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the way your sleepy eyes sparkle
like moonlight on the water
how my hands find your curves
in the night

like the fog rolls in
on these bluegrass hills
before the sun
burns everything bright

how the sea rolls over
and over in waves
the rocks
slowly tumble under

mamas and babies
through their first days
falling in love
with each other

all a mystery
all a dream
all the truest grace

the way you love me
how you see
how my hand
fits (perfect)
on your face

and all of the healing
all of the days
feel like magic
leave us amazed

forever and ever
stay with me
and i promise you
i’ll never leave

full disclosure

Full disclosure…it took me nearly two years to figure it all out, and it hit me in a flash of certainty yesterday: I’ve loved her for ten years. Since the very beginning: the first beach trip, both of us feeling all the uncertainty for very different reasons, neither of us really ready to even acknowledge any of it, bonded over shared tears and burdens of our hearts that didn’t feel safe enough to say out loud. A Facebook friend request would make sure we kept in touch, a casual friendship that always felt…more than. Life threw its share of curve balls our way…definitely more her way than mine, at least at first. I sat in awe, a thousand miles away, watching her handle all of life’s challenges with the most unlikely strength and bravery…caring for her kids and their hearts, raising these amazing little humans mostly on her own, not having any idea that someday those kids would be ours and I’d get a front row seat to her strength and bravery. That she would love me the way I’d always needed.

I loved her for years without even knowing it. And at the second beach weekend a decade after the first, finally realizing that I would love her forever, I told her. “I love you. I mean, I loved you before, but…” and we both laughed because…how ridiculous and crazy and impossible. But here we are, and I’m more sure than ever that this has been God’s plan for us all along. That nothing about any of this is accidental, none of the relationship casualties or magic and wonder the least bit surprising to the One who has always known since forever that we would find each other and that life would have already perfectly prepared our hearts to know…

xoxo, k

when holidays are hard (and relatives are harder)

let me start by saying that when i remember this thanksgiving, i will remember the smiles on the faces of our kids, the laughter, the macy’s thanksgiving parade snuggles on the couch, and the happy satisfaction of creating some new family traditions. our day was overwhelmingly happy and wonderful – full of moments that left us both wondering why we ever settled for anything less.

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but that is not to say that our holiday was easy and without heartache. it’s a tricky thing, when your invitations to family celebrations are absent and the holiday season feels tinged with sadness or absence. it’s even trickier when you have a relentlessly hopeful heart and aren’t quite ready to give up on people…even people who have consistently made it clear that you are not their priority. 

when you rearrange your entire holiday plans at the eleventh hour to make sure that one such person doesn’t find herself alone for thanksgiving, making arrangements to cook a traditional meal and cart six kids across town…when you let your heart swell with the hope that this could be a happy holiday memory for your fractured relationship…well, it breaks your heart in a way you couldn’t really see coming when that person calls you to tell you that she’s decided to have dinner with the very person who was responsible for the initial heartbreak of being alone on thanksgiving. the floor falls out from under you, the room spins, and there just aren’t any words to hide your heartache. because once again you find yourself letting other people make you feel not good enough…less than…second place…with tears on your cheeks, ruined holiday plans, and the realization that you fell for it again. you let yourself believe and hope and imagine.

but here’s the thing…that doesn’t have to be the way the story ends. you can cry…allow yourself (and your heart) to feel the pain and sadness, remind yourself that you will do better for your kids and whoever they decide to love. you can choose differently. you can write a different story.

and that’s exactly what we did. we let ourselves feel the sadness and the heartbreak (and, if i’m being totally honest, the foolishness, too). and then we picked ourselves and our feelings up, put on our big girl pants and remembered all the good things. we chose better for our family. we went to the grocery store for a few last-minute things (champagne…we really just needed champagne), prepped a thanksgiving meal with all of our favorite things, toasted our girls with sparkling apple juice/mimosas, dropped the kids off at the movies, and marveled at how crazy and amazing this little life is that we’re building together. and as we gathered around our table, there was no sadness…just full bellies, happy hearts, and smiles. 

at the end of the night, we fell into bed, exhausted, knowing that we had made a better choice for our family. i’m not saying we have it all figured out…or even that i won’t let my heart get broken by the same spirit of hope that crushed it yesterday. what i am saying is this: it’s okay to hope, even if it ends up breaking your heart…what you do with that broken heart is a choice…choose you. you are magic…don’t waste it on people who can’t see it.


we all get to make choices…and i would choose this and her and every single one of these kids over anything else. y’all…thankful doesn’t even get close to how i feel when i think about this life.

just a note…

…to say that life is so good i don’t even have words. which, i guess, explains the quiet around here. the day-to-day getting kids where they need to be, shuffling doctor’s appointments, making christmas lists, figuring out holiday schedules, planning time with friends, grocery shopping, house cleaning, laundry folding (there’s SO MUCH LAUNDRY)…it’s exhausting in the best ways. even on the hard days, getting to fall into bed every night with her is the sweetest reminder that this life is so good, so worth all the hard parts. it’s crazy and chaotic and amazing…and gosh, i feel so lucky that we get to do it all together.

i’ll take this life and this chaos and this messy house full of laundry and an inexplicable number of lost socks with her always forever no matter what.

xoxo, k

in between days

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10 in between days
til it’s been a year
since we said

and you
love me new
every day

take away my breath
with eyes just as fresh
smiles I’ve never seen
kisses just as sweet
as the first we stole
outside that pub

the ones we shared
that day last year
backyard wed
kitchen danced away
forever said
promises made

and impossible as it seems
I love you I love you I love you
more today than on that day



nothing perfect

We are not always good at hard days. We’re still trying to learn the whole nobody’s leaving thing after lifetimes of people leaving. And so sometimes when things are hard we only hold each other in fits and spurts, and then we push and we pull and mess it all up. We end up feeling scared and lonely laying right next to the person who’s actually never leaving. 

But we are working on it. We’re learning to recognize and hold steady when we’re pushing or being pushed, to lean in when we want to pull away. We’re learning to say “can you hold me” and “come here” even when our voices shake a little. To say we’re sorry when we realize we’re fighting somebody else’s voice, not hers, saying we’re not good enough. And to go to sleep in each other’s arms even when we feel a little restless and unsure. 

It’s still new for both of us, being with someone who cares so deeply what we want and need. Neither of us is used to being able to voice things and feel heard, so even sometimes when we are heard it’s so unfamiliar we don’t know what to do. Funny, that. 

Yesterday shook us both, and we probably should’ve held tight to each other and not let go… I wish I would’ve managed to push past my own fog and pull her in more for sure. 

But God we are getting so much better. All the healing of this past year has brought us so far. Yesterday’s sadness settled without us even fighting really. We fell asleep in each other’s arms a little restless but not unsure.

This morning she came to me at work, smiled warmly and we sat, mostly quiet but with a kind of knowing I’ve never had before. And this afternoon we held each other and rested, ate good food and laughed. And the sad things are still hard but we are more than ok.

Nothing perfect here at all, but gosh it’s all I ever needed and I love her I love her I love her. 

thank you, dr. ford…

These last few weeks have been hard, and I’m not even sure I realized the extent of it until today…I find myself exhausted and furious, ready to do something but also paralyzed, existing in a state of disbelief, and reliving my own trauma what feels like hundreds of times a day.

I didn’t say anything when the #metoo movement started because it didn’t feel like the right time. And I didn’t jump on the #whyididntreport movement either…because I did report. I spent the better part of an entire day in the emergency room, retelling my own story over and over…first in triage, then the nurse, then a police officer, a doctor, crime scene detectives, and finally a Special Victims Unit detective. I should mention that all of them were men except the nurse, who I think was an actual angel…none of them (except the angelic nurse) treated me with anything close to care or concern, and definitely not with even an ounce of respect. My story was questioned, my husband was pulled out of the room for questioning by the detective…to get his version of what he thought probably happened and did he think my story was credible or was there another explanation. The doctor advised me against taking HIV-preventative medication even though my attacker was a known IV drug user…he actually looked me in the eyes and said that if I was his daughter he would not recommend the medication. Medication that could prevent HIV. He thought I was horribly confused…imagining things, making things into something they weren’t…definitely mistaken, even though my attacker confessed to the crime. I was dismissed. By the doctor. By the detective. By every single man who walked into the room that day. Over and over.

So if you want to know why women are so fucking furious it’s because we are tired of being automatically dismissed. We’re tired of the men in our lives dismissing us. And we’re tired of not being taken seriously by men in positions of power. Surely we asked for whatever happened to us. Or surely we’re mistaken about the details. We were too drunk/tired/stupid to remember what actually happened.

And let me be very clear…it’s not just powerful men who are protected. My attacker was a white man, diagnosed with schizophrenia and unmedicated, homeless, a felon. I’m a white, upper middle class woman with a Master’s degree and not even a parking ticket. But I’m a woman. And he is a man. And the injustice of it all has never before been more clear to me than it was that day in the emergency room. I’ve never felt smaller or less protected or more vulnerable than I did that day.

This is why women don’t report sexual assault. Because when we do we are automatically dismissed as stupid or selfish or accused of merely trying to ruin a man’s reputation. In the nine months that followed that day in the emergency room, while we waited for the DNA results to be processed, my attacker raped two more women. He finally admitted to those crimes, but pled to a lesser charge because the women “weren’t credible witnesses.” Let me repeat that: HE ADMITTED TO RAPING TWO WOMEN AND WAS NOT PROSECUTED BECAUSE OF THE CHARACTER OF HIS VICTIMS. And, had anyone believed me on day one and arrested him, those two women would have been safe.

This is why we’re furious. It’s why we collectively couldn’t breathe when Dr. Ford was questioned for hours. Because even if we haven’t been the victim of a violent sexual assault, we know someone who has at the very least been the victim of sexual harassment. So do you, and if you aren’t mad as hell that women in this country are experiencing this kind of treatment, then please just be quiet while the rest of us fight like hell to fix it.

back to school

is there a happier day for parents the world over than the first day of school? don’t get me wrong…i love summer and having the kids home, lazy days filled with swimming pools and popsicles that morph into late nights. the first few weeks of summer are their own special brand of magic. but that magic fades, and what’s left is a house full of children expecting to be constantly entertained, consuming unnatural amounts of food, and trying their best to push every limit. the last weeks of summer are about one thing: survival.

and survive we did.

we sent seven kids to school last week…griffen to 12th grade, gabe to 10th, emma to 8th, leslie to 7th, grace to 6th, lucy to 5th, and eli to kindergarten.

the first day recap was full of smiles and excited tales of classes and friends, teachers, lockers, and schedules. the euphoria of that first day has faded; we’re now in the stage of alarm clock grumbles, friend drama and homework. there’s something so normal about it, and the kids have settled in…even ivy is embracing her status as the only homebody in the group.

last year the start of school was filled with uncertainty for most of our kids: new schools, new friends to make, unsure smiles. we survived, but i remember how these first few days of school felt. they were scary for all of us. until that point we had kind of sheltered our giant little family, wanting to give everybody time to adjust and settle as much as possible. something that happens when two women leave their husbands and combine a family that now includes eight kids and are pretty open about all of that on social media is that a lot of the world thinks your life is fair game for them to comment on and make judgements about. we got burned more than once last summer, and tried to learn from that experience, so we pulled our kids in close and focused on them and each other and trying to become a family, while at the same time sheltering them from as much of the fallout as we possibly could.

sending them out in the world on the first day of school felt pretty scary. would their old friends be nice to them? would new friendships come easily? there were a million things to worry about…i know because i worried about every single one of them. and you know what? it wasn’t perfect, and it took some time, but it was so good.

this year, sending them off to school felt natural and normal…what a difference a year makes, huh?

(oh…and happy 23rd. it’s a day we always pause to remember the day that everything changed. seventeen months. and i wouldn’t go back or change a single thing.)



i don’t know when it happened. i don’t know what caused it. did it happen fast or slow? i don’t know. i didn’t even really know that it needed to happen. but it did, and it has, and i’m so grateful.

i’ve spent the last seventeen months feeling so conflicted…completely in love and so happy, safe and healthy and warm…but also pretty heartbroken and confused, and if i’m honest really, really angry.

in the last couple of weeks though, there’s been a definite shift. like i finally gave myself permission to lay all the bullshit down…to stop carrying the weight of everybody else’s decisions…quit wishing that they would choose differently.

and it has been so freeing.

i feel lighter…happier…and life seems simpler, with time to focus on all the good stuff.

{i feel so good that i ate three handfuls of peanut m&ms a few nights ago without even worrying about the calories. (full disclosure – we joined a gym the very next day.)}

moral of the story: you don’t have to carry the weight of other people’s decisions. lay that shit down; it’s too heavy and it’s not even your burden to carry. let people be responsible for their own choices and you do you.

secondary moral of the story: always dance in your kitchen while the pancakes are cooking.

xoxo, k

back to normal

it was a good weekend, y’all. a really, really good weekend. all our kids are home, and we’re all done with summer vacations and shuffling kids back and forth…now we can settle into the normal rhythm of life. and this new normal…gosh, the wonder of it all still takes my breath away some days.

i spent so much time being afraid that nobody would ever love the real me, that i was too much or too damaged, or maybe not enough. finding space and strength to be honest can be scary (terrifying, really), and the fallout from that honesty devastating. but here’s the thing…being honest about all the fear and the scary things is really the only way to break away from it all. and in breaking away from it all, you free yourself to find somebody who can love all of you – the too much parts and the not enough parts and all the other parts, too. and we’re all worthy of that kind of love.

xoxo, k