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.

30
Aug

Five Minute Friday - back

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 back.
Go.

At the end of a summer, it feels like we have to now get back into the swing of things. Back into routines and schedules. Back into packing lunches and emptying backpacks. Back into papers filling our home...back to structure.

There is a love/hate relationship with this time of year. I push/pull that I so often feel in parenting. A feeling of I can't wait to have you go back and yet another feeling of one more summer of childhood behind us and another transition to say goodbye to. This summer was filled with childhood, love, warmth, travel, busy, camps, weeks of time at home, projects, our house becoming a home, messes, sticky counters, crunchy floors, toys everywhere, messy rooms, laundry piling high, our house filled with people, our house filled with laughter, TV and movies, rainy days, lots of painting, reading dates, framily time, just us five, walks, runs, swims, sand, family on top of family, and childhood.

And now, we are back. Back to the grind, back to school for hubby, kids and back to me feeling like I'm not the only one back at it.

With all our love summer, you filled us full.

Stop.

19
Jul

Five Minute Friday - distant

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 distant.

Go.

Hello my dear old friend, my go-to, my pull that I work on pushing away. Hello to one of my many coping mechanisms, the ones that serve me well and poorly, all at the same time.

Hello to the thing that hurts me most about myself, the thing I learned to take away most from them. The thing that confuses me most about adulthood. Am I being healthy by creating distance, am I being same old me that just walks away? Is it a good idea, when is it a good idea? What would make my kids cringe when they are older, what will they understand and be proud of my boundaries? Do I have boundaries or do I have old unhealthy patterns?

Hello to yet one more pattern I worry about. Hello to what I know too much about. Hello silent treatment, hello distance, hello confusion, hello my dear old friend.

Hello to the constant nagging of "here we go again" and the "no, you need to walk away because you just feel so bad around them". Hello to the constant nagging of "why do you always go this route" and "when are you going to stop letting them in?" Hello to the constant nagging of "you take after them" and "you can't allow this negativity in anymore". Hello to being split and not knowing what is right, what is ethical, what to do.

And I watch others weave and go through life. Not having this weird part of them. Knowing when to walk away with health and courage, knowing what is worth fighting for. Knowing when to not look desperate and knowing when to not be too proud.

But me, I carry an old dear friend on my shoulders. I carry distance and being distant and anger and resentment and old ways and old ties and writing people off and just walking away. Hello dear sweet old friend...hello my dear.

Stop.


5
Jul

Five Minute Friday - take

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 take.

Go.

As a parent, sometimes it feels that all we do is give give give to little takers. Little faces that say, can I have, can you give me, can you get me, can you do this, can you carry that, can you drive me, can I go to, can I do this, can you bring me, can you make this happen, will be you there, can you read to me, what's for dinner, can I have dessert, can you get carry me?

Can you and will you to little takers. And we give and give and give and teach and teach and teach and at the end of each day, we wonder why our bones are tired. We wonder why we feel so empty. We wonder why our minds can't shut off and we wonder why we are so foggy.

It all starts at birth, however you birthed a person. Whether that was in a hospital, clinic, home, court room, it all starts with giving up of yourself to make room for a new one to enter your soul. You take over our hearts, our bodies, our being. You start on the inside and it pours out into the outer limits of our fingers and toes. You hold on to our hands and take our love, our devotion, or attention, and at times, our actual mind.

You, you're not to blame. You didn't ask to be here, we asked for you to find us. And part of the exhausting task of this exhausting part of parenting is teaching you to do for yourself. It is teaching you to get your own thing, to contribute to the family, to do it on your own little by little, part by part.

But in the meantime, yes, I can help you reach that snack. Yes, I can pour you something to drink. Yes, I can help you make your bed. Yes, I can take you to see your friend. Yes lovies, I can help. You can take and I will give because in the end, although I am empty, there is a fullness to my world, my heart that you give that replenishes my love, my ability and me. You give too.

Stop.


23
Jun

The year

I just read one of the most amazing articles of all time that put this whole school gig into the most amazing perspective. It's on the average kid, the one that doesn't make the team, isn't in every single thing, isn't straight As in all the subjects, isn't killing it since birth in an area of their life, isn't already headed for college at 10, hasn't already created something, invented something.

But the kid with heart, the one that loves to read, the shy kid, or the kid that can be friends with anyone, the kid that loves animals, or loves to color still, the one that still wants to play and just be a kid. That kid, the average kid, the one we all lost sight of, the one we are all trying to push, the one that doesn't need pushing because they are so content. And good, and kind, and smart at their thing, and thinking, and being little.

" School is the only place in the world where you’re expected to excel at everything, and all at the same time. In real life, you’ll excel at what you do best and let others excel at what they do best."

I made a promise that I would protect your childhood. Not a promise to protect you because you've got this, but your childhood. I made a promise you would get to be little, and kids, and not be over scheduled or overdone. I made a promise that it would be about being kids while I had kids because damn does that window close fast.

I don't know when or why it happened. I wasn't part of much when I was in school but I found my own way. Dad, he was part of the team, any team, but he still got to be a kid. He didn't have to start specializing at the age of 6 and somewhere along the way, parents lost their way and started down this really scary path.

And I just want you to know, my 4th and 1st grader, my little tiny faces, I am proud of the year you have had. Because you always tried, because you worked hard, because of your hearts.

Anna, I am so proud of you for knowing that all of your closest friends were all in one classroom together and instead of being upset, or sad, or even bringing it up, you made new friends. Good friend. Friends that you really love and laugh with and have so much fun with. Friends you have story after story after story about. Friends that you write notes to. Friends that you want to be around. Friends that make you feel good. You did something that has always been so hard for mom and you just put yourself out there and you connected. I am most proud that you befriended a new kid, one that you could tell was feeling shy and worried. You made the first connection and you brought her into your heart. I am proud of you for opening your arms and your heart out and as you get older, it will be harder but I hope you always remember how easy and natural it is for you to make friends.

Anna, I am proud of you for always trying, for giving your best. For putting your mind to something. Not because you are perfect at it, not even because school just comes easy to you, not because you don't get any mistakes or do everything right, but because you just keep going. When spelling was hard for you, you worked at it. You found solutions. You listened to tutors, you practiced. When things are hard, you do not give up, you do not get frustrated, you take the help and you learn and you cope and you do.

Anna, I am proud of you for really giving it your all. For leading with your heart, for being a social butterfly and loving to be around people. Anna, I love that you fell even harder for reading this year. I love that I find you all over the house reading. I love that you use the car to read. I love that you are covered in books and always have one near by. I love your love of stories. I love that you are starting to write your own and I love that you are still silly, and little and not at all growing up too fast.

Cole, I, and everyone that comes into contact with you, falls hard and heavy for your heart. I am proud of the person you are Monkey. I love that you make everyone around you feel loved. I love that everyone thinks and feels like you are their friend because you are. I love that there is nothing malicious about you. I love that there is nothing fake. I love that you just love people. I love that all the grownups in your life see that too. I love that you come in, get your homework done and just want to play play play. I love that you spend so many quiet hours with legos. I love that you make people feel loved and cared for. I love that people can always count on you. I love that you have a smile that can melt, and I love love love how funny you are.

Cole, I am proud that you wear your emotions on your sleeve. I love that you are emotional. I love that you put it all out there. I love that although sitting and listening are not your thing, you do it so well for your teachers. I love that you know what is right and what is wrong. I love that you look to them to confirm you have to step back. I love that you get excited, I love that you think most days are the best days of your life. I love that you would move heaven and earth to be with your dad. I love that you love hugs, I love that you love little guy kisses.

Kiddos, I am proud of you because you are good people. And I love you because you both love love. And that does not make you average, that makes you special. You receive what you put out and you always put out love and kindness. You put your best foot forward and you always try. You are not average, you are exceptional because you know and realize what really matters in this world. All of this other stuff, it does not matter, you have the real world figured out. Love, kindness, friendship, caring humans.

10
May

Five Minute Friday - practice

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 practice.

Go.

It doesn't make perfect, it just makes you better. Little faces, this is one of the adult secrets that I have learned time and time and time again. No matter how hard I work at something, it will not make me the best, just the best that I can do. And sometimes, even that isn't true. Something I could do so well yesterday, I my body won't feel the same and I can't today. Something that felt so right and I felt so strong in, will all of a sudden give out. Either exhaustion, or a tweak, or it all not aligning will impact it all.

So, there is no such thing as perfect, that is obvious, but the fact that practice doesn't necessarily always yield the exact results you are looking for is the hardest pill to swallow. A run that felt so strong could in the next week feel tiresome. A piece you have practiced over and over on the piano could be easily messed up just by one note. A line you were rehearsing for a play could leave you feeling too nervous to get it out when you are on that stage.

But, that doesn't mean we don't practice because, over time, it does make us our better selves. And it teaches us discipline and commitment. It teaches us to get stronger, more confident and it teaches us that even if the stars don't align and on the day it counts we aren't our best selves, we tried our hardest dammit and that effort is what really matters. It tells us that we gave it our all, we tried our hardest and if it was in the cards or not, that's all we can give, our best try.

So, I will never win a race. Sometimes, I don't even come close to what I wanted to do. There were two times I came in last place. There are times the work I pour myself into doesn't make sense to me anymore for weeks at a time. And no matter how hard I try, I will never look good running or doing yoga, my body will always look wrong. But I am showing up everyday, I am giving it my all and even though there are times I feel so defeated and deflated, I can always look in the mirror and say, I tried. I practiced and I left myself out there.

You will too. You'll see. It doesn't always feel amazing but when you sit back, when you can rest your head at night knowing you did the best you could, well, that's the feeling you want in life.

Stop.

22
Feb

Five Minute Friday - just

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 just.

Go. 

Just trying to hold on and make sense of it all. Just trying to remember the me that I am in the chaos that has been here. Just trying to breathe and let it come, let it go, let it build, let it be.

Just trying to redefine this year, just trying to undo the universe having heard me call it "terrible" before it started. Because what I actually meant was that it would be challenging, but I will rise to the challenge. It will be overwhelming, but I will find a way to calm my nerves. It will be a lot for me, but I will search for what I can and should delegate. It will be ever changing, but I am embracing my year of change. It will at times be painful, but I will look at the lessons and I will look to the love I give out and let in.

Just trying to connect, remembering that loneliness is the killer of my joy. Just trying to build the best me, be the best me, shed what makes me dark, embrace the light. Just trying to move towards light and love and loss and living.

Just trying to remember that I have you. Just holding on to the love that we have created in this house turned home. Just trying to connect with their little faces, just trying to be right here with them. Just trying to remember these days of small and crushing little. Just trying to embrace all the big kid things for a mom that cherishes the baby phase. Just trying and that's the best we can all do, is try.

Stop.

9
Sep

Exhale

It has been a summer.
Like a for real summer.
I don't have off like the rest of my family but even I felt like we were living our best life.
There were sunrises and sunsets
warm weather
paddle boarding
camping
our Cape trip
track days
so many old friends
framily time
so many visits and my heart being full
framily that knows my whole story
framily that accepts and do not judge
framily that only loves and knows we are all doing our best
ice cream for dinner
the kids read their hearts out
they played and played and played
Cole became the best bike rider
Anna went to her first sleep away camp
both kids went to basketball camp with dad
Pearl had an amazing Cape week with her bestie followed by fun with camping
a week with their grandparents and so much adult time
just amazing wrapped into one incredible summer.

Except I could not exhale.
Me, I was the problem.
I was so anxious and so nerved and worried and scared and had this feeling of concern
and there were days where it would pass and then days upon days of it being right there.
But, it's my year of different and so I kept trying.
Trying to figure out why
trying to let whatever it was go
trying to find my breath
trying to let it out, exhale and let go of whatever was on my mind
trying to not let whatever this was ruin this time, destroy the good memories
trying to not let them in on what was happening
trying to get back to okay so I could find my way into joy.

But, as always, the harder I tried, the worse it got until it all piled on and found its own way out.
And then built back up and piled on and found its way out
and such was the cycle I was caught in.

It's going to be okay, just call it out.
Give it a name, recognize that it's there and then it will go away once you have given it fair attention.
But it didn't.
And it hasn't.
And here I am.
With little faces in school and me wondering where I went wrong.

So, I start again.
Because fall is crazy and summer is how I restore.
Because I am mad at myself for not restoring.
Because I stayed too long at a party and I am trying to get back home.
Because I started something so new and so scary that I feel like I might mess it up all of the time.
Because when I do mess it up, it does crazy things to my nerves (upholders struggle with doing it wrong).
Because I have too many balls and I am starting to feel alone.
Because I am celebrating my birthday for the first time ever and I want it to feel special.
Because the weight is hurting my shoulders and placing a foot on my chest.
Because I should be crying more than I am, releasing.
Because I don't want to let them down, I don't want to hurt their memories.
Because I want to make sure they know I am here, even when I am withdrawn.
Because I need to not be withdrawn, I don't want to fake it.
Because there is nothing to fake, things are all okay.

Summer of 2018 was not an okay summer, it was wonderful.
My little boy told me yesterday he was so sad our summer and our time together was over.
He was actually heartbroen that our break had come to an end.
That's how different our summers have been.
Because our summers were not always like this.
Years ago, our picture looked shattered and our pieces were all over the floor.
And at the end of that summer, I started to put parts back together and made some big changes.
Since then, things have been getting better, stronger.
They were concerning and I couldn't have them be concerning.
And the tide turned because we shifted and we made important decisions to change.
I found framily to hold on to.
I reconnected with the past.
I started to take ownership.
I found their little.
I found joy and so did they.

So, I am back to my journey of starting with okay.
Just be okay and then find a little joy.
And with a little joy find a little more joy and a little more.
Find your calm mamma, remember after you take that big breath in, let is out again.
Exhale.

23
Mar

Five Minute Friday - routine

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 routine.
Go.

It is kind of absurd how much I love a routine.
How much I crave knowing what my day looks like
what I do when.
And I can say it is because my days are so long
so hectic
so out of my control, in the hands of others.
I am tied to meetings and agendas and to-dos.
But if I am being honest, I love a routine because that is who I am.
I am tied to meetings and agenda and to-dos because that is the profession I chose and would do it all over again.
It is who I am and it is time for me to be okay with me.

So let me begin...
there is order in a routine
there is a knowing
there is a feeling of freedom from not having to think
it's a dance
it's pretty to me
it's me.

There is balance in a routine
it brings the crazy back down
it lines things up
it creates space
it allows me to exhale
it's calm
and it is calming
it is me.

And inside something so cold and so sterile
I created warmth and tradition after tradition after tradition.
I created space and time and focus on us.
I created beauty and affection
I created your love of knowing
and I made time, fleeting time, special.

Yes, I love my routine.
I love my schedule of schedules
I love the lists
the actions
I love how I took something so crazy about myself, so list oriented
and I made something gorgeous in us.

Stop.

23
Feb

Five Minute Friday - beauty

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 beauty.
Go.

There is a lot in this world that can only be described as ugly.
Hurtful words, messages, language, actions.
There are so many examples of things we can point to and say they are just plain ugly.

There were so many times in my life that I felt ugly.
I felt like I was never good enough, strong enough, reaching a level of beauty.
And then I had you and it stopped.

Not only because it had to stop, but also because you made it stop.
You, sweet, amazing and gorgeous daughter of mine, you changed me.
You were and are my connection to beauty.

And it started as soon as I could tell that my words were being heard.
I stopped comparing my waist,
I stopped looking at my belly
I stopped wishing I could look different
and I started on health.

I started working out because it feels good for my body
I started saying thank you when you told me you liked what I was wearing
I started telling you that my scars were a part of our story and I love them because they brought me my family
I started looking at myself differently
I started looking at you, really looking at you
and how could I look at something that gorgeous that came from me and not think there is so much beauty in the world?
You were and are my connection to beauty.

Because you changed everything.
You brought me motherhood
and the day you looked at me and our connection clicked is the day that I realized what the word beauty and gorgeous means.
It has to do with connection
it has to do with love
it has to do with the kind of deep and connected love that wakes you up, lifts fogs.
You were and are my connection to beauty.

There is still so much of this world that is ugly
there is still so much that is wrong, there will always be.
Because everything in life has balance.
You can't really enjoy how gorgeous things are if you don't have the ugly to compare them to.
That is how this life goes.
But even in the ugliest of times, the human connection can be seen and it is so gorgeous.
I will forever remind you to look there, to be comforted by the fact that beauty will live on and on.
You were and are my connection to beauty.

Stop.

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