Those who are not grateful soon begin to complain of everything. – THOMAS MERTON 

Like the weather.
Or how fast time is moving.
Or about the kids. Or about our family. Or about our work.
Or how early it gets dark.
How hard it is to get up in the morning.

So instead, let me break the habit.

Like how much I enjoy each and every single season in NY, so, I may as well lean into the things I love about them.
Like how much earlier I want to sleep and hibernate because it is darker earlier.
Like how much I love to snuggle into a warm bed and that's why it's so hard to leave in the morning.
Like how time is moving way too fast, but I have a front-row seat to our kids getting older.
I get to see my daughter laugh like I do at TV shows.
I get to see my son scream with excitement with his dad at any game.
Like how much family I have surrounding me all of the time.
Like how much joy my career brings me.
Like how hard we work on us and how important that is to me.
And how much you realize how important it is to me so you try too.
Like how I get to work out every single day. My body has not failed me yet and I still get to move and get stronger and better.
Like how calm the water is when Pearl and I go for a walk.
Like how much our puppy loves to go for a walk and how happy she is.
Like having Pearl in our lives at all and realizing there is a true lover of love out there that puts all others to shame.
Like how she gives hugs.
Like how Cole still gives me little guy smooches.
Like how Anna still wraps her arms around me and gives me soft kisses on my nose.
Like our traditions and how important they still are to the kids.
Like my business that keeps me on my toes but doesn't make me feel stepped on.
Like how amazing rain sounds falling on our home.
Like how beautiful the world is covered in white snow.
Like how wonderful it is when the weather turns and we start to feel free outside.
Like how much I adore our Friday nights.
Like how much I look forward to our Sunday dinners
Like how we figured out how to heal before it was too late.
Like how we have each other.


Team Houser

I have been having a case of the mamma blues.
I have been feeling disconnected, disjointed, and unaware.
I have been missing the little, the cuteness, the wanting to be "just like mom".
I have been really really missing my kiddos.

Yes, they are right here with me.
Yes, we see and talk to each other all of the time.
But lately, they have been getting so big and going so fast that my head is spinning a bit and I feel off.
I feel like we're off.

And then, I came back from a weekend getaway.
I was greeted with the biggest smile I had ever seen.
My daughter baked me a birthday cake.
My son gave me little guy smooches.
And our little team was back.

And then, we went and worked out together.
And this daughter of mine, the one I was in twisted knots about, she kicked ass.
She pushed herself, but hard.
She picked up weights she hadn't even dreamed she could before and she pushed and pushed.
We did thrusters together and she kept up. She pushed and pushed and pushed and after every block, she looked for me to high-five.
And our little team was back.

And then, we came home and she told me all about her weekend, all about her time.
She filled me in on some of her friends and she talked and talked, just like she always does, about nothing, but just wanting to talk.
We made dinner together, turned on our show, we laughed together.
And our little team, we're back.

And then, our son and my hubby ran off to practice.
And my son wanted to try a play HE came up with.
And my hubby worked it into the rotation, and he was proud.
And they love doing this together.
And our little team, we are back.

And my hubby and I got two days away.
We ate and drank and smooched and walked and shopped and talked and smooched some more.
We hiked and played around, we laughed and held hands and touched toes.
We watched movies and smooched.
And our little team, we are back.



One’s life begins on so many occasions, constructing itself out of accident derived from coincidence compounded by character. - Donald Hall

Like the day I left.
Like the day I started on my own.
Like the day I fell in love for the very first time.
Like the day I met my family of girls.
Like the day I fell in love with him.
Like the day I adopted Mia.
Like the day I adopted you.
Like the day we fell in love.
Like the day a doctor told us my life would be a little harder.
Like the day we decided to grow our family.
Like the day we lost Mia.
Like the day we went and picked up Pearl.

Like the days upon days upon days, we try and try again.
Like the times we spend not connecting.
Like the times we reconnect.
Like the day I turned 40.
Like the day I lost my dad.
Like the year we spent healing.

Our life begins over and over and over again.
What is amazing - and at times miraculous - about family, and loves, and partners, is that you go through this rebirth, this new you, the new beginning and you still love each other.
As long as your foundation stays solid, you love the new person standing before you.
As long as your character is still in place, you know this is the direction you want to keep going in.
As long as you are not strangers, you find a way to start your life over, together.

What is amazing is that with each new, comes an opportunity to easily walk away.
Grow apart.
Grow in different directions.
Especially when you start young.
But sometimes, you find a fit that grows with you or finds a way to allow you to grow.

My life has started and restarted and restarted a million different times.
Sometimes, most times, on purpose.
Sometimes, on total accident.
But, here I stand, a million times me.

Over and over and over again, me.

Yes, I'm a little worn.
Yes, I'm quite a bit older.
No, that does not mean I'm wiser or have most or any answers.
It just means that I have restarted, every single time that I have needed to, I have restarted.



Love is a creative act. When you love someone you create a new world for them. - Trevor Noah

Love is something truly magical. Real love, not fantasy love.
Love that makes you stare at the person in wonder.
Love that makes your toes curl when you kiss.
Love that opens up worlds and makes you challenge your ideas.
Loves that opens up you heart to possibilities.

Love, true love, is truly something magical.

Love that accepts who you are, loves it about you.
Love that also asks you to grow, to see things from another perspective.
Love that balances you.
Love that fits you in every way.
Love that becomes family.

Love, true love, is truly something magical.

Love can make you want a bigger life.
A louder one and also one a little smaller, a little more quiet.
Love can make you want more and less.
Love can make you go to sleep content, safe, warm.

Love, true love, is truly something magical.

Love, true love, can also make you hurt.
Love can push you to extremes and bring you back again.
Love can make you get bored because true love, is boring.
Love can make you love how boring life can be because it also finds way to be magical.

Love, true love, is truly something magical.

Love can exceptional. It can open your whole world.
It can make your heart explode and your head hurt and your eyes shine.
Love is seen through smiling cheekbones.
Love is seen through special rituals.
Love is seen in handholding and toe touching.
Love is seen in glance, a knowing glance.

Love, true love, is truly something magical.

To the love of my life, you are my magic.
You allowed me to be me and pushed me to be better...kinder...gentler...more and less.
You showed me simple...and joy...and family...you were and are my home.
Yes, you are also my pain and my headaches and my temper tantrums.
Yes, you are also my crazy.
But love, you are my magic.
Love, true love, you are truly something magical.



I spent a week in heaven.

Paradise actually.

Surrounded by sun, blue water, white sand, heat, views, mountain tops, drinks, amazing dinners, my family of four.

Paradise, actual paradise.

But, it started to creep in...just a little anxiety because I was sick.
And then a little more because we landed and I couldn't hear due to the congestion and my ears being clogged.
And then a little more because of the heat and trying to find our card.
And then a little more because we needed to find the house and the escort.
And then a little more because I realized the home didn't have AC (only in the bedrooms).
And then a little more because bugs ate us alive the second we opened our doors.
And then a little more because I realized I couldn't work out at all, no way to run up and down the mountains, no way to take a walk, even without the mountain, the temperature wouldn't allow it.
And then a little more just because.

But I'm in paradise, actual paradise.

And then I started to really miss the puppy, and I couldn't shake my old feeling of dread.
And then I started to not be able to sleep well.
And then I woke up to "we have to go as soon as possible" and "are you ready to go?" and "are we ready?".
Usually, I can just roll with that, but it all started to be...a little more.

And then the kids started to get to me, just a little here and there.
And then the facial expressions got to me, just enough.
And then I called my mom and heard her voice and how much my puppy was hugging her and she couldn't understand her love.
And then my illness landed in my chest, and the coughing started.

And then I started to feel better.
And then I went for a swim - and I remembered how hard swimming is!
And then I went for another swim and got all the one from one side to the other and I felt great!
And then I started to dance with my kids.
And then we shopped.
And then my husband and I talked and connected.
And then I felt even better.
And then it was getting closer to getting home, and I was ready.

And now I'm back. Puppy at my feet.
Working out and walking and being in my home.
Drinking my coffee, sleeping in my snuggled bed.
Getting our home ready for renters, just a few weekends this time so we can enjoy our time here.
Doing my laundry and making and eating dinner together.
Thunderstorms and heavy rains at night.
Concerts and tourists all over our little town.
The feel, the energy, the rhythm.
Routine in check.

Paradise, actual paradise.



This morning, we were in the Caribbean Sea, both of our Littles right next to us.
"Today is our anniversary" I said with a smile so big it looked painted on.
"To which Anna replied "of..." with a tone that said, damn, what are you celebrating now?

We all laughed because, yeah, I celebrate us a lot.
And I always and forever will.
Even if I'm the only one that loves it.
Even if you all roll your eyes at me and at it.

Because these little moments are the ones that took my breath away and life is filled with enough moments of pain. So any and every chance I get, I will celebrate us.

July 8th is the anniversary of our first date. But for me, it was the start of all of us.
It's the day I found simple, kind, joyous love.
It's the day I met my family.
It's my last firsts.
My last first date. My last first kiss. My last first flutter of will he kiss me?
The last time a boy held my hand the first time.
The last time I felt a rush of that smile you gave me.

It was the start of us.

But for you, our wedding is the most important date so I will give you that one too.
The look you gave me when you saw me.
The way my mom hugged you.
The way my dad kissed your forehead.
The way we danced our first dance.
The amount of people and food.
The amount of joy and utter chaos.
I will give you that day.

As for me, I will celebrate all of us.
I will celebrate each little and big moment that led us here.
Without them, we would be in very different places, we would be different people, we would have different lives.

I will celebrate the day we met and the day we went out.
I will celebrate the day you asked me to marry you, shaking, crying, with our Mia by your side.
I will celebrate the day we moved into our first home together.
I will celebrate the day we found out we were pregnant with each baby.
I will celebrate their birthdays.
I will celebrate the day I adopted Mia, her birthday, I will hold the day we lost her close.
I will celebrate the day we all adopted Pearl and her birthday too. It was the day she healed us with joy and love.
I will celebrate and reminisce and think back to simpler times and forward to exciting times.
The life we built, this really big life.
All the things we have done, the things we decided not to do.
All the times we fought and lost and all the times we fought and won.

It's no secret that I am obsessed with us.
It's no secret that I love the little moments and how much they bring me.
It's no secret that everyone, even my little family, rolls their eyes at me, but I'll be damned if I stop.

I will celebrate all of us.



I know you worry about them, it's the most natural feeling in the world as a parent.
When they were younger it was worrying about if they were developing, especially with our late bloomers.
It was worrying about where they were in a store.
It was worrying about who was going to watch them when.
It was worrying about how they fell, how they hurt.
It was worrying about them being sick, how sick, how serious.

As they got older, the worry lines grew deeper.
It became worrying about their behavior at school, and whether they are being respectful.
Worrying about their potential, and whether they are living up to it.
I know you worry about his tornado spirit.
I know you worry about her pulling away.

As they continue to grow and grow, the worry lines will only grow deeper and deeper.
As they continue to grow, the worry gets more...specific.
Worrying about if they pick the right circle to lean on.
Worrying about if they are a good person in that circle.
Worrying about if they find a person to share this life with.
Worrying about their heartache, their decisions that we no longer have a say in, worrying about their choices for their life, worrying about them being too far, worrying about them, and not really knowing why.

It's worrying about if they are the people they were meant to be.
It's worrying about if we made the right decisions with them.
It's worrying about if we said the right things, at the right time.
It's worrying about if they know how much we love them and if they could feel it.

But, love of my life, the one thing we never ever have to worry about is the fact that we did love them.
You wanted this exact life, you had it pictured always.
I could see them in your eyes when I met you and it didn't scare me off.

The one thing we don't have to worry about is the love we have for them, I know it will carry them through.
I know it will make them who they are going to be - and be a guiding light - like you always were for me.

You, love of my life, you love to much and so strongly that you are always the light for our family.
Your love is what guides us through storms, darkness, and fog.
Your love is what keeps us warm, protected, and looking forward.
Your love is our light and you - you, love of my life - you are our moon and stars.


This life.

There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one. - –KAZUO ISHIGURO

I think of the different directions I could have gone in.
What if I stayed with Nonna and Nonno?
What if I didn't start at BBBS?
What if I had stayed with that boyfriend or the other?
What if I hadn't walked into that Blockbuster?
What if I didn't say yes to babies?
What if I didn't start this business?

But I am having this one.
The one in which an agency raised me.
The one in which I did go off on my own and I actually did it.
The one in which I found someone that wanted to do this life with me, not for me.
The one in which we moved to Saratoga Springs.
The one in which we made two amazing people.
The one in which we held our first puppy while she left us.
The one in which I did take a chance on me, again, and I did start something.

What if I didn't meet the girls I met at Geneseo?
What if I didn't surround myself with people that believed in me?
What if I never believed them that I need to start believing in myself just a little bit?
What if I didn't use writing to heal?
What if I didn't go to that therapist?
What if I didn't start to prove I could do hard things?

But I am having this one.
The one in which I met framily.
The one in which I forever and always tried to fill a space.
The one in which I was always searching.
The one in which I am finally done proving I do hard.
The one in which I can put down my fighting gloves, I don't need them anymore.
The one in which I found family.

What if I had held strong at saying no to you?
What if dad didn't say yes to Pearl?
What if I didn't get to find out about mothering?
What if we had smaller lives...quieter even?
What if we had stayed put in Rochester?

But I am having this one.
The one where I get to mother.
The one where I see how small our window of time is.
The one where I see it getting smaller and smaller and smaller.
The one where I get to walk and run and snuggle and play with a puppy that fills me so.
The one where our lives are big, and loud, and chaos.

I am having this one.


Five Minute Friday - owe

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 owe.


I owe you my happiness because you gave me mine.
I owe you my smile because yours is sunshine.
I owe you my heart because you make it beat.
I owe you my commitment to us because you are committed to us.
I owe you my joy because you gave me yours.

I owe you my motherhood because you convinced me to mother.
I owe you my kids' eyes because they are yours.
I owe you my home because you built all of it.

I owe you my soul because you brought it to life.
I owe you toes because they are happiest touching yours.
I owe you my hands because they are the happiest holding yours.
I owe you my health because you took care of me, you take care of me.

I owe you my hugs because you give the best ones.
I owe you my smooches because you are one amazing smoocher.
I owe you my time because 23 years is a long flipping time.
I owe you forgiveness because we all make mistakes.
I owe you apologies because we all make mistakes.

I owe you this life, the one we created, built, fought for, fight for.
I owe you.



Five Minute Friday - have

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 have.

To have and to hold.
To hold your hand.
To have your back.

To hold you and your courage up.
To have your love wrapped up in all of me.

To hold on to who we were.
To have a plan for where we are going.

To hold on to our past and our simple.
To have excitement for all of our tomorrows.

To hold on to your smile, your warmth.
To have that smile live on in our beautiful children.

To hold up my end of us.
To have you carry me.

To hold on to why we started, what makes us...us.
To have our memories keep us warm during the darkest times.

To hold you, snuggle into my place in your nook.
To have you hold me too, and remember where I am most safe.

To hold in a deep breath, remember to exhale, and let go of the pain we have created, caused, lived through.
To have us each take a step back, take a look at the beautiful life we actually created, and remember how lucky we are.

To have and to hold sweet love.

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