Short and sweet

I’m going to tell you the truth.

It has been a long couple of weeks. (Which is why this is going to be a SHORT post).

I am not at liberty to say all that has happened, and all that may be happening, but needless to say it has kicked the poop out of me.

But I am going to tell you one thing.

I have a new friend.

I have been driving back and forth over the last few weeks, to get things in order for the new possibilities in our lives, and because I started a new job at an awesome bookstore we all love.

The last weekend was particularly hard because Joe was not with me, and although I am used to him not being home often, not seeing him at all was worse.

We did get into a minor tiff, and it was not fun, and not a happy thing, as with all tiff/fights/disagreements in any relationship, let alone with your significant other.

We talked on the phone through the issue and what we each need to work on, and when I got home I got a small present.

I got a fox. A stuffed fox.

Joe got him for me so I could cuddle him and think of him when we are apart, and so I wouldn’t have to sleep alone. I love him. Joe and the fox.

Now, to come up with a name for him…I know, Jelly Bean!

Joe, Me, and Jelly Bean.

Joe, me, and Jelly Bean

~ Andreah

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What no one told me about living with a boy

I have always wanted a brother – I liked the idea of a protector. I thought “If only one of my sisters was a brother, man what a life that would be!” – until I moved in with Cody and I had to start worrying about things I NEVER had to worry about because I grew up with all ladies females.

Suddenly my world changed…no one prepared me, no one sat me down and told me that things would change.

The Toilet Seat 

Gone are the days of carefree midnight bathroom trips. Now when I wake in the middle of the night due to nature calling, I have to somewhat wake up to make sure that I don’t fall in BECAUSE IT HAS HAPPENED. I have cursed Cody’s name in the wee morning hours as I submerge my bottom half in freezing cold toilet water, and try to roll myself out of the toilet still half asleep. Then to stumble back up to bed, with a half drenched t-shirt which I will have to replace. I have now started to hide an extra T-shirt in our linen closet in the bathroom. But, you know what would be better? If I could remember that the toilet seat might be up, or better yet…if the toilet seat were put back down.

Football…Hockey…Football…Hockey… 

I didn’t grow up watching sports. I didn’t play any sports growing up.  The closest thing that was found on our television set was the Olympics when they were on, or figure skating on Sunday afternoons as my mom folded laundry. Now, I know that my life for 6 weeks will be football, which then overlaps into hockey and then there is short break until football starts back up again. It’s not that don’t enjoy them. Sometimes when the games are good, and it’s not a bunch of nonsense, I will watch and I might even get involved and throw around some terminology, all of which Cody lovingly puts up with, because I honestly know nothing and I am probably giving him more of a laugh than anything else.

Beer…in the shower? 

There are beer bottles on the counter, in the living room, and sometimes in the bedroom, but Cody introduced me to the shower beer. Now this practice I have tried with coffee – it doesn’t work. Wine? Forget it. However, a nice hot shower with a cold beer has helped with the worst of days. I am not a big drinker, however this is one way of ending a horrible day that I have not regretted as of yet. Try it…trust me!

Unexpected Visitors

Being from a small town, on the main road, we get a lot of visitors. Some of them announced…and others not so much. At any moment in time I may have to dart from one room to the next without being seen because I don’t like wearing pants in my own house. No pants are the best pants. With my family and friends, 95% of the time there is a warning!

“Hey, Toni and Julia are coming over at insane o’clock to go running tomorrow, heads up!”

Cody’s warnings are more than likely 2 seconds prior to someone coming into the house, as Bacon is barking and I am trying to find a blanket or towel to wrap around me in order go find suitable visitor bottoms.

Why are there feathers?

Cody, as I have mentioned before, is a hunter, which means that at any given time there is some kind of wild game that I do not recognize in our freezer and during the fowl season, I may stumble upon a bag of feathers. I have learned to not ask questions, but rather to take advantage of the fact that Cody is out of the house, and I can watch every rerun of Friends and Sex and the City I can find.

 

Growing up with all females may have been intense every 4 weeks…but it also was a blessing. I learned how to cook, bake, clean, when to stay away and when to show up. At the time I was going through it I couldn’t wait to get out… and now that I am out, I miss it more than I could imagine.

 

~ Jacqui

Thank you for being you

A lot has happened in recent days, and about 90% of it hasn’t been good.

I don’t feel like talking about it, and other things I can’t talk much about, but I will say it has sucked.

I live two and a half hours away from my family, so when there is a family emergency it is a hard thing for me and my family that I am so far away. I can’t be there to help, I can’t be there to make sure everyone is okay, and I can’t be there so my family can make sure I am okay.

It is all around a crappy experience, and in the end quite stupid.

We just had one such occurrence. I am not going into details, but I wanted to make this post about a couple of people.

1. Jess
jess
I had made a blog post about me and Jess and our friendship. How awesome she is, and all around how wonderful of a friend she is to me. She just yet again proved it.

She is working right now, as I type this on a Tuesday night, until midnight. Then she is going to be driving all the way here to come pick me up and we are going to make our way back just so I can be with my family, just so I can be there. She is amazing.

2. Greg

Greg!

Greg!

Greg has a lot of stuff going on right now, but I still got a phone call from him, and after he told me his things, I told him mine. He is there for me even when life is generally sucking for him too, and for that I cannot thank him enough. You are a rock star, Greg.

3. Elena

Elena

Elena

Elena is more than a best friend to me. She is like a limb that is missing, and it feels weird not to have her around constantly. When bad things happen she is a shoulder for me to cry on and a rock in my life. She is unmoving and is constantly there for me. It is amazing and awesome. Even if it is just a phone call, she is always there. Elena, My Kindred Spirit.

Now, when times like right now are hard, I try really hard not to be a big ball of emotion and tears, so instead of dwelling on the bad I just wanted to say thank you for these awesome people. I know with my friends, and family at my back anything is possible. I’m just thankful that we all have each other.

~ Andreah

Date night, Mills-style

When you get married, people tell you that you should never stop dating each other – make plans, go out, talk, ensure you never lose that connection.

When you add kids to the mix, the advice gets louder – don’t just focus on babies all the time, make sure you take time for yourselves, remember to nurture the couple relationship you had before you became parents.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Now, you have to organize child care, steal time where there are no appointments or responsibilities, ensure no one is sick, and, the big one, rally the energy so you are able to not only stay up past 8 p.m., but be interesting past 8 p.m.

It’s a tall order for any parent.

Ben and I have been all right at keeping the romance alive while we are elbow deep in poop and potty training and tantrum taming and crazy wrangling. Not perfect (most months go without any date at all), but we’re doing okay. We make sure to go out on our dating and wedding anniversaries, spend time together on the 21st of each month (both of our anniversaries are a 21), and remember to look up every once in a while and say, “Hi! I know you!”

For Father’s Day, I thought that maybe I’d give both of us a present – a night out! I purchased tickets for us to go see Les Misérables at our local theatre, The Dunfield Theatre. I had seen the movie in theatre with Kim, sister-in-law extraordinaire, and Andrea, cousin-in-law extraordinaire, and LOVED it. I knew Ben would love it too, because he’s a band guy, so he’d appreciate the music, and the French revolution backdrop was action-packed enough to override the fact that the actors sing. The. Whole. Time. After buying the movie and having our own private viewing of it, Ben did indeed love it. So much so that he downloaded the soundtrack to listen to at work. The tickets to the local production were a slam-dunk gift – a night out AND a fun activity. Woohoo!

Two tickets to childless freedom!

Two tickets to childless freedom!

Date night, of course, means the usual getting rid of children. Now that there are three, the number of people willing to sit on all of them at once has gone down…considerably. Note to child-wanting couples everywhere: this is something to consider when figuring out how many kids you want. Thankfully, the grandmas are still both game, so the babies had a sleepover at Nana’s house with Grammie and Grandpa Mike pitching in. It was the first night that we had no children since Isaac had been born…11 months…normally we wouldn’t wait so long, but the three kid thing made it tricky. And at that point, only having Isaac at home and getting rid of the older two IS a vacation, so we had done that lots of times already.

Next on the agenda is the prettification of the parents. Also known as having uninterrupted showers. Or putting on clean clothes that have a good shot at still being clean after a few hours. I think we did an okay job.

We're so pretty! And clean!

We’re so pretty! And clean!

Next is the decision – have a rushed dinner first, then the play OR go to the play hungry and come home to a late, yet leisurely dinner. We ultimately decided on late dinner, easygoing to the theatre.

Touristy picture in our hometown.

Touristy picture in our hometown.

We literally drove for two minutes and were at the theatre. If it hadn’t taken us so long to ditch the kids and get gorgeous (taking layers of stickiness off of one’s person takes time!), we would have walked. Next time! We parked and found the Les Misérables van! Totally had to take a picture. And totally got dirty, incredulous looks from the couple that was waiting to park in the spot beside it. Whatever. We took the picture. They waited. The end.

Our seats were AWESOME. We were in the middle of the row, third row from the stage. We could see everything, even the spit from the mouths of the actors. (No, seriously.)

Reading over the program...no kids touching us...noting the "No Babes In Arms" rule...loving the grown-up time.

Reading over the program…no kids touching us…noting the “No Babes In Arms” rule…loving the grown-up time.

The production was INCREDIBLE. The music was amazing, the singing was perfect, and the story was well-told. It was beyond cool to see something so polished and familiar in our little local theatre.

For me, the stand-out player was Thom Allison who played Javert. He was awesome. I loved his voice and presence. He was far and away my favourite.

Thom Allison as Javert - my absolute favourite player

Thom Allison as Javert was excellent.

Runners up were the kids – I don’t know how they performed in front of such a big crowd…and the parent in me couldn’t believe how awake and alert they were since the show began at 8 p.m. and didn’t end until 11! Wonder children.

Brooke Bauer, the young Cosette

Brooke Bauer, the young Cosette

Drew Davis, spunky revolutionist Gavroche

Drew Davis, spunky revolutionist Gavroche

After we gave our standing ovation, it was time to go home. It was after 11, so we were considering not eating the meal that I had prepared and picking something up…but we chose wisely. We went home, Ben barbecued, and we ate a little-people-free dinner together. It was divine. And probably tasted even more incredible because of how hungry we were.

Steak and shish kabobs - YUM

Steak and shish kabobs – YUM

We went to bed late, woke up late, and had a decadent breakfast of banana bread toasted with butter and coffee, while watching some House (Yay for Netflix!). It’s the little things.

Holy yum.

Holy yum.

We had a super fun, adult night. It was exactly what we needed and the entertainment, food and company didn’t disappoint (Hello?! See how handsome my date was???). It was perfect.

And when we picked up the babies they were happy to see us and had suitably tuckered out both grandmas and a grandpa.

All in all, a date night success! Seriously can’t wait for the next one.

Seriously.

~ Julia

Birthday love: 2 on the 25th

I love this week in July.

I love it because two of the most remarkable women in my life are celebrating their birthdays this Friday.

image

That being said, it’s only natural that I should write a mushy, full of sap post in honour of these incredible blessings I’m so lucky to have – you’ve been warned.

Tania – a very long time ago, a time before Michael and rings and bridesmaid duty, you and I determined through a series of events and discoveries that we were probably the loves of each others lives. Since then, you and I refer to each other as just that.

Love of my life – I have watched you grow, change, love and learn. You have taught me what true class and grace is. You have also taught me what a backbone is and more importantly when and how to use it. You have been there for my very first firsts, laughed with me at the funny ones and held my hand through the worst of them – you have never failed me. You are my ride-or-die chick.

I hope this beautiful year ahead of you brings you more joy than you know what to do with. I hope your heart is always full and I hope you know just how much you mean to me. Happy, happy birthday my beautiful friend! I’m so very looking forward to this weekend of celebrating you!

Chantelle, Tania and I celebrating last year

Chantelle, Tania and I celebrating last year

M – God blessed me with you as a bonus to loving your dad. That’s the coolest gift I’ve ever received and I am so thankful I hit the jack pot in bonus love. Your brilliance was and is hard to hide and I knew from our first few encounters that you are a very special person with a very big heart.

You are destined for great things and it makes me so proud to say you are my family. You have taught me so much about life and helped me grow an incredible amount as a person. I am so grateful to call you my daughter and even more so my friend. You mean the world to me, beauty.

I hope on this birthday – besides soaking in the Southern sun – you can feel how loved, wanted and celebrated you are. Happy, happy birthday our beautiful girl. I hope this year is incredible for you in every way possible. (P.S. I miss you and want sushi. Come home now?)

M and I <3

M and I ❤

I’m so very lucky.

~ Toni

Great things may come!

Well, a lot has happened in seven days. Sadly, I have no prospects yet on the job front, but I am still looking.

However a lot of good things have come our way. Joe is doing amazing at work and his bosses are really impressed!
He comes home, and instead of just being tired he is so excited to tell me about his day, how it went, and all the things he got to learn. He really loves being in the mechanics field and I am so happy he has such an amazing boss, great work and that he gets to go there and love his job.

Now for the continuation of good news – Joe and I almost missed out on what this week is.

Today we will have been together for two and a half years, and I know that doesn’t sound big, but to me that is an awesome milestone! I love Joe more and more with each passing day and I am so glad that I have found my rock and partner for the rest of my life! This is a small milestone, especially when you look at how long Julia, Toni, and Jacqui have been with their guys, but to me this is big! I never thought I would find someone like Joe to love forever.

Now, the second thing! Joe’s 25th birthday is tomorrow! I am super excited, even if he is not. I have a small celebration in mind for Friday night, but it’s going to be a general weekend of whatever we feel like, which I know Joe will love.

Joe and I don’t really get to spend a lot of time together, which sucks, but the time we do spend together is wonderful. Jacqui once described herself as a Hunter’s Widow, and I have been described by Joe’s Aunt Linda as a Mechanic’s Widow.

“At least you know he’s not with another girl! Just another car!” is one of the frequent statements by Aunt Linda, and there is so much truth in those words. I can go by the shop on my way to handing out resumes and Joe hardly looks up because he’s right elbow deep in the work beside his boss; however I am not complaining – Joe loves his job, his boss, and his boss’s family, who have indeed become like family to us.

And although the time we spend together is sometimes short, it is never in short supply of love and laughter. I am so excited for our many milestone and his birthday, and the future we have together unfurling before us.

Me and Joe being Silly!

Me and Joe being silly!

Joe, here is to many more years, birthdays, and wonderful moments together!

I love you!

~ Andreah

Roller coaster buddies

A lot has been going on in everyone’s life lately.

And when stuff goes wrong in each of our lives, we try to do something that calms us, that makes us feel better, and that just makes us relax so we don’t feel like a little speck.

Lately, that has been visits for me.

My friend, Jess, has been visiting me a lot more lately, and it has made me super excited and happy.

Jess... Being Jess.

Jess…being Jess

Jess is one of my best friends. She tends to be there to lend a shoulder, hand, or just make me laugh until various liquids come out my nostrils.

Jess and I star gazing!

Jess and I star gazing!

We recently came upon this road leading into my city that feels like you are on a giant roller coaster!

The ups and downs, making you feel like you are falling off the earth but then you carry on, then you keep moving forward, and keep grounded.

That is the kind of person Jess is – she can just make you feel like you are floating away but completely grounded all at the same time.

I know she comes here so she can escape, and so we can hang out, and I just love it and the adventures.

So here’s to Jess, my life’s roller coaster buddy… Wanna go for a drive?

~ Andreah

Team Lillian – Updated!

*Update: Our Cambridge Times Rotary Classic Run in support of KidsAbility is coming up THIS Sunday, May 25th! If you would like to join our team – Team Lillian  – we would love your help in raising donations! If you would like to support our kickass team, please click the link here to donate online! Every little bit counts for this amazing organization that helps so many children and their families in our region!

To learn more about how KidsAbility has helped our Lillian, please enjoy the repost below!*

For those of you who know me personally, it will come as no surprise that I am head-over-heels, completely in love with my nieces and nephew and adore (pardon my French) the shit out of them.  Each one – yes, even our sweet little, bubble-blowing, Isaac – holds a special place in my heart for something that is unique to them. I love watching as they grow into their own little people, with their own distinct personalities, every day.

The babies

The babies

Lillian, or as we lovingly refer to her, Dilly, and I share a special bond.

It could be because she is also the 2nd oldest or middle child as I am, or it could be that her sense of humor/being a butt resonates with my inner toddler, it could be her sweet disposition (when she’s in the mood of course), or our ‘moments’ (which is when she runs up to me, says “Auntie Tomee, you found me!”, lays her tiny little head gently on my shoulder, and stays contently in my embrace for a few moments as I rock her back and forth) or it could be that she was born at a time in my life when I was struggling and holding her in my arms for the first time set my heart and mind straight with positivity in a way that no other being in my life had been able to. Whatever the reason, I feel incredibly blessed to have this little light in my life.

Dilly Toni

Dilly and I at the 2013 KidsAbility Fun Run

Shortly after her birth, we learned of Dilly’s hearing impairment caused by the genetic disorder Waardenburg Syndrome. Initially, human nature caused me to think of all of the challenges she may face – I worried about how children at school might treat her (kids can be SO mean!), or the people that would discount her abilities as she grew (because adults can be assholes), finished school, entered the working world, or even started dating (for the record, totally not my idea, Ben!).

However, as Dilly settled into her life at home, these worries quickly faded and soon seemed so silly. Between the familiarity/normalcy of the syndrome within our family, the wonderful healthcare providers at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital and the blessing of her cochlear implant and hearing aid, as she grew I knew she would be just fine.

Then we were introduced to KidsAbility.

Before Lillian, I had never heard of this AMAZING organization.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with KidsAbility, it is a local non-profit organization that provides rehabilitation services for children from birth to the age of 18, with developmental delays and disabilities, coordination disorders, physical disabilities, and communication difficulties. Specific to Lillian’s hearing impairment, KidsAbility works with her to ensure her speech is developing properly and on track. Not only does KidsAbility work with children to make sure they are developing to their own potential, but they also provide parents and caregivers the tools and understanding to help their children at home in their day-to-day routine that they might not otherwise have access to – and they do it all for FREE.

This past Friday I had the pleasure of tagging along to Dilly’s speech therapy appointment and I instantly understood why she gets so excited about these appointments. The environment and staff are welcoming, warm and kind. Between the giant play/waiting area, the staff and volunteers that are ready to strike up a conversation with the children and easily relate to them and the form of speech therapy which allows Lillian to showcase what she’s learning and where she needs help, it is evident KidsAbility’s focus is to help children realize their potential. 

KA Waiting Area

The KidsAbility play/waiting area

Throughout the appointment Lillian showed me just how much she gets out of these visits. While Julia is always sure to share with us how we can help Lillian and what new tools she is learning, seeing her interact with Heather was a great first-hand experience. They work through a variety of exercises which help Heather to determine where Lillian is excelling,where she needs a little more help and what next steps she should include for her to work on at home.

Heather working on sounds with Dilly at KidsAbility

Heather working on sounds with Dilly at KidsAbility

While KidsAbility has held a special place in my heart for some time now, after seeing first hand how much Lillian – as well as a few other children I was able to witness in therapy – receives from this unbelievable organization, I am even more determined to help this foundation in any way I can.

Last May, I was lucky enough to participate in the Cambridge Times Rotary Classic KidsAbility Fun Run, which is usually held on the last Sunday in May. Our kick-ass team – suitably named Team Lillian – was able to raise well over $2300 thanks to a ton of personal donations, as well as one large corporate donation from Kitchener-based LEDgendary Lighting (seriously cool Philips lighting and Color Kinetics products – check them out!).

2013's "Team Lillian"

2013’s “Team Lillian”

While gathering donations for this event, it made my heart happy to hear of the personal stories that people volunteered to share with me of how KidsAbility had helped their own children, nieces and nephews, or the children of friends. These stories reinforced the love I have for KidsAbility and instilled a desire in me to continue to participate in the KidsAbility Fun Run for as many years as I am able.

That being said, we are once again assembling a team for this year’s run! We will have our usual Facebook page, and link to our donation site up and running soon – if you would like to join our team, just let us know!

While the official site links and information have not been released (we will let you know when they are!), the sisters of Weather Vane Sisterhood are accepting donations as of today! We can arrange to meet with you in person to collect your donations, or you can email money transfer us your contribution to weathervanesisterhood@gmail.com.  

Remember: every little bit counts – to us, to you, to KidsAbility and most importantly, to the children. 

~ Toni

Adventures into a great perhaps

When I was young I thought I knew everything.

I thought I knew exactly what I wanted, and thought I knew what exactly my future would hold.

I was never going to have children.

That so changed when my nieces came into the world, ripping apart what I thought and making me feel completely different about kids.

I was never getting married.

Not only did I not think I would never find someone, and that I would be alone for most, to all, of my life, I thought I would just never feel like it was necessary.

“It’s just a piece of paper, it doesn’t have any true meaning to me!”

Well, when I met Joe, that all changed. I realized that I actually found someone who I wouldn’t mind having that piece of paper with, I actually want to be tied to this man for the rest of my life. When I came to the realization, I felt it was necessary to talk to Joe about it. We had both said when we started our relationship that we wouldn’t be getting married, but if we decided to spend the rest of our lives together, we could just do it with out all that.

“Joe, I have something to tell you.”

“What is it sweetie?”

“I think I one day I want to marry you.”

“That may not work, because I know one day I am going to marry you.”

“Oh, okay!”

Which then brings me to a new chapter of our story.

We went on a new adventure. We went to Nova Scotia! Joe, my best friend Elena, and Joe’s cousin Mike all piled into Elena’s car and drove (just for the weekend) all the way to Nova Scotia!

We arrived!!

We arrived!

It is an amazing and beautiful province. Seriously, if you can, please go visit.

We stopped at the information centre, and Elena talked to a lady about where we should go and show the boys the ocean, the most beautiful body of water (which I have a sort of love affair with). After a lot of debate, and figuring out where exactly we were going to stay for the one night, we had it all figured out – we were on our way to Peggy’s Cove.

Peggy's Cove is one of the most photographed landmarks in Canada!

Peggy’s Cove is one of the most photographed landmarks in Canada

After 1-2 more hours of driving, we finally arrived at our destination. We all got out of the car, done our journey for a little bit. Me and Elena then took off, quickly made our way up the rocks while the boys lagged behind. I wanted to see my ocean! I had missed it since we left P.E.I. last summer and I wanted to see it now!

I got to a beautiful spot and sat down waiting for Joe. Because I know how nervous he is around heights, I didn’t sit too close to the edge.

When he finally got to the top where I was sitting, we sat and cuddled for a little while enjoying the breathtaking view. But Joe was shaking like a leaf! I thought it was the height and the slight (15-20 ft) drop onto more rocks. Or the fact that the waves have been know to engulf the rocks we were currently sitting on, and we could then be dragged out into the ocean.

“You don’t have to be nervous Joe! You are up here with me!”

“I know,” he said, his voice shaking too. I just cuddled in closer, hoping that he would stop being so nervous. I mean, there was nothing to be afraid of! Nothing bad was going to happen! Then I decided to be a smart a**.

“You know, it is so beautiful up here, it would be an amazing place to propose!” I said, cheekily nudging him.

The View of my Ocean!

The view of my ocean

He turned his head, and gave me this smug smile, and started reaching into his pocket. I gave him a questioning look thinking There is no way…

As he pulled his hand out of his pocket, he opened it up and said;

“Andreah Lynn Laurentino, will you marry me?”

Sitting in his hand was the ring I had admired last year at an antique barn. I then burst into tears, “Yes! Yes, of course I’ll marry you!”

We both laughed and hugged and kissed. I just kept thinking that this can’t be true! I can’t be so lucky!

Meanwhile, Elena and Mike were in on it of course, so they grabbed the champagne Elena had brought and we toasted to our future, and to the amazing moment they all helped make possible.

I never thought it would happen to me.

I get to marry one of my best friends! And I couldn’t be happier or more overjoyed! I clearly know nothing about the future, and as long as I can face it with him, I don’t care.

Joe on the Ocean floor at the Bay of Fundy! My Fiance!

Joe on the ocean floor at the Bay of Fundy. My Fiance!

 

~ Andreah

Dear Mama

The Sisterhood got together and decided to each write a small note to *our* mom for this Friday’s post. We all know that when it comes to our mom, we’ve got it made. So, Mom – here’s to you! ❤

The ladies, back in the day

L to R: Toni, Mama, Andreah, Jacqui, Julia

~~~

Mom,

After my labour with Sophie, I apologized for my own 40-hour birthing marathon I made you go through. Whenever the babies are sick, I’m so grateful for all the nights you sat up with me, your own sickly baby. When I say words that I’ve heard you say a hundred times to guide my babies, I recall where they’ve come from and am so blessed to have you helping to grow my own loves. Becoming a mother has given me so much more appreciation for what you did when we were young and what you still do, every day, for your grown daughters. You were and are incredible. Thank you for that.

This Mother’s Day I hope you take time for you, time to reflect on the journey you have traveled, and then give yourself the praise you deserve. I’ve discovered on this tumultuous journey of mine that mothers have to give a million times…and then one more. That even when the day is over, the tasks still go on, the care still remains, the love and comfort still continues. And I know that every day you worry over us, your girls, and our men and our babies and our futures and our lives, that you carry us still in your heart. I’m so grateful for that, but please, in your moments of need, remember how strong you are and how you have four very impressive progress reports of your parenting walking around, like (semi-)decent citizens, who are finding their way because you raised them to do so.

I love you, Mom. More than I can express, more than words can illuminate. Thank you for all you are and do. Thank you.

Love, Julia

~~~

Mama,

My guiding light, my northern star, my constant unconditional source of love – mama.

I’m not sure there are words for how much you have done and do for me, for us, for everyone that is lucky to be loved by you. Your benchmark is a lofty goal and I am not sure I will ever measure up.

Thank you for never giving up on me – even when I broke your heart and made it impossible to love me. That kind of love has been instilled in each of your girls and I see it in our lives – you taught us to love immensely and without condition and to forgive, always.

Thank you for letting me grow in my own time and never rushing the process. For knowing when to fight for me and when to let me duke it out. And when I got my ass handed to me, thank you for always being there to kiss my wounds better and wipe the tears.

You’re the mama I aspire to be for my step-babies – the one that friends and boys are warned about, the one they can count on to always be on their side and the one to give them the space and time to become their own people.

I am so thankful we’ve made it to the other side of this relationship and am lucky to count you as one of my best girl friends. I still have a lot of growing to do and will always need you in my corner. You’re our warrior and my mama bear.

Most importantly, thank you for deciding there should be four. You literally created three of my best friends and that is pretty amazing.

Mama, I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my mama you’ll be.

Love, Toni

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Dear Mom,

For the times you drove to get me because you said to call you any time and you would be there.

For the times you sat up with me after a sezuire, and took on my battles like they were your own.

For the times you sacrificed the last fry for me …Thank you.

For the times you held me in your arms, and wiped away the tears.

For the heartbreaks and stomachaches that you soothed and healed.

For the never-ending unconditional love … Thank you

For the advice, and the words of wisdom – for making me remember who I am – Thank you.

Two words are not enough but they are all I have. You have done too much, you do too much and still you still strive and push for more. You inspire me, I am in awe of you.

Thank you for being the best role model a girl, young lady and woman could have – because of you I know that sometimes you have to fight through a heartbreak in order to find your Prince Charming. That education is a constant in order to achieve your dreams.

You are my mother, my best friend, my role model, my confidante.  You are my hero.

I love you Momma, and hope you know that I appreciate  you every day of every year, forever and always.

~ Jacqueline

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Mommy, thank you. I literally cannot say those words to you enough. You are not only my mom, but one of my best friends. We have been through so much together, and have fought so hard for the relationship we have, and I am blessed to have had you right beside me fighting for me the same way I was fighting for you. I am also so incredibly proud of you. You have come so far, not just in your education, but from every pain and heartache from the past. I am so happy to see you smile and live such an amazing and happy life. You make it easy to come visit, and hard to leave. You have worked so hard so we could have so much. You have made me a better person, and gotten me to calm down so that I can have actual relationships with my sisters. You have brought us together, even when we were mad beyond belief and gotten me to work through my problems, even when I didn’t want to face them. You have given me more strength than you know, and I love you so much in so many complex ways it is almost impossible to describe.

You have been my rock, and my guiding star. You have helped me in whatever way I needed, and have given me and us so much of yourself. You have worked impossible miracles, and come up with solutions so simple that leaves me in awe, wondering why I didn’t come up with that.

Thank you for taking my anger, and loving me even when I wasn’t very lovable. Thank you for guiding me to my future, even if I was kicking and screaming the entire time.

Thank you for knowing that something was wrong, even when I didn’t want to admit it. I know I got angry at you that day you suggested I see and talk to someone, and I know I caused you pain when Jacqueline talked to you about that stupid day, when I almost made the dumbest decision of my life.

Thank you, Mommy, for the smallest things, to the biggest. Thank you for being there, and thank you for always being there; I wouldn’t know what to do without you.

I love you.

~ Andreah

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