3
Apr

Five Minute Friday - now

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 now.

Go.

I was talking to a friend about how we all have been giving it all that we're got for years. We all push ourselves for tomorrow, next week, next month, next vacation, next weekend, next year. We all push and push. We all take on too much. We all do. We all keep going.

But now, it all stopped. Now, the world got really quiet. Now, this is all we have. We have right now. So, what can we do with it? What can we make of it? How can we survive it?

There are those that will still only think of tomorrow because how can you not? How can we not worry about what is all going to keep coming at us?

There are those that go through the roller-coaster of emotions, being fine, being good, being heartbroken, being worried, being insane, being hard on ourselves, being grateful.

But, if you can, as an entire community, we will never ever have an opportunity to sit in today, be here and now.

So now, I'm trying to keep some amount of normalcy.

Now, I am sleeping in a lot more.

Now, I have loosened my grip on my lists.

Now, I have loosened my grip all together.

Now, I'm taking a ton of walks.

Now, I miss my framily.

Now, I am finding ways to stay connected to those I love.

Now, I get to watch you learn, like I did your very first year of life.

Now, real family comes together. Real family offers support and love. Real family reaches out. Real family shows up.

Now, I go to bed later, now, the exhaustion is different.

Now, my brain is starting to get clearer, things are less fuzzy.

Now, anxiety comes in waves so I have to practice not thinking too far ahead.

Now, I find humor.

Now, I listen to a lot of chewing, a lot of gulping, a lot of talking, a lot and lot and lot of talking!

Now, I light a lot more candles.

Now, our house is messy and weird.

Now, we watch so much TV I freaking love it!

Now, the puppy is in heaven.

Now, the kids really turn to our traditions, to find their own normalcy.

Now, I get to watch in real life the sentence "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" come to life.

Stop.

27
Mar

Five Minute Friday - adjust

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 adjust.
Go.

So, we're all doing it, adjusting, but how are we all doing?

It's a new normal, but does any of it feel normal?

We're trying to find the good and decent in this. We're trying to stay strong, positive, supportive, loving, kind, but we keep having to pivot and realign.

We're adding homeschool teacher to our resumes.

We're finding ways to all live and work and play and settle into our homes.

We're finding ways to help support small businesses and nonprofits and still keep each other safe and protected.

We're finding things to do and new ways to be.

We're walking more, our pets are in heaven.

We're eating together.

We're less addicted to schedules and have tos, there is nothing that is more important than the world we created.

We're connecting through technology.

We're laughing at how we're all dealing, we're laughing and that says a lot.

We're showing up for each other.

We miss each other.

We are slowing down.

We're sleeping in.

Jammies are the new black.

Rum and wine have become my love language.

We're still working out because our gyms are incredible!

We're talking, a lot. The kids are nonstop chatter, they cannot get enough of us and really show off during video calls.

We're also worried. We're worried about the other side of it, who will be ok, who we will lose (in more ways than one).

We might be losing sleep at times.

We're learning a lot from the experts that are on the ground researching this and pouring their lives into solving this for us.

We're ordering in, weekly.

At times like these, what I see are that people, good people adjusting and showing up. People are remembering what is important. People, good people adjusting and making the right things a priority. People, good people adjusting their lives to find normalcy and calm in the middle of the biggest storm the world has ever faced.

Stay strong, keep doing what we're doing, stay in, stay home, wash up, love always.

Stop.

23
Mar

Shhh.

Lovies, this is a time we will all remember. Always and forever. The time the entire world went black and dark and quiet. The time we were all hunkered down and living each day minute by minute. The time we were inundated with information and closed off, all at the same time. The time when everything was closed and we all just watched. The time it all hit, all at once and everywhere.

So, in a time of worry and concern and just not knowing what the hell is going to happen next, and not knowing who is going to make it out ok, and not knowing what will happen to our entire town and just plain not knowing anything, here are some things we do know....

Right before this all happened, you two could not be in the same room. You were both at each other, all of the time. You could not have one single conversation without anger and disdain dripping from you. And we had had enough. We would be 3 minutes into our day and both of you would be sent to rooms and asked to separate. I would cringe with how you acted around each other. And then, overnight, you had to become each other's only friend, only person, only source of entertainment and it all changed.

You both worked together, you both compromised, you both play silly games, you both take turns, no one is in charge anymore. You both work side by side, all day long, in one office doing work and helping each other. You both read and play and snuggle on Pearl. You eat together, take turns watching things you both enjoy, you are all you have. As much time as we have to be spending together, it's made it so much better. You are getting closer and Anna, Cole is living his best life because he has you back.

Our house is getting messy but organized and projects we were going to get to, they are getting done. And extrovert dad is on fire with all of his projects and finding ways to run to Lowes for everything and anything. And introvert mom is loving being cooped up and staying put.

Laundry is getting done.

Dinner isn't rushed.

Saturday mornings are really lazy, so are Sundays.

Dad is still working out...at home!

My business is still turning, for now.

We are watching cute movies.

We are snuggling a lot.

I am sleeping a lot and less and then a lot again.

My lists are getting shorter.

We are walking Pearl all of the time, and she could not be happier, having us all here.

She too is loving her crate and alone time.

I am watching so many shows, and I know that sounds like a weird positive but it really really is.

Dad and I are holding hands all of the time.

Hugs are plenty around here, out of nowhere hugs, I really love you hugs, thanks for doing this with me hugs.

Cole is a Lego builder master and got us hooked to a new Lego Master show that is adorable and hysterical and fun. Anna is watching and really into it.

We're all sleeping in!

I'm not addicted to my phone anymore, I actually have it on silent so I can really take advantage of the quiet.

There is a lot to worry about, a lot to stress over, a lot to wonder how it's all going to look on the other side, who will be impacted the most, who isn't able to count a single blessing because their world is falling apart. So, for those of us who can, who are able to find the good, it's important we remember that and let go of little things that just don't matter.

When this is all over, I'm going to hug my friends hard. I'm going to go to the gym and do a dance of glee. I'm going to yoga and cry. I'm going to remember sleeping until I naturally wake up. I'm going to try and do more of that. I'm going to be ok.

20
Mar

Five Minute Friday - tomorrow

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 tomorrow.
Go.

It all changed in what feels like a heartbeat, one minute listening to how others are being affected and the next, it's at our doorstep. Yesterday normal, today is more chaos, what will tomorrow now bring?

As all of this changes, minute by minute, it gets a little more worrisome, a little more dangerous, a little crazier. So, all we have to keep doing is breathing, stay home, rest up, and support everyone from afar.

So today, my elderly parents came and visited with us standing inside our house, and them outside - talking through a window. Tomorrow, they might not be able to.

Today, we are trying to support local restaurants by participating in "take out week" tomorrow that might not be able to happen.

Today, I am going to make a normal weekly grocery list and go for a normal grocery run tomorrow morning, who knows if that will be taken away too.

Today, we are visiting with friends via computers and video calls, maybe soon we can all join together again and hug each other like it has been years, because that is what it will feel like.

Today we will stay snuggled with our little family and continue to take our puppy for walks and runs and keep the kids learning and slowing down, and watch all the movies and catch up on house projects and love each other.

Tomorrow, loving each other will not change, it cannot. It's all we have left.

Stop.

16
Mar

Five Minute Friday - less

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 less.
Go.

We are about to really understand what this word means. We are about to find out how wonderful it can feel to have to slow down. We are about to see just how little we actually need, how much less we can live with. How much less we can be doing, how much less it takes to be happy. We're about to find out the real meaning of the word.

So, as we try and stay safe, healthy, and do less running around, less driving, fewer group activities, less of all that we normally do each and every single day, remember all we can do.

Like take some walks and go for runs and be with our little families and create real mealtimes together, and talk, and read, and play games, and ride bikes, and play with our dogs, and take some pictures, and create some family movie nights on a Tuesday, and leisurely sip our coffee. As a friend of mine posted today, nature is still open.

This might be one of those times that we look back and remember how scary this was. We might also remember how cozy it felt to be together and being forced to not go anywhere. We might also remember how less always means more.

I fully understand that there are so many that do not have this opportunity and this retreat will be devastating. Remember that we have to take care of each other, be safe and be loving. Do more by doing less.

Stop.

23
Dec

Calm and bright

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright

Hello 2020. I have waited a long time for you. In real-time, just 365 days, but in my head, it has felt like a lifetime. I have prayed for you to come and I swear, I thought I would never get to actually meet you. I found my saying for you 2020. It's a saying this year, not just a word, and I am so thrilled with it. See, I am shedding the difficult but still working on expecting more out of myself and setting goals within my limits and reach. 2020, I am ready for you.

All is calm, all is bright

I started my year of change knowing it was going to be tough, and I mean really tough. Not only was I taking on such a challenging word for me, but this was the year I would start to close out my career, my work, my value. After 20 years, I was going to put aside who I have been and start over. I started a new company three years ago and this was the year I said I can no longer do both. I would set myself up to say good-bye to BBBSCR just as I am saying good-bye to you 2019.

But, that meant I had a lot of work to do. I had to really bring it. I had to replace my income, I had to network, I had to meet and meet and meet and I had to sell a company. I had to hire. I had to create practices and processes and I had to believe I could. I had to believe this is what I do now. I had to bring it, bring all of me. My days were b.r.u.t.a.l. My family suffered. I lost my mind. My agency lost its mind. My memory was affected. My body was tired. My brain was a fog. I lost words. I lost my humor. I lost hope. I lost compassion. I lost all patience. I stopped believing. I got scared. I was worried. Everything everywhere went wrong. I went from putting out fires to throwing my body on grenades. Explosions became my norm. I cried, so much. I panicked. I got sick in really strange ways. Doctors were worried. But, it happened. I f'ing did it. The day before my birthday, I turned a corner.

All is calm, all is bright

And sweet sweet girl of mine, the one who kept saying, mom, I'm so excited. Mom, I can't wait for...or I can't wait to do... Mom, I can't wait for next year. Mom, you promised next year we would have more time. Mom, you promised next year...sweet girl, all is calm, all is bright.

Yes, it is going to be a different year. Yes, I did make promises to you. Yes, I am going to live up to them. Yes, sweet girl, I am excited too. Yes, I too cannot wait. Yes, I too am thrilled at all we will be able to do together. Yes, sweetie, it's finally happening. But mamma is also letting go of a lot right now and she is sad. She is also having to retrain her body and mind to no longer be in a constant panic, and that will take reconditioning, But yes, sweet girl, I am ready.

All is calm, all is bright

I did not do a single thing alone. You were always there lovey. You have always always always been my coach...always. You have always been such a support. You didn't flinch, even if you were worried. You never doubted, even if you didn't think it could happen. You didn't say, are you crazy, even if you knew I was. You didn't ever say, let it go, even when it wasn't working. You didn't ever say, this is too much, for you, for us, you have to stop doing this, even if it all was. You just hugged it out. You told me it was going to work and you told me that no one even knows what I am going through because I make it look easy. So, you also lied, but that's okay, you lied to make me feel like I had a handle on things I no longer did. You took on so much around the house and with the kiddos, and you dug deep, you were their everything, you were our everything. Their morning, their homework, their afternoons, their coach, their dinner, the cleanup...You did it all and asked nothing of me other than, you go ahead and finish up your work for the day. You listened to me cry. You listened to the panic. You worried about my health and would hug me and say, it's going to work out Brine, we all know it is. And you would allow me to melt right into you, head on your chest, crying like a fool, shaking, melt into you.

All is calm, all is bright

And you sweet sweet sweet boy, you asked all the questions. Why are you quitting? What does this mean? What will happen to your old job? Will you still be a boss? Will you still work all these hours? Will you no longer work on the weekends? Will you be able to play with me more? Will you play with me every night? Will you read to me?

All is calm, all is bright

Sweetie, I didn't quit, I resigned. There is a difference and the main thing that is different is, I will never be able to fully walk away. I am still in love with everything about that place lovey, but it was time. Yes, they will be fine, better than fine...they will have fresh eyes and energy and time and balance. See, mamma just isn't that important. All she did was love them and who wouldn't step into that role and love them? Yes, I will still work, yes, I will still lean into work, but yes yes yes, you will see me and yes yes yes, I will play with you and read to you and have reading dates and yes lovey to time.

All is calm, all is bright

It's going to be really different, but I'm still me. I'm still running a company that our family is depending on. Things matter for a different reason now. Things are going to be calmer guys, yes, but I will also be providing light again. I will be lit up again. I will be alive again. I will be living again.

All is calm, all is bright

My hope is that I get some rest. I rest my brain and I rest my really tired body. I rest my nerves and hopefully, my mind, my memory, my words will all come back. I have my days set up the way I want them. I have some routine and schedule. I have meetings set. I have time set aside. I am starting to lift that damn foot off of my chest.

I have my workouts planned, I have my classes set up, I know when I'm hitting the mat and when I'm hitting the water and when I am hitting the road and when I am hitting the gym and lifting. I know when I am taking walks and I have time set aside to do that with you all too because you want connection and I do too. I have time set aside to write, and time set aside reading and I might even learn how to use a camera...like I wanted to when I was 14.

All is calm, all is bright

My hope is that I remember that I was once more joyful. I once carried more light so it's time for me to find that all over again. It will not be perfect, I will have to fight off some demons, I will still be me and like GR says, "accept yourself and expect more from yourself". I really am ready for you 2020, I have been for a while. I wasn't sure if I would get to meet you, there were so many times you seemed so far away I was sick at the thought, but you're here now. And welcome, it is so great to finally meet you.

All is calm, all is bright

20
Dec

Five Minute Friday - birth

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 birth.

And here we are again...when the word of the week directly speaks to me. I have been thinking so much about both of your births these past few weeks. I have a potential client that does home births, and I have been sharing your birth story, and I even was talking to dad about both of your stories. And then, this week, here's the word.

Anna, it all started with you and your incredible story. How you made your way to us, how scared I was in the room, how much scarier it got when we had to have surgery, your dad's face that I will never forget as he walked into the O.R. and we immediately switched personalities...he was emotional and worried, I was calm and confident. He was watching his whole world on a table, hanging in the balance of a doctor we barely knew, I was sure it would be great, and begged him to be with you..."there will be a team working on me, don't leave her side, be there for our daughter lovey, I'm going to be okay, it's all going to be okay." And it was. Sweetie, you came into this world at your own time, in your own way and even though there was what could have been chaos and mayhem, it, like you, was very calm. It, like you, had a silent presence, energy and actual force you could feel. And, again, you spoke to me...mom, it's all going to be okay, I'm supposed to come out this way, so just close your eyes and get some rest, I'll see you soon.

Cole, yours was exactly you. Even though it was supposed to be surrounded by the calm of knowing what was to come, well, it wasn't. Something went wrong every step of the way, just little things. You, my little monkey, needed to set your mark from the beginning. You were always telling me how different you would be and get ready mom, your life is about to get loud and crazy, and lots of energy coming your way. And then, all eyes were on you and people were immediately drawn. People fought over changing you, holding you, damn, you immediately won hearts. Your dad, this time, was ready. He knew what was to come. He was just waiting.

Lovies, your dad, he couldn't wait to meet you both. I so wish you could have seen him BEFORE he had you because it was so special and you would instantly know how loved you are. He is the reason you are here because watching him talk about you like you were already here, I just couldn't deny him this. I couldn't take this from him, he was made to be your dad, and he wrote this chapter for us.

Your birth, it was exactly how both of you were to come. One, slow, quiet, methodical. The other, crazy, loud, eyes wide open. Your lives, they are being played out exactly as they should be. Exactly as you, we, the universe is writing them out.

Thank you for finding us loves. Thank you for making this happen. Thank you for being the reason I believe in happily ever after and love at first sight. Thank you for making me a believer in magic and making me kinder and slower and more thoughtful. Thank you for giving dad this chapter that he so desperately wanted. Thank you for making me want it too and thank you for making our lives a page-turner.

Thanks for being born.

Stop.


17
Nov

Last night

We have been really lucky in the sleep department. Our kiddos are really good, really strong sleepers. There are cons to this, like they can't miss sleep. Ever. They can't stay up really late and bounce back...no, I mean ever. Because then they have to be treated like an actual bomb that you place in your hand and watch and hold and don't put down and when it explodes, you lose everything that is precious to you. So no, they can't stay up later in the summer and sleepovers make them monsters forever! And staying up for any reason is always not worth it.

But, overall, it's a good thing. They slept as infants and babies. I never went through the exhaustion that comes with early parenting. They napped like crazy. My daughter finally gave up her four-hour nap when she went to kindergarten. Although worried about her transition, I wasn't willing to work on this with her because who would?

Recently, they have been waking up more often. And that means they have been coming in more often. To him, it's starting to feel like a lot more, but for me...truth be told, I am really loving it. It goes against everything we did as parents of babies, but I don't care. I am letting them climb in, I am letting them take over the bed, and I am loving the snuggles and the fact that they feel safest with us.

Last night, it became the perfect storm. She read a book that scared her so much she had to put it down and then her imagination got the best of her and she was so scared she asked to stay with me. He woke up at 3:30am and got really worried about how dark it was and asked to come in. And there I was, sandwiched between my two babies...no longer babies...but my two babies.

One held my hand and whispered, I love you, from his sleep. The other fell hard and fast asleep pressed up against me, snuggled inside my arm. Her breath became rhythmic, I watched her eyes actually get heavy, like they would when she was first here. I watched her struggle to keep them open so she could watch me watch her, but she gave up sooner than she would have liked and she was at peace. He came in like a storm. Rushing, loud, worried, breathing really hard. His breath slowed as he realized he was okay. He twisted and turned for a second and then looked up, grabbed my hand, and was out like a light.

Last night, I watched both my babies be at peace. I watched their chest rise and fall at different rhythms. Last night, I saw his eyelashes were so long that I wondered if he could feel them on his cheeks. I saw how gorgeous her lips are and how perfect they form while she's sleeping. Last night, I saw how much they looked like you and how lucky I am that I married someone so handsome. Last night, I saw pieces of me on their face, and I felt so lucky to be there. Last night, I felt so lucky that my little faces couldn't sleep...needed me, needed my arms and my attention. Last night, I opened up our bed to them, and yes, you got kicked out. Last night we did things like we never do them. We let them in, I got to be there all night with them. Last night we didn't worry about routines or what this would do for their forever sleeping, or if we were setting them up for bad habits. Last night, we just let them snuggle where they needed to be for that one moment in time. We let them be and we accepted what they needed and maybe what I needed too.

With them growing up so big, these moments of little are so far and few between. Even though we are so lucky that they are walking slow, they are still walking towards new phases and away from little. But last night, we let them be scared little kids that wanted their mom or dad. And I can't wait to do it all over again.

3
Nov

It's simple to find little things

This week, I read a beautiful post from a wonderful woman who spoke on how it can be so simple to find little things in this world to make you smile. Make you happy. Make you slow down a little, appreciate a little more. She set out a challenge...find what makes you keep going. Write that shit down. Make yourself remember the things that make you feel like you are living, actually living. Things that breathe life back into you, make you so content, comfortable, and at home. So, I made a list. And not my regular "get this done" list but instead, a make yourself remember there are so many things to be happy and appreciative of list. This is my list of love.

  • Rain…the sound, the smell, the clouds, the gray, the dark.
  • Waking up before anyone especially if it’s still dark out.
  • But also, sleeping and napping at all hours, any time of day.
  • The heaviest of blankets.
  • The smell on my hubby’s chest, it smells like home.
  • My kids’ actual belly laugh.
  • My puppers kisses and hugs…because I have a dog that gives actual hugs.
  • Seeing my husband love on our dog.
  • Seeing my husband belly laugh at our kids.
  • Pop-tarts…for real though.
  • Looking through old pics of the kids.
  • My fireplace and how much my puppy loves the fireplace.
  • How much my puppy loves her crate.
  • How much my puppy loves her family and you can physically see it!
  • The glow of soft lights.
  • Coffee, I have such a deep-rooted love for coffee.
  • A lit candle.
  • My bathtub.
  • A good robe.
  • The sound of a bat as it hits a ball, that crack gets me.
  • The look of a grown man’s face when he is so happy you can actually see the little boy in him.
  • Watching basketball, especially college, most especially with my family.
  • Long runs when I have 0 training scheduled, because I'm just running for the love of running.
  • The very end of yoga because laying down is my favorite.
  • Waking up and realizing I have so many more hours of sleep ahead of me but I’m not struggling to fall back to sleep. Because again, I love to sleep!
  • A really good kiss, because you are a really good kisser, even decades after our first. 
  • This fall, I don't know if I was just ready to really watch it all happen this year or if this fall has been especially exceptional but we really do live in an amazing area. I feel like we are living in a movie about a place that has a beautiful fall. There are leaves everywhere, the air is crisp but still warm, the colors are gorgeous…it has been magic.
  • Family bike rides and family walks with the puppy.
  • Playing a game together as a fam, I just love spending time with you guys. 
  • A gray day.
  • A new snowfall.
  • Snowshoeing!
  • Watching the kids sleep.
  • Holding hands.
  • Quiet.

I have so much to love on every single day. I need to remember how lucky I am and how much good I can find in my days. It is not always easy, I focus a lot on what I can be doing, should be doing, could do differently, need to work on and lists that look so different. But this list, this is a list we can all make and all take in. And slow the hell down and remember that life gives you reasons to smile. Life gives you reasons to slow down, you just have to take a breath and remember that your own list is there for you.

1
Nov

Five Minute Friday - last

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 last.

Go.

It's my last two months of a 20-year career. It's my last chance to turn around and take it all back and tell them I just want to stay because I love my job. Because I love my work. Because I love what I do. Because, despite how I feel and how I am being made to feel, I am good at this. I belonged here. This was my home and as much as I sacrificed and did for them, this job made me.

It's my last two months of not having to depend on my business for my living. It's my last chance to say we can't do this after all, I don't know what we were thinking but I was wrong and I'm sorry and I take it all back. Because it's my last two months of being secure and now it's all me.

It's my last two months of holding down both jobs, doing two really big things at the same exact time while still trying to be a decent mom, bride, friend, person...and still hold on to who I am.

It's my last two months to dream and really think and plan out what I want it all to look like now. What I am going to spend my energy on, what I am going to eliminate. What I am going to have to walk away from. What I am going to be able to fully embrace.

It's my last two months and I am having a lot of feelings. I am on this roller-coaster of emotions and there has been a lot of crying, a lot of overthinking, a lot of should haves, a lot of fear, a lot of lasts. My lasts.

Stop.

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