Friday, September 18, 2015

Letters to my children: We are Here.

Dearest Michael and Katelynn, 

School is in full swing.
We have found our rhythm and it is so good. 
We know when to wake, when to eat, when to hurry it up, and when to be in the car.
We know when the train goes through town and stops traffic for a few minutes and when to leave for school so we don't get stuck in the line.
We know what to expect each day, who our teachers are, who the talkers are and how we are going to be picked up at the end of the day.

STRUCTURE feels so good. 

We are adjusting to wearing uniforms and getting over the loss of our "fashion freedom".
We have a lot of orange and wear it with Pride.
 We have our homework routine down. 
We know when we have to work and when we can wait until tomorrow.

We have been to a football game and have figured out what it means to be a part of a small town that gets excited when Friday night rolls around. 
We also figured out that the concession stand has blizzards and chic-fil-a so it's the coolest concession stand we have ever visited.
We are BEARS!

We have found some people. 
We have found places and spaces in this community that are beginning to feel comfortable.
We are building our tribe and figuring out how that works in the new setting.
We have found a dance studio, a baseball team, and a church. 

We have been hunting in the back yard. 
We have been shooting at sticks and cans and birds.
We have all the camo and can sit in the field for hours.

We are settling into the house. 
It's all unpacked except for the VHS tapes...because, why do we have a box of VHS tapes? And what about the box of CD cases....Why do we have a box of CD cases and where are the CDs?
We (I) may have a problem with the above mentioned boxes.

We are working hard.
We are remembering to feed the animals and are preparing for chickens. (What??)
We check the cows everyday and run at them with flapping arms when they are in the yard.

We are finding free time. 
(We are obviously having some unsupervised free time.)
We are taking "prison showers" in the yard because we are enjoying the outside.
We are learning about the property and the river and the cave and all the cool forest stuff there is to do when you live in the country.

We have had a lot of family time. 
We are settling in. 
We are figuring out the place the God has prepared for us. 

We just might make make it in our new place.

Each month I participate in this blog circle with some incredibly talented mothers who write a letter to their children. Click below to get to Holli's blog to see what she has to say to her kids this month. Hop around until you get back here.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Letter to my children: August

I'm not sure if you knew this, but we moved this summer to a new town. And just as we were beginning to adjust, school started. Along with new crayons, came new feels. The hard, lonely, new kid (mom) feels. And so not cool. I thought we were good with the move. I thought we were done with new. I thought wrong.

Dear Michael,

Dude! A locker? Eight classes? Pre-Athletics? No hometown teacher to buy teacher gifts for? This is such new territory. I walk in the school and no one knows me or cares that I'm your mom. You are the star of this show. You walked in to meet the teacher with a confidence that floored me. 

"New teachers? What's the big deal? Completely new halls and people? Whatever...New doesn't phase me anymore..." (Not his words-my interpretation of the strut.)

You have made new friends. Good friends. You are always with said friends. I'm embracing that you are becoming a package deal. I want you, then I get the boys. It is such a wonderful deal. I'm so proud of you. 

You decided to throw a new baseball team in while we were floundering in our "new" this summer.  So cool. So confident. It has helped our family transition better than any awkward play date I could have mustered. 

Thank you. Thank you for leading us when I just wanted to sit in a corner. Y

I love you boy!

Heavenly Father, thank you for my Michael. Thank you for all our new and for holding on to our family so tightly even when we were struggling to break free. We prayed for You to go ahead of us and I'm so grateful you have prepared a place for him. Please protect his head and heart this year. Let him be a light to the people at school. May he lead others to you. I pray for him to be bathed in peace and wisdom this year. Amen. 

Beautiful Katelynn,

As we close the summer books and enter 4th grade, you have matured exponentially. You use big words, talk fast, and have a wit that is matched only by your handsome daddy. 

You have faced fears this summer and done it gracefully and confidently. You've endured pain in a mature way and have expressed your pain and hurt with words instead of sass or whine (most days). 

No friends yet and You are so okay with it (most of the time). Your decision. And you told me that you will make friends on your own time. The friendships I was trying to force are not your style. So wise. 

I'm excited for you and the next year we will face together. I'm ready for you to walk confidently into your school and know your place within the halls. I know you your own way and in your time. 

Even your mirror is encouraging and empowering. 

"Perfect outfit!"

"I love myself"

"You rock"

"Have an awesome day".

Girlfriend, you do rock. 
I love you to the moon.

Heavenly Father, thank you for this girl. She floors me with her heart and her love for others. She is kind and thoughtful. Please continue to protect her heart and her mind. Watch her as she meets so many new people. May she remain confident and full of a healthy amount of self-love. May I learn from her example. Give her wisdom and boldness to love others well. Amen. 

I'm participating in a monthly blog circle with some beautifully talented mothers. Hop over to Terri's blog here or using the link below and see what she and Michelle are up to. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Letters to my children: July

Each month I participate in a blog circle with some very talented women. See below for the next link.


You have had a busy and sweaty summer. And somewhere in the middle of all that was going on, you turned 11. I can not believe you are 11 and you will be starting middle school in a few weeks. I'm just not ready.

It's hard for me to know how to parent you sometimes. You are a loud, crazy, prank-pulling boy some days. Other times, you are reflective, emotional, and need extra quality time. I love all these times even if I don't completely understand the rhyme or reason they ebb and flow erratically during the day. I feel the same emotional pull too.

I'm anxious about making new friends and figuring out where I fit in too.

I'm worried that my friends back in Tyler will forget about me too.

I'm nervous that this new start will be hard and too much for me to handle.

We have to remember that we are on the same team. We are figuring it out. I wrote on your board in your room last night that I love you and we would figure it out together. You countenance lifted and the scowl, that seems to be appearing frequently, faded. Your beautiful smile took its place...

Thank you for being such a good boy. Thank you for wanting to be a good man and for fighting your way through to puberty... (even if I'm not ready for it). I am proud at how hard you work whether its checking fence lines and cows twice a day or catching for hours a day with your team, you are bringing it with your whole heart.

Love you so,



Beautiful are 9 now. You make me laugh (and want to pull my hair out). We cuddle and we fight. Sometimes I am so sorry you are just like me. Sometimes I am so proud that you are just like me. Watching you grow and learn this summer has shown me so much about myself. The little discipline issues we work on slap me back in the face when I react the exact same way you do.

(I'll stop calling people jerks if you will stop calling your brother a jerk).

(I'll stop telling your brother he's getting on my nerves if you will stop telling your brother he's getting on your nerves).

(I'll stop sighing when frustrated if you will too.)

We are on the same team...(and that team is not opposite of your brother). Thank you for loving fiercely. Thank you for taking charge and keeping us straight. Thank you for honesty that pulls me back into focus.

I love you to the moon...(and back again).

The women in this blog circle are photographers and mothers from different places, but we all are moms trying to take it all in, one month at a time. 

Cut and paste the link below to see what Michelle has to say.

Follow the circle around until you get back here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Letters to my Children: Counting Down

****Letters to our Children is a monthly blog circle made up of crazy talented photographers/mothers. We have bigs and littles and we take this time each month to stop and write our people. After you read the adventures of M and K, hop over to Kasey's blog here. 
Hop around until you get back here.**** 

Dearest M and K,

We are officially counting down so many things in our lives.

3 more days until we move everything we can to the new house (and sleep on floors and out of suitcases for two weeks because of the next countdown...)

12 more days of school...of elementary school for Michael...of Tyler schools where we have always been... (unless we skip the last day of school, then its 11).

15 more days until we close on the Tyler house and are moved in our new home.

24 days until we go on vacation with the family.

Counting down. And while we count we are in the middle of all of it. Not settled. Not really living at one house or the other. Not going to church anywhere consistently yet. Not going to dance anymore. It has been hard.

This transition has been so good for you to get through all the stages of mourning and finally be ready to live at the new house, in the new town, with the new church, school, and people. But the next 3 weeks we will be in a harder holding pattern than we have experienced in the last 6 months.

Dearest Little man.... no more elementary school. 

Cheese and Crackers I AM NOT READY. There is no way you are big enough to be in middle school. And being 10 almost 11 is so hard. Are you a little kid or a big kid? Do you need me to help you or not? Do you want me to parent you or not? Can you handle staying up a little later or not? Do you need your own phone like all your friends? (NO)

Every year on your birthday and the week after I decide I don't like the new age. Turned 8....8 took away my sweet little boy. Turned 9... 9 is worse in the attitude department than 8. Turned 10...10 and your eyes roll like you are a teenager. How will you ever roll those eyes harder or cut them slighter at me when you are a teen? (Maybe you should back off a little so you have room to grow your teenage disgust and expression.)

Next month you will be 11 in a new town, at a new school, at a new church, with new friends.  Keep your head held high. I'm proud of the great change you are accepting and facing head on. I'm proud that you are ready to be at the farm and ready to experience whatever it is we will be facing in our new place. 

I'm am proud of the little man I see you becoming everyday...

Sweet are wearing me smack out. 

This emotional roller coaster we are on every day is exhausting and frightening. I can only imagine how this is effecting you and your sweet little mind and body. 

I'm so sorry you are a girl and that being a girl sucks sometimes. I'm so sorry that I'm the meanest mommy in the galaxy and that I never listen to you. I'm so sorry that I am actually listening and I don't know how to help you sometimes.

I understand that moving has taken its toll on you physically and spiritually. I understand that you feel homeless and lost with your stuff spread in two places and a countdown to the new life you cannot fathom. I know because I'm drowning right along with you.

Girlfriend, your new room is going to be fabulous. Your new friends are going to be fabulous. And your new school is going to be fabulous.... (even with the uniforms that take away your "fashion freedom"....). 

I am so proud that you are ready to take this on even when it effects you in uncontrollable ways.

You are gonna rock this little town and leave joy in your wake. 

Days...that's what we have. You are equipped to fight and succeed. And we will do this together.

Have a good day.
Be a good friend.
Put your smile on.
Remember that I love you.


****Letters to our Children is a monthly blog circle made up of crazy talented photographers/mothers. We have bigs and littles and we take this time each month to stop and write our people. After you read the adventures of M and K, hop over to Kasey's blog here.
Hop around until you get back here.**** 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Children Letters-April and Handsome Daddy

***Follow the blog circle...see link below****

 Beautiful children of mine,

We are so close to our relocation that things at (old) home are ending and kinda sucking and things at (new) home have not started and kinda nothing. It is a crazy long drawn-out transition that makes some things easier and some things so much harder. 

But through to all, your handsome daddy has been such a rock for our family. He has stepped in and been the "nester" for the new house. He has been the voice of reason and thoughtfulness. He has taken care of two homes for 4 months. And he has not complained about the tremendous pressure and work stress he is experiencing. 

I am so thankful for your beautiful daddy. I am overwhelmed so often with his tremendous love for us. I am so unworthy of him. 

I infrequently pray for your future spouses. I get very caught up in parenting through our daily trials and feel like I "win" if we actually survive the day. But sometimes I am all caught up, and these future people come to mind. And I hope it is a long way off and that your rock star dad gives you so much to look forward to and strive for. 

So, here is what I want you to know. I love your father deeply. Deeper every day. I only pray that you will so be in love with the hot spouse God gives you. When God gives you the person you are to marry, measure up to dad. Setting your standard so high will only bring overwhelming joy for your life. 

He loved me more than I could even understand way before I thought he would and when I was sure there was no way he should. He got "it" way before I did. He is the most unselfish hardworking person you will ever come in contact with. He is the most dedicated and trustworthy person we will ever know. He is the perfect man for me. 

I feel like it's important for you to know more about him this month. He has been traveling and has been away from us for days during the week. He hates this time away. He feels each minute he isn't with us and is jealous of our minutes and stories (and annoyances) he misses while gone. 

Take it easy on dad. This man would lay down his life for you and one day you appreciate how amazing he is. 

I love you guys. Thanks for rocking this month. 

Beat the crap out of the Staar test this week. You are my superheroes!

Joyfully loved,

***I am participating in a monthly blog circle with some amazing and talented women who also write letters to their children. Please follow the circle around until you get back here......Starting with Michelle here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Letters to my kids: The beginning of Crazy episodes

To my little man and my sister-girl,

Surviving time change and a rainy spring break and the impending move has been challenging. Remember when I rocked this parent thing...and by "rocked" I mean, remember how you survived? I managed to keep up with you 8 and 10 years and keep you fed. Your "alerts" of hunger or pain or dirty diapers were monotonous but I knew how to fix those problems. Face it, we were quite a team.

Since the announcement of our impending move we have gone through all of the stages of mourning....denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And I totally get these emotions. And I totally understand how the move makes you feel lost and alone and mad and upset. I get this. I'm feeling these things right along with you. These are hard, but logical to me.

But now? I feel like we aren't on the same team anymore. You have actual feelings that need to be addressed. You have the beginnings of a little bit of crazy. I have battled Crazy my entire am I supposed to parent you two plus a little crazy with any success?

The beginnings of Crazy are hard for me. You will survive missing a meal (or gagging down a barely edible one). We will survive the bad smells you are emitting or at least fix them with a little body spray.  But, what if you really are jacked up because of my parenting failures during these emotional crazy episodes?

Crying for no reason.....I don't know what to do with that!  It was so much easier when I could check the back of your pants, address the "crap" and move on. This new "crap" isn't as addressable. It lingers longer than expected and leaves in the blink of an eye.

Yelling (a lot)....I don't know what to do with that. (Yelling back isn't helping...I'm at a loss).

Feeling overwhelmed because it is Wednesday..... I don't know what to do with that. Or how to equip you to deal with it.

I want you to know when you are crying, yelling, and feeling overwhelmed I am right there with you. I am so sorry. I miss the days you were easy to fix. I miss the days we rocked it together. I can't fix these crazy episodes.  Every other episode (crazy "alerts"), I feel like I fail. I just don't know what to do. And it feels wrong to tell an eight year old to suck it up. (And I'm gonna go ahead an apologize for that and offer to help pay for future therapy that results from this stage of parenting...I'll go half-sies.)

We will probably survive these pre-crazy years. We will look back and feel like we were on the same team in about 3 years (when you are full fledged crazy and switching teams again). I'm confident we will get back to loving and laughing most of the time again. I'm confident that this all very normal, no matter how much it sucks.

So, please remember that I love you with my whole self. I am so ready to look back on this and know that we rocked this season too. Until then, we'll hug and I get another box of kleenex.

Have a good day.
Be a good friend.
Put your smile on.
Remember I love you.
And be kind to someone today.

I love you too much.


***I am participating in a monthly blog circle with some amazing and talented women who also write letters to their children. Please follow the circle around until you get back here......Starting with Terri's letter....

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Adventures of Sunny

This is Sunny. He's alive and well...swimming and eating and doing all the other things fish do...

We were sure he would no longer be with us last weekend. In an effort to de-clutter my house, I decided that Sunny (K's fish...that didn't have a name until the fiasco) needed to move. So move he did. To K's room... It was a great opportunity to clean out and clean up her room and move the shelf from my kitchen. It was also a great opportunity to clean out his tank. 

I've never had a fish. I'm not a lover of animals. Any animals. So, the prospect of moving a fish tank and cleaning it up kinda stressed me out.  But I can do it. And teach k. And it will be a wonderful moment when we are finished and the tank is clean and we can sit in her room and admire our work.

Except that's not what happened. Did you know that you have to acclimate the fish to the water before you dump it out of your measuring cup back into the tank? Even if you squirt a bunch of fish tank stuff in the water.... Well, I did not know this. Handsome assumed I was knowledgable about not killing fish. I am/was not. 

The cleaned tank and fresh water was moved into sister's room. The shelf was organized and chair was placed perfectly for a reading/admiring my fish nook. Fish dumped. Checked off the to do list. Moving on the cleaning the house (or watching TV)...

As I sat on the couch "cleaning the house", 

K screamed: Something is wrong with Sunny. 

Me: Who's Sunny? 

K: My fish!!

Oh. Well ok. Now what.... So we sat on her perfectly placed reading/admiring fish nook chair and watched Sunny lay on the rock in the tank. 

Crap. I think I killed her fish. And we had just figured out a name for it after 10 months of ownership. I walked outside to Handsome to tell of the dramatic aquatic happenings when he asked about acclimating the fish. 


Whating the what? 

Handsome came in and concurred with K. I had indeed killed the fish. 

I apologized. Told her that Sunny lived a long time for a fish. And promised a shopping trip for Sunny Jr. 

K: It's okay mom. I think she's having babies. 

Me: ........(blank stare)..........

K: That's why she's about to die. She's about to have baby fish like in Charlotte's web. (please read that with growing excitement)

Me: ..........maybe..........

She continued to sit in her perfectly placed chair for reading/admiring her fish and I left the room to ponder the unexpected pregnancy and death of Sunny. (Where do we even go from here, you might on...)

A few minutes later I came back in to check on sister and Sunny. I found K in her perfectly placed chair for reading/watching the miracle of birth and she was crying. Because I had killed her fish. (Worst mother ever) We cuddled in the perfectly placed chair for learning about life and death. And she decided we needed to bury him. (please note: Sunny is still a "him" even though he's about to have miraculous babies and die....)

What a great idea! We can all sit crammed in our tiny bathroom and say a few words as we flush the fish. Nope. Unacceptable. We have to have a memorial. Katelynn got right on it. She decided the time of death was 2:30 and we would have the service at 3:00.  She got to work. Dug a whole right off the front porch so that every time we tripped and sprained our ankle in the hole off the porch, we could remember Sunny. 

We met at 3:00 on the porch...right beside the hole. (PLEASE NOTE THAT SUNNY IS STILL ALIVE,,,,THIS IS JUST A MEMORIAL SO WHEN THE FISH FINALLY DIES, WE CAN JUST FILL THE HOLE UNCEREMONIOUSLY) Handsome conveniently had to run to Lowe's and was excused from the service. Little Man tried super hard to get out of this but I explained in a compassionate and loving voice that he had to man up and stick this out with me. 

Sister created the "rip". 

I didn't know what that was either... Luckily, a week later, we still have it laying around...

The grave marker. His rip. MEMORIALIZED!

Michael and I had to write down what we loved most about Sunny. (And Michael asked who Sunny was during the service...was he not paying attention???) My words were picked to be said aloud. 

"I love that Sunny (is that his name?) was a good fish to Katelynn. I am thankful that he was a good fish for our family"

We had a moment of silence and then went about our day as if there wasn't a death in the family...because there WASN'T. But I feel like we have saved minutes of future time for when Sunny finally does get dumped in a hole right off the back porch. But we will have to dig another one because Handsome could no longer stand it and convinced K that the hole needed to be filled in on Monday. We gave the fish a good 2 days before we gave up on the burial.

Handsome has requested that K not be in charge of pulling his plug...

Joyful today for non-dead fish and for a sister girl that entertains *even while in mourning...

This is where the fish was... doesn't it look grown up (especially with the b-b gun on the ground...

Joyfully full of it,