Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Somehow I blinked and summer was over.  Not that I should be surprised because it happens every year.  The truth is, our summers are not very luxurious.  We do cool things and make memories but somehow nothing seems relaxing.  I traveled a little, worked a lot, made dinner maybe twice (?) and spent far too much time on snapchat.  

Holly kicked off the month of June with her first ever summer camp.   Like balls to the walls full blown 5 nights 6 days, no cell phones, no computers, no communication with the outside world,  hide candy under your pillow, flashlights in the woods, I triple dog dare you to not shower the whole time summer camp.  Her and 7 of her dance besties had been planning and packing for months.  They acted like it was some kind of secret summer mission and the code name was "moisturizer."  Sneaky sneaky, girls.  Ain't no one cracking that code.  They all had code names and Holly's was "jello."  The group text leading up to moisturizer went off at least 100 times a day and almost crashed the entire emoji system.

The timing of the moisturizer mission was truly perfect.  The day I could avoid no longer had arrived.  Holly and her ladies auditioned for Nebraska Dance Company.  I cried buckets over it but it happened.  Rather than watching them wait by the mailbox for 4 days for their result letters, we shipped them off to Camp Rivercrest.  Having her away was much harder on me than her.  Thanks to her amazing friends, she didn't get too homesick.  Holly swears she showered a few times but made no promises on brushing her teeth.  She claimed the bathroom was too crowded.  Can't win them all, folks.

Telling them all they had made company as they walked out of camp was a memory I will never forget.   Holly ran towards me, dove into my arms and sobbed.

In the meantime, Sammy hopped on a plane with my mom to experience a bit of Chicago.  My sister (the adorable red head flight attendant on American Airlines who "woke up like this") wanted to show the kid what a big city really looks like.  He had a blast.  So much so that he boarded a flight to Miami one month later with my dad.  Chicago and Miami were the perfect break from reality for him this summer.  By "reality" I mean raising his 4 year old sister while his parents work.  I felt a little guilty about that especially the day I came home and asked Stella "what's up" and she responded with "gas prices."

Thanks for loving her all summer, Sammy.  You deserved this so much.....

My summer was pretty consistent with how my life operates.  Rushed and overloaded but filled with awesome people.  After 3 carefree days at Mahoney state park with my family, I got to spend a week in Daytona Beach with some of my faves. Back at home, we went to lots of baseball games and crushed our second ever Gretna Days.  As Holly binge watched cupcake wars on Netflix all summer, I was her best judge when she played it live with the neighbor kids in my kitchen.  (I must add that she got freakishly good at making cupcakes and frosting from scratch).  We road tripped to KC over the 4th of July and got to see lots of family we don't see often.  We danced in the rain on our deck and Stella fell in love with Gage's guitar.  I spent a week in Long Beach at a work conference and got even more fired up to teach dance and inspire little people.  Summer was packed with goodness and chaos. We avoided Sammy and Holly killing each other by the skin of our teeth so I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely ready for back to school.

The sibs and I at the top of the Observation town at Mahoney

5 of my favorite little girls on a tree branch.  

My #daytonatravelbuddies and roomies
The amount I love him:  Infinity
Moisturizer getting back in the daily grind.  
Not pictured:  my melted heart

Being totally honest, the first day of school hit me like a ton of emotional bricks that I didn't see coming.  Next year Sammy will be going into High school, Holly into Middle school and Stella will be starting kindergarten.  Clearly I didn't think that one through.  There is something so innocent and precious about Elementary school and I'm going to want to lock Holly in there I just know it.  Since Sammy transferred from Millard, he's a year ahead in math and has to start everyday this year at the High school for Geometry.  I cried off and on for 2 days over it.  Something about taking my 8th grader to high school each morning feels so awkward and wrong.  I've been so proud of him for the way he's handled it and that's made it a lot easier on my heart.  He's got his life mapped out and is keeping his eye on the prize (KU).  I super duper love being his mom.

Stella starts preschool soon and I can finally start watching Friends on Netflix catch up on laundry.  I wish I had beautiful pictures from our summer ventures to show you but that's not really how I roll these days so you're getting our best selfies of summer 2015.  You're welcome.

Now we are as ready as we can be for 2015-2016.  We are 4 short weeks away from Valas opening day and Holly's 11th birthday planning has already begun.  Smells like fun, sass, and pumpkin spice to me!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Stella turns 4

It's birthday month for my love bug.  My silly and sassy and always singing 4 year old.  This year she fell in love with her birthday. It's so great how 4 year olds love to be celebrated. She's also been super into bedtime prayers so mixed with birthday excitement, bedtime has been extra enjoyable.

Its adorable to me anyway when little kids pray and always a tiny bit funny. It's also been the theme of Stella's life to maximize everything awesome so why should her love for the Lord be any different? Some nights she thanks God for every thing in sight including her lamp, her smoke detector, her bed frame, and every polka dot on her polka dot wall.  Other nights she begs God to put a baby sister named Elsa in my tummy. One of my favorites so far has been when she thanked/explained every month of the year in prayer form. She apologized for the length of her prayer that night but I assured her God loves hearing every word.  As do I.  She's so full out.

As we know, kids are sponges and it would be super sweet if Stella only learned spiritual things but we still live on planet earth. And we also listen to 94.1 jams. Stella REALLY loves Kelly Clarkson and specifically the heart beat song.  It seems harmless to me that she knows all the lyrics.  Annoying when she cries for it to come on the radio...but harmless.  However, she did raise a few eyebrows when she shouted loudly at a baseball game "IF I GO TO JAIL TONIGHT! PROMISE YOU'LL PAY MY BAIL!"

Rethink the radio station in the car? Nah. We're gunna shake it off and light it up up up like its dynamite!

This year Stella's main goal was to have as many people as possibly be aware that she turned 4 on May 6th. We had a few friends over that day because Stella wanted to plant flowers. A girl after my own heart.

Let the 'friend party' craze begin.  In a few short years I'll be hosting a sleepover with a zillion giggly girls that have no plans to sleep.  Her sidekick, Austin, probably won't be invited to the sleepover down the road especially after I over heard her telling him that "they can't be married because they don't have very many dollars."  Until then, boys are still buddies.

**Bedtime May 6th, 2015**

"Lord Jesus thank you for my birthday. Thank you for my mom and dad and Sammy and Holly. Thank you for all my Sophia the First characters too. In the morning can you please help me find Amber because I checked the back of the box and she IS on there but I can't find her. I hope she's okay and just taking a really good nap like I'm about to. Lord Jesus. Amen." -Stella

I love being this chick's mom.  She acts like a teenager but she's just a baby. :)

Stella Rose, Happy birthday!  I love you so much silly girl.  I can't wait to watch these videos with you someday when you are much older...

Stella turns 3

Stella turns 2

Stella turns 1

Monday, March 16, 2015

My Teenager

I've spent lots of time preparing myself to parent a teenager. Years probably. I've wished it away and tried to buy myself more time. Yet the inevitable has arrived and Sammy ended his era of boyhood.  I miss him already but I'm determined to do these teen years right.  I feel the pressure of the next 5 years weighing on my shoulders.  I think I'm loosening my grip but trying with all my might to steer him towards anything and all things pure.  He's such a great kid and I just love being his mom.  I also did not want the last 12 years to go down without a bang so we celebrated all weekend long. We hard core celebrated the heck out of this kid.

His actual day was Thursday, the 12th.  Gage and I took him out to dinner free from his sisters per his request.  We hashed over past birthday memories, ate wings, watched basketball and topped the night off with a trip to the ER.

I'm sorry what?

I'm giving you the SUPER short version because this story is actually not cool at all.  After a week of chest pain and me telling him to shake it off, the pain increased at dinner.  I told him to try eating less wings and drink water.  Clear A+ mothering skills.  On the way home he (cried) begged us to take him to the doctor because it hurt to breathe.  Still not taking him serious, I called the nurses line and told them his symptoms.  They instructed us to go to the ER.  COME ON!!!  With the .00000000001% chance that it WAS indeed an issue with his heart, we didn't take any chances.  We waited for 5 hours in the Emergency Room where there were no empty seats and no real emergencies.

Sammy started to feel better as the hours passed and I just wanted to get the heck outta there.  We declined the XRAY and EKG and the doc didn't seemed too phased by it.  I made sure to get the clock in the next few pics.  Purely for entertainment down the road.

1:00am.  My 13 year old


Turns out the kid has a virus causing inflammation in his ribs.  And it hurts.  Awesome.

I let him sleep in the next day which turned out swimmingly because we had a surprise party planned for him that night.  Props to his super fun group of friends for helping me pull off a blast of a surprise. The boys walked to our house after school and we set up shop to knock Sammy's socks off.   Sam had a shopping date with my mom while the boys came up with a plan to hide and "scare" him. The scoped out hiding places in the basement before I got the text to hide ya kids, hide ya wife because he's almost home.  I genuinely think we surprised him which is a near possible feat.  If he was onto us last week, he lied and humored me anyway.  Between you and me, he had tears in his eyes.  I'm calling it a win.

That's a $13 scarf

The boys played basketball for hours and one serious game of "team death match" which is basically a teenage boy name for hide-and-seek.  Let the record show that I love my daughters very much but there is no comparrison to how easy boys are.  After team death match was complete with no casualties, they held what appeared to be wrestling practice in my basement.  Headgears and all. Boys truely live in their own little world.  They were all sleeping by midnight.  Boy sleepovers are a cakewalk compared to what happened here in September.


You adorable boys can come back anytime!

Saturday my family surprised him with the custom longboard he's been wanting. Along with all things needed to keep him alive while on it. I was pretty proud of this surprise too considering Stella almost blew it like 4 times.  I think he was actually speechless.  He stared at the large box for a minute trying to take it in and drown out Gage telling him it's his very own EKG machine.

Fool me once shame on you.  Fool me twice shame on me.

This boy brings me so much joy.  I love everything about him.  Even though I'm shaking in my boots about raising a teenager, he makes being a mom easy.  Most of the time.  I miss him letting me take his picture when he's actually looking at the camera but when no one's around, he still hugs me like he did when he was a toddler.

I love you, #9

Sammy turns 12

Sammy turns 11

Sammy turns 10

Monday, February 2, 2015

Selfies and Specs

I've been taken down some unexpected turns since the new year began.  Turns that make me laugh a little because
1. My life is often laughable and
2. God knows when I need to slow down and focus solely on my family.

Holly is a worrier. It's bad. So when she cries every night about having a headache and sometimes comes off the bus in tears for the same reason, I tell her it's totally normal. I've gotten used to telling her things are normal. Ebola? Totally normal. Plane crashes? Not likely but normal. I made her carry a water bottle around with her and told her to try and spend like HALF of her usual time doing handstands and walkovers. Nothing helped.  The headaches were stubborn and her tears were becoming more and more believable.  Despite her constant worry, she's always had a freaky high tolerance for pain.

After two solid weeks, I pulled myself out of denial and took her to the eye doctor. It's a funny thing how kids are a genetic blend of their parents. Holly looks like I spit her right out of my mouth so I ignorantly assumed she would float through life 20/20 like her mama.  I guess it would have been a tiny miracle if all my kids were completely unscathed by their nearly blind father's eyesight.

When I first mentioned taking her to the eye doctor, she cried. I'm pretty sure it was just the initial
I KNEW THIS WASN'T NORMAL because tears quickly turned to smiles when she pictured herself in glasses. The doc told her she only needs to wear the glasses when she's inside which is pretty much always. That part shocked me a little. I was expecting a pair of reading glasses or a "don't worry she'll grow out of it." At times like this I'm thankful for the innocence of a child. Now I'm the one freaking out as her futures flashes before my eyes and I see her being the girl asking if she can go fix her contacts at dance.

This is totally normal, Missy.  Like a bazillion kids wear glasses.

As usual, Holly made me laugh hysterically with her witty comments while she tried on different styles.  I about died at the cuteness of her face.  She told me she wouldn't even try on the "expensive" ones but quickly realized that was impossible.  I appreciate the effort, Holls.

"nose pieces are not an option." - Holly

Even though Holly "struggles" with cleanliness, she is VERY responsible and has proven herself over and over in that area.  She has one of the sharpest memories I know and being a pleaser, she does what she's told.  I'm confident Holly will take good care of her glasses and aim to make us proud.  I love this little freckled face four eyes!

She's fore sure gunna rock selfie Sunday.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Christmas (un)card

I love Christmas cards.  Each one of you that sent us one is on display.  I never throw them away and love looking through the memories each year when we pull them out.  I'm also a faithful Christmas card sender.  Until this year.  I dropped the ball.  I tried to be super organized and plan family photos really early.  We had one shot.  It was a hilarious fail and I promise to be better next year.

 My orphan children:

From my imperfect family to yours, Merry Christmas!