Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Etched on My Heart

I never thought I would, but I did.
On a clear, crisp fall day, I spend 45 minutes on the bow of the ferry, wind in my hair and warmth on my face.  Sunlight shimmers on the water, mesmerizing in bright silence.  As we approach the mainland, return to solid ground, I can feel it coming on, the heavy, mournful warmth of leaving behind.

How was it?  Was it all that you expected?  Tell me all about it!

My throat is frozen and I can’t form words, I craft my memoirs in details and feelings and it’s all a bit too close to figure out right now.  I don’t know what I expected, but now that I’ve returned I feel like something profound is lurking in my mind.

24 hours later, talking to a friend, I tell him that I feel like the experience hasn’t ended – somehow though my body has returned home, the intensity in my heart and mind are still building.  This is the unexpected.  He tells me that is normal.  He says that the relaxing, empowering weekend was a trick and that by intentionally expanding my thought processes, I have begun neural reprogramming.

“When you call it by its name, you… realize how important and draining and epic it really is.”

Then he makes me promise not to be too overwhelmed to reach new highs.  I think in some ways he might be my muse.

Four full days after I set foot in Doe Bay, I finally cry.  As my love wraps his arm around me from behind, my body recognizes safety and lets go.  My heart aches.  Intensity upon intensity upon mundanity, my body shakes and releases.

There is a hill before me, lush and fertile, just over the crest something vibrates and thrums, pulling me towards it.  Unknown, it is soft and heavy and so big my eyes might not be able to take it in.  I feel it calling me, and I know now that I have to climb, that it is time.

When the tears stop, I float.  It’s as if the air has changed, become charged and somehow more real than it was before.  Faces and voices float through my mind, ideas rise like baking bread.  The connections I felt most leave haunting music running through my mind, longing beauty etched on my heart.

Magic isn’t a fairy tale.  It is in his vulnerability, it is in her story, shared without shame, it is in his fingers as he writes and in her sweet lilting voice as she sings.  Time stops in a room filled simultaneously with reality and embracing our stories with thoughtful abandon.  The feeling of being in a room with nothing but open hearts, pulsing and reaching, passionate and raw, is incomparable.  It is food for the soul.

In line at the ferry, I got out of my car and went in to the tiny gift shop.  After a weekend immersed in words and story, the stones with their etched words call me.  I choose one for each of my boys, then dig, looking for my own reminder.  Smooth and cool, my stone is truth.  My craft is truth, and truth is my courage.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Dreams into Plans

We have a home.  Today we picked up the keys to the house we’re renting, and for the first time in almost four years I will be back to living with my family of four in our own space.  A different family, a healthy family just starting out on our journey.  Perfect in imperfection, supporting each other as we all grow, change, and become fuller, better people along the way.

There are things that will be different.  Having a place with Scott will be new, we have been living together this year, but it’s not really the same when you’re in limbo and staying in a bedroom in someone else’s house.  It will probably take us most of the month to move all of our things, and living with my Mom gives us the luxury of taking our time.  We will meld our things, our preferences, our opinions, and create a place that is ours.  I am excited and anxious, but before I start to think about it too much I have somewhere else for my brain to be this weekend.

I have reservations tomorrow on the 1:15 ferry to Orcas Island, and will spend the next four days immersed in passion.  I’m taking my camera and leaving my computer at home, and one of my goals for this weekend is to try and set some thoughtful goals and intentions for my writing.  For years, I have been saying “I need to write more.”  It’s time, it’s past time, to commit to it and make it happen.

I am looking forward to everything I am going to learn, and the people I’m going to meet.  This feels like one of those summer-camp type situations where proximity and creative energy contribute to reaching an intimacy with people that normally takes longer to build.  If you’ve ever been to a retreat for anything you love, you know that there is a certain indescribable energy to being in a confined space with people whose souls are passionate about the same things yours is.

I want to write about so many things.  Self-love, body positivity, what it’s like to live as a fat woman in America, self-care, embracing passion and integrating it into your life, overcoming abuse, living a positive life and knowing what you can control and what you can’t, love, polyamory, emotional freedom, embracing humanity, sex positive living/parenting, authenticity…  That last one is something I’m thinking about a lot as there are a few other things I’d like to write about that I haven’t shared with the world at large and I’m thinking about how to embrace writing and life in the most authentic and beautiful way.

I’m saying it out loud.  My goal for this weekend is to make a solid, realistic plan for embracing writing and fanning the flames of my passion and wordsmithing, and making real progress towards my goals.  I want to share my story.  I want to touch people’s hearts and show them that they aren’t alone in this world.  I want to nurture this part of me that I haven’t paid enough attention to.

See you on the flip side.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Embracing Inspiration

Perhaps it's something about the season, or a sort of subtle settling in after the frenzy of the end of summer.  I'm assimilating nicely at my new job, the kids are getting into the groove of things at school, and the weather is cooling down into that familiar rainy chill I love so much about the Pacific Northwest.  I'm feeling more myself, more aware of who I am, and thinking about my goals and passions and dreams. 

The last few days I have been feeling raw and open.  I don't think of myself completely as an Empath, but there are elements of it that I strongly identify with.  I have always been a feeler, my heart in my eyes and on my sleeve, and pouring from my mouth like a deluge I can't stop.  I tell people I am a crier.  Movies, TV, books, friends sharing good or bad news, and news stories make me tear up on the regular.  If I get in the same room with someone who is crying?  Forget about it, it's over for me.  But it's more than that.  In the past few years, I've nurtured and embraced my nature more than ever before.  It allows for a level of profundity that wasn't possible in the past.  There is something amazing that comes from letting yourself bloom wildly instead of trying to fit into a mold.

This week, Scott and I found a rental for our family.  The housing market is insane in Bellingham, and not in a good way.  It's difficult to find anything with the number of bedrooms we need, that allows cats, that we can actually afford without panicking about the bank balance every month.  So, when a house I've been eyeing suddenly decided cats were okay after all, we jumped on it.  Less than 6 hours later, our application had been accepted and we had found our next home.  It's not a forever-home, but it's a small, lovely house for us to grow in as a little family for the next few years.  Added bonuses: the kids get to stay at the same schools, it's a 3-4 minute walk from my Mom's, and it's through a property management company who I have worked with before and had good experiences.  It was a whirlwind, but it seems like that's just the way things go for me.

Working on my Thankfulness project has pried open a part of my heart that was a little rusty.  I have been feeling so much love for the people I have surrounded myself with, and it feels big and overwhelming, but in such a good way.  I've also had friends going through difficult transitions and my heart has ached for them.  I experienced my first real disappointment in middle-school-schoolwork-assignment-management land (which is really a whole other post). 

And I've written.  This project means using my words and exercising my brain in a way that I've been severely neglecting.  I miss writing.  I miss posting here, and I miss the electricity that flows over my skin when the words start to flow from my mind.  It's a physical sensation when I get into my groove, and I haven't been nurturing it.  It energizes me and makes me feel the possibilities around me. 

I've been thinking a lot about passion.  I feel inspired on a daily basis.  I have somehow managed to surround myself with a whole lot of people who do amazing things, and who make me believe that maybe I can do them too.  It's like a beautiful sign that I need to pursue the things that inspire me a lot more than I've been doing.

In two weeks, I will be on Orcas Island attending Write Doe Bay.  One of my very favorite authors, Isaac Marion, is presenting there, and one of the other authors is presenting about honor & integrity in memoir, which is so relevant that I can't even handle it.  I have written some fiction, but personal narrative and memoir is where my heart is, and I think that it's probably going to stay that way.  I want to use the experiences I've been through to empower people and let them know they aren't alone.

I'm beyond excited about this opportunity.  It's not something that I ever would have done for myself in the past, not something I would have put out into the universe.  But I did, and now I'm going.  It's at a beautiful resort on Orcas Island.  I'm going to take my hands and my mind and my camera and I'm going to absorb every. Single. Moment.

And then?  I'm going to write.  I'm going to set goals.  I'm going to be here a lot more often.  I'm going to embrace inspiration and passion, and see where it takes me.  I can't wait. 

The Thankfulness Project - Part 1

Last October my heart wrote a check my commitment couldn't cash. I started #thankfulnessproject2016 on Facebook, and I barely got started before it fell by the wayside. A few weeks ago I got to thinking about it and looking at my list. 117 posts I didn't get done... Then I looked at how many days left in 2017. 117. I decided it had to be a sign. So, here is the original post:

For the rest of 2016, I will be doing a self-created project here on Facebook.  I'm calling it the Thankfulness Project.  In the last couple of years, I have whittled down my Facebook friends list a lot with the goal of knowing and appreciating everyone I connect with here.  I think about all of you a lot, day to day, and I want to share my favorite memories and the reasons that I'm thankful to have my friends and family in my life.  I'll be posting every day with a new post about someone or someones that I am glad to have in my life.  <3

I'm only a few posts into it, and I am so grateful that I pushed myself to start it again.  Today at work we were talking about how some people are lifters and some people are put-downers.  I am a lifter.  I absolutely love telling people how much they mean to me, and in their reactions I see that as humans, this is something we should absolutely do more.  It's so easy to go through life taking things and people for granted.

So much has changed for me in the past few years, and I have made a huge effort to fill my life with people and activities that add positive value and energy to my life, and to get rid of things (when I can) that add negativity.  I already knew that I was blessed by so many good people in my life, but this project is helping me see just how lucky I am and returning the feeling of love and connection to my life that I let slip to the back of my mind.

It's a huge project and Facebook isn't always easy to navigate, so I want to also share my thoughts here to make it easier to go back and read them and remind myself just how much I have to be grateful for.



October 27, 2016

I spend too much time on Facebook, there is no doubt about that.  I have taken breaks, and even thought about leaving a couple of times, but there are so many more plusses than their are minuses to this online world and the community and connectedness I find here.

I'm thankful for being able to keep in touch with and follow the adventures of old friends.

With Temris R, who I first met as a pretty little kid and have watched grow from afar, and who inspires me with art and with her fantastic relationship with her husband.

With Athena W, who was maybe a bit of a frenemy in high school, but who I am so glad to be in touch with as grown ups now that we can look back on things and whose help in filling out and filing my divorce papers was invaluable.

With Elizabeth D and Annie K, who I met through my sister, and who I have watched grow up and have families along with my sister, and who have been an integral part of her life and peripherally of mine, and who have also led me to friendships with people like David Wilbur and Kathy, and Tori as an adult.

With Jamie G and Teri EK, who I went to high school with and now have reconnected with, and who only contribute to the feeling and wonder of having good and beautifl people in my life.

With Jess N, who I will never forget maybe having a little bit of a crush on at some point in high school (best friend's brother crushes are unavoidable), but also remember at other times despising in commiseration with my friend.  Memories of RX7s and Suburbans, and screwdrivers the night before his first wedding (still can't drink them to this day), who has wound up with a lovely family, and who I'm happy to connect with even if we don't see eye to eye all the time.

How can I not be thankful for Facebook when this is one of the paths it takes me down?



October 27, 2016

I met Tom Patterson at Lake Forrest Park Presbyterian Church. The first time I went there was when Lorelai was baptized, so I suppose that was the first time I saw him.  I attended church with Brooke and David off and on through the years, and was immediately put at ease and able to really connect with the sermons that Tom gave, in a way I hadn't at any other church I'd attended.

After we had Sam, we wanted to join a church and give him the chance to have some background.  When we started attending new member classes at LFPPC, I thought I would just learn about the church some and that Justin would be the one to join.  I have written before about my experience in the class, and how things clicked, leading to my baptism on a cold September day.  I don't think any of these things would have happened without Tom.

It has been quite a while since I saw him, we had coffee after he had moved on from LFPPC and started his coaching business.  But, we are still friends on Facebook, and I have enjoyed watching as he has gone on to the next adventures - including his business and becoming a grandparent!

Anyone who has Tom in their life in some capacity knows that he is kind, compassionate, accepting, welcoming, supportive, and funny.  A great guy all around, and one who managed to work an Alias reference into his sermon on at least one occasion.  I'm so thankful to have had him in my life, as part of a time that was important in shaping the person I am today.



November 7, 2016

I first met Jillian N through the Bellingham Moms Meetup Group when we moved back to Bellingham from Seattle.  It was a hard transition for me.  I moved away from my friends and it was the beginning of me becoming more isolated and less supported.  In the Moms group, I found a few friends that I felt I connected with.  Only a couple of them are people I still consider friends, and Jillian is one of them.

Jillian is a smart, strong, and sensical woman.  I know that might seem like a strange compliment, but there is so much nonsense in this world all the time, and sometimes Jillian is like the voice of reason.  She is unapologetically herself, which I find refreshing and inspiring, because that's not always an easy place to get to.  She's been there for me through some really, really hard times and given me a kind of support that was both helpful and empowering.

I have a goal of surrounding myself with good people, people who make the world a better and more positive place.  A lot of people who will be part of this project are strong women, the kind of people that make my life better by being in it, and Jillian is definitely on this list.  I'm so glad to call her my friend.



November 7, 2016

You know how sometimes you meet someone, and their spirit is just so big and warm that you feel immediately at ease and kind of loved even though they're sort of a stranger?  Pascale  is that person.  Her favorite color is pink, and she IS pink - bright, cheerful, lovely, warm and full of joy that she is generous with sending to you in the form of a smile or a hug.  We can talk about our hearts or the things we do for fun with equal ease, or commiserate over glittery manicures and sparkly eye shadow.  She's the kind of friend you could go months without seeing, but when you see them again, there is a close comfort that you'd swear had been there all along.  She is lovely, and I am so lucky and thankful to call her a friend.



November 7, 2016
To:  Kari, Becky G, Jamie C, Tommysole, Ty, Nate, Zev N, Heather E, Daniel, Courtney S, Naomi P, Elwood, Phil T, Ian L & Dana P, Jolyne, Jonathan LR, Stephanie O, Phoebe, Nicole C, Destiny L, Annette T, Autumn M, & Forrest

My life has changed a lot in the last few years, and with that has come something wonderful and amazing in the form of a community that I really connect with.  It can be hard to find your place or your people in life, and I spent 6 or 7 years after moving back to Bellingham sort of wandering confusedly wondering if I would ever feel at home - not in the physical sense, but in connecting with people.

I'm home now.  Some of these people have become close friends, and others I am still just getting to know, but am beyond happy to have in my life.  In these people I see qualities like beauty, kindness, acceptance, self-love, strength, compassion, connectedness, support of my community and city, vulnerability, beautiful beautiful art, geekiness, thoughtfulness, and probably 100 other things I am forgetting.  They are teachers, mothers, business owners, writers, artists, activists and more.  They provoke thoughts, feelings, and ideas in me that I wouldn't be the same without.  Some of these people I know better than others, but I am thankful to know each and every one.



September 5, 2017

 I don't remember the day I met Rachele Davison. I imagine that we had some sort of instant bond the way only two fourth graders with the same name and last initial can. We commiserated about how much we disliked our 4th grade teacher, performed in school plays together, talked about boys we had our first crushes on, and had our own little troop within a troop in Girl Scouts. We had sleepovers upon sleepovers and ran around outside. One time we filled a punch balloon with water and carried it around in my mom's giant soup pot. We went to Girl Scout camp together and navigated the 5th
grade together.  We even had our own song. It was Rhythm of My Heart by Rod Stewart. Shut up. We were 10.

Its really hard for me to believe that we only shared a school for 2 years. But after 5th grade I moved to Washington. We were pen pals and I have boxes full of letters we wrote to each other. Rachele even flew to Washington the summer after we moved for a visit and it was like no time had passed.

After that, we lost touch for a while. But then, something magical happened. Facebook. We reconnected. We found that we both have almost the same tatttoo (trinity knots in different colors) and that she named her first daughter Abigail, which is the name I'd picked out for if I had a daughter.  Two years ago, Rachele's plans for spring break fell through and on impulse, she said "I should come to Washington." I replied, "buy a ticket!"

So she did. The first few hours were odd, but then we clicked and had an amazing few days together and it was so cool to think that when we were kids and signed all our notes YTFA (yours truly, friendship always) that we could really make that happen.  I am so thankful to have Rachele in my life and that we have been able to stay friends. I hope next time I will get to go back to Michigan and see all the places we used to run around in as kids. Rachele and I have both been through some shit. And we have made it. And we are here. And that is something amazing.

❤ you, Da.



September 7, 2017

Today I am thankful for my friend Erik!  It happens to be his birthday today, so I figured that it would be a good time to embarrass him with some sentiment.  Erik came into my life a couple of years ago as a pair with Kate. You know how sometimes you meet people and it is only about 5 minutes before you can't imagine your life without them?  That.  Erik is one of the smartest people I know and uses words the way a painter uses color to create vivid and breathtaking vistas, while still managing to incorporate sarcasm, bawdiness, and wit.  It is one of my favorite things.  Erik is a pretty quiet addition to my life, but sometimes that's a welcome break from the day to day hullabaloo.  I'm so glad that he is a part of my life.



September 11, 2017

Today seems like an appropriate day to express thanks for Allison.  See, this week, Allison is moving back to California after decades in Washington.  I have known Allison since I was 11ish years old, so to me, it kind of feels like she has just always been there.  I have known her in different capacities through the years, she has been a friend of the family, and when Danny was little he went to her child care center.  I can’t tell you how much easier it made it for me to go back to work knowing that Danny was with someone loving and caring who I trusted.  It was still hard, but I didn’t have to worry.

The best thing I think Allison has been to me, though, is my Mom’s best friend.  I know that might seem strange, but the thing is that my Mom is one of my favorite people who exists, and so Allison’s support and love and friendship with my Mom means a lot to me in some weird peripheral way.

Allison has been someone in my life who is strong, she has been a woman who is not afraid to speak her mind or be herself, and even though I haven’t spent that much time with her, I know that being around her and hearing her ideas and watching her work with the babies and kids at her child care center made me a better parent.  I got a little bit emotional when I went to pick up some furniture from her house on Saturday.  I can’t imagine being in a house for decades and whittling everything down to an RV worth of possessions.  Even though I don’t see her that often, it will be weird to know that she isn’t here anymore and is a couple of states away.

Tonight we will have dinner, and then we will wish her safe travels.  We will celebrate new chapters, because no matter how hard we try, the pages never stop turning.  I will always be thankful that Allison has been a part of my life, and I hope I will get to see her again in not too long and hear about her adventures in RVs, road trips, and returning home.



September 12, 2017
To: Sam P, Crystal, Rachel, Annette P, Becky C, Gretchen, Samara, Rachel L, Laura T, Nikki, Pan, Tami, Hayley, & Tiffany G

One of my goals in the last 3-4 years has been to focus my energy on keeping things in my life that add positive value.  The idea isn’t that everything should be all rainbows and glitter all the time (though, let’s be honest, it SHOULD), but that the people and things I spend my time doing should overall be adding positive value.  If I invest my energy into the world in ways that are positive, I can work to make sure that I’m not adding stress or negativity to my life that doesn’t need to be there.

One of the greatest things that has come from this intention is that I’ve made some amazing friends, and found some amazing spaces where I can connect with people who have amazing energy and who I absolutely love having in my life.  Today I’m feeling particularly thankful for some of the women who I have gotten to know in this time.

Looking at their names, I see inspiration, beauty, authenticity, fierceness, open-heartedness, a willingness to be vulnerable, and an incredible amount of strength.  I see women who follow their dreams, artists and makers, supportive, kind, and empowering.  I see magic and camaraderie.  These ladies inspire me, they help me feel not only normal, but sometimes extraordinary.  I couldn’t be happier to call each and every one of them my friends.  Thank you for being a part of my life.




September 13, 2017

Any of our mutual friends will understand that when I say that Tiffany Burke is a shining light in the world, I am not exaggerating or being hyperbolic.  There is a spirit and aura about her that is pure light.  No one is perfect, but out of everyone I know I think Tiffany is one of the people who adds beauty and positivity to this world every single day.  She sees the silver linings in everything, even when life has handed her the most enormous lemons, she’s able to make herself some lemonade, and she’ll probably make some to share with you, too.

Not only does Tiffany create beautiful photographs in her work, she empowers people.  I have had the privilege of having two boudoir sessions with Tiffany and wrote a little bit about what the first one mean to me here.  The thing about Tiffany is that she believes that there is good and beauty in every person, and that is something that I think is incredibly important.  I look at everything she does, from preserving people’s most special moments, to the way she parents her children, to carrying her brother’s twins as a surrogate, to opening a community art studio and transforming her annual coat drive into a full-on shopping experience for people who can’t afford coats, and I see innovation, creativity, and underlying it all, a person who is good and kind and who believes that we all deserve a hand.

I first met Tiffany under sad circumstances.  She had volunteered to photograph the funeral of a young boy from our neighborhood who died a tragic accidental death several years ago.  I was acting as a ‘second shooter’ of sorts, and the moment I met her I wanted to be friends.  I feel so absolutely lucky that when I sent Tiffany and Melissa an email after that day saying that I would love to hang out sometime, neither of them thought I was a complete spaz, and I have remained friends with both of them.  I’m thankful to have Tiffany’s light and energy and enormous, silly, open, caring, lovely heart in my life.



Thankfulness Project - Part 2

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Seven.

Dear Danny,

I can't believe you are seven already.

I love this picture of you, standing in the tulips.  You look fierce and silly, and that's who you are.  You are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Ever since you were a little baby, you've always been so smiley, and made other people smile.  You have a sense of humor and silliness that reminds me of your Great Grandfather - that glint in his eye.  I think one day you will be an excellent Grandfather.

Even though you're still timid sometimes, and most certainly still a mommy's boy, you have blossomed so much in the last year, and I don't see that stopping anytime soon.

You started piano lessons about 6 weeks ago, and you are astounding us all.  You write music.  Just like that, you make up your own songs, and write them down, and your teacher asked if you want to play one of your own compositions at the recital next month.  I'm pretty sure I didn't start writing my own music until I'd been taking piano lessons for like 5 years...  You're a funny little dude.  You get shy, and you don't really talk to your piano teacher, but sometimes you do things like nod enthusiastically or smile really big.  She doesn't seem to mind, she's really great with you.

I think you have big emotions just like your mama.  You get frustrated sometimes because I think your mind is ahead of your body and your muscles.  You are also definitely the younger child, and a younger seven year old in some ways than Sam was.  I suppose that's just the way the cookie crumbles when you're 4 years younger and honestly those first 4 years of your life were pretty tumultuous to say the least.

Seven is the year that things change.  I can scroll back and forth between Sam's 1st and 2nd grade school photos and he looks like a different person.  Seven is the year you switch from being a little kid to being a big kid.  The year your front teeth fall out and you get your grown up front teeth that are just plain too big for your seven year old mouth and you look goofy for a little while.

Next year you'll be in second grade and you won't be at the same school as Sam anymore.  There
seems like such a big difference between Kindergarten and 2nd grade.  Time moves slowly, but flies by all at once.

What wisdom could I give you if I could tell you anything?  That it's okay not to get things perfect the first time.  That trying and practice and improving are part of what makes the journey interesting, and that it's okay to have to do something more than once.  I know that's hard to understand right now because I think you just want to do EVERYTHING imaginable, but one day you'll understand.  I hope that understanding will not dim your creative spirit or enthusiasm though.  I'm pretty sure that if you put your mind to it, you really can do anything.

I love you so much, and I can't wait to see what you choose to do next.

Love,
Mom

Firsts This Year!

First Musical Instrument: Piano!  You started lessons in March.
First Nosebleed(s):  I was so unprepared, and had no idea how to handle it.  Now there have been a few and I am a pro.
First YouTube Video(s):  You started a YouTube Channel this year, and it's one of the cutest things I have ever seen in my life.

Favorites!

Favorite Book: Elephant & Piggy Books
Favorite Color: Red?
Favorite Song:  The Fox - Nickel Creek version
Favorite Board Game: Chinese Checkers
Favorite Video Game: Minecraft (big time), Roblox, Splatoon
Favorite TV Show: The Simpsons, Futurama
Favorite YouTubers: DanTDM/The Diamond Minecart, Popular MMOs, JackFilms
Favorite Food: Chips & Sauce, Pizza, Sausage, Bacon
Favorite Dessert: Coconut Dreams (fake Samoas)
Favorite Thing to Do Outside the House: Play at McDonalds, Play on the playground
Favorite Subject at School: PE
Best Friends: Karsyn, Bailey, Shay, Kingston

Six.
Five.
Four.
Three.
Two.
One.
Birth Story.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Eleven!

Dear Sam,

I can't get over how humongous you are.  Seriously.  I feel like this was the year you transitioned from seeming like a kid to just seeming like... a young PERSON.

Though you still get worked up about some things, I feel like you have also mellowed out considerably in other ways.  You seem to have found more a rhythm at school this year with your peers, and you've got a small group of friends.  Every time we're at a school event, kids are saying Hello to you and I don't even know who they are!

I guess that 5th grade was a bit the beginning of me feeling like there are things about you that I don't know.  When you were little, I could imagine your life at school and with your friends, how you were, what you might have talked about, the way you played and what the day looked like.  Now that you are older, I don't think I know anymore.  I have always worried about you, because I'm your mommy and that's kind of my job, and I can't really help it.  As you've gotten older though, I have become more confident in you.  Even though you struggle sometimes, I feel like for the most part you're more able to navigate your life than I realize.  I hope that this is true, and I hope that on the days when things don't go well or are upsetting, you'll always know you can talk to me about it.

Some of my favorite times with you are in the evenings or at bedtime when you just want to talk.  It's really fascinating and fun to just talk to you about your day, the things you think about, and watch you become who you are going to be.  You still want to cuddle with me, and sometimes I'm annoyed because it's a little hard to sleep on those nights I'm squished between your giant body and Danny's little one.  But then I remember that you won't want to cuddle with your mom for that much longer, and I put my arm around you and you are warm, and we are content.

With you, and with Danny, I've started to feel the first pangs of not understanding a younger
generation.  Your obsession with Discord and YouTube and all of that online world is a mystery to me.  You play games together that I look at and cannot fathom why or how it is entertaining or fun.  But you seem to love it.  At least you have each other to talk to!

In the last couple of months, I feel like you and Danny have hit some new stride.  Yes, you still fight.  Like, all the time.  You still get annoyed by your little brother like all big brothers do sometimes.  But there are days where you spend hours playing together, doing online role plays in Roblox or playing with swords and stuffed animals and making up crazy stories in your room.  I try to stay out of the way when this happens.  It seems like you always get along better when I'm not in the room to mess with the sibling energy.  It makes me really happy when you play together, and I still hope that when you grow up you'll be best friends.

You're going to middle school next year, and while I am a little bit freaked out by it, at the same time I am less worried than I expected to be.  I think that having more teachers is good for you, it has been this year.  I think that you'll meet more kids from other elementary schools who like the same things you do.  I am really hopeful that you will thrive as you get older.

I hope that this year we will be able to transition into the stable home life that you deserve.  Once Scott and I both have steady, stable jobs and we can get our own place I feel like we will really be able to settle into a routine as a little family of four.  It has already been pretty amazing starting to come together that way, and I can't wait to take that next step with all three of my favorite guys.

Sometimes I feel like I am not enough, because the last few years have been so hard for us as a family.  There has been so much change and there still is so much uncertainty in our lives.  But one thing that is never uncertain is that you have so many people around you that love you.  I think that has made all the difference, and I'm so grateful for it.  I hope that when you look back on your childhood, that is what you see.

This year, you'll be transitioning to full-time glasses, and I strongly suspect that in next year's birthday photo you may have some shiny braces on your teeth.  One thing I'm looking forward to this year is getting you back into swimming lessons because you love it so much, and continuing that.

Sam, you may be big, but you will always be my baby.  It seems like just yesterday that I held you with your full head of shocking blonde white hair and dark baby eyes, and realized a piece of my heart lived outside my body now.  Happy Birthday, my first baby.

Love,
Mom

Firsts This Year!

First Big Trouble: Lying to your mom!  You lied about taking your pills.  WHAT!  It was shocking and strange, and almost a little bit funny.

Favorites!

Favorite Book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Heroes in Training
Favorite Color: Blue?
Favorite Song:  Counting Stars - One Republic
Favorite Board Game: ?
Favorite Video Game: All of the Paper Mario Games, Super Smash Bros
Favorite TV Show: Not sure... we just started Futurama and you seem to like it!
Favorite YouTubers: DanTDM, Crainer, Pat & Jen, Smosh, JackSepticEye
Favorite Food: Toast, Chocolate Chip Waffles
Favorite Dessert: Oreos
Favorite Thing to Do Outside the House: Red Robin or Tinos, Swimming
Favorite Subject at School: Recess
Best Friend: Ashaan, Ezra, Charlie

Ten
Nine
Eight
Seven
Six
Five.Two
Five.One
Four 
Three 
Two
One
Birth Story

Friday, January 20, 2017

2016 in Review

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

Got fired from a job, moved my entire house from decision to being completely out in 7 days time, applied for food benefits from the state, went away for the weekend with Scott, watched a friend finally succumb to cancer, presented to a classroom of college students about the sex positive movement.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I made some goals at the beginning of 2016.  They were to read more, to send birthday and anniversary cards every month, to write more, and to flirt more.  I succeeded better at some than others.  I definitely read more in 2016 than I had in the two years before it, so that's a win.  I sent out some cards, but not as many as I'd like.  The flirting thing kind of fell by the wayside when my year spiraled out and I wasn't in the greatest place.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No one close to me.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Too many.  My long-time friend, of breast cancer.  My grandmother Ann, my Aunt Lena, my high school journalism teacher, and my Uncle Chuck.  Also not close to me directly, but my best friend's father died, which was quite awful to see her go through.

5. What countries did you visit?

I spent Valentine's Day weekend in Canada with my honey.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

A full time job. Stability.  My boyfriend back home.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 20 - the day I became an ex-employee at my last job
February 14-15 - the weekend I went away with Scott
November 8 - the day America lost its mind and elected Donald Trump as president

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Surviving.  Honestly.  Because it was not easy.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I can't even this year with this question.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Just a nasty bout of strep throat in December.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I didn't buy much.  But definitely these leggings.



12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My Mom.  Scott.  Sam also improved a lot in terms of some ongoing issues this year, which was wonderful.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Millions of Americans

14. Where did most of your money go?

Food, living expenses, bills

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Leggings?  Lol  There wasn't a ton to get excited about, but that and having my boyfriend and best friend and my Mom always by my side lifting me up is the best thing.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?

Rihanna - Work

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

Sadder

Neither

So much poorer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing.  Reading.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Nothing really.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Mom and Paul were in Cuba, so we spent the day with Scott's family and the kids other parent.  It was pretty low-key.

21. Did you fall in love with 2016?

Nope.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

The Good Place

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Yes

24. What was the best book you read?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

HAMILTON.  OMG.

26. What did you want and get?

Pecan pie

27. What did you want and not get?

A fair shot. A job.

28. What was your favorite film of 2016?

Allied

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 36.  Scott was here.  Mom made me pecan pie and stromboli.  It was delicious.  I got great presents from her and the kids, and it was a good birthday.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2016?



32. What kept you sane?

Scott.  My Mom.  Cinnamon Rolls.  Zoloft.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Oh Lord.  Human Rights.

34. Who did you miss?

I miss Kira and Nora and wish I could see them more.  I miss Helene and Lianna and my Dad.  I wish I could have all my family closer.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

This guy Max I know and his wife Esther.  They're awesome people.  Also this other guy Greg.  Friends are life.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

Life still isn't fair.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again
Becoming who we are

As my memory rests
But never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when September ends"

Previous Lists:
2015
2012
2011