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!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Winter is creeping in rather quickly which means only one thing and you know it.  Holidays?  Game on.  Fresh balsam candle lit, Christmas music playing, and DIY projects on deck.  As a kid, I specifically remember loving christmas season because everywhere you go people are generally happier.  I have harmony in my blood and angry people confuse me.  At Christmastime, everyone is smiling.  Strangers go out of their way to wish you Happy Holidays.  In the blistering cold, people will stop mid frostbite and dig in their pockets for change for the Salvation Army.  Starbucks workers step up their game tenfold and I don't care what anyone says, those red cups are magical.  Never do I see a canned food drive that doesn't make me want to clean out my entire kitchen and the Christmas lights?  OH the Christmas LIGHTS!

I never want to cheat on Thanksgiving with Christmas but I folded.  We have plenty to be thankful for and I DO love a good Thanksgiving day parade.  The whole day is one big basket of tradition for us and I can hardly wait.  I've been experiencing holidays with kids now for quite sometime and I can't put into words how much joy it brings me to see my siblings get a taste of Christmastime bliss with children.  And by bliss I obviously mean stress.  May they never forget to move the damn elf and remember to change the wrapping paper for santa.

A real text conversation between my sister and I:

Mandy:  Melrose stayed home sick today and her and Marlow are making their Christmas list.  Straight out of the American Girl catalog.  Mel said, "don't worry mom, we will ask Santa for all of this stuff because we know it's really expensive."  Help.

Me:  Let the stressful Christmases begin.  Don't worry it will die down in about 13 years.  Holly created a powerpoint Christmas list this year which includes:  a puppy, a hedghog, a trampoline, an iPad min, an apple laptop, uggs, and a NorthFace.  And those are just my faves.

Kids are the worse.

It's hilarious to me how much fun Christmas is.  Like the whole world is having a bangin' party for 2 months straight.  Kids are delusional and parents just laugh.  At least I do.  Of course, we work hard at teaching our kids the true meaning of Christmas but it's still hilarious when they hand you that list of complete delusion.  Every year I grow a little wiser when it comes to kids and Christmas and that's why I'm able to laugh at those lists.  They get wrapped up in the excitement too and it's ridiculously easy to reign them back in.  They also don't care what they ACTUALLY get Christmas morning (well, Sam kinda does).  Oh, and mom to mom:  Stay far far away from Ferbies.  I'm ready to dropkick this one sitting next to me right now.  There is no off button.  So.  You're welcome.

Last year, I wrote a post about being Thankful on Thanksgiving and it got 700 hits in one day.  I have no idea how or why but I know it made me smile.  I never know what the people of the blogosphere will like but if I was a bettin' lady, I would put my money on this video:

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmastime!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


As a kid, I loved to collect things.  Tiny things that served no purpose.  One of my best collections was one my sister and I had together. It was glass figurines from the Disney store. We got those suckers for every birthday and holiday and they sat perfectly on the hutch in between our twin beds. We never touched them because we respected the collection so much. I was roughly 10 years old when my little brother climbed that hutch and our entire collection came tumbling to it's death.

Luckily, I still had my candy caboodle to fill the ache in my heart.

I also collected pieces of candy, the tinier the better, and separated them into compartments of my caboodle. I justified this one by telling my family that I had us covered if we were ever trapped in case of a tornado. We would not die hungry. They made fun of me pretty hardcore but truth be told, they were so jealous.  As awesome as that caboodle was, it did not hold a candle to my Lisa Frank sticker collection.

My cousin, Jamie, and I regularly got together to trade everything Lisa Frank like it was our job. Unicorns leaping over rainbows and neon tiger cubs were life.  I know now that I'm getting old when I want to put sunglasses on every time I walk into Justice but feel squeals of excitement if I see a Lisa Frank folder.

Collections are so super funny to me.  Really even now they make me giggle.  Ironically,  I hate clutter and often get myself into trouble with my addiction to throwing things away.  But collections of the most random things? Highly entertaining.

A few years ago I was obsessed with collecting boxtops.  It got to a point where I would only buy snacks that had them.  (FYI certain fruit snack brands have 6 boxtops on every box!  You're welcome.)  This is not a joke.  I was super OCD about how they were cut and kept them all sealed in a Ziploc.  When the collection got to a respectable point, I sent them to school with my kids.  That day was always so bittersweet.  A mix of pride and grief.

Not all collections have to be so ridiculous.  Some of them I'll never tire of.  For example, sometimes I look at my kids' old report cards in the "report card tub" just for a smile.  We also collect school picture magnets from over the years and Stella plays with them like action figures.  Everyday I can't possibly collect enough hugs, I LOVE YOU's, stories and lululemon leggings.  And someone needs to cuts us off from the Pumpkin weigh station at Vala's because it looks like a giant gourd threw up in my house.  My fall decor has to be somewhere between candy caboodle and Disney figurine status.  With the amount of time all of our stuff spent in storage, our house didn't stand a chance this year.  It's a cheesy mess of pumpkins, scarecrows, and sunflowers.

Gage thought I was nuts when I asked him to cut a 2x4 up for me so I could make this.  Pretty sure I nailed it.

Sitting down to write this blog post has got me missing how often I used to write.  Stella's childhood is documented only here.  She has a frame on her bedroom wall with a picture of Holly in it simply because it's been years since I've printed pictures.  Sorry, 3rd child.  I'll blog more.  I'll take more pictures and eventually I'll print some.  In the very small amount of free time I have, we try to make memories but writing them down feels impossible at times. Stella begged me for weeks to find a pile of leaves for her to jump in.  I'm pretty sure they read a "leaf" book at preschool because we don't even have a tree.  When she told me she had an idea to have grandpa come over with some leaves like he's some sort of superhero that can make the impossible possible,  I knew she wasn't kidding.   I grabbed my camera and we headed to the park.

She literally can't get enough of that pose

If only we all had toddler problems.  Just think of how peaceful life would be if all you had to worry about was finding a big ass pile of leaves to jump in.  Or maybe that's all adults need?

It's a 3 day weekend, the trees are gorgeous, the weather is perfect and Valas is open for 15 more days.  I say stop to jump in the leaves today, friends!  Or if you are the reserved type, start a collection.  They are equally entertaining.  TGIT!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Time Warp

This past week I've felt myself feeling flustered.  As if my busy life and schedule hasn't allowed me to realize the harsh truth.  We've lived in our house for 6 months now. Which seems crazy and that reality has had me daydreaming 6 months down the road.  March 2015. That's when I panicked. I'm 6 short months away from raising a teenager and I'm freaking out.  He's a good kid and I'm trusting God blah blah blah there time to relax EVER?

I'm desperately grasping at answers that don't exist.  I have a death grip on his childhood and I'm getting weak.  It feels like yesterday that he told me he was going to be a rockstar when he grows up and get me front row seats to all his concerts.  Now he's asking to go to Middle School parties and dances and all I want to do is lock him in a bubble.  Maybe as a last ditch effort to freeze time.  It's getting harder and harder to keep him innocent.  Girls are starting to notice those brown eyes and I can only hope they don't melt the way I do when they gaze into them.  I don't know how much longer I can convince him that all girls have cooties.

He's a social guy and loves football games and parties.  I loved those things too when I was his age so I can easily talk myself down from the cliff there.  Recently he told me he preferred American Eagle over the Nike store and that's when a tiny part of me slipped into depression.


Teenagers like America Eagle.  I just can't.

I'm trying super hard to live in the moment and not think about how this time next year he will most likely be taller than me. Every milestone up to this point has been something to celebrate but I'm petrified of the teen years.  All I can hope is that I'm prepared.  That as his parents, we are equipped to handle this hurricane a brewing.  When his voice cracks for the first time how will I compose myself? I'm dead serious. I love his little boy voice. I'll cry when it's gone.

I'm publicly promising myself to remain calm.  He's growing up and I can't do anything about it.  Rockstar or not, I'll always be in the front row cheering my guts out for this kid.  Even though I often disagree, I'm honored God thinks I was the right choice to raise him.

That boy on the mound.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Perfect Ten

It's September which means that birthday festivities are among us! Holly turned 10 and her birthday is her everything. Somehow someway, she turned TEN.

This girl. I'm tellin ya. She's just so awesome and I want to slow time down so badly. Keeping her little is like trying to hold water in your hands.  She may be double digits now but she's still got some little girl left in her. She rides bikes and plays school. She loves sidewalk chalk and hates brushing her hair. She cries when it storms and misses me when I work.  This childhood ain't over yet so I'm gunna keep snapping memories and posting them to find someday when I'm missing my 10 year old.

Dear God,
Whatever happens from this day forward,  PLEASE don't let these freckles fade.
Thanks in advance.

Just like ever other year, Holly didn't ask for anything specific for her birthday. Just one thing. The same thing she always asks for: a kick ass party.

Okay so those are my words.  Sweet Holly girl just said "A SLEEPOVER!!!"

A sleepover is what Holly asks for every year but she always gets a firm NO.  Then we move on to plan B.  We've had some really awesome plan B's!  Read about them here:

9th birthday
8th birthday

Those were some great parties. However, you only turn to double digits once so we up'd the ante and went with the sleepover party. Very little sleep was involved.

Her friends spoiled her rotten and it really was a blast.  They played school for hours and maxed the volume on the jambox the entire night. We ate s'mores , decorated pillow cases, painted nails, had a midnight snack and watched a movie.

Then the dance party resumed at 7am.

Here's the problem with trying to take a pic with a bunch of dancers and the photographer is their dance teacher...

Everyone wants to be in the front.

Holls, your first (and last) sleepover birthday party was worth the exhaustion! I'm so thankful for you. It's been a fantastic decade.  Cheers to being 10!

Happy birthday my sweet girl!

Monday, August 18, 2014


From this point forward I'm going to refer to Summer 2014 as "what the H-E-double hockey sticks was that!?" In fact, I'll just hashtag summer2014 in reference to every sucky thing.  Capeesh?

It's only funny because life in general is actually fantastic.  I really should explain that we have so much to be thankful for.  We love our house and adore Gretna.  We have met so many wonderful people that will definitely be life long friends. My kids are at an all time point of happiness.  Gage loves his job and has so much time left in his weeks for QT with us.  His hidden wood working talent has been our favorite lately.  Home improvement projects were our addiction before #summer2014 hit.  I also love coaching way more than I thought I would.  Gretna is really starting to feel like home. This town is so adorbs.

While I'm certainly not sad to see #summer2014 out the door, I can't deny the forever memories we've made.  In fact, I'm still smiling every time I think about Gretna Days.  Especially that parade. As faithful Labor Day Parade go-ers, I just can't get over how much the town respects that parade.  As they should.

I'm still overstimulated from the street dance so I'll skip that a one.  Maybe next year I'll be able to put that night (morning?) into words.

It was also our first time attending the Sarpy County Fair which only meant one thing: the animal scramble.  Yes, Holly caught a bunny.  Yes, we kept it.  For 2 days.  Then it headed to the bunny farm down the road.  Thanks, Zeleny's.  Like for everything.

I also spent nearly a week in Vegas which is always entertaining.  It was a total work trip and I mean TOTAL but I did get to experience my first Vegas nightclub.  Pretty sure we only got in because we had Brooke Buda with us.  (Hi, Buda!). She looked hot and fashion is not my kryptonite.  I stayed for 20 minutes then went to bed.  #summer2014

Related:  I won 40 bones on the penny slots.

 Clearly Holly had a fab summer.  She spent endless nights with friends while I was gone.

Nothing tragic happened this summer and we are better people right now, I'm sure of it.  I'm just exhausted.  God has certainly stretched me this summer.  Literally.  I worked what felt like 16 hour days.  My body is sore and my brain is fried.  But my heart is happy.  I didn't go to the pool or sleep in  (#summer2014) and I cried a lot.  I re-evaluated friendships and fell deeper in love with my husband.  I listened to friends share stories of their sucky summer and watched God carry them through some redic tough times.

Today is Monday and day 3 of the 2014-2015 school year.  I have a 4th grader and a 7th grader.  I also have a little girl who begs me to let her go to school everyday.

Oh, sweet child of mine.  This morning we slept in.  We watched morning cartoons and ate cheetos for breakfast.  In a few hours we are frickin going to the pool and we will probably be the only ones there.  Tonight I'm making dinner for the first time in forever (#summer2014) and everyone will eat it.  Sam and Holly will ride the bus home from school then ride their bikes around the neighborhood  till it's dark.  No case of the Mondays around here.  I'm calling today a win.

I'm thankful for #summer2014.  I have clear perspective going into this school year.  My work load has decreased tremendously and I'm excited for what's to come.  I love schedules and organization.  I also love consistency.  All of which are making an appearance in my life again!  My niece is expected to make her debut anytime now!  Holly turns double digits in 3 weeks and she's been planning this sleepover for 4 years.  I can almost smell the pumpkin flavored everything!!!! I promise I've never been this pumped for the Fall season.  Clearly I need to simmer down but #summer2014 will do that to ya.

Friday, June 20, 2014


I miss blogging and I miss taking pictures.  Not the iPhone kind but the real deal.  I'm such a sucker for memories and these 1st world problems are getting the best of me.  My house is full of empty picture frames and half finished scrapbooks.  When my kids get married, I'll probably have to hand over their childhood memories in the form of hard drives, old phones, websites and a list of passwords where all their photos are stored.  Sometimes this stresses me out.  As if they won't know then how much I love them now.

I adore this crazy and busy life we lead but every once in a while I panic that it's going too fast.  I'm coaching a high school dance team and some of these kids will actually still be there at the same time as my own.  I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around that because coaching has brought up so many memories of my OWN high school years.  And that felt like yesterday.

I'm feeling sentimental today and maybe it's because I'm another year older and wiser. (???). I turned 32 last week but Gage said I looked the same.  I don't know.  Maybe it's the heat getting to me or my new nail polish fumes but I FEEL older.  It also could be the attempted toe touch.  The verdict is still out.

Anyway, I won't lie about being hesitant to take this coaching role on.  Moms, you know that feeling of being pregnant with your second child and fearing that you won't love it like your first?  Turns out, ND is my Sammy and GHS is my Holly.  Luckily, I love them both.  And beyond the love, I care.  A whole bunch of caring.  Sometimes caring so much is tiring and I'm exhausted, ya'll!

You see why I panic?  Sometimes being a mom takes strategry.  For example, I received no personal satisfaction from "running" the Color Run last weekend with Holly but it filled her quality time cup and that made it worth it.

Here's a picture of me earning the largest jewel in the crown I'll wear in heaven:

We cheated.

I think it's natural for us moms to beat ourselves up when we can't do it all.  Like I feel tiny ounces of guilt having Sam babysit Stella so much this summer.  But then I see her grab his hands, look up at him, and with her raspy voice, say "dance with me Sammy."  In that moment my heart is a puddle on the floor.

Someday I'll open this blog up with my kids and we will laugh and cry over the memories.  (Hi kids!)
I hope older and wiser me knows that it's okay that I couldn't do it all.  As for now, I'm just a mom living in a very real world where I'm bursting with love for my children.  I'm thankful to be going through life with a man who knows what it feels like to love them as much as I do.

Don't get fancy, just get dancy.