catching up.

Always playing catch up… catch up to work, catch up to life… catch up on the house, the laundry and homework for Amelia.  Just when I think it is all done someone finishes a snack on a plate I need to wash… or it’s bath time and there is now laundry when it was all put away… or finish all of my email, take a breath and then there are more.

‘Tis the story of my life.  Never done, never caught up.  I prep for a break and something breaks… I prep for a vacation and a hotel shuts down for a ‘best day ever’ family.  Tonight I was talking to a friend, kind of complaining.  I was letting myself be the victim, be in my hole.  I told him “I keep asking God for a boring year…”  He said stop asking.  Seriously. Why.didn’t.I.think.of.that.  I work so hard to reword my prayers to not be all asky and requesty… I just ask for guidance and direction.  I ask for God to make it kind of clear which way is right and will help me find safe and not-so-painful in the long run.  I do sarcastically ask for a boring year.

Honestly, would I even appreciate the boring year???  Not.at.all.  I would be bored.  I would be angry that I was bored.  I would not reflect on amazing, because I was surrounded by bored.  I would not thank God so often for all the amazing, because I would be focused on my bored.  I can’t handle a boring, quiet year.  I am not made that way.  I am made for loud, funny, happy, mad, silly, sad… busy, busy, secret slow, lazy sometimes, run, run, run… I am not (at this very point in my life) programed for slow down.  I know it will come (most likely when I need a new knee from bad genetics or too many falls)… I know it will come.  I will be here, readyish for the slow down.  It will be confusing.  It will be shocking… but I will know it is the time.  Today isn’t the time.  If I slowed down and got all bored my world would break.  I would lose all the good and amazing I have in Maddie’s Legacy, I wouldn’t have the energy to share her, I wouldn’t be in the energy I need and I might lose my faith that life is good.  God is great.

So, Erin, continue to ask for guidance.  Ask for help.  Ask for a clear path to something less painful.  I will ask God to help me find my purpose… and maybe a job… I will stop asking for an easy year, a boring year.  I am tired and tried… but I can handle this junk.  God made me for this very journey… to sit indian style on this very night and type these very words… funny how He works that way.  I am not one for the easy way, never have been, never will.  I was made that way, I will maintain that until I am off to paradise for a super hug and some calorie free cake (better.be.calorie.free.in.heaven…..).

❤ Madeline Elizabeth Musto.  You have taught me more about life and death and how intertwined they are… you have guided me to safe.  I love you to the moon and back, then to Jupiter and two times around Mars… a hop over to the sun and back… and 40,005 super hugs.  and my dear that is a lot… more than a little… much more.

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back in the saddle— or rather back on the gravel.

sneaks.

I got a nice sunny run in.  No calculation of distance, but I did stop to see Madeline’s Tree at her Elementary school.  I got some sun, some tired and some miles in.  Thank you Jesus.

I was running and thinking ‘wow I miss this.  I miss the freedom and the tired.  I miss the energy and mental cleaning that comes with a good run’.  I miss the breathing and getting a bit farther than I thought.  I love bringing Madeline into a run.  I love running at her spot- her hilly and lovely spot.  I love stopping to see her playground at her school and seeing people on her playground at the YMCA.  What a gift…

I kept thinking ‘Erin, you are back in the saddle…’ and then I would correct myself and know there was no saddle, just sneakers.  I would know that there was no trail, only roads.  So I wasn’t back in the saddle- instead  it was back in the sneakers.  I was back to running.  I will stay that way.  I missed it.  Running is the epitome of doing something and moving somewhere… not going nowhere fast!!!

As I was running, I felt skinny.  It was a good feeling, slightly empowering.  I love running and feeling that.  When I run  and feel really good I feel strong and skinny and long and tall.  I love it.  Maybe that is why I love to run… who knows.  Today was boot camp and we did a bunch of elongating exercises that made me feel strong and long.  I love that.  I know that I am strong and long and tall and me.  I will be ok.  I will run, breathe, soak in the sun, apply aloe, sing, walk, garden, share and live… all those important things.  I will believe and know that it’s out of my hands… give it up to the BIG GUY, He has always backed me and supported me.  He loves to see me run, stand, walk, breathe, get by, overcome, move, shine and live…

Spinning.

So today is Monday and I slept really well last night.  The house was really cold this morning and Amelia was so warm… I didn’t want to get up.  We slept in a little and then started our Monday off.

I headed to the Y to take a spinning class… I needed someone to tell me what to do today- I am pretty sure I would have let my feet stop running if I didn’t have accountability this morning.  So spin it was…

I was on the bike thinking about how tired I feel and how I just don’t have a lot of extra in me today, and I can’t even ‘fake it ’til I make it’.  Then I thought about what I was doing and I was pretty sure I figured out why I don’t love spin.  Honestly… I literally rode a bike that doesn’t go anywhere in a dark stinky room with no air flow… for one hour.  I couldn’t talk to anyone, I didn’t laugh a bunch at someone who jumped too much and had to run out and pee… I just sat on a bike and worked really hard to go.no.where.  I was going nowhere wicked FAST… I was going up fake hills, on flat grounds… I was standing, sitting, pushing up… all while sitting in the same.exact.spot and seeing the same.exact.thing and smelling the same.stinky.room.  So while I was feeling all dumb for doing the same exact thing and staying in the same exact spot (a likeness to my life)… I was listening to Christine’s words.  “Walk it out”, “Get it to where you can stand safely”, “BBBIIIGGG Hill coming…”, “Ok… 2 full turns up… 1/2 turn down”… sounded like tiny little pieces of advice.  So all the while I was going, going, pushing, peddling, huffing, speeding and working- and not moving anywhere fast… there were little bits of good advice coming at me.  Maybe they are not the advice that fixes anything, but rather just put into my brain to remember to expect to not know what is coming, prepare for life in the only way we can- with health, faith, trust and support… get strong for those ‘big hills’… and be ready when you go 2 turns forward and 1/2 turn back… be glad, in the case of living, that it was a 1/2 turn back and not 3 whole turns…

So… I left spin tired.  I was more tired and more energetic.  I knew I gave my brain a little workout and it benefitted.  I had 4 moments in that spin room that I wanted to text someone that had hurt me that I was mad, that at that second I was very mad and confused.  My phone was on the floor, I was busy going nowhere fast, and because of that I didn’t take 1/2 a turn back when I lashed out at the person.  I guess I was right where I was supposed to be.  I know in myself that I want the people who hurt me to get better… I am sure they know that hurt me.  I don’t want to feed the part of me that wants them to hurt more.  I want to feed the part of me that gets me healthier, better, stronger and more the ‘me’ I am made to be.

Now I must shower… because I have a playdate with one of my favorite, lovely and flowery Kindergarten teachers and her crazy pack of kiddos…

 

note to self- make sure you mix some running with your spinning so you aren’t always headed nowhere fast…

 

ThrowBack… Saturday.

Driving from Albany to Watertown last night I had lots of time to reflect in the car and think.  Some of it good, some bad, some happy and some really crappy.  Sad/Mad/Glad.  You know the drill… waves of moving and living and breathing.  Sad/Mad/Glad and a buncha prayers… some days it is a lifesaver others I know I must just let myself feel it all.  Thursday I was sooooo mad.  I was mad all day and couldn’t really get rid of it.  I am not used to feeling mad like that for so long, but a couple good conversations, 20 burpees in my kitchen and a few glasses of wine and I went to bed.

Yesterday was the sad part, maybe today will be full of glad.  I have a feeling though that it might be a bit before I get the glad, glad, glad I had earlier this week.  I guess I must ride and breathe and feel and let it be for now.  We came into the village and my parents weren’t home and dinner wasn’t ready… so we met them at Pizza Hut and had dinner out.  It was a good dinner.  Then we all separated, Jojo took Meme to grab some things for Lucy’s birthday party, my parents went to pick Lucy’s gift and Lucy and I were off on our own.  I decided to stop and go for a walk in the cemetery where my grandparents and family are.  We visited some other angels that I have known through out my life and talked about their families and stories.  Lucy got cold and ran back to the car yelling “Bye grandma and grandpa and Aunt Jane.  I love you.”  We headed back to my mom’s house and Jojo was pulling photo albums down to go through for some #TBT pictures.  Gems.  It felt… I don’t know like we were supposed to be doing that very thing on that very night.  I visited my grandparents and thought a lot about them- then I saw a picture of them.grandma and grandpaI could see their kitchen and smell them.  I could hear Grandma saying “Lyle…” or “Jesus, Mary and Joseph give me strength…”  I used to hear that A LOT.  I guess it’s the best way to yell at a naughty kid… give it up to the Big Guy and ask for a hand :).  Man I loved them.  I remembered how my grandfather passed away on my first day of college.  How not long after I met Matthew and he reminded me of my grandfather.  His mannerisms and some of this personality felt like my grandfather.  I thought this was a bit of a gift from God, that Matthew was really made for me.  It is part of what makes my new normal and lack of Matthew so hard… but I don’t even know the Matthew that is here today.  I used to know him…

On to the funny… how can one climb up a polka dot tree and not see the bright dots as well… These pictures made me laugh so hard.  Some of them just bringing back memories and thoughts- others in seeing how my parents did things.  I learned a lot.  I think my girls have it pretty freaking easy in our life… and I also love the colors of today.  Honestly- everything in these houses was brown, dark, orange and dark… thank God for brighter style :).

jojo clownThis is Rikki (Jojo)… who just happens to have a huge fear of clowns.  We think we nailed it down to this moment in here life… she also is terrified when balloons pop- also something this clown did to entertain her.  Maybe everything in life is linked to an experience (just sayin’ :))…

jojo pottyThis is how people in the olden days potty trained… apparently seat belts were not available in cars but were necessary on potties.  I always wondered how they potty trained such young kids…

travisJust a good, simple and happy birthday party… and a bowl cut.  Seriously…

meJust loved this one of me and my Aunt Bridget.  That is my blanket that I still have… its basically shreds and falling apart but I have it.

Well there was my #TBT on a Saturday… you know me I don’t like to be normal.

I think some of the deeper thoughts and points from this weekend thus far is that this is the reason I am the way I am.  I am too trusting and open sometimes, but I was made and shown that that it the way of to be.  Two weeks ago, when the big bomb went off and jumbled up normal again, I took the girls to the circus and then to a birthday party.  This birthday party was around the corner from my house in Rotterdam and filled with people from Watertown- Kate’s family all moved down here and live within miles of us.  It’s a really cool connection and feeling of home there.  Anyway at that party, Kate’s dad asked if my grandparents lived on the corner in the big old farm house.  I told him yes.  He told me that he had all of his girls on a hot summer day out for a walk in Brownville, and my grandparents stopped them and told them they needed to stop and have some lemonade.  They insisted.  So he stopped with all of his girls and had some lemonade.  I sat in Albany 30 years later and heard this story about people I had never met and how he still remembered the kindness that they showed them and the character of my  grandparents.  It affirmed in me why I am the way I am, why I share the way I do, why I open myself and love people even after they hurt me.  It’s why I am loud and bold and loving… it is why I feel a deep need to create memories and save little bits of life.  I remember the day my father painted his old Harley.  I knew I would want to remember it the way it was before too… so I picked up a few pieces of the green paint he chipped off and saved it in an envelope labeled for me to always have.  It is the same reason I keep a Ziploc labeled on my dryer for all the things I have found that Lucy puts into her pockets… crusty worms, tiny arms people, rocks, lip gloss, buttons… things that were precious to her that day.  It is in me.

Lengthy post today… sending hello’s and love to ya’ll.  Send me some to.  Share.  Enjoy.  Live.

Sweet Madeline.

A few weeks ago a wonderful and talented local country star, who connected and committed to help sharing Madeline and our mission, shared the song she wrote and recorded for our family.  It is amazing.  I love it.

‘Sweet Madeline’ is a perfect and lovely piece of music that really captures Madeline and he spirit. When I listen to the song I feel happy and feel Madeline.  Her energy is in the words.  I am so thankful that Chelsea wrote this, it is a gift.  I want to share it with the world… it feels like the world needs to hear it.  So listen and share… listen and enjoy.

“I saw an angel yesterday… I saw her dimpled smile light up your face…”

 

Sweet Madeline by Chelsea Cavanaugh

Happy 8th Birthday Emilie

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Emilie and Madeline were the same age… I feel like I could know her mom… and her amazing lovely jewelry is so personal, her day was planned and felt like how we honor and love Madeline… Emilie's drawings look so much like Madeline's. Somehow I know our girls are together…

 Yesterday we wanted to celebrate Emilie’s birthday in true “Emilie style”!

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Robbie surprised us with tickets to a “Fancy Nancy” play, which was Emilie’s favorite book series…ever!

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We had necklaces made for the girls from kidzcandesign.com.  They took Emilie’s drawings and made them into jewelry.  The girls loved them!

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Samantha’s necklace was a drawing Emilie did of an angel.

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Madeline’s is a drawing of Bullseye from Toy Story.  Emilie and Madeline would play “Bullseye” everyday together! Madeline would speak in a Bullseye voice and Emilie would translate.  I can still hear their giggles…

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Here is my necklace… my three little girls.

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Then we spent the rest of the day playing at the beach, Em’s favorite beach!

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shrinking dad

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I even found a seashell that looked like angel wings.

1-10 Family Rockaway Beach (11) copy

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… right where I’m supposed to be.

refreshRefresh.

In all the hard and messy that the past few weeks brought, I knew we needed a break.  The girls and I needed to find a place to get away and figure out Mother’s Day… and just refresh our bodies, minds and soul.  In true Big Guy form, I was thinking what can we do this past weekend, where can we go… and my mind ‘remembered’ a few weeks ago when a friend (who has been there for parts of this journey before Maddie and after and is now part of a Word of Life Ministry in Schroon Lake, NY) Becky invited me (or me and the girls up) for a couple conferences that were in May.  At the time she invited me, I thought maybe we can get up there… but life is crazy busy.  Then came these past couple weeks…

Life kind of stopped.  I spent a lot of days not sleeping well, wearing no bra and a tank top with no pants (for any who know me that is a weird spectacle), eating not much and being on the phone way too much.  The girls got the crappy end of the stick that week.  I knew it was time to get my butt up, make sure everyone made it to school and get the things in order that I needed to get into order.  I had to get my butt functioning.  I did.  I refocused and knew we had to get away to somewhere… and then my brain remembered that invite.  I ran back to my computer and messaged Becky and told her we were in.  I told her I would be there Friday for the Single Mother’s Retreat filled with God, simple and fun activities… the lake and just a new place.  I also asked her to tell me exactly what to pack… since this Erin brain was tired, overwhelmed and overworked… and she did.  I did forget until the last moment that I have a dog to find care for… but thankfully I have kind neighbors and friends who can walk a weinie and give her love.

So… off to Schroon Lake we went… I was blown away when we pulled up into the Inn.  I was anticipating a camp or little retreat place… what an awesome campus it was.  It was exactly where we were supposed to be.  We got there and set up in our room, grabbed dinner, caught up with Becky and her kids… and prepped for Worship.  I am Catholic and at first it was hard to feel comfortable singing and really letting myself feel the music.  It was awesome music.  The songs were like prayers and bold statements of love for God and all Jesus has done.  I loved it.  The speaker that night, was the same for the whole weekend.  She was so welcoming and comfortable sharing her story and her beliefs and faith.  Her message was exactly what I was supposed to hear.  It is funny how that happens.  God does things like that often.  He plants us right where we need to be, to hear things we need to hear, to meet those we are supposed to meet, to share with those we are supposed to share with… He is good like that.  I felt very close to Him this past weekend.  I listened, I shared, I wrote, I thought and I prayed…

There were fun activities and way too much food… it was awesome and there wasn’t even wine!  The girls laughed and ran and were safe and happy.  I woke up on Saturday and went to breakfast and Worship… I kept notes and ideas during her speaking.  I signed myself up for something I had never tried.  I thought of Laurel and how she loves riding horses.  I went to the desk on break and signed up for a trail ride at the Ranch.  I was excited and nervous.  I took the girls to the playground and sat with my journal, and wrote… I thought of posts, prayers, ideas, what God has done with me, what I know about my God… and pondered a lot.  I started a project I have been bouncing in my brain for a long time.  I think God was telling me it was time…

write there

It was Refreshing.  Just what the doctor ordered and what the weekend was about.  I set out on my little adventure that afternoon and was excited.  I pulled into the Ranch and could smell horse poop and see all the beautiful horses getting ready for a trail ride.  I was scared to hop onto the saddle, but did ok.  I was all lined up and ready before I realized that Walter (my horse) was kind of a terd.  He didn’t like to listen to me, he kept trying to pass the horse in front of me… I was pretty scared I would be the reason that the 8 year old girl in front of me got bucked off…  I was working on finding nature and enjoying- but Walter was a terd.  I enjoyed it, know I want to do it again- with a simple and easy horse.

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I headed back to the Inn for jewelry making with the girls.  Amelia made me super fancy purple earring and Lucy made Amelia a pair.  It was a really nice afternoon.  Dinner, Worship and swimming… then a good nights sleep.

It was just what we needed.  Honestly… as per normal when we have a need and I listen to the little things in me He will send me in the right direction.  It was a weekend away from the soap opera that my life looked like at that moment… and it felt clearer and better when I walked into my house yesterday.  I felt better, lighter and ok.  I know I am going to be ok.  The girls and I will be ok.  We are planted firmly in this world and we are working hard to stay firm and find content… we know that He is helping us… we know that Madeline is ok.  It is a gift to know that, to feel that and to be able to share that.

Thank you God… for the direction and taking care of us.  We are blessed… blessed in loss, blessed in gifts… always blessed and always thankful.