Friday, April 22, 2016

Where the heart is.

When I graduated high school a whole 10 (okay, 15) years ago, I wanted to leave. I wanted to get away from the tiny little town I grew up in. So the summer I graduated, I left. I moved to the Minneapolis area. I didn't know anyone. I had never driven in traffic like that (and never care to again.) It was scary, exhilarating, and lonely at times. But I made friends soon enough. I learned how to drive in the traffic. I can't say I fit in. I was lovingly referred to as the Amish girl. Everyone cracked jokes about my up-bringing and asked if I churned my own butter. For the record, no.

After school we moved back to our hometown area briefly, so Craig could finish college. And then we made the move to Omaha. Back to the city life I had missed. Being five minutes to the nearest Target. The hustle and bustle. Actual real-life strangers, seems odd when you grow up in a small town to think that you would go to the grocery store or mall and not see a single person that you know. I hated that when I was younger. Everyone always knew everyone else's business.

And now, here we are. Recently moved to a small town. Not as small as where I grew up, but the kids' school is pretty comparable. Craig says we live in the country. I tell him unless you have to take a dirt road and your nearest neighbor is a mile away, it's not really the country.

I was nervous, going back to the small town setting, about making friends. About being back in the everyone knows everyone. But I am happy to say, I've met an amazing group of friends here. And I actually love seeing people I know every time I go to the store. It may be the only adult contact I've had in hours!!!

There's a comfort here that I can't explain. Maybe it's the familiarity of the lifestyle. Where the kids go to school, the town reminds me so much of where I grew up. I was taken a little by surprise by how fast we all adjusted. Like we have always been here. I actually was teary-eyed the first week here, not because of the changes, but because when we drove by anyone, they waved. People I have never met. It was a simple gesture. But it had been SO long since that happened. Since everyone waved. Callie thought I was bonkers. But the tears rolled down my cheeks. I didn't even know I missed it.

So now that I'm older, now that I'm a mother, I am actually learning I prefer knowing everyone. I love that my kids can now go outside with no fences, and just get lost in play. They already have a trail worn to their friends' house, and a secret hideaway spot where their imagination can run wild. I feel safe because everyone knows everyone. Everyone looks out for each other's kids. I don't feel scared to let them go and explore. (Not true. Weston is not allowed out of my sight. If you've met him, you know why.) Now I see the value in the semi-country life. I am okay with a 30 minute drive to Target, because the trade off benefits my children.

To the younger me, I'm glad you went off and moved so far away, to a big city. It was an experience that will never be forgotten. But, I'm glad to feel home again.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Walk of Shame

For a mom like me, who is happily married, the walk of shame means something entirely different than where your dirty mind is right now. You should be ashamed of yourself.

To me, the walk of shame is pretty much every day I take the kids to school. For several reasons.

One, because I'm likely (likely, haha) still in my pajamas. You know, last night's clothes. My hair looks like I just stuck a fork in an outlet, or maybe just took a few lightening bolts to the head. Sometimes, if  I'm feeling really ambitious, you'll see me with a sparkly headband. My plan is for the sparkles to keep your attention so you don't see the horrifying image that is naturally  curly hair on day two after a rough night of sleep. I'm probably wearing some type of yoga pants or capris that I can assure  you have never been to yoga. (They do go to the gym, but definitely not to yoga.) They don't make sunglasses big enough to cover my whole face, which is kind of disappointing. Even my Laguna Beach sunglasses aren't big enough. I probably have flip flops on, maybe they match, maybe they don't, you'll never know. I won't get out of the van. For any purpose. Unless maybe if it's on fire.

Two, let's go back to that van that I wouldn't get out of. Yes, the van. The VAN. Sounds worse every time I say it. Part of me loves my mini-van. And I will tell you a million times how much those little buttons mean to me. How I love when my hands are full, I can open every door with a push of my thumb. The kids can get in and out without me worrying they are door dinging every single car we park next to (have you met Callie??). And I love that we can ride comfortably, have room for extra stuff and extra kids or friends if need be. But part of me hates it. The part that thinks I still had an ounce of cool left. Had. Don't have anymore. Part of your soul dies when you buy a mini-van (if you were like me and SWORE you would NEVER drive one.) If you love your grocery getter, I am happy for you. I want you to be happy. I'm not judging you. I am judging me. There's a cooler in my mini-van. It's kind of neat. I kept chicken cold the other day while I picked the kids up from school. I've kept my breastmilk cold. (Probably not what the Honda makers were thinking would be in there when they added a cooler, but thanks anyway, Honda makers. It is too small to hold a bottle of wine though. Take note, Honda makers.) But part of me can't help thinking, as I'm driving down the road, passing all of the cool moms in their SUV's, that when I push that button to let the kids out, my soul is jumping out of the door with them. It has everything to do with the van. Nothing to do with the fact that I might be listening to Hanson or Ace of Base.

Three, there's a really good chance I haven't brushed my teeth yet. Walk of shame worthy. Enough said.

So if you see me in my van in the morning, I will wave and smile at you. You can wave and smile but don't make eye contact please. Just look at the sparkles. Keep your eyes on the sparkles.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Breaking the Silence

Disclaimer: If you feel like sharing about your miscarriages or losses in life, I support that. If you feel like it's easier to deal with alone, I support that. Each person is different, and handles everything differently, and that's OK. I have done both, silent and alone, and for me, I've learned the silence only brought more pain, shame, and guilt.
That being said, as most of you know, I had my third miscarriage last Sunday. I had a feeling when I started some heavy spotting and major cramping Friday. But I held out for hope. I was taking progesterone, which worked for me with Weston. I had blood tests, and my hcg levels were doubling and extremely high. I felt really confident in this pregnancy. I thought, some women have spotting, it's normal. Don't worry. Some women cramp. It's normal. I probably just need to drink more water and put my feet up. It's normal. It'll all be ok, and in May, we'll be a family of six. Have faith in your body. I took my vitamins. I stopped taking any medications that weren't safe. I was taking it as easy I as I could as a wife and mommy, and owner of two businesses. I really thought I had this one in the bag. That my last loss was my last loss. We wanted one more, and it was going to be such a cherished pregnancy, knowing it would be my last.

We were back in South Sioux, helping Craig's parents move into their beautiful new home. It was so fun to have family around, and moving into a new house is so exciting. The kids were even super excited to help Grammy and Grumpa. I had a lot of cramping Saturday, but pushed through and didn't overdo myself. Sunday morning I woke up with extremely heavy bleeding, worse than after I had my babies. TMI for some of you, sorry. You might want to skip the rest of this paragraph. I was soaking through a pad in about 5 minutes. Not normal. I could barely walk. Not normal. I was feeling very dizzy and weak. Not normal. I was seeing spots. Not normal. By the time I made it to the ER, my blood pressure was very low and dropping, and I was tagged for a blood blank transfusion. I had never seen so much blood loss. I was so scared, and so thankful my Mom was there (she's a nurse), to calm my nerves. The nurses were all awesome, keeping me calm, and the nurse in charge got my IV in on the first try, which never happens. I had an ultrasound, a pelvic exam, where I learned my uterus is severely tilted to the back, so much so even two Dr's and lots of pain later, they could not get any tissue out that they saw was there on the ultrasound. So, this meant I needed to have surgery.

With the other two losses, everything just passed naturally and no surgery was needed. I was really scared, and called Craig immediately and told him to come to the hospital. He didn't know what a D&C was, and to be honest, I really didn't either. They took me back to the OR immediately, because of all of my blood loss, put me to sleep, and when I woke up, I was on the labor and delivery floor. I was in a lot of pain. Physical and emotional. I really thought this last pregnancy was going to be a success. I felt like a failure. I felt shame. I felt heartbroken. It's hard for some people, especially men, I think to understand. I am a super emotional person. Most of you probably know that. And I'm a dreamer. And the minute, no, the second, I get a positive pregnancy test, I start planning. I start preparing my heart for another baby. I start thinking of  names. I think of if this baby will be a boy or girl. If they will look like me, or Craig, or somewhere in-between. If they will have Callie's beautiful eyes or Tanner's sense of humor, or Weston's little smile. I'm instantly bonded with this tiny ball of cells growing inside of me. It's a baby to me. It's part of our future. And now, all of that was gone. Again. I can't tell you how painful it is to have every single nurse and doctor ask you, "How many pregnancies have you had? And how many living children do you have?" It's heart-wrenching.

But with all of this pain, this week, God is showing me my blessings. I've been pregnant six times. I have three living children. I HAVE THREE LIVING CHILDREN. They are healthy. They are beautiful. They are funny, smart, and caring. I am blessed. I am so lucky. I have so many friends who struggle with fertility, some with getting pregnant, some with carrying a pregnancy, some with both, and some who can't have any biological children at all. I have some friends who have not had nearly enough time with their babies before they left this earth. They are all so strong. And I am so blessed.

I have the best friends. The best family. The out-pouring of support and love shown to me this week has shown me who my friends are. Who I can count on. Who is willing to stop in their busy day to leave me a note or say a prayer for our family. And this is why, this time, I decided to share it. I've done it alone, and it sucks. I've now done it "in public" and well, it still sucks, but I don't feel alone. I feel lifted up. Writing is such therapy for me, and a release. I am not a bottle it up kind of person. I definitely wear my heart on my sleeve.

If you've gone through a loss, don't go through it alone. If you don't want to share it with the world, I understand that. Everyone has their comfort levels. I'm pushing mine, I'm telling you! But I'm doing it in hopes that I can help a friend going through the same thing. Or in hopes to "normalize" talking about it, so we don't have to suffer in pain, shame, guilt, and silence alone. But talk to someone about it. A friend (me!), your spouse, your mom, your dad, your siblings whoever you feel comfortable with. And just know that it's not your fault. You're not alone.

Looking forward, we will try again, when the doctor says it's safe to. I will probably be a nervous wreck for a while. Miscarriages steal your peace. Every twinge, every little teensy spot of blood, every little cramp brings a mountain of worry. But I will get through it, I will have faith in my body, in my doctors, and most importantly in God that whatever His will is, will be done. And in the meantime, while my body recovers, I will be so thankful for the children I have, the husband I have, my friends and my family, and doctors, nurses, and medicine. And I will be praying that my 7th pregnancy is a successful one, with a beautiful little baby that might have Callie's  beautiful eyes, Tanner's sense of  humor, or Weston's little smile.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Back from Retirement

I guess you could call me the Brett Favre of blogging. Although I've been writing my blogs, I haven't been publishing them. Sometimes you need to get stuff "out" without putting it "out there."

I posted a link to another blog on Facebook today. Some of you may have seen it. It's something I often think about, in my line of work, and try to understand.


Let me start out by saying, I know many parents who do so much for their kids, and it is out of love. It's well-intentioned. And let's face it, if you've watched the news lately, you could do a whole lot worse. But I think something that is completely crippling our children is that we are constantly doing for them. Things they can do. Things they should do. Things you have to teach them to do.

I know why parents do things for their kids, especially young kids. It's easier. It's faster. It's done the right way the first time. But what are you teaching your kids? That they aren't capable? That they can't do anything they put their mind to? That they need to seek assistance on every single task? They can't do it right?

I have OCD. I admit that letting my kids help around the house really tests me. I have to physically stop myself from reloading the dishwasher MY way. I have to stop straightening their covers after they've made their bed. I have to let their work shine.

We have the "3 Time Try" rule at our house. If that button is giving you a hard time, you try at least three times on your own before asking for help. And if they can get it on try one or two, they are literally beaming with pride, and so am I. I mean, why would children (or anyone) do anything on their own if they know someone else will do it for them?? Kids are smart, and they are very fast learners.

As most of you know, I run an in-home daycare. I have to run a tight ship. There's only one of me and several of them, so they have to learn a lot patience, independence, and problem-solving skills. I have so many parents ask me "How do you do it? How do you get them all to sleep at the same time? Use manners? Clean up their own messes?" Answer is simple. I expect them to, and they know that. It takes time, routine, and consistency.

We all love our kids so much. And sometimes it does really feel good to be needed, but let's not put our children in a situation where they will feel inadequate. Build them up. Keep them trying. And then, here's the best part, you'll see them grow and learn in so many ways, and build their self-esteem in a positive way. Don't just tell them how great they are, let them show you.

Friday, December 13, 2013

"Time" Magazine Got It Wrong...

Move over Miley. Sorry, Royal Baby George. The most fascinating person of 2013 is the Elf itself. Okay, maybe not most fascinating, but definitely one of the most polarizing. He or She, depending on your preference, is more talked about this time of year than the Presidential "funeral selfie" or the foam finger.

Elf on the Shelf is the Kim Kardashian of Christmas. Fake, plastic face, cold? No, that's not why. Either loved or hated, the Elf on the Shelf is a major source of contention in our society. And the Elf has the biggest paparazzi I've ever seen. We've all seen the sweet side, but we've also seen some photos floating around the internet of our friend, the Elf, in some very compromising positions.

Do I love or hate the Elf, you ask? Truth is, I haven't decided yet. Really awesome moms love the Elf because they get to show off their creativity (or Pinterest addiction). Really cool moms don't even do the Elf, or do just the basics, because the Elf tops the list that "ain't nobody got time for." I'm somewhere in the middle of awesome and cool. So I decided to make a list of things I love and things I hate about the Elf. Let's be a ball of positivity and start with hate.

Ten Things I Hate About You, Mr. Elf:
I hate the way you look at me,
and your creepy hair.
I hate the way you pressure me
to move you here and there.
I hate your big dumb elf hat,
and your sewn together hands.
I hate all of the messes you make,
and how your legs cannot stand.
I hate the way I do all of the work,
and you take all of the glory.
I hate that I can't touch you,
who wrote this stinkin' story?
But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you,
Okay well maybe a little bit,
Now let's move on the love part. This part won't be a poem. That's on my list of things I "ain't got any time for" right now. Sorry to disappoint.
I love the way my kids get so excited to hunt for you every morning. I love that you're a tradition. I love that you are a tool for me to help them believe the magic of the season. I love to see them rush out of bed (okay, maybe not when it's before 7) to see what crazy thing you're doing. And for them, the messier, the better. And for the record, my kids clean up ANY mess the Elf makes.
So, I do it for the magic. For the fun. For the memories. And for the tradition. Love the Elf or hate it, I have a feeling the little creep is here to stay. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I'm "part of the problem." And I'm okay with it.

I read a Facebook post the other day that said, "If you shop on Thanksgiving, You are part of the problem."

I guess, then, I am.

I've never gone "Black Friday" shopping on Thanksgiving. But I might. I'm okay with the option.

My husband and several family members and friends work for a grocery store. They've always had to work on Thanksgiving. Christmas Eve. Easter. 4th of July. New Year's. Name the holiday, aside from Christmas, and they are usually working. And it's usually "all hands on deck" busy in the store, at least until after lunch time. It's been this way as long as I can remember. Does it stink not having my husband around sometimes? Yes. Sometimes I wish he were home with us. But I'm thankful he has a job. I'm thankful he's providing for his family. I'm thankful that myself and others can run out and grab a last minute pie or, let's be honest, hard alcohol.

There's never been an uproar about grocery stores, or gas stations, or football (there's a lot of people away from their families in order for you to be with yours, watching football, eating, drinking *wink, wink*.) So maybe instead of complaining about it, which I have come to accept is human nature, just be thankful. If it upsets you, that's your right to be upset, but don't judge other people. When I worked retail, I actually LOVED working the holidays. Everyone was happy and the store was so busy that the day FLEW by. And, some companies give you holiday pay, which was a nice bonus.

My husband doesn't mind working holidays. We just celebrate when he gets home. Being together is the important part. And I knew when I "signed up" to marry him, that he would work retail the rest of his career. Just like he knew, when he chose his career, that holidays, weekends, evenings, they were all going to be in his future. It's a necessary evil. Would you complain if everything closed down for every holiday? Where do you draw the line? Which holidays are more important than others, and who gets to decide that?

So, I might shop on Thanksgiving this year. I have been a "Black Friday" shopper for years now. It's not even about the deals, as much as it's about the experience. I love the chaos. I love the "hunt." I love spending the time with the women in my family. I love escaping the "mommyhood" for a while to shop and leave the kids with their Daddy. It's a tradition now as much as the turkey. I've never encountered a rude person while shopping, never been trampled, and never get stressed out. You can refer to my post about how much fun I have on Black Friday here.

Just because you don't like it, or don't agree with it, doesn't make it the right or wrong thing to do. This applies to oh so many issues that come up in life. Just be happy. It's so much more fun.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Adventures in Basketball

Callie decided not to take dance classes this year. I have to admit, I was pretty disappointed. I loved the frilly and sparkly and girly adventure. I asked her if she'd like to try something new. Maybe gymnastics or swimming or basketball. She chose basketball.

I asked her why she didn't want to take dance lessons anymore, and she told me it was because she sweat too much, and she missed out on what was going on at home while she was in her one-hour-a-week class. I explained that basketball is a lot of running, and that it would actually take more time out of her week than dance did. Craig was all for basketball, as it was much, much, (did I say much?) cheaper than dance.

So, we had our first practice and game last week. How'd it go?

Callie had never played basketball. I'm pretty sure she had no idea on the concept, rules, or fundamentals of the game. And last week proved that. I was also quite confident she'd be injured, as she isn't very graceful. Last week also proved that.

She's only in first grade, so this is all for fun (thankfully). It's about learning at this stage. Craig took her to her first practice and reported back that she wasn't very good but was improving towards the end. And she had back to back games on Sunday. That was interesting. And entertaining. And, well, sort of exhausting.

She didn't handle the ball much, I am not sure she was very aware of its location 90% of the time. She got to inbound the ball a couple of times, until she kept handing it to the either team. She dribbled (I use that term loosely. Very loosely.) the ball down the court a time or two as well. I could tell that by the second game she was getting the hang of it. She was putting her hands up on defense and actually following the ball up and down the court. In between games is when her injury occurred, of course. A ball hit her tooth and knocked it right out. Luckily for her, it was a tooth that needed to come out and not a permanent tooth. I, in turn, lost the tooth somewhere that day but that's a whole other blog post! And the girls did a great job and won both games.


All in all, she did pretty well for a 6 year old. Tonight we had our second practice, and she made two shots in a row. A huge improvement. She dribbled better. She hustled more. She hugged me and told me she loved basketball. And that is what it's all about.