I'm kind of a big deal

I had been meaning to get over here and post this, for my sake more than anyone else's.
I logged onto Facebook the other day, and had a post from my friend, Veronica, with a link.
It was one of my blogs. On another blog. It was super weird. I believe the first words out of my mouth were "Holy crap!"
So anyways, here you go. It's an old post. It seems like a lifetime ago now.
I'm featured on MomsEveryday.com


i think i'll keep him

(This was today's post from Fruita Moms, where I contribute weekly. I thought I should post it here, for posterity sake. Like, for those moments when he's driving me crazy and I need a reminder of how great he really is :) )
That drive from Gothenburg to Kearney, Neb., was the longest and shortest drive I’ve ever made.
I spent most of it texting my bestie, freaking out about what I was about to do. Yes, I was driving and texting. Yes, Mother, I know you tell me to never drive and text.
It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was driving to Kearney for a date. A real, live date. I had gone on a few before this, but this one I was nervous about.
He invited me over to his house to cook me dinner. No one had ever offered to cook me dinner. This was foreign territory.
I told at least three friends the exact address I would be at. The “supposed” name of this character. I even sent his Facebook page to Sarah, so that when I went missing, they’d know where to start looking for the body.
Paranoid much? Me? Never!
We had talked on the phone the night before, and most of it was laughing and joking. I felt good about my decision to go through with the date, even though I was afraid I might end up in a bath tub of ice, with a missing kidney by morning.
I walked up the driveway, almost dropping the bottle of wine I was carrying (I’m nothing if not dependable about my clumsiness).
He mentioned that he already had a bottle of Malbec open. Which is my favorite red wine. Which I told him. And he actually listened! He was already scoring points from the get-go.
I made sure to immediately alert him to the fact that my friends knew where I was. That if he was a serial killer, he should probably skip me, because they all knew where I was and who I was with. That, and I had to pick up my kids from school the next day, and they’d be really disappointed if Mom didn’t show up because her Sunday night date had ended very, very badly.
In hindsight, I’m not sure why he even continued with the date. I was obviously a little crazy. He should have been scared for his own safety at that point.
Lucky for me, he embraced the craziness. Also, lucky for me, he’s a fantastic cook. He prepared an incredible homemade meal. He lit a candle. He had wine. We ate. We talked. We laughed a lot. We watched a movie. We drank more wine. We talked more. There may have been a kiss or two. Maybe three. That first kiss may have given me butterflies.
It was the best date I’ve ever had.
Six months later, I still melt a little when he smiles. I still act incredulous when he says something sarcastic and snarky to me. This is usually followed by laughter. He takes care of me when I’m not feeling well. He calls me on my ridiculousness when I’m being ridiculous. He’s resigned himself to the fact that his cat, Dexter, loves me more than him. He kills the spiders (with a little fanfare), he cleans my long, red hair out of the shower drain (with just a minimal amount of complaint), and he still cooks for me.


I think I’ll keep him.


I'm Back

I'm over at Fruita Moms again this week, posting about my "new" name. Check it out!

I'm Back


the kids are alright

I'm over at Fruita Mom's this week, talking about my two favorite guys. Come see me over there, and like our Facebook page while you're at it!

The Kids Are Alright

Fruita Moms Facebook Page



One of my most favorite jobs I have ever done consisted of me spending the day with a room full of two-year olds. They were "my kids" before I ever had kids, and oh the tales I could tell. They completely and most definitely broke me in for the job of being a Mom. In fact, I am probably lucky to even have my own kids, because I can remember driving home from work and thinking "Oh my GOD I am never having kids," after a particularly trying day with them.

I "caught" more puke than any 19 year old should have to. You moms out there know. Putting your hands out in front of them, to avoid having to clean up the mess on the floor. I did that. I gagged, but I did it. I laid on the floor at nap time and rubbed backs and watched as those chubby little faces drifted off to sleep, mouths wide open, snoring away. I gave more high-fives for "using the potty" than I care to even imagine, especially since 90% of the time it was pre-hand-washing. I cried when some of my kids moved up to the next room. The day that Drew moved up to the three's room, I was a mess all day. We both were. He would often sneak out of his room to come see what Miss Chris was doing, and I'd pretend to not have time to take him back. Or hide him when they'd come looking for him. I'm not ashamed to say that one time I aided him in taking every single toy out of the toy box, had him crawl in, then covered him up with toys. Every time I'd walk by and peek in on him, we'd both giggle about how sneaky we were.

I did a little dance when others moved up.

Erin and I met while working at the day care, and both started out with the school aged kids, then moved on to the 2-year olds. We were both young and spirited and full of energy. We always had music going in our room, we were brave enough to do projects like shaving cream art and pudding finger paint, and we were most definitely crazy. We fell into a routine, much like a comedy duo, and often one or both of us would be laughing hysterically, with the other teachers coming into our room to see what we were up to.

Erin and I caught up over lunch this week, and she is one of those friends that you just fall back into things instantly with. We were laughing immediately and reminiscing about our days at the Patch and all the craziness that ensued. At one point Erin said "If my kids knew some of the things I did back then, they wouldn't even believe it!"


At one point the conversation turned serious and we started talking about the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. I think it's safe to say we are both cautious and anxious moms. I remarked how, while watching my little brother coach basketball on Monday night, I immediately took note of all the exits in the gym. Something that I shouldn't have to do, but something that is definitely on my radar even moreso now. She noted how she was in Walmart, and was aware of her exits there, and how to get out if she needed to.

I hate that we think this way.

I hate even more that this is going to the norm for our kids. While we grew up having tornado drills (seriously...sitting in the hallway with our heads between our knees?), our kids are having lockdown drills.

That people think the answer is to arm our schools and our teachers.

That people will write the shooter off as a lunatic who was an evil, hateful person. And he may very well have been evil. He was also troubled and mentally ill. That doesn't give him a free ticket by any means, but he was also a human being. I cannot imagine the scope of loss that family is feeling right now, let alone the confusion over what they could have done different.

That people will blame this on poor parenting. There are more than enough inadequate parents out there. Trust me, I've worked with some of the best. Some of the best and brightest kids have had horrible parents. Some of the worst kids in the world have had wonderful parents. Mental illness can't be cured by good parenting, nor is it caused by bad parenting.

I cannot fathom the profound loss these families are experiencing. This is their reality. We're watching it on the news, but they're living it. I've read more than my share of articles and blogs, and it completely tears me apart to even think about being in their place. How scared those kids had to be. Conner is a first grader. I think about how innocent and loving and ultimately goofy that little boy is. The thought of dropping him off at school one day, and never seeing him again, completely guts me.

Most of all, the hate that I've seen from all sides of this makes me sad. From those who think we need more gun control, to those who think we need to arm more people. Those who see mental illness as a joke and those who are living with it and get it.

Love and understanding are our greatest weapons against hate and malice.

Show people love.

Be compassionate.

Practice kindness.

And hug your kids.



When I'm anxious, I find myself counting my fingers.
It's my security blanket. 
Sometimes I do it without even realizing I'm actually doing it.
Pinky to thumb, ring finger to thumb, middle finger to thumb, index to thumb, and start all over.
Back and forth. Repeatedly.
I don't know why I do this, or how it started. I just do it. I've had a few people point it out to me, and I always shrug it off as a nervous tic. Me being jittery.
. I caught myself doing it while I was driving to my Mom's last weekend.
I realized I was doing it while I was watching t.v. with the hipster a few nights ago.
I woke up the night before last doing it.
The thing is, I haven't felt anxious.
I've felt better in the past three months than I have in the past three years.
I've never been a huge fan of change. I get into my routine, and I enjoy that and it's familiar and comfortable and I like it there.
I was offered a fantastic job with a great company doing something that I absolutely love.
I took it. I start November 12th.
I'm going back to school in January.
I'm finally going to finish what I started fourteen (yikes) years ago.
I'm so excited, but I'm so terrified at the same time.  
I'm moving. Again. I love the area I'm moving to, and I'm excited to be closer to friends and family. But it's another move. And it means changes with the boys, which is probably the
most difficult part of it all, but I know we'll all be ok.
I've got this fantastic relationship with a great guy, the aforementioned hipster.
He's charming and funny and supportive. I'm smiling a lot lately, which is wonderful.
My boys love him and think "he's soooo awesome." (Direct quote by Trey, later repeated by Conner)
I think he's pretty awesome too.
I'm feeling a lot more "me" than I have in years. I've missed me. I think I'll keep her around.



Dear Conner,

On a beautiful fall day, seven years ago, they placed a 6 pound 12 ounce baby boy in my arms. Two weeks early, after much whining and begging from your mother, you arrived. Dr. Jones walked into the operating room for our scheduled c-section, and declared "It's a great day for a birthday! Who brought the cake?"

Screw cake, give me the drugs.

Oh my LORD those cheeks. You had the softest, chubbiest cheeks. 

You arrived with much fanfare. There was a room full of family and friends waiting for you and I. Let's be honest, mostly for you. I'll make it a point here to say that if you go back through the pictures taken on your first day, you'll notice your mom is not in ANY of them. It's almost like I wasn't there. But I was, for real. You will, however, notice that your Uncle Joey is in at least half a dozen. To say he was a baby hog that day, is a bit of an understatement.

I'm not entirely convinced Joey didn't tell them to up my drugs, just so he had more Conner time.

You were a fantastic baby. You slept through the night right away. I had to wake you to feed you, and as much as I love my sleep, I loved those quiet moments at night with you. You used to reach up and grab my hair, and you'd hold on to it, or run your chubby hands up and down my face while you ate. Then you'd give a satisifed sigh, close your eyes,  smile and fall back to sleep. Even if you were awake at night, you were happy. You'd just sit and look around and take in the world. Always looking thoughtful and curious. You slept so soundly that I would often wake up in a panic and reach over to make sure you were still breathing.

You were such a good baby, you allowed me to dress you down for Christmas card pictures, and this is the one that went out to our friends and family. Someday you'll hate me for it.
You rolled over at four days old. I thought I had lost my mind. I laid you on the bed to grab something, and I turned for just a moment, and suddenly you were on your tummy, with your butt in the air. I laid you back on your back to make sure I wasn't going crazy, and once again your rolled over, tucked your knees under, and were fast asleep. As your Papa Ray would have said, you were advanced from the get go. You haven't slowed down since.

To say I was nervous to add another boy to the crew, is an understatement. In fact, the day I found out I was pregnant, I believe what I said to your father was "Look at what you did to me!!" followed by a slammed door and the taking of two more pregnancy tests. You were very planned and very wanted, but I was still terrified. I was even more terrified a month later sitting in the emergency room, being told that I was going to deliver at 14 weeks. I spent that night in the OB ward, bargaining with God. And myself. And you. I didn't realize just how much I wanted and needed you, until you were almost taken away. When they sent us home with strict bedrest as an order, I followed it. I did not move off that couch until days after they took us off bedrest. I was a bit paranoid.

You were so happy the day we had Heather Gideon take these photos. You kept smiling and laughing hysterically, and had us all laughing so hard we were crying, Heather included. Even when you fell backwards and smacked your head and we all did the collective gasp, you still smiled.

At seven years old, you have a big personality. You've always been a people person, and you don't know a stranger. Several years ago I took you and Trey to Lincoln to the Children's Museum for the day. We were walking and stopped to cross the street, where a homeless gentleman and his dog sat. Before I knew it, you were reaching over to touch the dog, and all I could think of was, "he's going to lose a finger or get yelled at for touching the dog." You looked over at the man and smiled, and he returned the smile. And I may have melted. On that corner, in Lincoln, you made a friend. He was still sitting outside the building when we left, and I handed you and Trey some money to give to him. Yes, your mother is a softie. You handed it to him with a smile, and as we walked away, you looked back and waved.

You have your own sense of humor. It doesn't always match up with your dear old Mom's. You always play along though, even though I don't know how many times you've answered, "What up, G?" with "My name is Conner, not G."

You're often my partner in crime. You like to help. You're always up for an adventure, big or small. Whether it's sorting laundry, helping make lunch, or working in the yard. If there is something you can help with, you're offering your services, usually with strings attached. You'll make a good politician some day. A few weeks ago you sat at the table and chopped celery while telling me about your day at school, and I remember glancing at you and wondering how on earth the past seven years had gone by so fast. And whether or not you would chop a finger off, because you were telling your tale pretty animatedly and not paying attention to what you were doing. You get that from me, my apologies.


It's hard to believe you're seven. I've always felt like you were an old soul. You are thoughtful and sensitive, goofy and loving. You're constantly giving smiles, hugs and telling others that you love them. You're the first one to notice if I've done something different with my hair or if I paint my nails. You're good for my ego, telling me I'm pretty or that you like what I'm wearing. One morning while I was helping you get ready for school I told you that I thought you were pretty cute. You smiled that heart melting smile and said "That's because I look like you."

Flattery will get you everywhere, dear son. Remember that in a few years when you're breaking curfew and grounded for the weekend. I love you to the moon and back, Con. Happy birthday, and thank you for picking me as your Mom.