Monday, July 4, 2016

This old house

To the house I thought was too small,

When I first saw you, I looked past the outdated curtains, dated pink bathroom, and musty smell. I giggled over original hard wood floors and the huge kitchen. I had my doubts that you would be the "one". I was unsure of the too small backyard and the one less bathroom we hoped for. But we were on a super tight time frame, so we signed papers and added a new key to our key ring.

The first time it was just you and me was the day after you became ours. I stood in the living room smelling that old house smell and couldn't wait to tear up the carpets and paint walls. I was making a honey-do-list for my soon to be husband and prayed we would survive all the big projects that needed done.

I stood in each room making design plans and paint colors. I happily said goodbye to the pink bathroom and old windows. I didn't know, the house I thought was too small, that you would hold so many memories within your walls.

The few weeks of fixing up were quick and crazy. I was determined not to miss out first Christmas with you and gave my husband an insane deadline for us to finish. We moved in a few days shy of Christmas and I unpacked Christmas decorations at 2am and decorated our first charlie brown style tree. You've held seven Christmas trees since then.

You were the placed we landed after our wedding. We came home at 3am to our second Christmas tree and opened wedding cards and gifts beneath it's lights.

Since we first painted your walls, they've been repainted to match new designs as we brought home both our babies to the house I thought was too small. These walls know the hours we spent with our colic daughter and late night nursing son. Your floors carry the foot prints of their first steps and spilled milk and squeak and those certain spots I avoid when leaving the room of a sleeping babe.

The big kitchen has seen many many pancakes and burnt dinners. It's seen laughter over wine and flying baby food. Your doors have been slammed during fights and slowly opened giving apologies and love.

That backyard I thought was too small has been reinvented to fit a brick patio for a playhouse and green grass I swoon over. Your backyard has taken on summer pools and winter fire pits.

So this old house I thought was too small...I was so wrong about you. We've been through ups and downs. You haven't always been nice to my husband as he has fixed pipes at midnight and the a/c in the mist of summer heat. But you hold all the memories I may not always remember. I'm not sure how many more Christmas trees you'll have in your window but know I have loved my journey with you. We aren't parting anytime soon but know when that last box leaves on moving day, I'll stand alone in your empty living room and thank you.

Thank you for all you gave my family. Thank you for the memories and time spent under your room. I'll never forget how important you are to my husband and how I was so wrong when I doubted you were the perfect house. Because I've learned the size of your living room doesn't matter. We've grown as a family here and are working hard to be the best we can. 

You may not be the mansion on the block but our love that fills your walls is bigger then I'll ever need.

Love, Leah

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The day I wore a bikini

It happened.

It was just a random day. Nothing was planned but to wear my old maternity bathing suit for some pool fun in the backyard. As I was digging for my not so awesome swim suit, I realized all my mom suits were in the wash. Feeling fearful to spend another minute of my threenagers pool time searching for a suit, I grabbed a pre-baby bikini.

A bikini.

My body didn't even know how to walk out of the house with such little clothing.

I gathered Jake and Rylee met me outside and her face just lit up! I stared at her and she said "whoa momma. You're in a bikini! You look so beautiful momma". I melted.

Her sweet thoughts weren't in the same ball field of mine. I was spending the few moments reminding myself "no one will see me in the backyard. Hopefully Ryan won't come outside. I'm working out, I'm making some progress, bikini will be in my future".

Why are we so hard on ourselves as mommas? They little people who are most important are the ones who care in the least bit. She's looking at me always and not in the ways I think she is. She doesn't notice my flaws. She doesn't care if I am wearing a put together outfit or my hair is brushed. She doesn't care what makeup made it to my face or if my earrings match.

She cares that my arms give her the most secure hugs. She cares that my legs are strong and can carry on the best dance parties. She cares that my belly gives her a place to rest her head during favorite movies. She cares that my face is full of love for her.

She cares that I am her momma.

After I gathered my thoughts from her sweet compliments, I jumped into the pool and gave her the best afternoon I could. We laughed and giggled. She loved I wore a bikini like her. I loved I made her happy.

She wants to be like me. And there are so many flaws I want to hide and pray she doesn't fully become like me. I hope she never has self doubt about her body. I hope she loves herself and sweats confidence.

I know she's watching me. Keeping her eyes close on my every move. So I'm going to wear that bikini more. Show her just to be happy in who she is.

So mommas, let's not be so hard on ourselves. Do the best we can and our little ones with notice all the great things we sometimes forget. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What she needs to know


There has been something about you lately that has me catching my breath. It's in the way you laugh. The way you call your brother "honey bunnies". Its in the way you dance through our home living life as a make-believe musical with unicorns.

You have me questioning where my first little baby went because you are growing so fast.

Sunday evening, you helped me with making your lunch for school. You quickly pulled up a chair, grabbed your favorite veggies from the frig, told me applesauce is your dessert, and a stated that a plain paper towel will do until I buy princess napkins from target. You counted the carrots as I cut them and placed them neatly in a container. You spread peanut butter on your sandwich like a boss. I lost my marbles when you folded it in half, placed it in her container, organized all your treats in your unicorn lunchbox, and  zippered it up. You were smiling so big and a chest puffed with confidence. I, on the other hand, had tears down my cheeks and my smile was meant to let you know how proud I was to call you mine.

I kept starring at you. You thought I was being weird. I held you close and thanked the Lord he gave me you. I knew there would be a turning point when I stopped looking at you as a toddler and see you as the little girl you are becoming. 

It didn't think it would have happened in the mundane of activities. But as always, you dance to the beat of your own drum.

I think about you often during my work day and add things to the ever growing "what she needs to know list". So as you keep spreading your little wings to fly, remember these sweet words from your momma...

You are my favorite girl: I don't remember when I started whispering this to you but its become "our thing". Through the chaos of each day and all the different people that will come into our lives, you will always be my favorite girl. When you are driving me batty because the socks you asked for aren't the socks you want because the seam rides to low on your ankle, you will be my favorite girl. As we both grow older and you start having parts of your life that won't always involve me, you will always be my favorite girl.

I will always come get you: If you feel home sick at a friends house, I'll be there. After you perform on stage for your dance recital, I'll be there. If you make a wrong decision in attending a party, I'll come get you. If you feel sick or scared at school, I'll come get you. When you need a ride home from the movies with a group of friends, I'll come get you (well, I'll already be there sitting in the back row of the movie making sure " that boy" is a gentleman ). 

You are beautiful: I never knew how to see true beauty till I held you in my arms. No matter what your wear, you will always be beautiful. Your morning breath and wild hair never faults your beautiful. Through this life's ever giving chaos, you shine through with your kind heart. Your beauty is deeper then your shiny brown hair. It spills from your eyes when you light up when daddy walks in the door from work. You are beautiful to me because of who you are!

I will keep loving you: through every strong-willed-child tantrum you give me, I'll love you. Through the awkward preteen stage, I'll be loving you behind your slammed door. When you make mistakes and share in proud moments, I'll love you. Because no matter how crazy and adventures our life becomes, my love for you will never fade.

And lastly...

I will always be your momma: And how lucky am I? May your dreams take you wherever you allow them to. No matter where you go, I am yours. Your one person who will always love you, who will always listen to you, who will always be your biggest fan, who will always be there for you.

As you start blooming into a young lady, I hope you always reach for my hand. I hope my love for you is felt deep in your heart and never forgotten. I am excited to see where this little life takes us and share in all your sweet memories.

With love,
Your Momma

Thursday, November 12, 2015

To my brother and his young bride

Just over a month ago my brother became a husband. Not just any husband. Her husband. A husband to such a sweet gal who I truly feel blessed to now have as my sister-in-law. It makes me giddy I now have my own title for her and don't have to refer to her as "my brothers fiancé".

My husband and I are approaching our fifth wedding anniversary. I think about how fast five years has gone. I think about how much more we have to go. I'd like to be able to give my brother and his new bride the best of marriage advice and the best kept secret...but my words would fail. Because I don't know them. We are still learning how to keep the fire going as we grow together through the craziness that life throws our way.

This weekend we celebrate their one month anniversary with a lovely party with loved ones who weren't able to travel to the Key West wedding. During the chaotic planning period and fanatic phone calls from my mom (who is throwing this awesome party!) I wonder the words I would share with my brother. During their first fight. During their first joyful moment. During the moment he will hold his future child for the first time.

To my brother,

I'm thankful for being your older sister. You have always been a giving person, so thank you, for giving me another sister! Even during the moments you are quiet while I yell unfiltered words about something, I am thankful for our friendship. Life with you came full circle as we were painting pineapples for your reception. I watched you carefully pick the perfect pineapples and you reminded me to paint them perfectly for Shelby. We took that very seriously as we rushed them inside when it started pouring rain and left Jake outside as we saved the pineapples. Those few hours with you are some of my favorite to date. I felt like I was stealing the last few moments with you before you became a husband. I wish I would have had something more special to say other then drilling you, making sure you packed all what you would needed and commenting how wonderful the gold pineapples looked.

I would have told you how proud I was of you. Giving your heart to someone is no easy feat. But I have no doubt Shelby will hold tight to it.

I would have told you how special your wedding day will be. How the feeling of being in a bubble with just her will never cease your memory.

I would have told you to never let her go. Fight for her every day. Never break one of those special vows, yet always ask for forgiveness when life takes a hurtful turn.

I would have told you Shelby is just so perfect for you. She just really loves you. She really loves your family, your niece and nephew, and Disney World!

I would have told you no marriage is easy. You'll face challenges. You'll face doubt. You'll face change. And it's OK. Don't even stray from her, you'll need each other to make it through.

I would have told you this marriage will be your greatest adventure. As life give you joyous moments and one day beautiful children, never let it become greater then being her husband. Do your best to make her first. Every. Single. Day.

But if I would have told you all this, you would have thought I was crazy. You might have cried. I might have cried. And I trust that you will keep her heart safe.

If I would have told you all this, I would given away I'm really no expert. I've made mistakes in my marriage but I have never stopped loving my husband. And the biggest secret, he's never stopped loving me. They say love isn't always enough. I think it is.

Love is so much greater then you and I, sweet brother.

I hope your years of marriage are adventurous. Tread carefully through each new chapter and never forget why you fell in love with her.

I love you, your big sister

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

That's what she said

I can't be whiny enough about how much I miss being at home. I try not to. I feel very lucky for my year home with the kids. It's a year that felt like a blur, but I will never forget all the sweet little memories we built. I could go on forever about all the things I wish I should have done over that year (I do really regret not blogging on a weekly basis). Besides the time home with my little ones, I'd be a fat liar if I wasn't honest in saying I miss the extra time I had to get stuff done. Yes, I had two kids in tow, but it has become frustrating in managing my time. I either wait for Saturday to run errands, send my husband, or as soon as I get home rush back out the door. It's usually a mix of the three.

Yesterday I ran the kids to target to purchase Rylee a new bathrobe. I know, super exciting. The kids were pretty well behaved in the stroller till Jake woke from his random nap. He was not pleased and proceeded to let the entire store know he was not delighted in sitting in the stroller.

I rushed to check out. I gave the young college kid running the register a heaping spoonful of birth control. Rylee was persistently asking for popcorn and Jake was really testing the durability of the glassware with his screams. I hand over coupons and they aren't working. He looks at me and I request a supervisor to override them, I know they work. (Going to save me $9!). The line behind me starts building from no one to 3 people and I start feeling anxious.

Just as I am about to cry alongside the kids, a young lady behind says "hey its ok. You need to know its ok. You're doing fine". I sure did. I needed to know this craziness I have going on wasn't ruining the peacefulness at target.

She told me she had a two year old at home and I blurted out I was jealous she was at target alone. We laughed. I said thank you. In that moment I needed her to let me know it was OK. I felt better knowing someone else wasn't judging my parenting skills or questioning why they weren't following my directions (they're kids. Duh)

I didn't realize how much I needed her to say those words to me. Thank you target mom for connecting with me. You saved tears. Thank you for reaching out to me and saying what I needed to hear.

As I walked away I turned to her and said "thank you and I did need to hear that". It's a beautiful thing when a stranger gives you what you need. I am really learning to take my people watching skills to a new level and make that first move to connect. We all can become lost in our own little world and miss the greatness in people around us.

Reach out today. Start connecting. I was surprised how much that sweet lady's comment made me feel better.

That's what she said.

Friday, October 23, 2015

To my husband: the things you need to know

To my husband -

Yesterday was the day you've been waiting for. The phone call from the chief to promote you to driver. You called me at work and I could feel your energy burst through the phone. Your voice carried excitement and I longed for my work day to be over so I could rush home to hug you.

I am proud of you.

Last night, we went out on a school night and celebrated! As I sat at the bar listening to you share the word for word phone from the chief. I was amazed at how far we've come.

I was thinking back to high school. When you use to eat my peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and my dad would question why I was packing two sandwiches for lunch. I remember there was something I loved about that quiet boy in my English class and one day you would be mine.

I remember the long nights of drilling you with practice test questions for emt and paramedic school. I remember the day you were hired on at Tampa. We weren't hustling to find a babysitter but spontaneously met up with friends to celebrate into the wee hours. We were a wild bunch.

Its been almost 10 years since you asked me to be yours and how much we have changed. I became your wife and we became a family. I have never stopped loving you but I will admit there are days I'm not so good at being your wife. There are days that I don't seem to break even with splitting my time between you and the kids. I always put you first, loved you first, and did my best to carry our vows in my daily actions.  You've always tried to guide me in the right direction to balance it all and I've been fighting you.

But I've been listening.

In the quietness on my morning drive to work, I've been really thinking about us and I'm sorry, for there are things you need to know...

I need you to know I remember the person I use to be. So many days I lose track of who I am and forget the wife I was to you. My day is covered in tasks revolving around our children. I sometimes lack the mental ability to be the girl you feel in love with. I look at my reflection and I don't always recognize who I see. I need you to know I miss that girl too. 

I need you to know, through all this chaos, I still want to have fun. I don't consider myself boring but constant exhaustion makes me look blah. When the sleepless baby nights pass, I promise to spunk it up a bit more and say yes to those late night movie dates with you.

I need you to know I see you. I notice the way you love our children. The image of you rocking Jake to sleep, humming a song, is burned into my brain. I notice how to make sure I'm never without coffee and you keep my car clean for me. I see how you reach out for me when I'm having a tough day and I sadly push you away because I think I need some space. I notice when you pick out a new cider for me to try and always remember I love root beer in the glass bottles. I see you rushing to clean up when I come home. I see you. I notice you. And I don't always let you know, but thank you.

I need you to know I love you. I don't say it enough. I don't remind you enough. I use to be so diligent in saying every night, every morning, anytime of the day I felt it. I let my mind fill with too much useless worry and fluff, I forgot how simple and meaningful those three words are. I love you.

I need you to know I still think you got it going on! Twenty nine years barely shows on you. You are always sharp in your uniform and the color red on you is still my favorite. You need to know my heart still flutters from your freshness of the shower and watching you mow the lawn.

I need you to know how proud I am of you. You work hard for us and I don't always give you enough recognition. Your promotion has you on cloud nine. I'm raising my #1 foam finger for you as I ride along.

I'm not sure where our future will take us. I can't promise I'll be perfect. I can't promise I won't fight you on a TV to watch and not fall asleep during the opening credits.

But I need you to know I'm here. Still here making those pb&j's. I love you.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday Morning Mommas

I stood in my kitchen this morning pouring my coffee into my tervis cup and it hit me how much I miss pouring my coffee into my ceramic cup. The same cup I have used for years, the one I favored from our Polish tea set we received as a wedding gift. I see the cup sitting in the dryer and regret every morning I woke up feeling grumpy from a sleepless night with Jake. I miss my morning routine of coffee and pancakes and chaos and my littles at my feet. As my new routine falls into place and I sneak out of the house while they are still asleep, I think of all my mommas out there.

To my mommas who are off to work. It's hard. I know. You're tired. Your to-do didn't get finished and you are feeling like it will never get done. The mom guilty is hanging so heavy on your heart as you pull crying little ones off you so you can leave for work. You drive in your silent car and start planning your week in your head of what days you'll assign to which task. You've got this. It will be Friday soon enough! Enjoy your lunch with co-workers (grownups!) and the quiet time you have to yourself in the car. Blast your favorite songs and treat yourself to an over priced drive through coffee!

To my mommas who are at home. It's hard. I know. Its ground hog day and you wonder if this will be the day you lose your marbles at target when your toddler is mid tantrum over you buying the toilet paper with the bear on it and not the baby. You keep checking the clock if its time for your play day, where you can have a halfsies convo with your best friend and you pray she has fresh coffee. I hope your littes nap extra long for you so you can eat lunch, fold some laundry, watch the show you recorded last month, and take a nap yourself.

To my new mommas out there who are holding their new, sweet smelling up-all night babies. I know. It's hard. You haven't slept more then a few hours in days. It's Monday, I know you probably can't remember what day it is and its perfectly awesome to wear that outfit today, the one you have been wearing the past 5 days. You look in the mirror and wonder who you are. It's just a phase and you will miss it. I promise. I hope your little one sleeps in today so you can find rest and a hot shower. And they nap hard while you wonder the aisles of target and oogle over those non-maternity jeans.

To all my mommas out there. Whatever adventure you are on. You've got this. One of my best friends once told me the days seem so long yet the years go by oh too fast. Let's just remind ourselves it's just a phase and to savor those sweet moments.

Happy Monday, Mommas

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