Monday, September 26, 2016

Those Freckles

Each summer she adds a few more freckles to the collection. They are slowly forming a beautiful passage from one side of her face to the other up over her nose. Scarcely speed out under her eyes and more heavily clustered on the bridge of her nose. She's proud of them if you ask her. And she should be, they suit her perfectly. A little bit quirky, laid back, imperfect, and beautiful.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Austin Trip

It goes without saying that we have the best friends out there.
Hands down.

For four days we chose friendship over work, we chose the pool over the office. We cooked and sat down for communal meals of whatever had been made up. We had a few too many cocktails, laughed until our cheeks hurt, and made far too many inside jokes taking us back over the years.

At the end of each day, with fingers that looked more like prunes, and cheeks still warm from the sun I looked around to see us surrounded by the most amazing people. Sixteen years I've had the opportunity to know this group as a second family. We've all met this next chapter in our lives head on with careers, pets, weddings, children, and loss. We've supported from afar, and since leaving a small town in KS many years ago, we've mostly stayed in touch with the help of modern technology.  But no matter the distance, or the time between visits being around this group simply feels like being home. Love these guys. So incredibly happy to have them on this adventure.

A huge thank you to Oma for stepping into and taking over our hectic life for 5 days so that we could recharge. Feeling grateful in all sorts of ways as I take a moment to reflect at the end of this week. Life is good.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Cousin Time

Growing up we didn't live near most of our family. In fact, to this day I still have cousins which I've never met. I guess a symptom of a family that was ahead of its time, spread out across the US during a time when most families still stayed within close proximity of one another. A good excuse for traveling, but for a number of reasons we rarely did.

My aunt Hazel's family lived close by though, maybe an hour or so by car. I remember visiting quite a bit. Weather we did or not I don't know as memories and time seem to get distorted the older I get. My aunt Hazel had 3 grandkids, of whom my cousin Brent was the youngest born just a year after me.

When I think back to time we spent together growing up I see it more like a slideshow without moving parts. I see snapshots of roller blades, hide and sneak, giant swing sets, and cinnamon rolls. I remember running up to the top of the stairs in the old farm house to sneak cookies, and playing hide and seek while the adults huddled around a table playing pitch.
I remember Brent, his heart and his boyish smile. A smile that hasn't changed a bit over the years, and a heart that is even bigger than when he was a boy.

Brent got married this past weekend in what was a beautiful ceremony under the stars. Plenty of smiles, memories and music to be had, and a wonderful reason to see family who live near and far.

Friday, September 16, 2016

September Birthdays

September is a big month around here. We have 4 birthdays to celebrate between the Mister, Grace, Grandma and Julie so this year we decided to make the trip back to Iowa and celebrate together.
We had a wonderful day with lots of smiles, gifts and reminders of how lucky we are to have this family.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Letter to Grace - 3 Years

Dear Grace,

And just like that you're three. Already surpassed a number of milestones and ready to tackle more. You are never one to back away from a challenge. You try to do everything on your own pushing away help until you need it. "I can do it Mama". And for the most part we let you find your own limitations. Limitations that you ensure do not last long.

You are silly. You laugh at yourself when no one is watching. You laugh at yourself when everyone is watching. You laugh. Your smile comes from your belly rising up through your small body. And out comes a giggle that is contagious. A turn of your eyes to sneak a peek around to make sure someone else is in on the joke and then it continues. And just as intense and full of heart are these moments, you put the same effort into those moments fraught with anger and frustration. You melt. You cross your arms, your head falls lower and your whole body melts as if the weight of the world is pushing down on you. We hide our smiles as you work through your anger or sadness remembering that for you the current moment is hard.

You don't give up easily. As a parent that's sometimes hard to deal with. As your parent, I hope you never change. People throughout your life will tell you "no", will tell you to "give up", will tell you "sit back down". Don't. Learn where your limits are and then break them. Learn how to be smart about standing up. Learn how to listen when listening is what is needed.

This family of ours is amazing. The thing is, it wouldn't be that way without you. Without any one of us. We are so very proud to be your parents and see the person that you become.

To the moon Gracie Kay.

Dad and Mom

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Farmers Market

Troy has been able to take advantage of the farmer's market for us quite a few times this season.
He drops all his girls and stops on his way home.
This morning, Charlotte had late start at Kindergarten so we had a chance to make a family trip. The girls look forward to the honey sticks, and we look forward to saving a grocery store trip and stocking up on produce.
They may have also talked their dad into apple cider donuts. Maybe.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


Charlotte is trying her hand (or foot) at soccer this year. She is enrolled for the Fall and then again in the Spring. They run in swarms to start. No regard for teammates or at times which way they are going. 
C gets a break away once in a while. She turns around with that smile. The one that puts in a picture the way that we feel. Proud. 
Soccer parents...make fun of us all you want. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Labor Day Weekend

We set out off on a weekend adventure to visit the cousins up north. Each time we visit I find myself thinking of how thankful I am that we were reunited a few years ago.

A wonderful weekend spent mostly in pajamas. Lots of books, an impromptu art lesson, bonfires, and loads of puzzle time.

Loving these wind-down-to-summer weekends.