Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

Top 10 Memories of this Christmas
10. The snow that just. kept. falling. - I think we got 7 inches. Postponing our Christmas plans with our family. Disappointing but hoping we can reschedule.
9.  Going to the movies - "Night at the Museum"
8.  Christmas Eve Service - Meredith's ballet dance.
7.  Last minute drinks and appetizers with friends (2 days before Christmas)
6.  Cold.  Cold.  Cold.
5.  Daddy's calendar got #1 gift
4.  Finishing our Christmas puzzle
3.  Dinner with Grandma and Grandpop
2.  Receiving over 75 cards from our friends and family in the mail!
1.  One thing you need, one thing you want, one thing to make the world a better place  - This was our gift giving strategy this year.  We drew names and spent all of December planning and talking and giving.  I think it was the BEST thing we've ever done.  We gave money to the Humane Society, Ft. Collins Read Aloud, and Adopt -a-Family.  It was so wonderful to give AND receive this year. 
    Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmassy things

Somewhere between the first verse and chorus of  "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" I teared up.  We were all sitting in our favorite pew at church, standing and worshipping the Lord.  My daughters are all 3 very great singers, and it truly felt like I was in the middle of a choir.  They were singing parts, and I paused for a second just to enjoy the sound of their trio.  To say it was beautiful would be minimizing it.  It was angelic.  I felt so blessed to have been the audience of one to their mini-concert.  I love it when we all sit together at church.  We are unified with our presence, even if we all hear the words differently and process the content differently.  I love the routine that "church" is for our family.  It is a KNOWN.  All we do is come with a heart that is ready.  December is a favorite time for us, mostly because of the music.  Christmas carols, traditional hymns, advent candles.  We love the whole shebang.   

Most years, we make our way up to the mountains and cut down our Christmas tree from the big forest.  It is one of our favorite traditions.  Sometimes there is snow, sometimes there is wind.  Most of the time, the weather is just wintry and it revs us up for the whole Christmas season.

Molly, our doggie, loves this annual romp in the woods.
She is busy, busy smelling all of the new smells that she never smells in the city...

It has been said over the past few weeks that this is our best tree ever. 
I think that we say that every year, BUT... This year, it just might be true...
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

thoughts on a new time

A little over 13 years ago, I was married to a man who walked out on his family. Our children were 2 1/2 and 6 months old.  I begged and pleaded for him to stay, to do the "right thing". He left.  Turns out, the right thing was that we wouldn't be married to each other any more. Experts would probably say that we shouldn't have EVER married.  But we did.   I don't mourn or miss him.  Over the years, I mourned what "should have been" and "what I planned", but I have always believed (and still do) that in man's mess, God can be even bigger.  And God was.  In so many ways.  More ways than I can even write in a single blog post.  Mostly, God chose to give to me and my oldest 2 daughters the gift of our Patrick.  Husband and step-dad extraordinaire.  Add to that our 2 younger children and you have the gift with a BOW on it.  We are blessed.  We were taken care of, not by a man, but by our Father in heaven and for that we are so grateful.

Tonight was new.

Very new.

Because of our parenting plan, I have taken my 2 oldest daughters over to their dads house 2-3 times a week for 12 years.  Tonight, my oldest daughter took she and her sister.  In her car.  She.  Drove.
It has been a strange night for me.  I'm so thankful that I don't have to interrupt our regular life and schedule to drive my older girls over to their dads.  I'm so happy that I don't have to endure how upset and angry they are when they have to go to their dads.  I'm so relieved that I'm "off the hook" from even entering the space of "that world over there".  BUT...

It's what we've known.  Even for my 2 little people - it's what we have always done.  Every Monday and Thursday night... since FOREVER...this is our routine.  Over the years, I've taken the girls to many different places that their dad called "home".  Different addresses, same routine.  And now... we have a new routine.  And it is such a relief.  And SO new.  And so wonderful.  And so terrifying.  How can so many emotions exist at one time???

God's grace has been poured out on us so many times over the last 12 years.  I couldn't recall them all even if I tried.  And here, tonight, is another example of that grace.  The big girls made it to their dad's safely, we at home were awarded peace and calm because we didn't have to rush across town.  It's the end of an era for me.  The place where I longed to be, so many years ago.  Free.  And here we are.

There's a chilled bottle of champagne waiting for me when I embrace what is to be celebrated. Because the bottom line is...
This is good.  Really good. My sweet 16 year old is responsible and capable to drive herself and her sister.  That ALONE is to be celebrated.  

Until then... I will ponder.  And be grateful, SO grateful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A trippy trip

Last weekend, Marky and I went on a little mini-trip to Portland, Oregon. 
The 3 day "Get-away" was a gift for her 16th birthday
and it included just the 2 of us making our way to the Northwest. 
This quote above describes what I got to experience with my daughter while we were away.
She has depth.
She is so creative.
She is her very own unique person.
She has tastes that are her own.
She has interests that are quirky and wonderful.
She is her own kind of beautiful.
We shopped - thrift stores, farmers market, specialty boutiques, consignment, Saturday market, and even the Goodwill.
We ate ice cream.
We got pedicures.
We walked.
We laughed about how much Grandma would have hated some of the stores we went into.
We sat in silence.
We chatted.
We tasted yummy food.
We smelled delicious smells.
We marveled at the urban, chic, city-folk. 

 I loved being able to focus on just this child,
watching her watch the world.
The lens she looks through
is different than mine.
It was such a joy to see what captured her attention.
What she wanted to buy, what she wanted to capture in a photo,
what made her laugh, what made her think.
 Many times during the weekend, I thanked God for the privilege
and delight it is to be her mom.
And her friend.
I asked God to help me love her better. More.
And mostly...
I just REALLY loved being with her.


 We sat at the counter at this bakery, and we watched this lady build a fire.
She was graceful in her movements and so attentive to her task.
Her beauty held our gaze much longer than we first expected.
It was as if we were momentarily mesmerized by the choreography of her job.
She made it look like a dance.
 It was a joy to get to know my sweet 16 year old
in a new a different way .
To appreciate our sameness... our differences.
To hope for a happy future for her.


And though she be but little,
She is Fierce.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Its November.  This is a special month for me as the Mama around here because it is the month that I FIRST became a mama (16 years ago!)!  Everything about the month reminds me of those very first feelings of giving birth, having a newborn, being engrossed in the newness of motherhood.

It is a month to be focus on being grateful.  I am so grateful for my life.  It's a life that is a pleasure.  It is a life that requires work and prayer and an attentive heart.  There are days that have the fragrance of joy all over them, and then there are the days that well... they don't.  And for those days, I move deeper into grace and thanksgiving.

I am drawn towards certain Christmas music even during the Thanksgiving season.  I just love
this song, and this one .  This second song reminds me of this walk that I took with my dad when I was a very small child, 3 or 4.  Quite possibly it was on Christmas Eve.  Also possible was that my sister and mom were with us.  All I remember is that we walked in the snow, at night, down to this church that had this nativity scene set up on its front yard.  I remember it being so very cold, possibly snowing, and dark.  And then ... there was moonlight.  The light from the moon was enough to guide us down the uneven sidewalk as we slowly made our way to the manger scene.  The anticipation makes my heart flutter still when I think back.   What I remember the most was how quiet the walk was.  Our destination was the nativity scene that we often drove by, but were going to see up close for the first time.  The moonlight seemed  reverent,  as if the moon itself knew that what we were about to view was sacred.  This song always brings about that memory.  

For some extra special beauty, go here.

I hope that wherever you are at, gratitude is near you.

I find that is helps me change
*my grumpy heart
*a sad spirit
*an overwhelmed schedule
*a dissatisfied longing

Psalm 100:1
"Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and into His courts with praise."

Friday, November 7, 2014

Family Business

I have gotten the amazing opportunity of working with the business that members of my family started.  My brother, my dad, my sister and my brother-in-law started a company to help OTHER families gain access to MORE (and BETTER) technology in their homes.  

Sometimes, as a family, it can be hard to keep up with technology.  And if you succeed in keeping  up with the  technology (which changes more often than a teenager's mind),  you will inevitably fail at having the latest and greatest tools and devices because, lets be honest... who can afford to have everyone in the family have their very own computer??  

Well... here is the GREAT NEWS!!!  
YOU CAN!!!  

Yes!! You can be the popular mom and dad and give your kids their very own computer.  
AND it won't break your bank!!! 
Do you have an old Windows computer  (that you didn't think worked anymore)
 hiding out in the basement or the garage? 
Well - DUST IT OFF and make your kids think that you are 
DA BOMB dot com!!! 

They might even give you a SUPER HUG!!!
They might even THANK YOU!!!

For about the price of a pizza, you can install our software and TRANSFORM
your old computer into something NEW and USEFUL!!
The product that  my family has created is like NOTHING ELSE!!!  
It's reliable, simple to install,
 and affordable.  

Now WHO can't get on board with that??!!!  

find us on  Twitter
or at our website 

You're going to LOVE THIS!!!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Family Pictures... AGAIN!!!

That time of year came around again.  Family picture time!!!  We had a wonderful time with our photographer and his able assistant (AKA Poppop and Grandma).  The light was good, the smiles were great, and even the doggy behaved!!  

Thursday, October 30, 2014


I'm getting ready to go to my counselor's office and sit with her and ask her to help me.  She does.  She guides me, she listens, she advises.  I go through spurts with the counselor. 
 I spend months away from the office, working life out, holding on to the rope, some days even swinging happily form the rope. 
And then there is the day when the rope frays. 
Frays to the point that there is nothing left to hold on to. 
So I call and make an appointment and I go back. 
I talk with the counselor because life is hard, and I need help. 
I ask for her wisdom and for some clarity. 
I listen to her because sometimes the darkness in my life covers the light. 
I spill out frustrations and  complaints and beg her to help me see a situation from a different perspective. 
And she does. 
She tells me what every mom needs to hear  - "You're going to make it". 
She tells me what every wife needs to hear - "You're going to make it". 
She tells me what every woman needs to hear - "You're normal". 
She lets me know that I'm off the hook to be perfect in ANY way. 
And together we start braiding the rope back together.  We take the threads of self doubt and fear, cross them over the strength of The Father, wind them back through the truth of Scripture, and I leave feeling less burdened and more confident for the life I've been given. 
My new favorite verse is Micah 7:8

"Though I fall, I will rise.  Though I sit in darkness, God will be my light."
I am IN LOVE with this verse. 
It spells out the truth that there will be falls, and there will be darkness. 
But it reminds me that I don't have to stay there.  I will rise, and God will be my light.
No darkness can shut out His light. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hello Mom,

That’s what you always wanted to be when you grew up, isn’t it?  You wanted some little person to call you “mommy, mama, mom”, whichever suited them.   It was about 16 years ago that you were chosen to become Mom for the first time.  Remember the excitement?  The anticipation?  Wearing maternity clothes and reveling in the glow of a healthy pregnancy, you couldn’t wait for the arrival of your first child.  You didn’t know if this little darling was going to be a boy or a girl and you couldn’t have cared either way because you were so full of joy!!  Do you remember the first time that the doctor told you that the baby might not turn head down, so you might have to have a C-section?  I’m sure that you wish that you would have listened more carefully when they explained all about that during your childbirth classes.  It was certainly surprising that for you that you were going to require surgery and recovery in order to give birth to this precious bundle.  Did it ever cross your mind that this was the first of many, many, many unexpected and painful moments of parenting?  Were you ever quiet enough to hear the whispers? That even though you wouldn’t go into labor, the work was going to be hard; so hard and yet so rewarding; That the intensity of the pain you would feel for years to come, pain that was both joyous and heartbreaking, wouldn’t ever be easier to numb than it was going to be that first moment when they got that IV going for your spinal block.  You wouldn’t ever get back the right to request for someone to numb the pain; to only allow you to really feel the good stuff.  I know that you wouldn’t have had it any other way. Having babies teaches us that inside us we have the ability to forget about the pain and move straight to the joyful experiences.  That along with birthing a baby, you also birth a new self.  A self that sacrifices for another without question.  A self that give and gives and gives.  This new self can only emerge attached to this tiny human who looks at you with brand new eyes, trusting you and relying on you for their every need.  Throughout the Years, you will feel the familiar pain that accompanies this birth of your new self as you make your way through first steps, first words, first owies, first successes, first performance, first heartbreak,  first driving lesson.  You will feel the need to ask for something to numb the pain when your child is mistreated or approached unfairly.  You will raise the white flag of fatigue when you have chosen to forego yet another argument.  You might feel failure when you engage with your child without a positive outcome.  You will embrace the intense happiness that stirs within your Mothers heart when your little one sings her first solo or gives her first speech.   You will celebrate all of the wonder and endure all of the defeat.  This.  This is MotherHood.  It will be your covering, your protection.  You will wear this hood with pride, with joy and then there will be times that you will want to take it off.  There may even be a time that You will try to find a place to hide your hood.  Don’t be alarmed by that, and please don’t allow any shame to creep into your heart.  As all things go, there may be times of darkness in order for the light to be present.  There must be times of hardship so that we can experience the times of joy.  You will protect those that are under our hood in ways that you will not understand or expect.  Your sword will be more convenient then you could have imagined, and will cut the enemy of those who are under your hood.  Your mother-anger might surprise you, and will be expressed both on behalf of your child as well as to your child.  It will be challenging to keep the “Big Picture” in the frame of visibility.  The“Big Picture” being that the ultimate goal to MotherHood is to raise and teach your children to become adults.   There will be moments where you want to overprotect and keep your kids too close to you.  It will be hard to find a balance because this is where your heart and your mind will begin to conflict. Find great books to assist you, read great blogs, involve yourself in a Mother's group, cultivate good friendships with other like-minded Mamas.  Most importantly of all,  it will benefit you to pray.  And then pray some more.  And then maybe even some more.  Asking for wisdom and help and peace from Your Father will be your lifeline.  He will help you make it through the hard times.  He will give you breath when you feel like you can't breathe.  He will bless you with ALL kinds of blessings in your MotherHood.   There might be times that you even need to ask for HIS Love to be your love, because the frustrations and stresses of parenting can crowd out your own Love.  Don’t be alarmed by this – it won’t last long.  It’s just a temporary sign that you need a break.  So take one.  Take a day for yourself.  Read, knit, shop, sleep.  Or get alone with the hubs.  Have a date and don’t rehash every parenting decision that you’ve made over the week.  Instead, talk about YOURselves, or your next trip or holiday.  Taking a break from the hood gives you the energy to get back into the game.  What a wonderful decision it is to become a mama.  May you celebrate every wonderful moment, may you persevere every challenging moment and may the end result be that YOU are forever changed and forever marked by this amazing experience called MotherHood. 


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Folders and Lunches and Schedules - OH MY!!!

Every elementary school teacher has a different  better way of having parents keep track of reading and math.  They ALL think that they have the perfect method to this MADNESS!!!  And they will change their method based on their latest Pinterest findings.  It is the BRIGHT side of middle school and High school that there are NO planners to sign.  I appreciate our teachers so much but sometimes they forgot that families have much better things to do than keep track of how many days mom has NOT signed the planner.  Oh well = as long as nobody minds the batch method (signing many days at a time!!) I'm all in.

School has gotten under way here and the kids have happily immersed themselves in their respective grades - 3rd, 5th, 8th and 10th.  Two of the kiddos are finishing out their years at the school that they now attend.  Next year will be a transition year for one into middle school and for another into high school.  I keep dreaming that the stress and busyness will taper off.  It won't.  I know that is the truth, but  a mama can still dream, can't she? The kids are all involved in rewarding activities, and I am grateful for all that they are learning and doing.  Three of them pack their own lunches now - Can I get an AMEN!!!???

 These are special years - I'm told this and I acknowledge it.  These ARE special years.  Ones that I cherish.  Ones that wear me out.  Ones that fill me up.  It is the dichotomy of childhood = Making sure that nobody is bored and lazy, keeping them involved in activities that challenge and teach them character and responsibility, supplying them with opportunities that will make the most use of their talents and gifts. All the while maintaining your sanity as a parent  = keeping track of which leg of the carpool on which day I am responsible for.  Washing the appropriate game day/practice day socks.  Is it the blue shorts or the black shorts that he needs for practice?  Is today a tennis practice or a tennis match, because those are at different locations.  Dance requires black leggings for hip hop as well as pink tights and blue leotard for ballet.  And heaven help us if we forget a water bottle, snack or sunscreen.  The last of which I did this past weekend.  We have spent the past few days with rosy cheeks and sunburned shoulders because MOM forgot the sunscreen.  Honestly, after packing a cooler full of food and 2 soccer bags, I plum never even thought of it.  Never crossed my mind that the sun wouldn't be our friend.  For days now, we will have Rudolph noses and guess what... The thing that I hold onto for DEAR LIFE - WE WILL SURVIVE!!!  Nobody will die from lack of sunscreen, or the wrong color socks.  If we happen to show up a moment late to practice, nobody will suspend my dance/soccer/tennis mom trophy.  (Oh wait... I don't have a trophy!!  That's a shame...) In the midst of all of this, our full schedule and CRAZY days, I am trying to keep some perspective and hang on to joy.  And when I see smiles and skills and enjoyment of their sport/art it makes every bit of the driving and packing and remembering absolutely worth it!!    

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Our Summer in Pictures

Yesterday, I read that September 1 is the new January 1.  Resolutions get made.  The future is anticipated, the past is remembered.  We've said goodbye to June, July and August and we anticipate all that September will bring.  Summer has been spent - BIG TIME!!  Now we begin school and all things Fall - sweaters and sports, pumpkin scented candles and fight songs, cute boots and football games.   The "fall busy" is different than the "summer busy" and it is ALL good!!
We had a summer FULL of activity, memories, excitement, and PACKING!!!  We traveled by planes, vans, and busses.  We left footprints in the mountains, on the beaches, the prairie and the plains. We collected sea shells and took photographs.  If I wasn't a part of this wonderful family,
I sure would want to be!!
cousins on the beach
family pic

11 years anniversary

ritz swimming

more cousins on the beach

beach love

family at the Corkscrew swamp
Rockies selfie

Naples pool


42 Birthday

yurt love

new house color

pool time

mountain Lupines

10th birthday

camping buddies

target practice
Rockies view

Daddy and his girls building sandcastle

teen love
Gumbo Limbo

yurt shooting

yurt love

roasty toasty

ritz love

swamp love