Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dear 39,

Dear 39 year old self,

As I sit here to write this letter I am not sure what I should say about this year. My original purpose for these letters was to have a glimpse back in time to remember where I was at and maybe what I learned.  Ideally, these stories would all be rainbows and sunshine, but this past year has been a very difficult one  It has been filled with heartache and uncertainty, some of which I am still going through.  I do not want to exploit the stories of those I love so I will try to tell MY story...what I struggled with, what I learned or am learning or still need to learn and how I felt about this year.

Summer was it's usual wonderful time with family and friends - boating, BBQ'ing, All Stars, Water Polo tournaments, camping, etc.  I love summer, I love the warmth, I love the late evenings on the patio, I love spending time with my family, I love spending lots of time outside and summer did not disappoint!

My kids began a new school year, this time all three at different schools.  Live-In #1 began her second year of high school, Live-In #2 began his first year of middle school and Live-In #3 began his last year in elementary school.  I love watching my kids experience new things and to hear their perspective on the experience...most of the time I love it - sometimes I get frustrated with the views the schools take and then teach my kids, but these things are usually minor.

Life became very scary and uncertain in December when the love of my life became ill.  The next few months were filled with many tears, fear what the future would hold and trying not to imagine the worst.  During this time, however, something very beautiful happened, the love that my husband has for me became much more apparent.  I got to see inside of this man who has a hard time opening up.  His heart is far more beautiful than I had ever imagined.  I got to feel so deeply of my own love for him.  He is mine and I am his, I always knew this but the reality of it was felt to my core.  Whatever life brings us to we have each other and that is what is most important.

Being a parent of a teenager has new meaning this year.  I have struggled with decisions that need to be made, worried if I'm making the right or wrong decisions.  I want so badly to be a good mother to all my kids.  I am working hard to come to terms with the fact that I don't have all the answers...sometimes I will make mistakes and sometimes I will get it right, but whatever I do I am trying to be confident in knowing that I love my kids so very much and I am doing my best.  Which brings me around to thoughts of my own teenage years.  While raising my teenager I have come to the realization that my perception of my own teenage years has remained in the eyes of my teenage self.  Now being the parent of a teenager I see everything very different.  While my parents were not perfect, neither was I and I needed to forgive both myself and them for what happened so long ago.  They too were trying to do their best by me.  I called my mom and apologized for the heartache I had put them through.  And I finally forgave them for what I felt they had done wrong.  I wish it didn't take me that long to come to this realization.

Looking ahead, I fear the next year will continue to be a year of growing pains.  I hope I can be patient with myself.  As a mother, I hope I will have wisdom when making decisions.  I hope my children will know I love them with every fiber of my being.  I will hold tight to Lovers hand and hope the storms that life give us will begin to calm.

So 40, here you are, I'm not afraid of you.  You just are.  I am still me and I like me.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Dear 38...

Dear 38 year old self,

Wow...what a busy year!  Probably your biggest challenge this year was worrying about how you were going to be in two and sometimes three places at once!  Worried your children will remember the times you weren't at their events rather than all the times you were.  Worried one child would feel slighted over another if you couldn't make every event.  My advice to you as I'm one day into 39...stop worrying.  But I know you won't take my advice so at least try to keep it to a minimum.  Good luck with that!

As I reflect on the past year I have a feeling of being very blessed.  I have a family that I adore and friends in my life that are true to their core.  For this I am truly thankful!

Your children turned 11, 10 and 15 this year.  Live-in #1 finished her first year in high school.  She introduced you to Water Polo.  You're still figuring it out, but what you do know is the most exciting part of the game is when she is in that water playing!  She also got her drivers permit!  Congratulations on your first venture out with her driving.  You were calm cool and collected...I didn't know you had it in you!  Live-in #2 finished elementary school! Live-in #3 will now be the big man on campus as he just finished his 4th grade year.  Both boys played tackle football (in different leagues!!!), basketball and started their first year in majors baseball.  Right now you're going through All Stars, Live-in #2 is on the 10/11 All Star team and Live-in #3 is an All Star for the first time on the 9/10 All Star team!  A very exciting season for them!

Another very important part of your year is your relationship with your brother Tim.  You have always considered yourself close to Tim, but this year you have grown even closer.  This relationship is very special to you.  I thank God for him in my life, I thank God my family loves him as much as I do and I pray his life is blessed beyond his dreams.

You celebrated your 17th wedding anniversary with a very handsome man!  Still in love, yes!  I'll love him til the day I die.

I look forward to what this next year will bring. I look forward to building my story and my family's story.  I look forward to watching the people I love build their stories.

Goodbye 38, hello 39 and watch out 40 I'm coming to get you and I'm not afraid!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Puppy Love ❤

Life around here has been eventful to say the least.  It all began with one word....


This was a sunny day in March when we brought him home from  Hopes Haven.  He wasted no time in stealing our hearts.  He was so little then, not even eight pounds.  Such a sweet baby!

At first, I reverted back to feeling like a first time mom.  I worried about everything...and I mean everything.  Was he getting enough sleep, was he getting too much sleep, was he eating enough, was he drinking enough, did he have to go potty, does he have to go potty again?

It was easier and calmer then...he didn't take long to turn into a little bundle of energy.

Now he is a toddler.  A 50+ pound toddler.  Thank God his puppy teeth are gone!  He quickly decided we are his personal chew toys and we should like it!  Who needs toys when you have five people who taste so good?  Yes, we have a lot to teach him!

But look at this face....he didn't do it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dear 37...

Dear 37 Year Old Self,

This is not a year of my life I would like to relive, however I am sure one day when I look back I will think I probably grew more this year than in others.  One day...

This year is most marked by loss.  I learned way more than I ever wished to learn about loss.  My kind & loving sister-in-law Stephanie, my loyal dog Doc and my sweet mother-in-law Pat.  All gone.  Forever.  It sucks, it's incredibly painful, it's not fair, but is.

Life goes on...

My children turned 10, 9 and 14.  Um, hello?  How is this possible?  They are not perfect, but they are perfect for me.  I adore them.

Lover & I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary!  I love him even more than the day I married him.  When I count my blessings, he is at the top of the list.

I had my own health scares.  More than once.  I was so scared.  I am hopeful and thankful my fears were put to rest.  I want to live to see my children grow up, get married, have lives, have babies.  I want to be an old wrinkly lady with my old wrinkly day, not too soon, but one day.

Advice?  Not really, I think you're doing a pretty good job.  You are going to make mistakes, you are going to get some things right.  Embrace it.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012


It is said that 'Hindsight is 20/20'...

Rewind back to January 2012:
Groupon had a paintball promotion.  Live-In #2 had a birthday.  In a moment of what I thought was pure brilliance, I decided to buy admission for the whole family to go paint balling as part of live-in #2's birthday gifts. Live-In #2 opened the gift and was tentatively excited.  Live-In #1 looked at me like I had snakes for hair and asked me if I knew what paint balling was.  It was at this point that I began to wonder if this was really such a good idea...

Fast Forward to February 2012:
We have had cabin fever lately.  This is that odd time of year where the holiday hustle and bustle is over, baseball has not yet started and summer is sadly too far off to think about.  The other day when we needed something to do (other than things that needed to be clean the house, clean the yard, etc) Lover remembered we had the paint ball vouchers....

I called the paint ball company where we were to go play to ask them about attire and began to become greatly concerned when the nice man who answered the phone told me to 'wear layers'.  Huh?   So I dutifully told my live-ins to layer it up and they did so in a very efficient manner.  I, on the other hand, did not heed my warning seriously enough.  Trying to wear older clothes in case they got ruined, I put on a long sleeve (way to thin) shirt and a fleece sweatshirt. Before leaving the house I considered the v-neck in my fleece sweatshirt, but foolishly decided it would be ok.

That would be my mistake...

My family and I carefully watched the tutorial video on 'what not to do' in the arena.  I took great care in making sure my live-ins understood the rules so they wouldn't get hurt.  We recieved our masks, paint and paintball guns and were ready to play.

First, I must say while the masks were itchy and annoying, they were my new best friend in round one.  Within  a minute into the first round I was shot in the mask and could only see out of one eye.  This did not hurt.

In round two I learned from the mistakes I made in round one and kept better cover.  Live-in #1 made it about 1/2 way through the round and then got shot.  She was out.  That left me to protect Live-In #3 who was hiding behind me.  My team was dropping like flies and the round was almost over when I got my first real piece of the action.  I caught an unsuspecting opponent off guard and sent him on his way (I think) and I had my sights set on another opponent.  The problem was he had his eye set on me AND was a better aim than I was.  As I was firing off several paint rounds, feeling ever so empowered...I suddenly feel it...

I'd been shot...only everything was happening in slow motion.  I felt myself jerking as one would in a Hollywood movie when they are shot.  I tasted paint spatter... I felt pain...I had to remind myself to breathe...  When I finally got my wits I heard myself yell 'I'm Out' and desperately try to remember what I told my live-ins they had to remember about exiting the arena.  Luckily I made it out...with live-in #3 hot on my heels.

When Lover saw me he said whoever shot me was a good to the head and one to the heart.  This may be a good time to remind you that I was wearing a v-neck fleece.

So it is true...Hindsight is 20/20...and next time I will definitely wear more layers!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


If you have read my blog from the beginning or even last spring/summer then you would know that my posts have become far and fewer between over the past few months.  At first life got really busy, then life got complicated with new experiences that I wasn't sure how to share and then life got very sad...too sad to talk about.

I have only mentioned my sister (by law, however in spirit every bit My Sister) and her fight against cancer a couple times on my blog.  This is for a couple reasons; first I didn't want to invade her privacy and second I felt completely inadequate in my writing to give any justice to the experience.

But, Stephanie was a huge part of my life in 2011.  I got to know her better in 2011 then I knew her in all the seven years prior.  I helped care for her, tried to help lift her spirits with laughter and went to most all her chemo appointments with her.  During those drives to chemo and during the appointments we would talk and play games and developed a closeness that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

In December, Stephanie passed away.  The loss I feel sometimes feels like a heavy weight on my chest.  Sometimes I still can't believe she is gone, sometimes I am angry that she was taken from our family, from my brother and from her sweet children, and sometimes I feel guilty...that I could have done more to make her time with us even better.  But most often I feel so very sad as I realize again and again that she is never coming back, I cannot call her up to see how she's doing, I can't have her over for dinner, I can't hug her anymore and I will forever miss her.  

I am a person of action.  I have a hard time sitting still and waiting for things to happen, so naturally I start to think about what I can do to get through this difficult time.  My mind keeps going back to 'How can I honor Stephanie?'  The answer is clear, Stephanie was a woman who was a walking example of God's love, compassion, grace and kindness.  She did not hide her love for her Savior, she was not afraid to speak about her I will follow suit.

I hope I will make her proud.  I hope that one day, when we see each other again in heaven, she will look upon me and smile her beautiful smile and tell me I made her proud.

I love you Stephanie.

Friday, January 13, 2012

An Usher Kind of Morning

This morning started out like most other mornings.  I had to tear myself off my mattress and try not to fall down the stairs to get my morning coffee.  Today was one of the morning I would be taking live-in #1 to school, middle school that is, so I started the truck to get it all warm and cozy.  When I got into the truck I noticed the music was turned down too low to hear so I turned it up, one minute later I turned it back appears Alanis Morrissette is not a good match for me in the mornings.

But then, as I am pulling into the parking lot of live-in #1's middle school, my spirits perked up  I came awake with a start...Usher was singing none other than my favorite 2011 boating song.  It was my number one song on my playlist.  I would play it Loud and Proud on the boat and we all loved it.  The song took me back to a July afternoon when I took a boat full of girls out surfing, leaving the guys in our dust...or should I say ripples since we were on the water...

So I only saw it fitting that this morning at 7:45 a.m. I once again played it Loud and Proud...BUT alas I forgot where we were at and how live-in #1 gets very embarrassed by my antics at times.  She immediately turned it WAY down so I turned it back UP, she turned it down again so I turned it back up, told her this was my car and began to work on getting my groove on.  She was NOT impressed.  So I turned it down, only a little, so she could get out of the car and begin her walk run of shame into the school as her mother was obviously deliriously high on Usher...then I turned the music back up and fought the temptation to completely humiliate my daughter by dancing my way out of the parking lot.

When the song was over I went back to normal volume and Live-In #2 told me he thought he might be deaf now.  But I don't care....I needed to channel my inner winterized boating soul!

After all....DJ's got me falling in love!