Down A Memory Lane

I recently attended a women’s night out event in Mankato at the Marriot Courtyard event center. I went solo, but eager to meet new ladies in the area. The night included shopping, raffles, photos, a lovely dinner & motivational speaker(who was top notch).

While we enjoyed our salad a sweet gal next to me says “you look really familiar” . I am not the best with names, so I started down the list of places we could have crossed in the past. Church-no, previous jobs-no, my current job-no, my hometown area-no, Mankato State U-no, my husband’s high school-no Hmmm I thought, surely I just “look” like someone she’s met before.

Into the main course she says, have you ever lived in Marshall? uh yes, Southwest State U, Yes, in 2000- 2001 YES! While being a resident assistant I met a lot of the student population, but I would remember clearly if she lived in my crazy dorm (Shout out to you Armstrong) Then It came to me “by any chance were you on royalty for SSU Homecoming in 2000” I inquired (it was a long shot).

Untitled-1 copy“YES!”

It was the connection we’d been looking for! When she represented the Freshman class, I the Sophomore class. What are the odds? This us 13 long years ago!



Today-We both are working ladies in the Mankato community married(she does massage), and mommies(she is expecting her 1st in September). Wow! What are the odds of this? (p.s there are 150+ other women at the event & we are sitting side by side)

But we learned that evening, as we were motivated to be the best version of ourselves, that everything does happen for a reason. At the end of every. single. conversation. is a memory. A new one or an old one, & sometimes BOTH!

Untitled-4 (this was taken with some of my co-corkers on staff at SSU that year)

The happy dance

Today’s lunch was the most successful dinner my family of four has had IN Months. It began when my husband reminded me of a gift card to Olive Garden. Despite my vivid memory of how awful the last trip was, I was fueled by my excitement for food, I love food.

Before the meal arrived, I had mentally envisioned the craziness that is our 1 & 3 year at the dinner table. (tossing food,standing on the bench, yelling, not eating, madness) Not looking to see what my husband had ordered, I had scarfed down 1/2  my meal. I came up for air to hear him remind me to slow down.

I can’t I thought, if I hesitate now, I’ll miss my chance to warm food. One of the kids will be freaking out soon. But No One Did. Everyone just ate the food they were given. I am so used to fast-forward eating, I hadn’t even noticed the calm & somewhat quiet.

“Mom, I have to go potty”

Ah Yes, I thought, this more like it. Here is where is all goes down hill, I said to myself rushing my little girl to the furthest corner of the restaurant.

As she sat wide eyed in the bath room, I was pondering what messes where yet to come during our meal time madness. Then a huge smile came across her face… little lady was doing the ‘happy dance”.

“Dance music, Mommy, in the bathroom, let’s dance, there’s dance music in here” she giggled with excitement.

And so we did, right there with my half dressed little lady I danced. Once again she reminded me to let go of the stresses of this life, take things as they come, and when the music is playing (wherever you are) be ready to dance.

Two Dollar Bills

Lela found two one dollar bills on the kitchen counter on our way out the door.

“Mom, May I please bring these to the store and pick out a treat” Without hesitation I agreed, hoping this would move along the process of getting out the door.

During the car ride she held tight to the two dollars with excitement in her eyes. I could envision she was thinking of rows and rows of candy, and the endlessness of choice. In my mind I busy preparing myself for how I was going to break the news….you’re going to have to share this candy with your brother, no you may not have hard candy, we have those at home already, just one. We most certainly had different goals for the two little dollars, I was sick with worry.


Clutching my hand with hers we walked the hy-vee parking lot. In her other hand she held her money up into the sunshine, as if trying to see a secret message on the one dollar bill.

Then we stopped, and lela stared at the man with the bell, and the man with the bucket. We watched several people pass him by without a word. Then I squatted down and explained as briefly as I could what is in the red bucket. Without hesitation she folded her two little dollar bills and pushed them into the red pail.

“Have good day” she grinned.

And into the store we went. She never once asked for the money back, or for replacement of the candy she surely can’t get now. I was honestly speechless.

Through the eyes of a child I am reminded of the joy of giving and I plan to look for more ways to give, to sacrifice something I think I would enjoy for something someone else really needs.

The Manual to Toddlers

My little S-Man (21 months) brings me story book, after story book,  after story book all. day. long. It’s easily his passion right now, to hear a good book, or 50.

I’ve never enjoyed reading books, growing up, I did everything I could to avoid it. Now (when time allows) I read “real life” only. Those books must have good tips on photography, or how to cook dinner, or must answer my Q’s and A’s about….something. So why doesn’t my son understand I may honestly vomit if I have to read the tractor book again?

Where is the manual for my little toddlers? What makes them happiest, saddest? How can I get them to eat, or pray or ideally both? Why don’t they want their own space, “they are always around” (one of my favorite lines from Big Daddy)? Will they ever be grateful? How do I teach them grace and compassion? Why do they want to read the same book over and over again? Will I ever have enough time?

Probably not.

But I can choose and make time to read my little man another one of his favorite make-believe stories about the little Elmo that could. And I hope somewhere between Sesame Street and the Farmer in the Dell, I find the real life story of us, no manual needed.


She’s been counting to ten, sometimes fifteen even for a few weeks now. So tonight while Lela stood proud in front of her grandma and recited her numbers, I proposed a new challenge.

Now count backward” I encouraged her.

HMMM I could see the wheels turning in her head as she slowly did a 180 and turned her back to her grandma, then began again…..1….2….3…..4….5.


A Sucky Dilemma

Dear Very Very Sweet Meaning lady who works the counter at a large sporting store, please keep your suckers to yourself. I really do appreciate your kind gesture to my two year old (not very responsible with candies on a stick) daughter. BUT now I have to spend the next thirty minutes explaining to her why we don’t have suckers in the van.

I get that people are just trying to be nice, but do me a solid Sugar Giving Cashier and ask me first before you hand over the sweetness to my child. It’s a long walk to the van, we still need to get coats on, kids in and out of strollers, groceries in the back seat AND take the twenty minutes drive home….before I would even consider letting her open the thing.

Sigh, but now your kind ten calories of sweetness gesture is bringing the three of us to tears. Lela is upset, I’m heart broken, and Siah keeps tossing in his ba ba ba ahhhh two cents. I do my best to focus on the road as Lela yells (louder each time) “I want my sucker!”….When I all I want to do it toss it out the window.

This Sucks, I thought to myself, I feel old (er)- I feel like a mother. All because of a little dum-dum.

No Butts About It

It started with potty training and the immense freedom of taking off her pants to use the potty. Now as I write, she sits in our sunny living room at 2pm smashing her brother’s cars, all the while in her whitey tighties & pig tails.

The running in underwear habit doesn’t happen every day, but each night we put her to bed, we tuck her. in. and. wait. Some nights it’s just her pj top, some nights top and bottoms, and a few a nights she manages to get all the way down to her birthday suit before rolling over to sleep. I consider it a win for me if the pull-up remains on and she’s sleeping, and a point for Lela if she is able to get naked and return to the living room….graced with a smile, wide awake.

There’s no chance she got this habit from me, I wear a multitude of layers everywhere, I despise being cold and sleep with a heated blanket. I assume she’s warm blooded like her father.

Uglier with age

When my two year does these things its comical, at times even cute, but when we grow up….aka turn Three, its no longer as entertaining, why is that?

Farting “I tooted mom”
Pooping “yeah I made a poop turd”
Burbing  “Excuse me, I burp”
Swearing “Dammit, dammit, dammit”
Chewing with her mouth open & then showing it off
Eating things off the floor
Running around naked


The day I almost died 2.23.11

Our son was set to arrive via c-section the following Monday, when I arrived mid morning to the doctor for my Wednesday maternity check up. Despite having elevated blood pressure, a tummy ache and feeling a bit under the weather, the nurse ended my appointment by saying “see you Monday”.

That evening we attended the 7pm Hosanna worship service. Feeling esp pregnant that evening I hesitated to go, but made it into the church lobby with my husband and my daughter. As Luke prepared to play guitar for service, I concluded I didn’t feel well enough to stay and packed up Lela to head home. (Luke would find a ride home after service)

The pain in my stomach was gaining intensity as I struggled to carry Lela in her carrier to the vehicle. When she was secure in the van, life got fuzzy fast. I got sick in the church parking lot, and my head exploded in pain. Knowing I was suddenly in no state to drive, I called Luke and mumbled something emergency like & then hung up on him.

Seconds later Luke was speeding through red lights on Victory, confirming we were going to the ER only a few blocks away. For the only time in my life….I thought I was dying. I couldn’t open my eyes because my brain was pushing on them, I held my head out the window into the February chill in attempt to ease the  pain. Migraine x 500% pain.

The pounding was endless, the hospital lobby so invasively bright, “My head hurts so bad” I remember saying over and over again. “No its not a migraine, can I have an ice pack, can I have another or drugs, make it stop!” Luke was doing his best to keep me calm, but I could see color fading from his face.

Once on the maternity floor I was swarmed. We would deliver baby Schultze before the Pre Eclampsia got worse. I kept my eyes closed majority of the time, unless signing a document, I held the ice packs to my eyes, and asked for something, anything, to make it stop.

Organized chaos was in our room. No one was smiling, everyone was moving, moving quickly. Two hours after we arrived, our 5.13oz boy was born. I don’t remember much from the surgery except my mounting anticipation to hear him cry, “dear God, please let him cry.” When he did, the staff reassured me it was certainly meant to be his birthday and his umbilical chord was very weak.

Recovering from pre-eclampsia was miserable. For the first hour I shivered uncontrollably, while Luke introduced our son to the world. For the next 24 hours I was bed ridden while entertaining a constant flow of magnesium in my IV. I concluded it was much like being very drunk and having a hangover to boot. No food, no visitors & not functional enough to hold my new baby, made for a long day. To end the day I became faint while walking again and had to be caught from falling by two nurses. Recovering from pre-eclampsia was miserable.

But, I am alive.

I am alive to be a better mother then before, a better wife and a better advocate for mothers to be.

Today I look at my one year old son and know I would do it again, to know he would be at the end of all the suffering. Many miracles happened that day. It was completely God’s will we were only blocks from the hospital that evening and that Luke was able to be by my side. I am forever grateful and indebted to the staff at ISJ Mankato who delivered my precious little Siah-man and saved. my. life.



Get yourself prepared

When Lela looked out at the snow falling last week, she asked “what happening momma?” Her concern looked on her face encourage me to comfort her. So I proceeded to explain to her that this is snow, and normal, and the weather we had been having prior was not normal. She seemed uninterested in what I had to say, and continued ” but I want to see the road, what is happening? Where did the road go?”

Over-prepared I thought, for the first time in all of my winters, I’ve over prepared. I started by making a list in the Fall of how to better winterize our home and prepare fot the masses of snow (I was thinking feet) we were certain to get.

Gassed up the snowblower,
Insulated the deck door and boarded it with plywood to surely keep out the cold south wind,
Wrapped our little sapling pear trees to protect them,
Stocked up on ice melt salt for the sidewalks around our home,
Searched aimlessly for tiny boy snowboots, in which my first trip actually ended up buying faux fur boots, assuming they were boys, Luke reassured me there were certainly not,
I even made a special trip in to town to buy snow boots for myself(which I have not purchased since 1999).

Any other winter=prepared. This year=over-prepared.

My snow boots are still in the box collecting dust at the bottom of my closet and my son hasn’t even tried his hard earned boots on.

“No snow-mans this year” I told Lela,
I decided to save my global warning speech for a later date, but I reassured her, that this is no normal weather for Minnesota, and in all my 31 short years I had not seen one like this.