Remember this?

We thought we were done with having more children. HA!

You wanna know what happened? Kyle and I spent a long weekend in Mexico without children. We missed them dearly and had wonderful conversations about where our life has led us these past ten years of marriage. It was so nice and relaxing and almost meditative…

So we decided to make our lives more hectic by beginning the adoption process again.

And now, 9 months later here we are in Texas.

More to come very soon…



The boy who made me a mom.

River 7
July 4, 2014- River is 7!

This boy.

River, time is going SO FAST. You just keep growing and becoming such a PERSON. Watching my oldest (you) get so much bigger and independent reminds me of my own mortality, and how short of a time I have to make a difference in your life. I hope I make a positive one- cause you sure have made a positive impact on mine.

As I sit here and write you are leaning up against me watching your favorite Netflix finds. You are still a cuddler and seem to have very little shame in kissing and hugging me in public. You are affectionate and sweet, and sometimes a little over sensitive. You are amazing with your sister and very forgiving of her (but we always hear you say, “Autumn, NEVER do it again!”) and then she drives you crazy less than 10 minutes later.

I hear stories from other parents who are able to come into your school and volunteer about you. Almost every story consists of how when they come into your classroom, you are quick to hold their hand or sit in their lap and listen to whatever book or activity you are about to partake in.

Although you are incredibly sweet- you have your crazy moments too. Much of the time this happens because you are hungry or exhausted where you become incredibly stubborn and whiny. I think this comes with the territory of being 6/7 years old, but we still have a little ways to go to get over it. I don’t think your sister helps with this one. Nope, not at all.

You are doing well with school. This past year in Kindergarten at Prairie Creek I saw a tremendous amount of growth. Most of this growth was emotional- learning to deal with friends, understanding what is appropriate in school, and all around social etiquette. I also saw the love of learning thrive which is exactly what I like to see in a K-1 classroom. I think your school and teacher have a lot to do with this, and I hope we help out a little with that too. But- that being said I know that your favorite time at school is “choice time” and “recess”, but it is a joy to hear that your favorite learning time is during “Math”. It is so fun to hear what you do at school every day- at least when I can get it out of you.

At this point in time, you love Pokemon, Legos, Ninjago and pool time. Your request for today was to go to the pool and then eat tonight at Chuck E Cheese. You enjoy plays so we are going with a few friends to a dinner and play tomorrow night for a little party. You thrive on relationships and live for playing with your friends. You struggle playing by yourself and are many times thankful for your sister to play with. Many times, but not all times. 🙂

You, my son, are amazing. I love you to the moon and back and I can’t imagine my life without you.

Happy Birthday Riv. I am so proud to call you my son!

July 4, 2007  The day I became a mom.
July 4, 2007
The day I became a mom.



Below are some happy pictures of the great summer so far… ❤


Gotta love coworkers and girlfriends!
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Father’s Day fun
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Enjoying nature!
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Happy girls.
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Slowly getting over the fear of bugs.
“Townie” teachers. 🙂
What we really do in class?
Last day of school!
Little mermaid
Memorial Day Bolder Boulder fun!
photo 1 copy
The boys.
photo 1
Birthday day strawberry picking (and a lot of Jelly made!)
photo 2 copy
Happy friends at the Twins game!
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Working together to get way too many strawberries…
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Rock the Garden!
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Happy birthday Daddy!
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Summer napping
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Camp Invention!

lazy mornings and sun kissed days

I guess after writing my dissertation I’ve wanted a true and utter break from writing. Or, most likely, I’ve become quite the lazy person.

I think it’s the latter.

I mean, my kids are now at an age where I can SLEEP IN. On weekend mornings, (and now summer mornings) they get up (River can not get up before 7:30- and Autumn usually doesn’t get up before then) and they head downstairs and watch some good ol’ Netflix. Kyle and I usually saunter downstairs around 8ish and slowly get the morning going.

Also, I take the kids to the beautiful Northfield pool on these lazy summer days and more often than not I just sit there while my kids play together or with other kids. I chat with friends and watch from the sidelines as my kids exhaust themselves- and I do nothing.

Running has been non-existent. But I have been enjoying yoga these last few weeks since school’s been out. Not sure where that puts me on the lazy scale.

But friends, this laziness is about to end, but that is for a later post.

A few months ago soon after Nana passed away my family got together in Hawaii to get a reprieve from the Minnesota crazy cold. Yes, we were on the way “up” when it came to temperature, but after this winter we could not get enough of a break. We enjoyed the sun and the time together to think about how blessed we are. I truly love being there with my family because we are good at JUST BEING TOGETHER.

How awesome is that?!





The end of the school year was crazy- but great. I truly love my students and my coworkers. There were days where I went home so emotionally drained. More than any day when I worked in the middle school. My high school kids have much more “real” problems- more adult problems. But being there for them was so fulfilling. Watching them learn was such a joy, and seeing them smile made my day. I feel so blessed to work in this school with these kids and staff in this amazing community. I love Northfield, I think I may just stay for awhile. 🙂

But here we are now. Enjoying our summer (finally) playing at the pool, basking in the sun, kids going to camp, and sleeping in. In a couple weeks it’s all going to change, but for now we are enjoying this relaxing time together.




Missing you.

Nana and her grandkids and great grandkids.
Nana and her grandkids and great grandkids.

My life is better because I had my Nana in it.

Tuesday I lost her. But, to be honest, these last years of her life have been hard. Health problems, family issues, and a type of dementia/Alzheimer’s left her with a more difficult than normal end of life. She didn’t deserve that, but my Nana always was a go-getter and a fighter, and in her 78 years of life she truly lived, and boy did she love.

She loved like the best of them.

As a child I adored all of my grandparents. My Nana though, just had this way about her. As I got older I always wondered why she didn’t work with children more often. She would have been the best, BEST pre-school teacher, kindergarten teacher, heck- even middle or high school teacher because she could give “it” right back to them. She had a 6th sense when it came to kids. Adults too. But kids, she could make them feel like they were the only person in the world and they were the absolute, hands-down most special person ever alive.

That’s how she made me feel.

My Nana’s name is Lottie. She was born during the depression and grew up in Uniontown, Pennsylvania where she met my grandfather, and at a young age got pregnant and had my dad. Grandpa and Nana got married and lived with my Great-Grandparents, Grandma Evelyn and Pap. In the years they lived in Uniontown they had dozens of family within walking distance, which was good since my grandpa was in college working on his degree. I can’t imagine being 18 and having a newborn to raise, a new husband who was only able to be home on the weekends, and living in a new home with his family. I can imagine things weren’t “perfect”, but my Nana found a way to make it work.

From my understanding she worked in those early years as an assistant in a dental office. My dad has many fond memories of my Nana’s nurturing nature as well as his relationship with Pap- his grandpa. Although my dad was little, he has many lingering memories of feeling very loved and cared for by all of those around him. Something every child deserves.

Soon after my grandpa got his undergraduate degree, they moved as a little family of three to Pittsburgh where grandpa worked on his graduate degrees and Nana had a few more children. Uncle Tim was born and same with my Aunt Terry. (I believe Uncle Keith was later- but not I’m not sure…) Nana then stayed home with her kids and took care of her wonderful family. She was an incredibly beautiful woman (and still was to her dying day) and as my dad said on the phone today, “Everyone who knew her, loved her.”

And you know what was really cool about that? In turn, I am sure that she truly loved everyone she knew.

She was just so full of love.

They lived in Pittsburgh, then I believe Buffalo, and then by the time my mom and dad were together they moved to Houston, Texas where she stayed for the rest of her life. Nana spent her time raising her kids and then working for the Houston Astros in sales. I loved when she worked there! I have very fond memories of going to games and enjoying box seats since that was the part of sales that she worked in. She was a Houston Astros fan till the end. From what I remember she loved her time there. Finally Nana retired from working her last job for the county. Nana was a very social person, and interacting with people was her thing.

She really was a talker. If any of you reading this know my dad, then you know that when he gets going during a speech… well, stopping may take awhile. This came from Nana. I have a little bit of that gene too… which is why I sometimes think that I love teaching. I mean I have an audience 6 hours of the day who have NO choice but to listen to what I say?! Thanks Nana, those talking genes (and as well as the love of kids genes) is part of what made me the person and teacher that I am today.

Nana had some curve balls thrown at her in her later life. A divorce with my grandpa when she was around 55, a horrible accident not too much later than that, and in the past years some dementia and/or Alzheimer’s which was more or less undiagnosed until recently. Although during those years she may have been struggling, she was still loving. Telling her family not to be mad about the situations, and not to worry, and to just KEEP LOVING. She had a gentle heart and a gentle soul, but I can’t downplay her spirit. She swore with the best of them and wouldn’t take any sh..t. Although in these past years her family had been fighting with her about moving into a home so she could be better looked after- she fought… and won… to keep her freedom and independence. Now although that may not have been “best” for her, it was what she wanted, and she was strong enough to make that happen.

There is so much that I gained from having her love me, and me loving her back.  She not only gave life to my amazing father, but taught him how to make my favorite smashed eggs, gave me “tickelies” on my back, and even took me on a cruise. She had a smile as big as her face and it always came straight from her heart. It, and her, will be so missed.

I feel so blessed to have been a part of her life. Nana, I love you, and I thank you for being you.





Dear Winter in Minnesota,

18 years ago (18 years ago!) I came to Minnesota for a little Um Ya Ya, and one of the bets I had with my Colorado friends was to see if, after swim practice (or whatever) I could get my hair so wet and so cold that it broke. Now, although I didn’t achieve that feat in those years past (but I remember a few times I got REAL close) I think, my dear Winter in Minnesota, that it would have easily happened this year.

But I would have gotten frostbite.

You see, Winter in Minnesota, I never planned on staying here. When leaving for college I never thought, for any reason, that 18 years later (geez- I need to stop putting that out there…) I would still be here. This is for many reasons, but honestly, one of the main reasons is because of YOU. I mean, what the heck? Ya ya, I’m a geography teacher and all so I understand the reasons why you are the way you are…. but honestly, it’s time to let up.

I am so done with you. Finished. My booggers have frozen for the last time. I don’t think I have ever “joked” so much and so seriously about moving to Hawaii. (If I could only convince Kyle of your nastiness then I would be on a more desirable track towards warmth, ocean, warmth and WARMTH!)

But no. He sees this as fun. Okay, the snow isn’t so bad, but does it ALWAYS have to come with negative this and negative that temperatures? SERIOUSLY!

I don’t think it’s just Disney’s marketing and music that has made Frozen our new favorite soundtrack. I think it’s our subconscious trying to find new ways to cope.


Okay, so you are giving me snow days (a teachers luxury) cozy fires, and cuddles from our kids. There is Kyle’s joy in cross country skiing (I need to take a go, I know) and the simple beauty of the snow slowly making it’s way down to earth. There is wonder in you, I know that. But don’t divert me.

It’s only February and we are on our 3rd snow day.

February? Ug, we have months of this left.

Well friends, if you don’t see me around for awhile . . .  Aloha.


ps. after writing this post we spent some time outside and had a little fun… okay… you’re not THAT bad. 😉

little miss three year old.

Happy Birthday Babe!

Dearest Autumn,

My dear, stubborn, funny, goofy, spunky daughter is 3 today. Yes, 3! Where has the time gone! It feels like yesterday that I got the call to come and meet you. Three years and you are more of a marvel every single day. We love you more, cherish you more and realize how insanely lucky we are more and more every single day. We are so thankful that you and Mama R found us!

3 is quite the age though. Yes, my dear girl, as your daddy recently said, “Three doesn’t get a cute moniker like “terrible twos” because three doesn’t start with an “F”. 3 is a tough age, and you, dear one, are right smack dab in the middle of it.

But, on the flip side, you are amazing. You are SO verbal, SO silly, SO much fun to be with (as long as you’re in the right mood.) You are up to so much right now… so here’s a little snapshot.

You love to  be active. You are currently in gymnastics (a little higher of a class than your age suggests, because you are so “advanced” in your gymnastics abilities – so they say) You are also now in swim class, and running around happily and singing in music class. You and River keep us quite busy during the week!

You love Disney (yes, I think I had a strong part in that:) You know the name of almost every “princess” and especially love Ariel, Tiana, and Snow White. You are also in love with the music from Frozen- like every other child under 18 right now (and admittedly, this 35, almost 36-year-old too.) You also ask to go to Disney World and Hawaii almost every other day. Can’t blame you. I’ve never tried so truly hard to convince Daddy to move to Hawaii before. This winter sucks.

As for winter, you do NOT like the cold. You go outside with Daddy for no more than 5 minutes before you come in crying. Maybe you and I will be seasonal residents. Get out of this frozen tundra during these painful months.

You really like to pick out your clothes and love to take care of your babies. This whole girl thing is so new for me. Still trying to figure out if its society that makes you this way or your biology. Either way it’s pretty cute when you get super nurturing or you come out with your clothes matched all funny. With a sparkly skirt added on top. Love it.

You love cake. Needless to say you love the fact that it’s your birthday.

Your best friends (that I can gather) from school are Joey and Benjamin. You have some fun with lots of girls and boys at school. You are quite the social butterfly!

You suck at potty training. I thought we pretty much had it down. Ya, not so much. We have been using potty charts, a potty watch, and all sorts of other crazy tools. Not working so far, and I don’t think it’s because you can’t, it’s because you won’t.

You have a little OCD. You are pretty particular when you get a baby blanket. It needs to be spread perfect on the ground. Or like tonight, you had to have all of your blankets in your bed in the exact right spot. Pretty cute, and also, pretty weird.

Autumn, little miss 3-year-old, you put a smile on everyone you meet. We are so blessed to have you be a part of our lives! Happy *crazy* 3rd birthday baby girl!