Things You Can’t Tell by Looking at Us

Family holding hands

I missed my post last week because my family got hit with another firestorm. This time it’s not my story to share so I can’t divulge details. All I can say is that it involves a lot of uncertainty and things outside of our control. Right now I’m in anger management mode because we barely have one problem resolved and here we are with another one. I bet if you saw the list of everything we’ve been through in the last six years, you’d wonder how we’re both still standing. I know we look like we have it all together.  […]

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Hope for Years with Rocky Endings

flower blooming in the snow

I was laying on the bathroom floor in my in-laws’ basement when Matt called to tell me there was at least three inches of water in ours. We had gone to his parents’ house the day before to wait out the winter storm after two trees fell in our front yard. Uprooted from the weight of the ice, they ripped down the power lines to our house. Corn Belt said it could be hours, days even, before power was restored to every customer. So we packed up the kids and drove 20 minutes to my in-laws’ house. To say that […]

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Three Words to Calm Financial Worries

one dollar bill

I used to cry every time I sat down to pay our bills. At the time, my husband was a teacher by day and a graduate student by night, and we were living in a tiny farmhouse that we rented from my in-laws (and by tiny, I mean Reese slept in a partitioned area of the living room). After Reese was born I quit my job, which provided exactly 50% of our income. Although I had always wanted to stay home and I knew it was the right choice for our family, I couldn’t help wondering if we made a mistake […]

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Why We Shouldn’t Listen to Jimmy Kimmel on November 1st

pile of candy corn

Four years ago, Jimmy Kimmel issued a post-Halloween challenge to parents across the country. He urged them to tell their children that they (mom and dad) ate all of their trick-or-treat candy. Parents were told to film their children’s reactions and then share the videos on line, which Kimmel’s staff reviewed and compiled for a segment on his show. And people actually did it. Lots of people. The prank was wildly popular. So popular, in fact, that The Jimmy Kimmel Show has created a new composite every year since; and the number of videos submitted for inclusion continues to climb. I’m confused […]

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The Profound Meaning of Quiet Love

I turned 33 on Saturday. The kids woke us up less than an hour before Matt had to leave for the farm. He filled the coffee pot and we sat down for a quick minute. It would be our only window of time together for the day. After helping his dad on the farm until dinnertime, he would head right over to the high school to supervise the Homecoming dance. I’ve always loved having a fall birthday, except that I’m married to a high school administrator [slash] farmer, and October 10th is right in the middle of his busiest time of the […]

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The Early Fruits of Emotionally Intelligent Parenting

We rolled ourselves out of bed just after 6:30 on Saturday morning. Matt went off to help his dad in the field and the girls asked me to make scrambled eggs. I situated Reese on the couch with her pillow, blanket, and juice (she had one of her fevers over the weekend. More about that next time). Allie followed me into the kitchen, spinning herself in circles and singing a made up song about “God’s yellow sun.” I cracked the eggs into a skillet, buttered three pieces of toast and washed some grapes. Then I pulled the skillet from the […]

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When Life Gives You Wings…

bird in flight

I met my brother’s future mother-in-law last weekend. Such a sweet lady! She traveled all the way from New Zealand, and she brought these gifts for us and our kids. Yes, that means my brother is marrying a girl from New Zealand. How did that happen, you ask? I’ll tell you the short version – it’s worth a brief digression. In November 2013 I drove up to Chicago to take my friend out for her birthday. When I got there she started telling me all about her new roommate who had recently been transferred to the US for work and found my […]

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For All the Brave Kindergarteners

box of crayons

On her third birthday, my daughter got her first kite. I took her to an open field to fly it for the first time, but she wouldn’t let it go. Overcome by fear that it would get tangled in a tree or blow away in the wind, she refused to let it fly. I tried to convince her that the fun of flying it was worth the risk of losing it, but still she refused. She demanded that we return it to the safety of our car. Three months later, I dropped her off for her first day of preschool. She clung […]

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When Ten Years Seems Like a Long Time

pocket watch and flowers

Every year it’s the same. Everyone meets for breakfast–Matt’s parents, his sister’s family, and us. Then we take the same six-hour drive down the same roads through the same small towns. We park in the same spots in front of the same condominium complex in Osage Beach, Missouri; and we open the same door to the same condo. We unpack our bags, slather ourselves with sunscreen, and head down to the pool with a cooler full of drinks and nothing in front of us but the open water of the lake. At some point, usually within the first hour, Matt […]

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For Mamas of Graduates

child wearing a cap and gown

It’ll be over before you blink. The guests at my baby shower wrote advice cards for me, and nearly everyone wrote some version of the same nugget of wisdom. Take lots of pictures. Savor as many moments as possible. It’ll be over before you blink. In my heart I knew they were right. I just didn’t know it was so easy to blink. The next day I woke up and she was five – crossing the preschool stage in her cap and gown to collect her diploma and announce to the crowd, “I want to be a doctor.” The teacher dimmed the lights […]

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