Category Archive : Love

Nothing Else Matters

I am guilty in getting caught up in the little things. I’m sure you know what I mean here- sweating the small stuff. Getting worked up over things that truly do not matter. Wasting time on things that suck the good energy out of my life.

My husband and I have been told that we are selfish and don’t care enough about other people outside of our sphere. I’ve been passive-aggressively memed on Facebook for it.

However, I know my truth.

I know that we are dealing with the hardest thing a parent should ever have to deal with – the waiting game. Mackenzie’s neurologist called us in for a follow-up with her – 3 months earlier than we had scheduled. She had reviewed her physical therapy notes and felt that she should be walking right now and wanted to see for herself what kind of progress she had made. The end result is more tests. MRI, audiology and genetic tests have been ordered. She wants to make sure there are no tumors on her spine, brain or in her abdomen. I don’t think there is a single word that could elicit more fear in the heart of a parent: tumor.

Mackenzie continues to knock all of these tests out of the park – they have yet to find the definitive reason for her delays. She is smart – she listens to our commands and despite the fact she is not talking, she uses sign language to communicate – food/hungry, more, thank you, please… it is kind of crazy how the signing has exploded. Although slow to physically progress, she is indeed progressing. She crawls on all fours over the army crawl/rolling she had done previously, she pulls to stand on anything and everything and has started to regularly cruise along every piece of furniture in our house. She is kicking ass. I just know she will come out amazing on the other end of this.

I refuse to accept anyone in my life at this point that cannot even possibly comprehend the stress and worry that we are under. I will not apologize for putting my kids and their happiness first. That sometimes means making unpopular decisions. Our choices are selfish on purpose. Our choice is to surround ourselves with only the positive – if anyone is to stand in judgement of us and our choices then you don’t deserve to be around us at all. I don’t have room in my heart for ugly, mean behavior.

With that said, in the spirit of positivity, we refuse at this point to accept that… that… WORD (*whispers* tumor) in our vocabulary at this point. I can’t even think about it or comprehend it. I don’t want to. If the time comes and it is a reality, I will deal with it then.

But not now. Not today.

Today, my heart has no place for bitterness – only forgiveness. Today, every moment spent with my beautiful kids will be treasured. Today, I will surround myself with laughter and beauty.

Today, I know that miracles do and will continue to exist – I get the great honor of witnessing it every day in my children.

 Nothing. Else. Matters.

Same love. Different Experiences.

It’s amazing to me how different it is this time around.

I suffered a pretty good bout of PPD with Jackson. For the first year of his life, I was not myself. While I don’t have excuses, there are a lot of reasons why I had PPD. Sure, a baby is a huge life change not to mention you know hormones, but we also moved homes while I was in the hospital with him. We left the home that marked the beginning of our married life and I went home to a brand new house with a baby in tow. It was as if someone had stolen my entire life and replaced it with this new one. Jackson was jaundiced and had to sleep on the bili bed 24/7 (which he hated). He was collicky. He wouldn’t breastfeed no matter how much counseling or help I received. He went into failure to thrive territory and I was forced into formula feeding. I was spewed on for formula feeding. I was a disaster! When the time came to bring him to daycare, I was more than ready. I felt like the most clueless first time parent ever, so I was actually RELIEVED to go back to work. WTH?? What mother feels that way?? I look back on my experience with my sweet boy and all I feel is horror and regret. Once he got out of the baby phase, started talking (and SLEEPING), I started to enjoy him as well as motherhood. I constantly feel like I am making up for that lost time and never miss an opportunity to tell him how much I love and adore him. I always, ALWAYS feel sad that I didn’t enjoy him more as a baby.

It was one of the reasons I wanted another baby so badly. I wanted another chance.

My other chance, by the grace of God, is here and I am not wasting a single moment with her. My maternity leave was full of snuggles and baby talk. I didn’t worry (and frankly didn’t care) if I got anything “done” around the house. I had 12 weeks to make the best of our time together and I can honestly say I did just that. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed her so much and was so attached that the thought of going back to work seemed to physically break my heart. I’m glad that my husband does the daycare drop off with her because, in these first few weeks back, I don’t know if I could have handed my precious baby over to anyone else. I miss her every single day. All day. I cannot get to daycare fast enough to hold her and give her kisses. I feel like she has changed so much and that I am somehow missing it. It seems as if she is one person when I leave her and then when I pick her up and she’s out of nowhere babbling and smiling. She rolling over. She’s no longer a newborn but an infant. Why is this going so fast? Dear Time: slow down! She is my last baby!

I’ve dabbled with the idea of staying home in the past. Mostly because I was unhappy and unfulfilled in my prior job and not necessarily because I had this deep desire to be a SAHM. For the first time ever, I really THOUGHT about it. After getting that first daycare bill, I REALLY thought about it. I imagined what it would be like to be with her every day. To hold her whenever I want. To teach her baby signs. To watch her grow and be the first person to see all of her new milestones and “firsts”. To go on jogs with her in the park. I imagined my son being able to be home with us all summer before starting 1st grade this fall (which is a total WTF moment in and of itself. 1st grade? What?).

However… despite the serious gouging we received after the first bi-weekly daycare withdrawal (which by the way we pay more for daycare than we do our mortgage), we still need my money and my ridiculously amazing health benefits. Despite the deep hole in my heart from missing my baby every day, I know she’s in good hands. And crazy enough? I actually really love my job. For the first time ever, I get to manage a program that I am passionate and excited about. The opportunity in front of me to expand my career right now is huge and if I bail even for a short time, I will miss that boat and I have worked so very hard. I shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting that, right? Because, I do.

Most days I don’t get to see my baby girl before I leave in the morning, but my husband with time permitting, will send me pictures of her to oogle over during my bus ride. Fortunately, I do get to see my baby boy- if I were to leave without saying goodbye to him? He would have the worst day and would NOT let me live it down.

One of the sweet pictures I received in the morning
I was fortunate enough to be home in the morning when he lost his first tooth this week! 

I love both my kids so, so hard. It is a mental struggle to leave them every day, but I feel like continuing to be a working mom, they get the best mom out of me. While it was harder than ever to make the decision this time around, I am confident that I made the right choice.

He still cuddles with me. Please tell me that doesn’t change??? 

But sometimes he would rather cuddle with his sister and I swear my heart explodes with love. 

Just Keep Running

I have been absent from my blog this week for a couple reasons:

1. My workload is unbearable. I eat, sleep and breathe the current project I am on.

2. I needed some time to reflect.

I watched in jealousy as many friends and social buddies I have come to know qualified and trained for the Boston Marathon. I’m not sure I will ever be able to run a full marathon and very much look up to those who  do. I know it is the pinnacle of their running goals. The finish to a long, hard training journey.

As soon as I heard about the bombings at the Boston Marathon my heart was racing and I had a sick feeling in my tummy. Are my friends okay? Who would dare ruin an event that is only positive in every single way? Why? Why? Why?

Why the 8 year old little boy simply cheering on the runners, waiting for his daddy to cross the line? WHY?

Why did ANYONE have to suffer?

I have no answers. Only questions. Only hurt in my heart. Anger. Confusion.

The only solution I have for myself to be able to find any salvation in this horrific tragedy is prayer.

Prayer and my enormous resolve and duty as a runner to KEEP ON RUNNING.

I will run for those who cannot run anymore. I will continue to run in huge events to prove that I am not afraid of some coward who felt the need to blow up innocent people and children. The last two years that I have been running have been for me, but I feel like it isn’t only about me anymore. I am so immensely proud to call myself a part of the running community in this world. It is the most positive thing I have ever been a part of in my life and I refuse to let anyone take that away from me.

Next Saturday, April 27 marks the “true” start to my running season (although MN weather seems to have a different idea in mind. Snow? In April? Really?). As my running crew (official name is still TBD) heads out to the Get In Gear 5K, we are going to be fired up. On a mission. We won’t be running this just for ourselves or for our crew.

We are running for Boston.

I wish I could have gotten one of these t-shirts in time, because I would have definitely been wearing it next Saturday, but they are out of stock (which is actually pretty awesome):

I’m sure we will try to put together a way to show our support.

Our mission: Just. Keep. Running.

What is running to me? Pride. Joy. Satisfaction. Accomplishment. You can’t take that from me.
Notice, I am smiling in every single picture.

My #runforboston on Tuesday, April 16

Crossing the finish at the Get Lucky 7K

Me with 2 of the ladies from my running crew. 

My dearest friend and running buddy.

Me & Kathy at the October 2012 Monster Dash 5K
Earth Day 5K 2012- I beat my goal time by an entire minute.
Me & My Girl Angie- Earth Day 5K Finish- April 2012

My first ever 5K- Race for Obesity. 

My first race that started it all 

Wishing you and the world all of the peace, love and joy I hold in my heart.

Thankful Thursday: Easter Sweetness

I was a day late for Wordless Wednesday. Heading into some extremely busy times at work, I thought rather than completely scrap the post, that I would salvage it. Change it into a little bit of Thanks. Remind myself of what I am surrounded by. People who have brought me so much love and confidence. Friends who help me nurture my talents and push me to be better, to step outside of my shell. Believe in me when I can’t find it in me to believe in myself.

From Easter Sunday (that’s me in the middle): 

Thankful for a family who brings me so much overwhelming joy. 

Jack & His Cousins (my sweet nephews)
Hmmm… Easter Egg inside is just not the same
Thankful for my healthy, funny and loving little boy. My constant reminder that miracles really do exist in this world. 

The Little Things

The other day as I was heading home from work, I boarded my elevator on the 20th floor. The one thing I always forget to factor into my commute time is the time it takes to ride the elevator to the ground floor. Most days, it is a stop on just about every floor. Packed like sardines. I typically end up next to the person with the horrifically debilitating head cold. I have to factor at least an additional 10 minutes in order to make my 4:11p bus home.

To my amazement, two elevators showed up on our floor at the same time so the 5 of us got to choose which one to ride in. Both elevators got the express ride to the 1st floor with no stops. The guy I rode my elevator with said, “It’s the little things we should always get excited about, right?”

He is SO right.

Then today, I read this. Which led me to this. Then to this. Basically an amazing network of fantastic, strong women vowing to take control of their lives. One of these women in the midst of struggles with her health journey died of heart failure before she turned 30. My heart, oh my heart. So much more proof that all my stumbles along my healthiness journey are worth it. For me. For my family.

I have made it pretty clear that I have had emotional struggles lately. Reading the above posts really puts things back into perspective. It’s time to stop dwelling and start living. Time to stop taking for granted the people and things in my life that I have accomplished.

The Things
I have been so focused over the last month over a few measly pounds. Have I thought for even a second to consider how far I have come? 4.5 years ago when I gave birth to my son, I was topping the scale at 240. I am now 160. How could I not be proud of that? HOW? HOW? HOW? I can call myself an athlete. A runner. I am fit. Healthy. Strong. I am sooooooooooo hard on myself. That needs to stop.

My job. I feel like my corporate pursuits are an endless game of trying to make it to the next rung. The title. Manager. VP. Or whatever I have noodled into my brain what I think I need out of my career. I may not be at the top of the heap, but I have clawed my way enough around the middle to have garnered respect and appreciation from my superiors and colleagues. I am finally in a happy place with my (not so) new job. I’m not even hating the Downtown Mpls life as much anymore. The important word here is balance. I finally found balance in my professional world.

The People
If there is one thing reading those blog posts above reminded me, it is that we should not take the people who matter the most in our lives for granted. You never know when you have to say goodbye. Do you ever want to feel like there were things left unsaid? I know I wouldn’t want that. So I’m making the effort not to let whatever this weird funk that has taken over me (probably just PMS anyway. LOL) take over the happiness that my friends and family give to me every single day.

I mentioned in a previous post that my husband and I have a new renewal in our marriage. For years, we were just floating through the motions. Pretending like we’re all good and that nothing could break us. Now that we have clarity, there hasn’t been a day that has gone by in the last few weeks that we have gone to bed angry- there is always a goodnight kiss and an “I love you.” Since I have to leave early in the morning, I usually left before either my husband or son were awake. I’d sneak out. Not wanting to stir or wake anyone. Little did I know, they were waking up mere minutes after I would walk out the door. So even if it means waking my husband up, I always give him a kiss on the cheek goodbye and remind him that I love him. My child gets to sleep in though. I wouldn’t do THAT to my husband. But I always blow a kiss goodbye towards Jackson’s room. He doesn’t know I do that. Maybe someday I will tell him. I also want my son to know that despite my sadness over my secondary infertility, that HE IS ENOUGH and I would go to the ends of the earth for him. I am so lucky to have him. He is my miracle.

My sweet boy who still cuddles with his mama. 
I love watching him play and love his imagination.
I love my guys! 

The Little Things. 
I have always loved the Easter season. So much self-reflection, forgiveness and renewal. I feel so moved this year. Different. I intend to make the best out of every single day and every moment. As part of my Christian holiday traditions, my best friend has invited me once again to sing with her band for her church’s contemporary Easter service. She of course gave me the best song for my solo (and when I say “best”, I mean I have no idea how I’m going to sing it without crying). My husband will be recording, so I will be sure and post my version this Easter Sunday.

If you have Spotify, you can listen here:

“I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin

There’s a peace I’ve come to know 
Though my heart and flesh may fail 
There’s an anchor for my soul 
I can say “It is well” 

Jesus has overcome 

And the grave is overwhelmed 

The victory is won 

He is risen from the dead 

And I will rise when He calls my name 

No more sorrow, no more pain 

I will rise on eagles’ wings 

Before my God fall on my knees 

And rise 

I will rise 

There’s a day that’s drawing near 

When this darkness breaks to light 

And the shadows disappear 

And my faith shall be my eyes 

Jesus has overcome 

And the grave is overwhelmed 

The victory is won 

He is risen from the dead 

And I will rise when He calls my name 

No more sorrow, no more pain 

I will rise on eagles’ wings 

Before my God fall on my knees 

And rise 

I will rise 

And I hear the voice of many angels sing, 

“Worthy is the Lamb” 

And I hear the cry of every longing heart, 

“Worthy is the Lamb” 

And I will rise when He calls my name 

No more sorrow, no more pain 

I will rise on eagles’ wings 

Before my God fall on my knees 

And rise 

I will rise

I am wishing all of you blessings and happiness with all of the little things in your life. Count every blessing. Live every day with purpose. Remember, you are enough. Most importantly, tell those you care about how much they mean to you

Christmas Bliss

I was woken up yesterday by the pitter patter of little feet and an excited little voice, “Hey guys, my bunny is awake. It’s time to get up! It’s Christmas!” It’s hard not to get caught up in his excitement. Tired, I stumbled downstairs to get some breakfast ready for the kid and feed the dog.

We had planned on having our own family Christmas on Christmas Eve morning, before the festivities with my parents in the afternoon. Just us. Our little team. As we sat down to open our gifts for each other, I opened the blinds and as if it was ordered up for me, it was snowing the most perfect, light amazing snowfall. With every present my son opened, they were all (even his new bed sheets) welcomed with, “This is awesome!” and “WOW!” After all the presents were opened, my husband and I exchanged a hug, kiss and Merry Christmas and as I turned, Jack ran up to hug me, jumping up into a full arms and legs bear hug. He kissed me on the cheek, looked me in the eyes and said, “Merry Christmas, Mommy.”

When you are infertile, it is moments like those that you can only dream about. Moments like those that make every ounce of struggle and fight to bring them into this world worth everything.

Overall, I have had a very enlightening holiday season. I discovered things about myself that have really helped to bring everything full circle. I didn’t give myself enough credit for my weight loss. I took a lot of things for granted. I was so inside myself that I didn’t realize how many people I was pushing away- including my husband. This clarity? It has utterly changed my life. I am so overflowing with love and happiness that I wish I could bottle it up and gift it to others.

My Christmas was about as close to perfect as it could get. A kid whose child-like wonder is contagious. Seeing him perform in his first Christmas program a week ago was a moment I do not ever want to forget. A moment I waited and wanted ever since I knew I wanted to be a mom.

Singing with my best friend, regardless of my lingering pneumonia and tempo mis-cue on this song, still so much fun. So grateful to her for giving me the opportunity to do one of the things I love the most.

If there is one thing that has become the most clear to me over the last month, it is that being happy, positive and enjoying life is much more fun. Life is entirely way too short to spend time being unhappy or trying to solve things that are beyond our control.

I am beyond grateful for everything that I have. The life that I live. The incredible people I am surrounded by. The special people who inspire me every single day. They are always in my thoughts and hold the most important pieces of my heart.

I cannot think of any better song to sum up how filled with joy I am this Christmas- Unspeakable Joy
 My cup runneth over.

A Reflection: Choosing Joy in the Midst of Tragedy

On Friday, as I was in the midst of a busy day, I took a break in the afternoon to check my personal email, Facebook and Twitter. The usual breaktime fodder. I noticed pictures of candles and prayers consuming my Facebook feed and then saw the headlines from Connecticut that brought me to my knees. A shooting in an elementary school? How? Why? WHY?

Tears sprung to my eyes and my heart felt heavy. I felt sick.

As a mother, I could not even begin to comprehend such unspeakable tragedy. I could not find words as there were none that would suffice.

As I looked within my social media outlets to find more information, I was troubled by what I saw. Troubled that it has to turn into politics. Troubled that anyone for one second had to turn it into a platform other than what should just be about prayers for the families, peace and love. While there is a time to try to find some understanding and a way to stop something so incomprehensible from happening again, Friday was not that day.

I also saw a Tweet that said: “Hugging our children won’t change anything.”


Perhaps by teaching love and peace to my little boy, he will turn around and teach it to others. It may not make a difference today or tomorrow, but maybe, just maybe, sometime down the road he will remember that his mama taught him how to love and bring peace to others.

On Friday, my office closed early for the day and instead of rushing off to do errands, I drove immediately to my son’s school to pick him up. I just wanted to see him. Hug him. Be with him. He was so excited that I came to get him early- he was still on the playground for recess. He came running up to me and asked, “Mommy, why did you come and get me so early today?” The only response I could give my 4 year old was, “I love you and missed you all day. Let’s go home. Pizza tonight?” To which he responded in all his innocence, “Okay, mommy. I love pizza party!” That was all he needed to know.

We got home. I made pizza. I sobbed over what I was seeing and hearing, my son all the while oblivious to the horror that took place 1,200 miles away. We then turned the TV off altogether and just spent time with each other. That night, while putting my son to bed, instead of trying to rush him to sleep I stayed with him just a little longer. He fell asleep and I stayed in his room, listening to the sound of his tiny, sweet snores thanking God for the miracle that he is and and the pure joy he brings to my life.

My husband came up to look for me in Jack’s room thinking I might have fallen asleep, asking me what I was doing. I said “No, I didn’t fall asleep. Everything is fine. Tonight, I just wanted to be with him.”

 It doesn’t feel fair that these parents don’t have their babies anymore. It doesn’t feel fair that their holiday will be filled with so much sadness. My heart aches for them as I cannot even fathom what they are going through. These babies… just a year or two older than mine. Gone.

I have struggled to write this post. It has actually taken days to find the precise way to put my thoughts into words. However, I don’t think there is any way to make sense of it. We can only learn from it. Hug our kids closer. Teach them and those around us to live with love, peace and forgiveness in our hearts instead of anger and hostility. Recognize and reach out to those who are crying out for help. Take a moment each and every day to thank God for the tiniest of blessings that touch our lives: friends, family, jobs, a roof over my head, food to eat. Live life without fear or regret. Never take a single moment for granted.

While I am sad and grieving in my heart for these children, teachers and families- I am also choosing to move forward. I’m choosing joy and will do what I can to spread it to everyone around me.

From my family to yours, we wish you a holiday season filled with only peace and love in your hearts.

Love Ingredients

Love. It is incredible how it changes over time.

For me, the ingredients that make up all the love in my heart is grown from my friends, family, husband, dog and especially my son.

My Elite Circle of Friends

Friend Love: I love my friends. Over the years, my circle of “besties” has gotten pretty small. I have just a handful of friends that are my go to girls. Two of them are old college roommates. We have gone through pretty much everything together not to mention extreme highs and lows in our friendships and I honestly cannot imagine my life without either of them in it. Sure, our friendships have morphed a bit throughout the past 15 years because of marriage and kids, but we’ve somehow managed to stick it out. A couple more friends I have met along they way in my adulthood journey and I love them just as much. They are my escape and I am grateful.

Family L-R, Aunt, Bro, SIL Sarah, Sis, Me

Family Love: I grew up in a pretty typical family: Two happily married parents, an older sister and younger brother. Even though we don’t get to see each other much these days, I love them. Unconditionally. I would do anything for my family. Enter marriage into the equation (including my siblings’ marriages): I acquired a whole new family to love, care for and worry about. It is incredible to me how natural and easy it is to love these people without question or reason simply because: they are family and they are forever.

Marriage: October 15, 2005

Married Love: Falling in love with my husband was like closing my eyes thinking I was diving into an empty, concrete pool yet safely landing on a giant pile of feathers. We were discussing the whirlwind courtship of his sister the other day (in a good way), and he said to me, “I absolutely knew that I was going to marry you after just 6 weeks.” Here I thought he was just stringing me along for the first two years… Married love is pretty awesome. Our relationship has changed immensely over the past nine years. It has been important to remember that the “crazy” new love stuff doesn’t last that long, but it is the deeper bonds of our history and dreams for our future that keep us together. Milestones such as getting married and having kids are just a few of the many pieces along the way that make our relationship and our married love so powerful. 

Me & My Girl Sadie

Pet Love: I can say without a doubt that I love my dog, Sadie. I didn’t always love her this much. As a puppy, I got frustrated easily with her and just WISHED that someday she would start listening. Guess what? Out of nowhere, she did and she’s perfect (weird… sounds a lot like kids huh?). I can also say without a doubt that my dog loves me back- she is the first one that I see when I come in the door to my house. She’s been with us for 8 years, so yeah, she’s getting up there in age. I know that we need to start considering that she maybe only has about 4-5 more years with us and I kid you not, it BREAKS my heart to even think of having to say goodbye. I am not certain how I am going to be able to function without my best dog in my life. She’s been there for me through the best and worst parts of the last 8 years and I love her so much. One moment I recall is after finding out that I was having a miscarriage, I was sobbing uncontrollably and she just jumped up next to me on the couch and put her head in my lap. I don’t know how she knows when things aren’t right, but she does and she’s always right there to offer her love. She’s amazing. I know she hasn’t been thrilled about giving up the spotlight to the little person, but I think she has really grown to love and be protective of her little brother over the past two and a half years.

A Mother’s Love: You would think this would be the longest section of all when it comes to love yet I have a difficult time coming up with the words to describe how deeply I feel about my son. I often hear people describe their children this way and I couldn’t agree more: My son is my heart out walking around. My heart just swells when I think of him. I think of his crazy arrival into the world and even though it shook us all to the core, I think it taught us the most important lesson in parenting: nothing ever goes as planned. My little boy is my everything and I would die for him. I have loved watching him grow into such a smart and loving person over the past 2.5 years and after dealing with fertility issues, I am still blown away that he is here and he is mine. He’s the most amazing, frustrating and hilarious person I have ever known. You would think if you LOVE someone this much, it would be easy to find the words to describe it, but I just can’t. It just is.

How Fast They Grow…
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, what is love to you?