I found this photo of me in an old album and this photo of Lela around that same time. I assume we are about the same age.  Around 28 years ago this was who I was, having no idea how blessed I would feel looking back on my youth. Now as a mother, I often find myself in mini parent panic attacks….

“How can I teach my children all they need to know, in time enough to know it, in a positive way, so they can thrive? Will I be a good  great example, will I surround them with unconditional love, will I ever be enough, to prove to them they are enough?  What if they never believe me, like on the big things, like looking both ways, and laughter and dancing and Jesus?

While searching for this quote, I found the more lengthy one below and wanted to share them both with my kids and with you.

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”
Maya Angelou


“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou
I’m thankful I never have to do anything alone.


Potty Training Continued

It’s not every day you walk into the kitchen to find a large turd laying lifeless on the floor.  Today. was. that. day.

“MOM I poop turd in there” Lela yells through my closed bedroom door. What the…..wait you just pooped your pants twice in the last five minutes, what is going on, I thought exiting my bedroom. I could feel my blood pressure rise as I visualized myself washing a third pair of undies out in the tub.

Just then I connected visually with my husband standing guard over the lonely turd. I noticed he was fighting back a big BAHHHAHA laugh. He was grinning ear to ear. “Now this is a good blog story” he said.

“Nasty” I responded retreating to my bedroom declaring no contest. “Take a Photo” I yelled sarcastically.

“Well I’m not going to take a photo of it if you’re not going to blog about it,” he responded on his way to clean up the evidence with a smile.

Why are toddlers so afraid to put their “poop turds” (as Lela says) in the potty? It remains a mystery in this house.


A promise is a promise

To go anywhere solo with both kids (esp in the winter) is a production. This morning’s trip to go mall walking was no different.

The first mistake I made was starting the “promise bribe” long before I was ready to leave . This isn’t smart to do with a two year old eager to leave the house. (see “go groceries” post above) “We will go as soon as you….comb your hair, brush your teeth, find your shoes (Ah, why did you take your socks off again!) find your blanket, stop picking on Si, have a snack, have a drink (not to much or you’ll have an accident).” “If you don’t …..pick that up, put that away, put on your coat & hat…we won’t go”.

I planned to keep my promise all along, but had a few to do’s before we left. (Find Si’s stroller, load the stroller, find Lela’s doll & it’s stroller, put on more layers in case Si spits up, find a hair binder, pack back up clothes for kids, pack a snack & a back up snack,  pack bottles, wipes, diapers, blankies etc.)

The van had been running 5 minutes when I asked my daughter if she wanted to use the potty before we left. “No no ugh uh, nope” she answers in one breath while slipping on her jacket and hat.

I turned & hustled to get my baby dressed for the tundra and propped his puffy little body up by the diaper bag. His least favorite time is this 30 seconds between winterizing and getting in the van, he reassured me with his defeated little look. sigh

“Are you sure you don’t have to use the potty” I asked the confident toddler swallowed up by her puffy coat. “No” she confirmed.

I was feeling victorious just seconds from walking out the door. “Yeah” I thought, although a process we can do this. Livi stood proud, bundled and grinning ear to ear, ready to depart.

That’s when I noticed something spilled on the carpet. “How did the carpet get wet there, Lela, do you know?” (pause for silence while she gathered her thoughts) “Oh, Uh, I pee there.” she states, as I realized her pink coat covered up the rest of the evidence. sigh.

Of course you did!
Kids 1 Mom 0



Musical Memories & Metallica

Last night I talked myself into getting back on the treadmill, in hopes to run myself younger.

Today when I jumped on the moving ground again, I used my old MP3 player to get my move grove on. (Not recalling what music was about to play) It’s been said that smell is the biggest memory trigger, but I’ll confirm another is Music. A grin stretched across my face as the drum beat from “once bitten twice shy” began……”all over God’s world”.

The memory of my older brother (then 18) Bucky in full force jam session with his air guitar (or broom), faded black Metallica t-shirt and a classy black light, lit up my mind. Images of his buddies, skateboards, and the varsity football squad (savagely searching for grub in my moms kitchen) had me laughing with each step I took.

In the 30 minutes I stepped through my work out today, I heard White Snake, Guns and Roses, Metallic etc. All the while thinking this music will forever connect me to someone I love very much. Bucky and I are separated by five years, making him always a few steps ahead of me in life. There’s been moments when I wished we were closer in age, sharing the same life experiences together.

As grown ups now with our own kids, and jobs and bills and travels and bills, him and I don’t connect as often as we did under the same roof. (thank you mom & dad for those memories) There always seems to be a place to be or thing to do. There hasn’t been a air guitar jam session in many years.

The music was a blessing today and it reminded me I can always look back and where we’ll be  perpetually 18 and 13 and smile. I’m also looking forward to running myself younger again tomorrow.


Easy Does It

Our little man of the house cut his first tooth today, what a champion he is. Along with teething he has had double ear infection, a chest x-ray, blood drawn and a nebulizer all in the last 5 days. Through it all he carries on eagerily discovering the next big thing. In his 11 months he has been sick often, sat on, picked and poked on; yet, he remains an easy going baby who can’t get enough of quiet snuggle.

So following a long series of Lela toddler demands from the bathtub tonight, Luke wondered out loud if Si would be the easy going child. To which I reassuringly responded “He doesn’t have a choice” I’m certain Lela made the choice for him. (Like mother like daughter)


Little People Tragedies

When I ask “Lela what should we do today?”

Her response is almost always, “go groceries?.” I know we spend a lot of time at home, but I concluded I am quite the boring mom, if being pushed around in a steel buffalo through Hy-vee is the highlight of her day. sigh.

Today as she gave her usual response, my mind replayed the thrilling things we do at home. When we paint, I can never get the right color to her palette fast enough, or she gets paint on her hands and can no longer proceed “ahh, yucky”; when we bake I don’t let her sample raw eggs & batter before it reaches the oven, “ahh-I want some(stomp foot stomp)”; when we read stories her brother gets in the way “uhhh, no, go-way Si” and when we play dance party she always ends up spinning her way into a wall. Take note most of them end in toddler world tragedies.

So my home goal today was to play something new. I selected to set up her entire Little People toy collection. The 15 minute set up, includes houses, a tent, a race track, a ferris wheel, a train, a barn, cars, the jungle, a water fall etc. We displayed all the people and animals for a fun day at the park. Yeah, let the fun at home begin! The kid inside of me was giddy for our imaginations to take charge and create. 

Two. Point. Five. minutes later, the train was torn in two, each child with a half of it and crying; the house tipped over, lifeless little bodies everywhere.  “Ahhhh” both toddlers yelled.

“Okay I give up” I sighed, as my whimpering toddlers wrestled the remaining village to the ground. “What should we do now?” I asked rhetorically.

“Go groceries?” Lela said jumping up with a smile.



Why? Ask Why?

Shortly after 6 am, L, my daughter, has been coming into our dark bedroom. She peers at the edge of our too tall for her bed with many statements of fact to start the day. “It dark outside; Mom, “S” sleeping in crib; Here my bear; My pink socks in my bed; I go potty now;” etc.

Yesterday morning she asked, “Mom you sleeping?” To which I whispered, “Yes”, and rolled toward to wall. “Why,” called out the little stranger at my bedside.  I could feel my eyes get wide. Ah, until then she never mentioned the word.  Why, ask Why, I thought to myself. My dear daughter until now you never questioned what I had to say.

It was the start of a whole new toddler. Today, everything has been why. Why you doing that; why that up there, why, why, why? Most of my responses have been simply “because”. It’s such a wimpy answer, but at times it’s the only one. (Let me pause to apologize to my own mother) With each “why & because” I feel an age wrinkle form on my forehead. I feel like a mother.

This is the day Luke once mentioned he was looking forward to. I recall when L was a mere five pounds, he would look at the peanut and get gitty with excitement over it. “I am looking forward to answering all of her questions, and teaching her why everything is.”

Maybe it has to do with my art major and the mountain of art critiques I sat through, but I don’t get all that pumped about explaining “why something is the way it is” anymore. Thank God my husband enjoys it, because now when L asks, “Why”, I simply say, “Go ask your father.”

Attitude of Gratitude- Keeps your brain young

In my quest for “re-youth” I remind myself a few times of day to be grateful for…everything. I’m pretty good at writing & mailing real thank you cards whenever the kids or I get a gift…i.e a physical item to touch. Where I lack in my gratefulness is in much smaller, yet bigger things.

For starters, my husband does plenty for me, for the kids and for the house, yet I lack in saying thank you for the completed tasks. I “think” about saying thank you many times for…cleaning, changing diapers, paying the mortgage, hugging me, and mostly putting up with my stubbornness….but I know I don’t say that I am grateful enough. I am grateful for you Luke.

I am grateful for my parents who provided all they possibly could for me, at all times and in all things put us kiddos first in all they did (and still do). For my mom who listens the best and makes everything fun, like really silly-giggly unforgettably fun for all ages,and my dad who inspires my love for big life changing projects, manual labor, and witty sense of humor.  I am grateful for you Rhonda and Gary Sell

After seeing Goldie Hawn on the Doctor Oz show a few days back, I was motivated to start a gratitude list. Check. Soon, check check! I try to spend five minutes a day, adding to the list of things I am blessed with, and plan to be ever thanking people at all times. Goldie explained how sadness/depression changes the make-up of your brain, it physically changes when you boost your mood. I am grateful for that. SMILE

“Keep a gratitude journal to note what you are grateful for. Expressing gratitude has profoundly proven to boost your happiness level and change your state of mind.” – Goldie Hawn

I think of all the Missed Thank you’s when I hear this Song : Jimmy Eat World-Hear You Me

“Gratitude is always an option. Matthew Henry, a famous scholar, was accosted by thieves and robbed of his purse. He wrote this in his diary: ‘Let me be thankful first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, although they took my all, it was not much; an fourthly, because it was I who was robbed not I who robbed.” —Max Lucado




Potty Training My Toddler

Certainly makes me feel older. My daughter is just shy of 2 1/2 years old and she had been showing positive signs for saying good-bye to diapers. So I held a potty party for her this past weekend, with the help of her dad,  it was initally a successful day. By the end of the long day “L” (our daughter) was doing the whole shhbang solo.

Three days later, L is still having accidents. I’ve discovered it is much more work to clean up an accident, then change a diaper, and around dinner time today I almost threw in the towel and resorted back to diapers. Then I felt myself getting older after two accidents fresh out of the bath tub, L must have sensed my frustration too as she smiled and yelled “dammit”.

I thought to myself, “lovely”, then turned my face away from her and burst out laughing. I am thankful that my daughter keeps me laughing, even in through my frustrations.

So we’ll keep working on the potty training and also go to work on my own potty mouth tomorrow.


I don’t wanna grow up.

Give me the choice between a night of painting the town, and an evening finger painting at home; in all my thirty-one years I pick the more childish one.  I have never feared being the most imature person in the room & pride myself in getting down & silly with no worries about how crazy I look. I am a kid at heart. I have endless energy. I love to make-believe, dance and act. I have no problem getting messy. I believe in Neverland, Santa and do-overs. I know my body is physically getting older but have seen no reason to grow up.

in 2009 I became a mommy and then shortly after, became a mommy of two.

Truth? Despite my love for imagination and youth, I feel old for the first time in my life, never quite grown up, but old. Physically exhausted, Emotionally drained at times, Lacking motiviation for much of anything outside of basic needs. (Food, Hygene, Bills). Old.

My struggle between being a grown up about life, while remaining a kid at heart has  motivated this journal.