Thursday, April 28, 2016

Refilling my tank

Every other year since 2012, I've gone on a girl's trip with four friends from "home"... Two of us have moved away and two remain in the Kansas City area. I'm the one that lives the furthest away. Between the four of us there are: four husbands, eleven kids (one set of twins), fifteen plus years of friendship, twenty-sevenish years of college... they are good solid friendships, the kind that pick up like you never missed a beat or haven't talked in months. This year, only two of us could go. It was unfortunate but life and love sometimes take priority, the great thing is there are no hard feelings and everyone understands.

This year, Ginny and I went to Dallas! Two years ago we all four went to San Antonio, the first year was Chicago... what's with Texas though, really?! We had a great time, almost got hit by a semi on our way to the hotel, we stayed up late, slept in until 9:30 (um hello that's FOUR hours of sleeping in for this mama who gets up at 5:15 typically), drank Bishop cider (delish!), walked around the West End, ate mexican, checked out Bishop Arts district, went on a Downtown Dallas tour, had our tour bus breakdown, had the cops come, got sunburnt at the pool, read a book, drank fancy fruit water, broke a table light (GINNY!), bought souvenirs, tasted fancy chocolate, but most of all we laughed. Like really laughed, my stomach hurt, my cheeks hurt. My tank was refueled. I'm ready to go home a better wife, nurse, teacher, mother and friend.

This year I was reminded that it is important to take time for me. To really think about the things that make ME happy and continue not to do the things that don't make me happy. The answer should be not just yes but HELL YES! I remember her standing next to me at my wedding and supporting my marriage so many years ago, she's been through thick and thin with me. Breakups, road trips, shitty hotels, fancy hotels, finding true love, engagement, marriage, moves to four states, getting pregnant, my mom's cancer, a miscarriage, getting pregnant again... and again!, my father's death, breastfeeding, girl's trips, grad school, job changes... one thing remains she always is there, she never judges, she's always supportive, she always listens and offers insight and a new perspective.

Ladies, I beg you, find your person... find your friend. Find the person that is there for you no matter what. I've been lucky enough to find that over 15 years ago. I'm blessed beyond belief to know that these four ladies are a source of rejuvenation for my soul. Take time for YOU, it'll make you a better mother and wife. It'll help you learn about doing things different and embracing the way others work their relationships with their spouse, in their careers and with their children. I can honestly say I have a great deal of respect for all three of these ladies and what they have brought to my life. They make me want to be a better me. GO and be a better YOU!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dinner date

Tonight Bella and I redeemed her Book it pizza reward... yep they STILL do the Book it program they did when I was a kid. It's so motivating and fun! Anyhow, she got to go on a date just her and I. She wanted to redeem her Book it reward for a pizza with bacon and cheese only... she is her father's daughter for sure!

We got her pizza and headed to Target. We sat in the Starbuck's and talked about her week and my week. She gobbled down the whole pizza! When did my tiny little string bean become such a darling first grader with a wiggly tooth?!

I was admiring her sweet face and listening to her talk about her little life. I watched her expressions and embraced the time, just the two of us. I noticed the freckle on her chin was getting darker and said something.

"Wow boo that freckle is darker" as I pointed out her little chin freckle.

"Yeah mom, that's where your daddy kissed me."

"What did you say?" Thinking I already knew the answer.

"Remember freckles, that's a kiss from your daddy" and just then my heart melted and broke a little all at the same time. My thoughts wandered back to the days my Grandma Mary used to tell me that freckles were angel kisses. I've said the same thing to Boo. Why did she think it was from my dad? It doesn't matter... today I'll embrace that she mentioned him, that I've continued to talk about him to my babies and that she feels like a little piece of her is from him.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Rock on sista!

Bella has her own sense of style. I tried to fight it early on then discovered that it was just not worth it. We would fight before school about why she should match and what her options were. We tried picking out the clothes the night before= FAIL. We tried giving choices, this outfit or that outfit= FAIL. We tried letting her pick out matching outfits= FAIL. All those failures lead to frustration and tears on her part and sometimes on mine.

One day it clicked. Why did I care if she matched? Did I have something to prove? Why shoot down her confidence if she felt good in what she had on? Why not let her chose? What was it hurting? How would our mornings be if we didn't feel frustrated? We came up with a solution, if its weather appropriate, rock on with your bad self.... and so it went and so it still goes.
Oh look, here we are at Target. She really wanted a picture with Spot the Target dog. Notice the leggings, the pink skirt and her school logo sweatshirt. Did I mention she has a tank top AND a t-shirt under the sweatshirt? Is she happy? Hell yes she's happy. She's at Target, WITH Spot the dog, rocking out her own style, not giving two shits what everyone thinks about her, her outfit or the dog. 

Here she is with her cousin. Pink long sleeve shirt, peach short sleeve shirt, purple vest (that she's OBSESSED with) and who knows what pants. She was having fun coloring. Encouraging her cousin to color and helping him. She could careless that we were hanging with family and she didn't match and had 3 tops on. Whatev! 
Pedicure with her best bud. Black leggings, a Bella staple. The SAME pink top in the picture above with the SAME peach short sleeve shirt. She has her favorites that's for sure. Look how happy she is! That's what I love most of all. Her confidence continues to grow. Confidence in little girls is something I as a mother, really want to encourage. There are so many harsh things in this world, we somehow have to instill in our daughters to be less concerned about what others think of you and MORE concerned with what YOU think of YOURSELF!

Monday, April 18, 2016

To the lady at Walmart

Why yes my daughter is six going on sixteen. Yes she tried on a size seven and a size eight. No it's NOT okay for you to make comments on the sizes of her clothes. It's not okay now, it's not okay ever... let's be clear, no one is allowed to make comments on the sizes my daughters wears!

Bella happens to be between sizes. She also happens to have legs from here to California. She was born a string bean and she remains a string bean. It seems like her legs are constantly growing! She has a long torso too. She's obsessed with leggings and happened to find some in shorts. You can imagine her singing her praises to the Lord when she found them... this was just after she talked a guy into giving her the last zucchini in the produce section. To which later she told me was because she's SO pretty... Oh boy do I ever have my hands full...

I texted my mom as she was in the dressing room... because God forbid I actually GO into the dressing room with her. I texted "so help me, she's my clone! How did you ever get through my childhood?" I seriously owe my parents a major apology, I had MY own opinion and so does she. It's not influenced at all by anything I or anyone else says. Part of me is super thankful for that!

Bella entered with two sizes. She promptly exited in one size and gave me the rundown of what worked and what didn't and why. Then she went back in and changed again. She came back out, hands on her little hips and said "These are NOT going to work, they are SOOOOO uncomfortable here" (pointing to her waist) "The other ones felt SOOOOO much better than these do. We ARE getting those, the 7's not the 8's, I'll give them to you and you put them in the cart". I encouraged her to hand out both sizes once she took off the ones she had on... her response "why so you can put the ones I don't want in the cart? I don't think so lady!" To which the fitting room woman said "ah they start out early wanting the smaller size because it's better to be smaller".... I said nothing. Why? Because what was the point in arguing with the Walmart lady? Instead, I smiled and put the size 7 pants in the cart and the size 8 top in the cart. Off we went... and no Bella didn't notice that the sizes were different and she happily wore the outfit to school today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


The sweet ladies at Listen to Your Mother sent me an email and said that I was not chosen. Yep, denied! However, I'm not letting that get me down. I'm not letting my story not be heard. I've done a video of my story... I'm really nervous to share it. I feel like I've shared it with all of you a million times over... in a million different ways. Maybe you are tired of hearing it... or maybe there is ONE person that still NEEDS to hear it. Maybe I can help one person. To me, that would make it worth it all.

Ultimately, I can't please everyone. I can't be chosen by everyone. I can make the CHOICE to not let this set me back, get me down or bother me. I can take this opportunity to share the piece I've written with all of you... in hopes that it gets shared or passed to the right person so that our story can help someone else.

Monday, April 11, 2016

It takes a village

About this time last year, I posted asking how on earth do I help my one-handed girl hold a pom pom on her left hand without fingers. I had racked my brain, I had tried numerous things. Some she tried and the pom went flying, others she complained of discomfort. I remember my plea on Facebook for someone to suggest something. Kim D., a mama to a beautiful adult one-handed daughter, reached out and even offered to send me what she used. I couldn't thank her enough! She sent it right away and we put it right to work. Her daughter had cheered for a number of years. If you met her daughter, you would understand the apple didn't fall far from the tree. They are both the most open, genuine, kind hearted women. Kim happens to also be a nurse. Her and her daughter were at CNL in Florida last year with us. It takes a village my friend!

Here is what she sent- (I later found out they can be purchased at Home Depot, although I'm not sure what the "real" use is)
Today, a mama one another limb different board asked how to help her 3 year old daughter hold a pom pom. I was online at just the right time in the middle of the day AND I was home to be able to snap a picture to show her. 

I then posted this picture...
Because who doesn't grab a dog toy to demonstrate a pom pom?! We are pom free, Bella decided she didn't like "being bossed around all night" so poms wasn't really her thing... or at least it's not currently. Anyhow, her hand went in the green loop, we tightened it so the pom wouldn't fly off but it was still comfortable for her. Not once did she complain of discomfort! The yellow strap went around the middle of the pom. Worked like a charm! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Lowest low

This morning, I was leaving for work and as I watched my babies sitting at the table eating breakfast I wondered, "Where did my BABIES go?" How do I have a 3 year old, a 5 year old and a 6 year old already? When did the days fade into months and then fade into years? I blinked and the years had passed. Somewhere amidst the million loads of laundry, the short order cooking, school, work, life... it had flashed passed!

I was looking at our "baby" who is now three and thinking back to the first time my heart shattered... In early July 2013, Bella and I were watering the yard and our new plants. When my innocent little 3 year old girl asked "How come we can't plant seeds in my hand for fingers to grow?" My heart shattered into a million tiny pieces, I fought back the tears that welled in my eyes. How could my child ask me this? How did she even relate the two? Where did this come from?

Thinking back, we had planted flowers a few months earlier from seeds. They sprouted out of the soil and became the beautiful flowers that she was now watering. She was enjoying the bright colors and the smell that waifed across the yard from them. It made perfect sense to a child, plant seeds, out grows something. She knew that beautiful flowers grew from the tiny little seeds, why not fingers?

My heart still breaks thinking back. Finding out about her limb difference was not my lowest low. Having my innocent little hazel eyed girl with her messy dirty blond hair looking up at me with dirt covered hands holding a hose asking me that question, that was my lowest low. I had prepared myself (or so I thought) for the day that she asked why she was born different. I had not prepared myself for this, I had not prepared for her to be a three year old asking me this.

There is really no way to prepare yourself for being a parent. You think you are ready, you aren't. You think you have everything you need. You think you have covered all of your bases... you haven't. The days fade into weeks, months, years. The loads of laundry pile up, the outgrown clothes pile up. The muddy shoes sit by the door showing you that your babies are now toddlers or school aged. They are snapshots into your life as you know it. They are snapshots into happy moments turned memories.

This is a memory... although not my happiest. I remember fighting the tears and explaining in the only way I knew how, that she would never grow fingers. Explaning that to a three year old was harder than explaining a heart defect to a nursing student. My heart shattered in a way that only she could make it shatter. My soul felt a little bit broken. I remember feeling like I had somehow failed my child. I remember thinking that I didn't protect her enough while she was growing inside of my womb.

Now looking back, I did as I always do. I did the very best I could with the resources that I had. Three and a half years ago, the resources were fewer and farther between. Today, we are blessed with a community we can reach out to and more resources than we knew possible. Today, that sweet three year old with her hazel eyes and dirty blond hair has warped into a beautiful size year old girl. Her eyes still hazel but more green. Her dirty blond hair, still the same, just longer and worn in a way that SHE decides. Her clothes are bigger, her feet are bigger. Her legs are LONG and lean. Her style is her own. She is confident and strong willed. She is a leader not a follower. She tests me and challenges me in different ways then she did at that time. Heck she even rolled her eyes at me for the first time. My sweet toddler has grown into a school age girl with a personality all her own. I'm happy to be her mama and I'm happy that she challenges me to be the best me that I can be.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


As mama's we tend to put ourselves on the back burner. Or at least I do! I know it's the same for my closest mom friends too. I saw it with my own mom at times as well. We put our needs last, our families needs, the kid's needs, the house, dinner, the grocery store, Target, Walmart, the dog... everything else comes before US. How can we pour from an empty cup?

Lately, my cup has felt less than full. I've been busy interviewing and doing stuff to try to put our lives and our home back in order after working so much and preparing for all these interviews. I have taken very little time for me to refill and refuel.

Recently, two people in my life have been diagnosed with cancer. It's kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. Both are mama's of at least three kids, both are young (under 50)... Now they HAVE to take time for them, they have to allow themselves time to heal and mend. Although, I'm positive it's not the "me" time they wanted and I'm sure they don't feel better after taking that time.

When my mama was diagnosed with cancer, I bought her a book by the great Kris Carr called Crazy, Sexy Cancer. It was fun loving and encouraging... well as anything can be with the word cancer in it... Anyways, I started following her blog. I recently read about journaling, something she does to refill her tank and ease her mind. Something I used to do and love. She posted these topics as a start: 

"What’s really going on? 
What do you need? 
How do you want to feel in your body and heart? 
What does your body say about this idea or decision?
 What are you grateful for? 
What’s not working?"

It brought to light that I should start journaling again. Maybe I'll sleep better, feel better... As parents, how do YOU refill YOUR tank?

CAMP NO LIMITS all booked!

This picture was taken just last weekend while we were camping. Bella and I were walking around the camp ground just the girls. Dirty from...