times when life really mattered
and I will come back to this list each and every time I need a drink,
or need to add to it.
Because I promise to make this my priority,
our list of real moments,
ones that really matter,
I will make adding to this list what my life should be all about.

These are our moments that matter...
We tried for both of you
desperately wanting you to find us.
And the day we found out we were pregnant with you,
were glorious and terrifying days.
Your father could not hide his desperate love for you both.
His joy beamed out of every part of him.
He loved you before he even met you.
And with both of you, I will always remember the look on his face when the test read positive.

Anna, moments before you were born,
your dad came into the operating room shaking and his face mask was drenched in tears.
I have never ever seen him so scared
so rattled
so desperate for you.
You did and do that to him Anna.
You rattle dad.
You make him believe in something bigger than all of us.
This was the moment that time stood still for me.

One night, we all had a huge dance party.
The kind in which we were laughing so hard it hurt to breathe.
We had friends over who made us laugh
who brought childhood into our home
And it mattered a lot.

Cole, you walked really late, later than your sister.
And you had us worried.
The day you walked monkey, we fell over with shrieks of laughter and love and relief.

Cole, you would tell us how much you loved us by the number of claps.
Mom was always a two clap love.
Dad was always three claps.
He was always your best friend buddy.
And although I tease about feeling sad, this warms my heart.

Anna and Cole,
both of your teachers have pulled me and dad aside to tell us what good friends and people you are.
How you aim to please and how kind you are.
I don't care about your grades,
you are smart people that will always do well.
We have nothing to worry about when it comes to what the tests and grades mean.
But this, this moment when both of them told me how much they look forward to seeing you
well, that's what matters.

Anna, your very first dance, was with dad.
In the hospital,
with U2 playing in the background.

Cole, everything you do, you're all in.
you're always all in.



I will always remember this.

Anna, when you were just born and still waking up to eat, your last feeding was around 4am.
I would then bring you into our room and place you on my chest to sleep.
I would listen to you breathe and watch you sleep.
It was heaven.

you were my one and only love at first sight.
I loved you from the moment they put you into my arms.
You won over the entire nursery with your face.

Anna, your first word was woof (because that's what you would call Mia) and it was too adorable.
Cole, your first word was mamma. Thank you for knowing how much I needed that.

Anna and Cole, your vocabulary always wowed everyone.
As babies, you both had so so many words.
And you still do.
You love to talk.
You love love love to talk.

Cole, you have always hummed when you eat, especially if you love it.
And your feet still dance when you take your first bites.
I hope you always love food this much.

Anna, the first time you held Cole you looked down at him and up at me and said,
"he's my best friend".
You spent the first year of his life playing and dressing and taking great care of him.
You need to know how important you each were and are to each other.

Summer of 2014 was so bad for us. The house project kind of destroyed our little family.
Summer of 2015 it all came to a head and it was this picture that brought me back to life.


Taken from a photographer that has watched you both grow.
Seen through the eyes of a camera lens, is a family that loves.

November of 2015 we had a heat wave for a glorious week.
Temps were close to or in the 70s, in November.
And your father needed a family hike and we got one in.
At first, everyone was cranky.
Cole was tired and didn't want to walk.
I was feeding into his mood.
Anna wanted to be on a playground and not a trail.
But we walked on.
Three minutes in, we were racing through the trail,
Cole was laughing and holding dad's hand.
We were playing I spy.
The kids were holding hands and Anna you were helping Cole climb and walk.
It was magic.
It mattered.

I vow to always come back to this list.
I will add our memories that matter here.
For you to always have, always.


Five Minute Friday - dance

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 dance.

Last night, family and friends had an epic dance party.
The kids were being kids,
the adults were being kids,
childhood filled my home.
And I fell in love with you all over again.

It brought me back to some of our single days.
When we would turn on a song and sway back and forth.
When we were practicing for our wedding dance,
when we smiled and laughed all of the time.

Laughter filled our house last night.
Hugs and snuggles.
Exhausted and ready for bed kids
who wiggled and jumped.
Who got to hear us laugh and have fun again.
And I fell in love with you all over again.

It brought me back to when you scooped her up on her first day of life
placed that tiny bundle in your huge arms and danced with your daughter on day one.
Happy tears streaming down my face, as I drank you both in.

Childhood that brought us back to life.
My second chance.
Our time.
Their first chance at this precious small amount of time that we have together.
And that was their memory going to bed.
A house full of laughter.
Happy, joyful parents snuggling them into bed.
Happy filling our home.
Laughter coming out of all of us.

All from a silly little dance party.



Or was I?

There are hard parenting days,
and then there are days that level you and you think,
I was not built for this.
I was not made to tackle this all.
I cannot possibly keep going because I am failing so miserably.
I just don't know how to parent you because
I was not built for this.
(or was I?)


I was not made to be rejected by little people.
I was not made to teach them love.
I was not made to constantly say the same thing, over and over and over again.
I was not made to be patient.
(or was I?)

I was not made to yell.
I was not made to be calm.
I was not made to be always gentle.
(or was I?)

I was not made to be leveled.
I was not made to be torn down.
I was not made strong.
(or was I?)

Was I made to parent you?
Was I built strong to face all of this?
Was what happened in my past part of what I can see in you now?
Is this my karma?
That I can see the importance of childhood,
That I can see and am attracted to the most beautiful of people because I can their glorious light in a way that most do not get?
This is what I was made to do wasn't it?
I was made to see the childhood and beauty in you.
Even on our dark days.

I was made just for this.
I was made to let go of hatred.
I was made to show you love.
I was made to show you gentle and kindness and respect.
I was made to show you strength and hard work.
I was made to show you smiles
I was made to be your hug,
your safe space.
I was made to be your parent,
your love,
your light,
your soul.

I was made for this.


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