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Monday, April 22, 2013


Dear Katelyn,
You are three. Magically, energetically, gloriously three.

You are sunshine and laughs and tantrums and bossiness.
You are coloring and tea parties and dress-up and Barney.
You are rocking before bed and snuggles in the morning.
You are singing and dancing and painting and reading.

This is what I want you to know.
I love you more today than the day before.
I love your wild hair and wild ways.
I love your spunk and attitude and your know-what-you-wantness.

I love how you love me.
I love how you forgive in the blink of an eye.

I love your spirit and your spark and your shine. Don't let anyone dull that, OK? You are a fierce, independent soul. Don't let the world diminish your glow.

I can already see you are a tough one; a force to be reckoned with. Use your power for good; stand up for what you believe in; shine in the sun; don't let others shadows fall on you. 

You are a helper. Don't ever stop helping. The world always needs more helpers, and it starts at home.

And last, stay happy; be happy; and don't ever stop smiling. Your smile is contagious and everyone around you is happier for knowing you.

Happy three, baby. Mama loves you.

P.S. Her birthday was yesterday, but she still thinks it's her birthday today because we all exclaimed, "Happy Earth Day!" to each other this morning...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Am a Runner...

I am a runner.
I run because I can.
I run until my legs and lungs burn.
I run until my soul-thirst is quenched.
I run in the rain; in the warmth; in the light; and sometimes in the dark.
I run until my mind says stop, and then I go another mile.

On Wednesday morning, I ran for Boston. I ran for those that can't run anymore. I ran until my legs and lungs were burning and my footsteps were pounding in my ears and the tears were streaming down my cheeks. I ran fast and furious and prayed and searched the depths of my soul and the corners of my mind, but no answers came. Sometimes, running is my answer.

To be a runner is a gift; one that can so obviously be taken away.

I will keep running races, but I will view the finish lines with a different perspective.

I will remember to be good and kind and hopeful and helpful.

And I will never forget what happened on the 15th day of April in Boston.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Making Lemonade...

I have been in a mood off and on all week. Last night, I went to bed earlier than the kids, and my husband did bedtime. I'm not sure I even told them goodnight, but I knew it would be better to be absent than to fight through an impatient and unhappy bedtime.

 When I woke up this morning, it was to snow. Inches and inches of snow. School cancelled and happy kids and I wanted to cry. The snow; the gray skies; the endless winter; it's enough. This was my backyard three days ago...

This is my backyard today...

These happy kids though, their spirits are contagious and their smiles are healing. They couldn't wait to go out and play. They are truly happy no matter the season. I'm taking a lesson from them and making these lemons that Mother Nature has given us, and making lemonade. As I'm typing this, I'm watching my boys throw snowballs back and forth. I'm hearing their laughter through the windows and I can't help but laugh with them.

My girls are planning a nail painting session with me. We made homemade cinnamon rolls and the blankets are ready to be snuggled in for a Barbie movie marathon.

This season we're in, it won't last forever. We'll look back and say remember when we had that snowstorm in April? 

Bring on the lemons.
Essence of Now

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cracked, Not Broken...

I had some very Pinterest-worthy Easter egg coloring ideas for the kids to make while they were on their spring break. Some glittery, stickery, Kool-Aid-colored awesomeness that would make me the coolest, craftiest mom that my kids ever knew.

We were going to dye the eggs on Wednesday, not a day before, not a day after (my Anna likes to know these things).

Little did I know, I'd wake up in the middle of the night with one of my horrible migraines; the kind that leave me lying in a heap in the middle of the floor; nauseous; pillows covering my head for fear of a drop of light seeping in; willing myself to pass out with the hopes of coming to with the pain gone.

The big kids helped with Kate that morning, made breakfast, played quietly, and by the afternoon I was just left with the lingering fog of pain; gone just enough to leave me functioning and on my feet, but not enough to make a Pinterest-worthy, glittery, stickery, Kool-aid-colored craft.

I boiled the eggs and got out the Paas egg kit that I had bought "just in case" and we gathered around the table. No expectations other than to get those eggs as bright and colorful and cheery as possible.

I sat back and watched. I listened to them decide what colors they would choose; how long to leave the eggs in for. They asked me a few questions, but mostly I just listened. We talked. We talked about plans and friends and they said I'm glad you're feeling better, mama. I didn't care if they spilled or if the eggs would come out perfect or if there were drips of dye on their shirts.

And those eggs? Well, they came out beautiful. Bright, bold, beautiful, good eggs. A little cracked, but not broken...a little like all of us.

They're growing up. Right in front of me, these kids are growing up, and it's happening fast. Really fast.

I catch glimpses of what it may be like in a few years, with all of us sitting around the kitchen table talking about friends and school; them talking, me listening. I hope they still ask me questions, ask for my opinions, but mostly, I just hope they'll be able to love each other like they do now.

These four little creatures with a sibling bond that can't be broken. Yes, sometimes they fight, and they scream at each other, and they say hurtful things that you say when brothers and sisters fight. Sometimes, there are cracks. Sometimes, we're all a little cracked, but that doesn't mean we're broken.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Running and Sunshine...

I have been waiting this whole long, hard, bitterly cold winter for a week like this one.

Glorious sunshine; runner highs; fresh air without freezing; lungs and legs burning; sweaty face; long runs alone; soul-searching; heavy heart turned light again; sun-kissed cheeks.

Running for the first few times outside after not running for a long winter is like quenching this undeniable thirst; it's like drinking a tall, cool glass of water after being stranded in the dry, hot desert for days (I can only imagine).

Not running is so much harder than running. Not being able to do something that you love; that is a part of your being, your spirit, your soul, it's something I don't often take for granted. And while every run isn't perfect, it's so much better than NOT running.

Every time I lace up my shoes, I get excited. I get to go running. I get to be alone with my thoughts and my music and the sounds of nature; I get to sweat and my muscles get to burn; I get to run free and wild and feel amazing afterward. I get to feel whole and healed and not so crazy afterward. I get to feel this joy and happiness that sometimes eludes me in the dark, cold, gray days of winter. And sometimes, I get to push a growing toddler in a stroller and get one heck of a workout.

I have a few happy places, and running is one of them.

And winter? You can go suck it. See you next year.