What it is like to be nine.

He came into this world on his own terms. Determined to be different from his sister. He was a scheduled birth, not an emergency. He was always fighting "something"...a tied tongue, a low birth weight, gross motor skills, milestones, and ER visit turned hospital trip. This one had us, well me, always a little on my toes.

He was also special...always. He lights up a room, his heart is so pure, his words so kind, his hugs so real, his smooches so sweet, his love of love...so natural.

So, what is nine like with you monkey?

It's a tornado with plenty of sunshine.

It's a little boy that cannot and will not sit still.

Playing, watching anything, sleeping, it does not matter, you do not sit still.

It's a little boy that still thinks we are his whole world.

It's a little boy that still has bad dreams that only crawling into bed with mom and dad can make right.

It's a little boy that crawls into bed at 3am but doesn't forget to whisper an "I love you" and grab your hand to hold it all night.

It's a little boy that plays Legos for hours and hour by himself...but still asks "will you play with me?"

It's a little boy that wants nothing more than your time. He will do anything you want as long as you get to do it together. He will always tag along and wants to help because all he wants is to be with you, always.

It's a little boy that thinks he will never get married because he doesn't ever want to leave his home.

It's a little boy that loves loves loves food. Favorite place to be, a grocery store, where all the food lives. His favorite food...anything that isn't tofu and rice. Truly anything.

It's a little boy that pushes back tears that make your heart ache. It is how he will get away with murder.

It's a little boy that asks so many questions, has so many what ifs, so many different scenarios to lay out.

It's a little boy that loves to be outside. And a little boy that will really be with you.

A little boy that cries when you've been gone all day and didn't get to spend any time together.

It's a little boy that loves praise. He loves to know when he has done a good job and definitely shuts way down when he is being criticized.

Nine is a lot of emotions, a lot of fun, a lot.

Nine is still believing in magic, and Santa, and fairies that take your teeth and leave money.

Nine is still believing that your family is your whole world. They are everything you have. They protect you, they are always there.

Nine full of love and heart. It's loud and messy. It's tornadoes and sunshine. But that heart, that is a heart of a boy right there.

Welcome to nine, your last single digit age. You picked the right circus to join monkey. We needed you to shake things up, keep us moving and on our toes. We needed you specifically.


Five Minute Friday - recover

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 recover.


From a loss

From heartache

From a breakup

From a fight

From labor

From a race

From a run

From a hard week, month, time

From illness

From rejection

From mistakes

From saying goodbye

You recover. You do. You come out looking a little different, being different. But you recover. You don't just accept the information, you recover from it all.

You find a way to realize that the loss opens up doors. The heartache means you loved someone important and letting them go is painful, but you had that time together. A fight means you still care and are still working on it. At the end of labor and delivery, you hold someone on the outside of your body. That race, that run, it means you can do hard things so your body will recover and be strong, more able. That hard week, month, time in your life...you will be ok. Even when you feel you won't. You grow from mistakes and rejections. You might replay the goodbye in your head over and over, but you will recover.

Health, mind and strength, you recover.



Play ball

He's so little out there and for the first many many many games, he was afraid to even swing. He only got on base when he was walked, but that swing wouldn't come. So his dad worked with him, getting him out of his head and swinging at that ball, and it's starting to work. He's swinging again, he's not making great contact, but he's out of his head.

And the best part, he never gets frustrated or embarrassed. He just tries and is okay with it. He's so resilient that way. And resilience is not his strong suit. Walking back to the dugout, he's still him. Kind-hearted, smile on his face, ready to cheer on his team...just him.

I love to watch him play, not because he's great, or isn't great. But I love to watch his heart. I love to hear him cheer on the other kids. I love to see how excited he gets when someone does something out on the field. I love to watch him run out and tackle a teammate that got a cool run. I love to watch his heart.

I never was a sports fan, I wasn't a jock. I wasn't athletic and I'm still not. But I married a coach and fell in love with games. I fell in love with the team work involved, I fell in love with the thrill, and I fell in love with the slowness of it all. Even with that, I'm still in love with this season of our lives for something very different. I am just in love with who you are as a person and how clearly that comes out on the ball field.

I love watching you try, how much you exaggerate your whole body. I love hearing others cheer for you because they want you to do well. I love seeing your coaches light up around you, even if they have to remind you to talk a little less. I love seeing the smiles of those that get to be around your heart.

There is very little I love more than watching both of your childhoods. I adore this front row seat that I have. I love watching you navigate this world and I love watching you become who you are, especially because I happen to think you're two of the best people I've met. I love watching your dad coach you. I love the uniforms with your names on the back. I love seeing your identical blue eyes really stand out with your blue jerseys. I love hearing him coach each kid, be so positive and helpful. I love when he picks you up from being hit how you cling to him and cry and I love you knowing that's ok. I love you monkey.

Play ball sweet and low.


Five Minute Friday - excuse

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 excuse.


For so many years, I judged people that I thought made excuses for their lives. We all have the same 24 hours, it's up to us how we use them? How arrogant is that?

Somehow, learning more about me, what makes me tick, what keeps me going, why and how I do things, learning the strengths I have and the weaknesses they cause, helped me to see things from their side too. I realized that since I just go go go, I thought others were making excuses as to why they can't. But, that go go go leads me to break and that's not good either. When things get out of control, I pick up even more balls than I drop and I swear, I never realized there was another way. Until I did.

My husband isn't making excuses not to work out, he just didn't find a way to keep himself accountable and he needs that in order to move.

My kids aren't making excuses either, they just don't know what makes them tick yet.

I'm also done making excuses for me. I understand that although I need to grow and figure things out, I also have to accept big parts of me. Like I'm a doer. I'm an achiever. I'm always the person that will add to her plate, not take away. I'm also the girl that is all in...with her real relationships, with her work, with her mothering, with her workouts, I'm all in.

There are ways and reasons and whys and hows. There are things that make people go and things that make them stop. People feel so validated when they are seen, understood, no longer judged. They feel like the reason is meaningful. So I beg of you, learn about yourself. Dig in, really find out your why and how. Accept yourself and work on yourself. If something isn't good for your soul, find a better way. But, if it works and makes you feel right, stop making excuses for why and understand this is you. No more explanations, no more excuses.



Welcome back

I have been vaccinated since April, dad since early February. This Wednesday, Anna, you will get your very first shot. They are working on shots for 6-11 year olds next. We are coming back.

Today, I went for an eight mile run into town...puppy by my side and Anna's bike pushing her to keep up. We hit Broadway and saw it, our town, our real town, coming to life. Too early for the tourists so it was all locals, us, bringing us back.

There were so many people walking the streets, every parking spot was taken. People were eating on the sidewalks, restaurants had their doors and windows open. Stores had their merchandise sprawled out all over the place. I bought ice-tea for me and my girl, I went back for a cute necklace. We are on our way back.

This week, President Biden announced those who are vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask. I'm not ready, but I'm getting there. When I walk busy streets, I'm trying to retrain my brain, I'm safe, it's ok, it's going to be okay. We are coming back.

It's slow, it's going to be slow, but we are getting there. We are getting back.

We are hugging again, people. We are seeing people again and hugging. We are hugging really hard. And sometimes, we are crying, because it has been too long. We are sharing meals, drinks, stories, and our time with each other again. We are coming back.

We have all been waiting, longing for this time, and it's here. Some of us are more ready than others. There are times I actually worry about it, all the "getting back to normal". So, we are coming back. My nights are filled with baseball games, practice, flute practice, piano practice, fitting in work, a hubby that is gone with his own coaching, my kids that want to play, work is busy, my parents are ill. So, yeah, we are getting back.

There are times, moments, days, I am overwhelmed. There are also times that I am numb to it all, just moving along. And then there are times I'm feeling really okay. Because for over a year, I rested and really really took it all in. I loved the quiet, but I was also ready for my house to not be so full of my people. I realize we are making our way back, I realize I can't stop it all from coming. But I also know that I'm going to be ok. I'm not starting work at 4am, I'm not working all around the clock. I am working out before I even start my day. I am driving my kids to and from school. I see friends. I'm having dinner, I'm eating meals.

Okay, so it is all coming back. It's slow, I know it's slow. But,, welcome back. Welcome back to people, welcome back to traveling, welcome back to restaurants, welcome back to gatherings, welcome back to gym sessions moving around the room, welcome back to really big hugs. Welcome back to life. Welcome back to the living.


To mother

To mother means sharing your whole body, regardless of if you carried a baby or not.

To mother means to sharing every part of your being, every ounce of energy you have.

To mother means you carry your baby, always and forever, regardless of how old they get.

To mother means you lose yourself, even for a minute, and then find yourself again and they reemerge someone, something different.

To mother means you find strength and then you find rest and then you find a way.

To mother means you say no a million different times but yes to so much more.

To mother means you mange...relationships, feelings, emotions, arguments, fights, brawls.

To mother means you mange...schedules, appointments, lives.

To mother means you manage...your feelings, your emotions, your relationships, your past that you thought you could keep in the shadows but to mother means they bring them out into the light.

To mother means you love differently. Yourself, your person, your littles, your life.

To mother means you are loved differently. By yourself, your person, your littles.

To mother means to give a lot up but to also gain so so much.

To mother means to be used and at times tossed aside.

To mother means you find yourself crying over a familiar smell, or an old article of clothing.

To mother means you look at pictures with aches in your bones.

To mother means you stare at the phone, you worry, you lose sleep.

To mother means to be the protector, the smoocher, the light, the happy they see when they wake up and go to sleep.

To mother means to be the one that keeps all of their moments, every single one.

To mother means to love them in your sleep.

To mother means they are with you, even when they are not.

To mother means to be strong.

To mother means something.


Five Minute Friday - SHE

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 she.


At one point in time, she was determined to go at it alone.

She thought it was the only way, the only option.

She was tough, not strong, but tough.

Tough to get through to, tough to be around, tough to get close to.

Until she wasn't. Until she allowed the hard edges to soften, melt a little.

Until she threw down her fighting gloves and picked up her babies.

Until she was able to create a family around her she never knew she always wanted.

Until she couldn't help but let him in, he was so easy to love.

Until she couldn't help but say yes to a life he always knew was possible.

Until she and they created a home.

She's different, but still her. She still reverts back to old habits but is more aware of them now. She knows where and how it all started, she knows how she is triggered...she's trying.

She's trying to work through the old muck, she's trying to manage it all, she's trying to realize how heavy the past is, but also trying to forgive. She's trying to move past the mistakes, hers and theirs.

She's trying to remember that time and love fix so much.

She once believed she was tough enough to never need anyone, until she was strong enough to love.



Something special

"There's something special about that kid, I don't know what it is, but it's there"

It's something we have heard since the moment you were born. People fought to be near you monkey. They fought to take care of you and hold you and change you and give you a bath and feed you. There has always been "something there".

It's not like it all comes with rainbows and sunshine. This special came with a little boy that started crying at 1 years old and didn't stop until he was almost 4. It came with "there's something wrong and we need to do more tests to figure out what". It continues to come with a lot of emotions, a lot of energy, a lot of doing things your way and a lot of feelings. It comes with a lot.

It comes with a lot of love. It comes with a lot of joy and so many smiles. It comes with big eyes that look at you like they really see you. It comes with a good heart, a good friend, a good student, a good teammate, a good and positive attitude.

It comes with a little boy that turns into a pumpkin at 8pm and needs to sleep. It comes with some talk back because dammit, you will be heard. It comes with a lot of "I won't do that". It comes with a lot of battles...so so many battles.

It comes with a little one that only wants to spend time with you, and especially time with your dad. A little one that wants to help, really be with you. A little one that loves loves loves family time. It comes with so many little guy smooches and a little boy that has no embarrassing feeling, he will scream I love you from anywhere at anytime.

It comes with so much movement, even in your sleep. It comes with bad dreams that call you to our bed. It comes with snuggles and hand holding. It comes with scared crying tears when something scary is on TV or someone is getting hurt. It comes with so much noise and screaming and the best kind of make believe play.

There is something there. It's the love and hugs and chubby hands. It's the curly hair and the big eyes made bigger by eye glasses. It's the love for dad, it's the best buddies. It's the cheering on of your friends. It's the way you feel for your sister and can't see her upset or struggling. It's the love you hold and it's the way it bursts out of you.

It's the way that people flock to you, even when you are in the wrong. It's the way you try to hold back tears, but you just can't. It's the way that you are so excited to see anyone anytime. It's the way you hug, it's the amount of enthusiasm you have for life. It's always been your voice, it's just so full of words that you can't make it all come out fast enough. It's the amount of movement you need. It's the stubborn streak you have. It's your loving heart.

"They're all beautiful, but there is just something about that Cole. There's something really special about that kid, I don't know what it is, but it's there."

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