Preschool be ready!

A few weeks ago Lyla’s ear batteries fell out. Or at least that is what she claimed was the reason she suddenly seamed to loose all ability to follow instructions. So as her mom I did the logical thing and looked for new ear batteries at Walmart.  Luckily she knew exactly where to find them and before we left she was back on track.

My sweet little girl begins preschool tomorrow. I wonder if she is ready? Will she sit still enough? Is it ok that she doesn’t recognize all her letters or that she always forgets Thursday when reciting the days of the week? Will the kids make fun of her for sucking her thumb?

And then I remember- this is the little girl who lives with passion; without a fear of failure. She will just imagine herself someplace different where she wins or crack a joke to deflect attention away. She will jump and dance and sing and climb. And then run to me at the end of day with no embarrassment to see her mother.

She will look like she is not listening and then come home from church and tell you that the farmer will always go find his sheep, the lesson for the day. She knows exactly what’s going on. I may not always understand how she figures it out or in what way to help her, but she is ok with that. She is my child and I am learning that she doesn’t need me to have all the answers but instead needs me to experience the mystery and live the moment with her.

Lyla Goose is different from me. She lives in a way that I wish I could experience in even just a small way. Her life is far from my concrete and nervous thoughts. She has no room for my precise plans and organized and safe methods. I am nervous and excited for our next journey and feel so very fortunate to get to experience life with her. Heaven help us both. Preschool here she comes!

Sparkles make life better.

Why be still when you can dance?

Can’t keep her out of the kitchen.




Apparently I meant what I said…

Over the last two weeks I’ve been racking my brain with possible blog posts.  I want to get back in the writing groove and just haven’t found the right entry point.  Today as the rain pours down, the sky is gray and the girls are enjoying a movie I decided to look at my much neglected blog and found something surprising.  It really shouldn’t be a surprise, after all, I did write the words just four months ago.  But in the business and adjustment of change I totally lost track.  I said that 2016 our family was going to be All In (in case you forgot too, click the link).  Apparently I truly met what I said-


So it’s a new year and I’m committed to being all in. Not just to God, but to my husband, my kids, my home and myself.


On Tuesday, February 23rd I gave my letter of resignation to the job I have loved.  My last day was April 29th.  It had been on my heart that no one was getting the best from me and increasingly more and more my customers, kids, and husband were getting the worst.  So I made a major life change.  One that even though it has been extremely scary I have peace about.


I had been working with farmers for eight years helping them achieve their financial goals.  I became invested in their lives, families and operations.  I loved that I was part of an organization that impacted agriculture.  My passion met with a paycheck.  There were only a small handful of days I didn’t want to go to work an often had to tear myself away to go home. I hit and exceeded my goals, I loved training new staff and feel like I was well respected by my peers.  Even so- I felt a tugging that my family needed me to have more control over my life.


So here it is.  Week three of my new life.  It is hard, it is easy, it is the same and it is different.  But it is the right one.  Another step in intentional parenting, intentional living, and another step towards being all in.


And because every post deserves a picture, this is from day one.

9am day one- Walmart and the three year old has no shoes.

9am day one- Walmart and the three year old has no shoes. How does that even happen?

All In

It’s 2016!!! Which by default means 2015 is over-done-finished and officially survived. 

I’ve been mostly absent from my blog since 2014. This wasn’t particularly intentional just the product of a chaotic year. Last January we were facing a list of unknowns- Dustin’s division at work was up for sale and we were uncertain about the effects on our family. In addition I was pregnant with what we have decided was our bonus baby. Both of these items were not part of my or Dustin’s type A life planning. It was a very big reminder that at the end of the day we are not at all in charge.   Good news- God blessed us in unimaginable ways through both tests of faith.   

The sermon at church this morning was about being “all in.” As our pastor went through the headlines of 2015 and all of unbelievable awfulness in the world I became extremely uneasy. I thought where is the hope for my children in this craziness- funny how quickly I forgot my own lessons in faith. But the sermon then turned to Christ. He is the source of our hope and the gift from our faith. He calls us to be all in- all of our heart, all of our mind, and all of our strength. 

So it’s a new year and I’m committed to being all in. Not just to God, but to my husband, my kids, my home and myself.

Dustin out of the blue said to me tonight- let’s make some goals for this year. It was on my heart too, but I hadn’t mentioned it (I love when our hearts are knit together). After we visited we decided that our family would be more intentional in 2016. It wasn’t until writing this that I realized that a decision to be intentional goes along with being all in. What do you know- it fits together. Man- God is good, all the time… 
So here is to beginning the year and knowing that no matter what, God has got it. Also to living each day with purpose and making sure our girls see that commitment. 

The most recent family picture I have from our vacation to Chicago. 


Pieces of  Innocence 

My heart is heavy. I’ve been tough all week- checking off tasks and trying to take care of those around me, but tonight on the drive home I finally felt the ability to grieve. I think knowing Dustin is pushing forward after days of pause gave me the permission to feel. I’ve been in a sense holding my breath afraid of drowning in the emotion of watching my love hurt. His hurt was so intense it made me sick. Now I can let go. 

Loosing a parent is a right of passage and the only way I can describe it is to say that a piece of innocence was robbed from our family last week. I constantly say they just didn’t know what they didn’t know. Well- I most definitely didn’t know this would be so awful. 

Picking out caskets, a grave plot, deciding if we should allow her to be viewed, going to the crash site, trying to get his sister home, juggling the pressure of being a wife but also a mom to my children who knew things were amiss, sitting with family that sometimes does not get along and grieves very differently, telling our kids that their daddy is very sad and finally seeing my husband sitting at the gravesite lingering because he didn’t want his mom to have to be alone. These are the hardest things I have done.

We know that Jan is in heaven. We are grateful for God’s grace, His love and comfort. I am glad the message today was of salvation. The most important decision we will ever make. I am glad for an amazing service where I wanted to lift my hands in praise for the songs of celebration. No sappy, slow death songs, Dustin said. I am proud that he found strength to speak and to be vulnerable. To tell the world that his mom was the first person that chose to love him. She didn’t have to and people would have understood but she chose to love.

Tonight as I unpack and intermingle the belongings that were once Jan’s into our home I realize more than ever that she loved my family. There are things that happened that I have struggled to forgive but tonight as I sort through cards, papers, pictures and things I feel God helping me to let go. Letting go of hard feelings and anger. Finding forgiveness. A weight is being lifted. 

The innocence grief robbed is bringing a sense of innocence in my love towards her. In other words peace. 
Jan- I love you. Thank you for taking a lost and unwanted baby and raising him into an amazing man. I will never forget the pride in your eyes at our wedding and when Aubree was born. God knows my heart and He knows your’s too. We will be together again.


Must See TV

Over the course of our last eight years of marriage I can name multiple television shows that Dustin has loved, recorded, scheduled around, and just genuinely enjoyed.  I have great memories of  watching the show Las Vegas cuddled up on the couch in our first year of marriage after a walk to DQ for ice cream (man life was so simple then and we didn’t even know to appreciate it).   I also remember him introducing me to Friday Night Lights.  He’s had to explain more than one episode of NCIS to me.  I finally gave up on watching Criminal Minds once I realized it gave me nightmares.  I’ve never even attempted Sons of Anarchy just the theme song is too much for me.  We laughed and plotted watching Survivor.  After a few episodes of Glenn Beck I realized how much I enjoyed O’Reilly.  Even college and pro-football I have grown to enjoy (although I don’t want to admit it too loud).  All of this TV and the truth is I could take it or leave it.  I never found my show.


Well I have found it now.  My first must have TV….


Wait for it……




Just to add to the story- I’m sitting in a hotel right now and Dustin just texted me to ask if I was watching.  No- I am not out shopping, enjoying a bubble bath, watching a channel we don’t get at home, sleeping or catching up on a book.  Nope wouldn’t have dreamed of it.  The first American ever just completed stage 3……I am totally watching.  Dustin had no idea that I was working on a blog post of my odd favorite- he just knew me that well.

In fact he likes to tease me about it and I can’t say that I blame him.  Of all the television I could love it is totally ANW.  I have thought long and hard about why.  I don’t have a very good reason.   I think I enjoy that they are just a bunch of normal people.  For the most part they aren’t celebrities or professionals.  I can even imagine several of them having rough childhoods.  They aren’t the football jocks or the popular kids with fancy moves and perfectly styled hair.  I don’t have to have anything explained to me.  I don’t even have to catch every second to keep up.   It’s just totally good TV.  Some of the contestants fail, some succeed, some are plain weird, and finally some pretty relatable.  I enjoyed the ladies this season working and proving themselves.  I liked the walk-on rookies and their determination.  I also enjoy the veterans and that they keep coming back to try again.  Even though we just lost to the stinking Europeans.  I’m thrilled that an American climbed that 70 foot rope.

ANW you are what I have been waiting for.  I can’t wait to see you again next season.

The Baby

A few years ago an odd and totally ridiculous country song was popular… “The Baby.” I mean what really is any different about the youngest child? Then to my dismay it was a number one hit. Dustin laughed at me because I would switch stations whenever it came in and roll my eyes at the silliness.

And then a few years later- I found my baby.

Lyla Grace is pure preciousness. She practically does no wrong. Dustin has had to be the disciplinarian because all I can manage to do at her toddler antics is laugh. She is carefree, cuddly, and fearless. She’s full of giggles and almost always happy.  In those few moments of unhappy  she displays extreme emotion and acts with crazy outbursts.  Still all I want to do is scoop her up and give in to her little hearts desire.

I relate to her in a different way than Aubree but completely love them both the same. I remember asking my mom and aunt over and over how it was possible to love another child as much as much as I did Aubree. They kept saying God will take care of it. I now know they were right, He does.  I love them with the absolute same devotion but relish in their individuality.  They both fill my heart competley.  Even so she’s my baby.

How can you not spoil this precious little face?


Just like me – the good and bad of genetics

I’m not sure my age but I remember the very specific feeling of humiliation.  I am guessing somewhere between 5- 7.  My mom had bought me new school shoes.  They had elastic straps and little balloons on the side.  I hated them.  They were absolutely and completely shoes for babies and I was definetly not a baby.  I remember sitting on top of them during school in hope that no one would see.  I’m not sure how, but my parents eventually figured out how much I hated those baby shoes and found money to buy me another pair.   Basically that is the end of the brief memory.  The whole thing is something I hadn’t though about much until today when my daughter walked into preschool completely humiliated.

Flash forward….I bought Aubree some new shirts a few weeks ago.  Apparently, as I have now discovered, one of the shirts didn’t sit well with her sense of style.  It is white with blue, yellow, and purple horizontal stripes.  Nothing too crazy and one that would go with the new neon green “lacers” that Aubree had picked out.  Lacers are Aubree’s term for lace up shoes and these are very special to her.   After I laid out her clothes this morning, she immediately argued with me and started an attitude.  I told her that she could not wear the Frozen shirt again today and to get dressed it was time to go.  There were tears and whining, but I really thought she was just tired and didn’t want to go to school.  After much drama, no fruit snack, and an ultimatum Aubree got in the car.  Once we got to school she asked me to help her zip up her jacket. I did and stopped about mid tummy because I had enough fighting for the morning and if it’s zipped higher than her tummy she typically melts from the “tightness”.  She went on to zip it all the way to the top.  I thought this was odd but did not dare to say a thing.  Once inside I asked if she wanted me to help her hang the jacket up.  She said no and started tugging the bottom down.  She then mumbled,  “It’s not long enough.”  I looked at her and realized that she was trying to cover up the shirt.  She zipped the jacket to the top and was trying to tug it down to hide any stripes.  As I watched, not sure how to handle the situation, she started stuffing the shirt up into the jacket.  I  whispered to her teacher what was happening and left.  I’m not sure what has happened since.  I can imagine her in the jacket all day long and wouldn’t be surprised if I find her still in it at pick up.

I find the exchange funny and wonder if she will remember it like I remember my balloon baby shoes.  The truth is that there is a lesson for both the child and the parent.  It’s good for her to learn that appearances aren’t everything and it is good for me to see her growing, forming her own opinions and thoughts.  There is, however, this other part of me that’s sad.  I’m sad that she is so affected by her appearance.  There are times when I can see so much of myself in her I am sad for both of us.  I wouldn’t wear capri pants or flip flops in school because they didn’t look good on me.  I have never been across the monkey bars.  I have never gone down a water slide.  I have always feared those things.  I hated school dances.   Looking back I now know that it was silly and I should have experienced life.  I think that this is one of many reasons I fell in love with Dustin, his fearlessness.  He pushes me to take everything in and always has my back if it doesn’t quite work out.  For some reason with him at my side I feel more confident.  I guess I have always trusted my mind first and if it wasn’t something I could conquer with planning and thought it was simply not for me.  I see that same thought process in Aubree.  I try so very hard to teach her to be more flexible and to have fun.  I just know that there are pieces of life I can never get back and I don’t want her to miss out on them either. I push her to be the things I was not and then we both end up frustrated. But then as a parent I am proud that she shares pieces of me and after all, I turned out pretty good, right?   I guess all I can do is bathe it in prayer, offer encouragement and give her the tools she needs. Like mother, like daughter.