Category Archives: Being a mom

The day before, the rock, the flowers, community and more…

So as I write this it is the day before the big day. It has been a long week of waiting. I have been ready but the time has passed slowly. It hasn’t helped that I haven’t felt great for several days. For multiple days I have said I feel like I am pregnant. Tired, nauseous and a little out of sorts. Of course there is no physical way I could be pregnant…so these week-long symptoms have been irritating. I am hopeful that after my recovery period I will be back to myself again.

I had good intentions of getting so much done this weekend before I am bed-ridden for a few days but the majority of it just didn’t happen. It’s ok though, overall we had a good weekend. On Sunday after church I had a chance to visit with several of my friends and a few of them prayed over me. It was such a beautiful gift. A few of my other friends were conspiring with Dominic about something behind me too while the praying was happening…I am pretty lucky to have such an amazing church family!

Then later that afternoon another friend from church texted me and asked if she could put me on the “meal train” list. I have to admit it is reaaaalllly hard for me to say yes to help. I am good at trying to manage it all on my own (even if I am not doing a great job as evidenced by something I will share later) but one of the girls that prayed over me specifically prayed that I would have a heart willing to rest and receive. So I thanked her for arranging the meal train and know that my family will be blessed by it.

Today I had BIG plans. Like get all the work done I possibly can in the office kind of plans. Except it didn’t quite turn out like I had expected. At about 12:30pm I got a call from our elementary school. It was the nurses office. They had Karlena there and somehow she had a rock stuck way down deep in her ear. She was crying and the nurse said that we needed to take her to the Dr. to get it out. {Of course}

So off to the school we go to pick her up. When she gets in the car she initially tries to tell us that a “mean boy” from her class put the rock in her ear. Why would you let someone do that we wonder out loud? And then through sobs she admits that she did it. So awesome, it was her fault and she was lying to us. Parenting win #1 for the day. Wait for it #2 is coming!!

The Dr. couldn’t see her for a few hours so we had lunch and went back to the office where I got the most beautiful flowers delivered. Ahhh, sweet blessings in a day that was going down the drain. My best friend wanted me to have something pretty to look at all week and had them sent to our office today. They are so perfect. I rarely get flowers and I have gotten them twice this week! What?!

While we were waiting for the Dr’s appointment my calendar alarm pops up. It is a reminder for Gabe’s ortho appointment in 10 minutes. The one I had COMPLETELY forgotten about. The one that was supposed to be extra long today so they could do a bunch of replacing of wires and things. The kind you don’t want to have to cancel, but I had no choice. I called the office and apologized profusely, telling the receptionist that I have a surgery tomorrow and I had completely forgotten the appointment and there was no way for me to get a hold of Gabe to get him there. Parenting win #2.

Thankfully they were so grace-filled with me and we were able to reschedule for a better time next week. This time I will NOT forget!

Besides all of this, I was impatiently waiting for a call from the pre-op nurse to give me the lowdown on what not to do and what to do before the surgery. {Finally they called!!} Like I get to shower tonight AND tomorrow morning. I will be clean! Ha! And I thought I might get to have food up to 8 hours before the surgery…so I was planning on having a protein shake at around 3:30am. But apparently I can’t eat after midnight. Boo. I am going to be one hungry mama come noon tomorrow.  Somehow I am sure I will survive.

Through all of this though I have been reflecting on this amazing community of people that I have surrounding me. In person, in prayer, with meals and flowers, encouragement and laughter. All of it is such a gift. I don’t take it for granted, I really don’t.

So thank you. I will do my best to provide an update when I am able. But know that your prayers and encouragement have been felt and are so very appreciated!

My Warrior Boy

My posts here have been few and far between it seems. I have had lots that I could share but no time to sit down and tap out a post. So I am stealing away a few minutes at work to share an incredible story about our youngest son.

Elijah is seven and in the first grade. Like most kids his age he is starting to lose his baby teeth. It started with his two bottom teeth. Getting the baby teeth out has been painful. Not really painful for him, but for me. I can’t stand seeing loose teeth. When I was little and would get a wiggly tooth, it would be out. I worked it until it came out.

Elijah was filled with fear over the pain that might happen if he let us pull the tooth. So back in December he had a VERY loose tooth on the top. He refused to let us touch it. It was ready to come out around Christmas….it actually came out 2 weeks ago.

It was dead and grey and crooked and he refused to let us touch it. When we realized how much his new tooth had descended and that the old tooth was pushing on it in a bad way, we told him it was time. Dominic tied a string around it and it came out so fast. He had built up this fear of pain so much and in reality it was hardly anything.

Once that first top tooth was out the one next to it seemed to get more and more loose. It detached on one side completely and was crooked hanging in his mouth. In addition he had a tooth on the bottom that was also ready and on Monday night Elijah bumped it while eating and it was hanging on by a thread.

Last night we tried to convince him to pull the bottom tooth. I told him that he was a warrior and he could handle the pain. Dominic remembered an old favorite song of ours from the 80’s (The Warrior) and started playing it on the computer. (I’ve shared a video below in case you want a trip down memory lane!)

So we were all dancing around and acting goofy. Elijah and I were going around the dining room table and all of a sudden our dog, who has become a bit excited over all the commotion, came running out into the kitchen and into Elijah. Elijah falls to the ground and the dog apparently swiped her paw on Elijah’s mouth and BOTH of his teeth popped out!

It was so unbelievable.

Elijah started freaking out because his mouth was bleeding and one of the teeth was missing. It was an interesting sight seeing all of us on our hands and knees in the dining room crawling around with flashlights looking for the missing tooth. It was found and Elijah started feeling pretty proud of himself.

I told him that he was my warrior boy and that I don’t know that anyone else in the world will lose two teeth at the same time, because of the dog’s paw, AND on Valentine’s Day. What a story he had to tell today at school! 🙂 I thought I would share it here so that we won’t ever forget what a crazy Valentine’s Day we had in 2017! 🙂

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“I’m a Terrible Person!”

Broken Chains

She came in the door sobbing. The kind of cry that would make one think something must be broken.

“I’m a terrible person”, “I’m a terrible person” she yelled in between sobs.

I grabbed her close and asked her why she would even say that.

She is 5. Oh how I don’t want this for her. This naming and claiming of lies.

Apparently something had happened as she and her brothers came back home from a friend’s house. I don’t know if she fell, or if she intentionally did it…but somehow snow got inside the barrel of one of Gabriel’s nerf guns that she was carrying.  In response, one of the neighbor kids told her she was naughty.

She was almost inconsolable. And while I know that my girl can be naughty at times, there is no doubt, I wanted to get at the heart of what she was saying.

I grabbed onto her hands and made her look me in the eyes.

I reminded her of the three truths we had given to her. Elijah had helped choose words for his sister after we picked his.  Karlena is Adventurous, Kind and Brave.

As I held her hands I repeated those three words over and over.

“Karlena, you are Adventurous, Kind and Brave, do you remember that?’

“God made you with those special qualities, look at me Miss…do you remember?”

“Adventurous, Kind and Brave”

She was still crying, but the intensity with which she was, had decreased.

Truth, she needs truth at this moment.

“You are NOT a terrible person, you are Adventurous, Kind and Brave.”

And then we talked about how sometimes even filled with our God-given attributes, we make mistakes.

“Mommy makes mistakes, Daddy, Elijah and Gabriel…even Isaac off at college. None of us is perfect.”

“But we can’t let those mistakes define who we are. Not when you are Adventurous, Kind and Brave.”

We talked about forgiveness, about saying we were sorry if we had hurt someone/something…even if unintentionally. I encouraged her to tell her brother that she was sorry and promised her that he would offer forgiveness.

She said sorry with big, fat tears in her eyes but the second Gabriel said he forgave her she ran and gave him the biggest hug.

And as quickly as the storm had come in, it had left.

I am 41 years young 😉 and at times I still walk around reminding myself that “I’m a Terrible Person.”

I could make a list of all the reasons that would support my claim. But is that what God wants for us?

Yes it is necessary for us to take responsibility for our actions, and sometimes that means saying we are sorry and asking for forgiveness. Hopefully as we mature (and I am not quite there yet, trust me) we learn from our mistakes and turn from those choices to better ones.

I can’t expect perfection from my kids. I won’t.

I do pray that they start to embrace the amazing truths about who they are so that even when they do make a mistake they are so firm in who God made them, that they can weather the storm, the lies that will come at them.

This isn’t a parenting “fix” so that our kids will be appropriately behaved.

No, instead this has been an opportunity for growth in our home. A naming and claiming of the truth and a stomping out of the lies.

It is easy for me to start down the path of “why didn’t I do this sooner…” But I can’t stay there. I have an incredible opportunity to change the path we have been on. Less good versus bad and more truth to overcome the lies.

I start to get a little excited when I think of the freedom that will come of this…Chains are breaking friends, can you hear it?!

Have you given yourself or your kids three truths? I so encourage you to try it and then watch what happens as a result…I’d love to hear your stories as they happen, because I am confident they will blow you away!

Original Photo Credit: via

The Hard Truth

parenting fail

This parenting business is no joke.

I become more aware of my failures as a parent each and every day. And let me just say that before I share my most recent “lesson” with you…there is grace here. Grace for me and grace for anyone reading this that might relate to my struggles. No condemnation – just an opportunity for awareness and grace.

I saw this cute quiz on a friend’s Facebook page. She had asked her young children some questions about her and asked them to answer. Their responses were so loving and adorable…so my first mistake was thinking that my sweet darlings would respond in the same manner about me.

I was wrong. Clearly.

First question – “What is something that I say all the time to you?”

My friend’s kids answer  – “I love you!”

Mine – “Stop doing that.”

I am not even kidding here. I should have known that this wasn’t going to get any better…

Second question – “What makes me happy?”

My friend’s kids answer  – “Playing games with me!”

Mine – “When I am good.”

Third question – “What makes you sad?”

My friend’s kids answer  – “When you have to give me discipline”

Mine – “When I am naughty.”

I stopped the quiz and decided that my heart couldn’t take any more. It is something that has been unfolding before me in the recent few weeks and this quiz had solidified in me the need for a change.

I have talked about it before here that I have struggled my entire life feeling like I didn’t measure up. To what exactly, I’m not sure…but it was a feeling I have lived with forever.

It didn’t matter how hard I tried to “be good”…I was a sinful, selfish human being and eventually all my trying led me right back to a place of failure. A blow up, an unkind word, a threat…the list could go on and on.

I read this book called “Tired of Trying to Measure Up” and while some of the things didn’t necessarily fit with me, so many things did. And it all leads back to one main underlying emotion.

Shame.

When we spend our time trying to measure up to this standard of perfection that we set for ourselves, and then we fail, the natural response is to feel ashamed.

There were things in this book that I knew as a parent I had been doing. Not intentionally no, but a way of communicating with my kids that has allowed them to believe that by “being good” mommy is happy and when they are “bad” mommy is not.

Now yes, I feel happy when my kids are behaving, that is true. But am I communicating to them that I love them NO MATTER WHAT? That even on the days that they make mistakes, there is nothing that would make me love them more or less?

Am I modeling that unconditional love that Christ has for me?

The reality is – no.

As much as I would like to tell you differently, I am learning that this is something in my character that need refining.

I want my kids to understand the difference between good and bad choices. They need to have consequences when they make wrong decisions and can be praised when they are a blessing to others.

But here is what struck me so deeply last night.

It is NOT my kids responsibility to make or keep me happy. They are NOT responsible for my emotions and if I am communicating with them in a way that makes them believe they need to somehow “manage” my feelings…well then things have to change.

This morning I talked with Elijah a little and told him that it was not his job to make sure I was happy. I told him that there were a lot of things that make me happy and I listed off a few things. His smile being one of the biggest.

I also told him that no matter what, I would always love him. Even on the days that he makes wrong choices. I told him that sometimes those choices might make me sad but I would ALWAYS love him, just like God does.

Shame can be a good emotion when we can learn from a mistake and move forward.

But when the pressure to measure up and strive towards an unachieveable perfection causes a lifetime of feeling ashamed of who we are, it is not healthy.

I am working now on retraining my thought processes. It is my natural response to see only the negative in myself (and oftentimes others) and it has kept my in chains for too long.

I am starting by seeking out the truths of who I am in Christ.

Setting my feet on the solid rock of God and remembering that regardless of my choices, God loves me no matter what.

I want my children to walk in that truth as well.

Today I told Elijah that there were 3 things I wanted him to remember about how God uniquely created him. Yes there are so many things I could add to this list, but 3 seemed like something he could remember easily.

I said “You are kind, you are compassionate and you are brave. God gave you those gifts, try and be a blessing to someone else today.”

Will he fail? You bet. We all do.

But my hope is that he will start to walk in the truths of who he is. He will believe those truths over the lies that the enemy will try and whisper to him and he will know that he is loved no matter what.

As parents it is all we can do, own it for ourselves and then pass on the truth to the littles we have been entrusted with.

Original Photo Credit: via modified

The Proud Parent Of….

SDSMTGoing off to college is a major life change. I don’t really remember being filled with fear over it…but I am sure I was.

I attended a college in my hometown my first year. There was some safety in that. I knew that I could go home and do my laundry and not have to use the machines at school. I knew how to get around town and I still had my part time job that I had in high school. Sure the idea of going from building to building was scary and the classes would be hard, but I loved the community that I felt in my “small” school.

I thought that I would be there for the next 4 years.

But at some point in my first year it was evident that I needed/wanted to switch my major and I had to change colleges to do so. I felt like a failure...I had all these plans for so long and now I was doing something different. Who could be proud of that?!

Dominic also made a change after his first year. He attended the school that Isaac is at today…it wasn’t for him and after his freshman year he changed too. That is how we met, at our new college, carrying the baggage that in our own ways we had “failed”…

Perceptions like that can cling to a person. Whether they are appropriate or not…they can shape how we think and view ourselves.

When Dominic started Law School there were these window clings that had the name of the school on them. I told him to buy one that first year…I was really proud of him….it was like a bragging right to have that on your car.

But he said he wouldn’t buy one until he graduated…he needed to believe that he could do it first, needed to prove it to himself and others. After he graduated you can bet we bought the cling.

As we dropped off Isaac this past week there was a place for parents to pick up a bunch of information, and at that table was a window cling. Proud parent of SDSM&T.

I grabbed 2 and when we got home last night I put one on my computer cover. I am a proud parent of a South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Student.

Tech is a HARD school. They do their very best to weed out the students that can’t hack their programs in the first year. Isaac has some terribly hard classes, Trig, Calc and some Finite math for computer science class. I don’t even know what having classes like that would be like. Well I do…it would mean complete and utter failure for someone that isn’t math minded like myself.

He is going to have to work hard. It will not be easy, that is a guarantee. He may love it and he may decide like we did that he wants to do something else. And if he does I will be proud of that too.

I want to live my life embracing the here and now. Right now my oldest just started at one of the hardest tech schools, and yes I am proud. He doesn’t have to graduate for me to be proud…I already am.

Moving in to a dorm with strangers, leaving your family and the routine you have come to know for the past 18 years…it is all really hard changes. There were lots of kids that we saw that looked terrified. I am not kidding….they looked scared out of their mind.

As a parent we should be proud of our kids for taking these next steps.

I know that Isaac won’t do everything perfectly. There will be hard times and likely some failures. He will have tough choices to make and we will see his character develop through it all. He doesn’t have to have it all together for me to be proud of who he is. He doesn’t have to prove it to me that he can do it.

I already know he can.

Whatever career path he decides he wants to pursue, I know he will succeed. It will be something he is passionate about and he will work hard to do his best. I have already seen that in him, and I know it will continue as he gets older.

Parents these times are hard on us…especially us mama’s that are emotionally “gifted”. I will miss talking with Isaac every day in person. Miss hearing about his day…I don’t want to bombard him with text messages so I can hear all about how it is going. He will probably not tell me everything just so I don’t worry. 🙂

So I am going to be focused on praying for my son…for all the kids there at Tech. Praying that they would start to feel comfortable in their new surroundings. That they would find their classes and make new friends. I will pray that they will stand strong in their convictions and be an example to others. And I will pray that they know how proud of them we are as parents.

I will be Isaac’s biggest cheerleader. Through the good and the bad. Through the tough choices and even the wrong decisions. It is my privilege as his mother to cover him in prayer and cheer him on this new path he is on.

Proud? Absolutely, 100%…no matter what.

All the things I want to say…

Sunset IsaacI made a quick trip to Walmart this evening to pick up a few last things on my “sending Isaac to college” list. It is the eve of the eve of our adventure to college and my mama heart aches at the reality of it all.

I cried through the entire worship portion of church yesterday…something I was clearly NOT prepared for as the ugly cry was starting and I couldn’t find a kleenex to save my life. It was awesome. Something about singing about God’s amazing love for us and seeing a dear friend singing on the worship team who is leaving on her own adventure this next week…and standing next to my son, it was too much.

The tears are coming quite a bit these past few days, and I am sick on top of it so it is all around good times.

I found myself in the baby aisle tonight, oddly enough buying pull ups for one who will be in our home for 14 more years and a new towel for the one we are preparing to leave us.

It didn’t seem so long ago that I found myself making late night runs to Walmart to buy a new paci because Isaac’s was lost once again…how is it possible that the time has gone so fast?

As I was leaving the store I was feeling a bit verklempt and I walked out to see the most beautiful sunset before me.

Oddly enough I make many trips at this time of night and for a brief moment I get to experience God’s full splendor in creation itself.

The clouds were tipped in pink and the sky was a brilliant orange, contrasted to the dark clouds that were behind me…a storm that had recently passed through.

Oh how I marvel in the beauty after the storm.

The sky represents a promise to me. A promise that God is always with us….and He CAN make something beautiful out of even our darkest storms. I just have to trust that. Oh may I always remember Lord.

As a mother I honestly want to protect my oldest from any storm.

I want him to learn from my mistakes so he doesn’t have to make any of his own. I pray that his journey would be easier than mine….but if it were, would he experience the majesty that is the sunset after the storm?

In my darkest moments I haven’t always believed that I would see daylight again. And at times I believed that God couldn’t redeem my past.

But He has and He will…

So as I prepare to close this chapter of parenting and enter a new one with Isaac I wanted to share a few things here.

I am an introvert through and through, and while I am a woman with ALL THE FEELINGS, I don’t always express them well. Especially out loud and in person. Thankfully God knew this about me and gifted me with an ability to more comfortably share the cries of my heart behind the safety of a computer screen.

So first Isaac let me say how much I love you.

I know I don’t and haven’t said it enough in person and I am sorry for that. I hope that you know and always know that I love you. You have always been a gift to me. I thank God that he allowed me the blessing of being your mom. How did I ever get to be so lucky?!

And Isaac we are so incredibly proud of you.

Not only are you an amazing brother but you are a hard worker. Someone that can be trusted, dependable and funny. You bring laughter to our home and your presence will be missed by the entire family.

You are smart and talented.

You can take apart just about anything and make it new again. You aren’t afraid to try something new, to push your thinking outside of the box…it is no wonder you are pursuing engineering.

I am so excited to see where God will take you.

I know this transition won’t be easy for you, but I know you will be ok. You have a resilience in your bones and as difficult as it was to move before you started high school..I believe it has prepared you even better for this next phase of your life.

There will be trials. Life won’t always turn out like you hoped or imagined.

My prayer during these times would be that you would hold onto your faith, trust God with the big and the small things….He is with you and will be with you every step of the way. Even in those times you may feel abandoned…He IS there. Trust me on this one…it is a lesson I have learned time and time again.

The last 18+ years have been an honor. 

While this change makes me sad it also makes me so excited for you. There are bigger and better things in front of you. Chase those dreams you have, do the scary stuff, take risks (acceptable, legal ones) 😉 and don’t let fear tell you that you can’t do something.

You are well prepared for this moment Isaac, I am confident in that. We all stumble, face failures and struggle with feelings of doubt…but always remember that you are right where God wants and needs you. Be that light to others, and make a difference.

And while I joke that you are never coming home again I hope that you want to visit us soon. There will always be a place for you here, even if your brothers take over your room next week! 🙂 You were the best thing that happened to your dad and I almost 19 years ago and we are cheering you on as you start college.

Oh and a couple other “administrative” items before I let you go…please text me once a week so I know you are still alive! Know that I will always be here for you. I may force myself not to check up on you but it isn’t because I don’t want to know how you are…I don’t want to be that annoying mom. 🙂 Do your laundry before you run out of shirts and pants. Trust me everyone will appreciate that one. And just go and do your best. We don’t expect perfection…clearly we aren’t capable of it ourselves…just work hard like you always have and you will succeed.

Thank you Isaac for being such a gift. I love you.

Mom

Photo Credit: vj_flicks

A Lesson in Obedience

Gabriel's baptism 1

God has been using my children to teach me some pretty big lessons recently and today was no different.

It was a special Sunday at church. We have had church in the park the past 2 Sundays, but this week was also baptism Sunday.

For the past 2 years we have been talking to Gabriel about getting baptized. He has accepted Jesus in his heart, he knows God sent His Son to die for his sins…but the idea of standing up in front of people and talking about that was scary for him.

We have a service like that every year…and every year Gabriel has told us that he wanted to wait one more year.

As a parent this was hard for me. I wanted him to make the choice, wanted him to walk in faith and not fear…but I also wanted it to be HIS choice…not mine.

So a few weeks ago we talked again and he said that he wanted to do it when he turned 12. So one more year wait it was.

And then this morning he came downstairs and blew me away with his words.

He said he woke up and felt like God was telling him that he needed to do it today. He didn’t need to be afraid and Gabriel asked if I thought that our pastor would let him do it even though it was short notice.

He said that he had been nervous before but he felt like God was giving him the courage to stand up.

He was choosing to demonstrate his faith instead of letting his fear hold him back.

Gabriel's baptism 2And so we went to church and found Pastor Ray and asked if Gabriel could be baptized and he said yes. In front of a pretty large crowd of people Gabriel shared that he believed in God and wanted to be an example for his family and the church.

I couldn’t have been more proud.

I could tell he was nervous when he started talking…he said something like “God turns my good days into bad” 😉 and then realized that he mixed it up and corrected himself. But then he shared his belief in God sending Jesus to earth to die for our sins…

It is pretty amazing to hear your 11 year old articulate the basic fundamentals of the Christian faith.

Gabriel's baptism 3And so with his profession of faith he was baptized.

Dominic helped and I took pictures and a video.

The water was cold and it is a little shocking to the body to go down under the water and come back up. There is a big breath that everyone takes upon rising again.

A breath of new life.

Gabriel's baptism 5Hope is found in faith in Jesus.

We will continue to mess up and make mistakes.

Just because we believe in God it doesn’t mean we won’t have problems, or mess up and say the wrong thing…that is why we need the gift of grace.

But we have the promise of new life, new breath because of our faith. An opportunity to breathe deeply and fully in the One who created us.

Today my brave son felt a calling from God to be obedient.

He later told me that he didn’t think it was going to happen today…but after this morning he knew he needed to do it and he was glad he did.

Our family didn’t get to attend because we weren’t prepared in advance that this would occur today…but it is ok.

It was a beautiful, sweet moment with our 2nd born, and thanks to the technology of phones and You Tube we can share those precious moments with others.

And like our pastor said…it is a day we will remember forever.

If you would like to watch the video I am including it here at the bottom of the post. For email subscribers click here to watch.

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We Survived Our First Graduation

Isaac 3

As you may know, our oldest son graduated from High School a few weeks ago and this past Saturday we had his open house. This has been some major firsts for all of us and it was quite the experience. I am so proud of Isaac and all he has done in high school. I know this next phase is exciting, but WOW as a mom…I am learning how to let go and it is tough! 😉

So when I started to plan his open house I had NO IDEA how many people to actually expect. We sent out invitations to lots of family and friends, some of which I knew might not be able to come based on their distance from us. I invited some people closer via a FB group and with the responses from that group anticipated about 80 people, give or take.

Isaac chose a taco bar for the meal and long ago asked if he could have a chocolate fountain too. OF COURSE!! 😉

chocolate fountain

My mom was a HUGE help and did most of the shopping for me. Going to Sam’s and Costco to compare prices and send me lists of everything I was thinking we needed.

Looking back I maybe went a bit overboard….maybe.

I ordered 100 cupcakes from a woman locally that makes homemade and really amazing buttercream. They were so good and we didn’t have too many left, maybe 20? So it wasn’t bad.

open house 2But really with the chocolate fountain, I could have skipped the cake and we would have been fine.

We had lots of dipping choices, the best were the Bavarian cream puffs. I don’t love these plain, but covered in warm chocolate, TO DIE FOR!

chocolate fountain dipsI also may have had too many choices for the drinks. I served water but then thought I needed 2 different kinds of juice/punch. The whole “punch” was a bit of a fiasco. It was thrown together without a recipe but ended up being pretty good. Next time someone else can be in charge of that though!

open house 5The biggest hit was the punch (the one on the middle) it was a mix of Cran Lemonade, 7-Up and orange sherbet. The ratio? Can’t really say…it was more of a dump and stir thing happening with that! But we had to refill it twice…so all in all it was good!

The taco bar was the hardest to plan for. I mean really, how much meat do you need to feed an estimated 80-100 people?

Well I bought 40 pounds. Yes you heard me right, 40 pounds.

I know, I am shaking my head as well. But on the day of we had approximately 30lbs in the roaster pan and when it was all over only about 7lbs left! Just perfect actually. We ate some as leftovers and froze 1 containers worth for later! And as an added bonus I have 10lbs of hamburger browned and frozen for a quick meal later too!

open house 4We decided to go with large bags of chips instead of single serving ones…it was honestly about 1/2 the price. I had my mom get 6 bags of Doritos and 6 of the Fritos. We used 6 total. Thankfully chips don’t last long in my home…we will survive.

We also had small burrito shells, which was inspired by our Gabriel who doesn’t like chips. I had 2 packages of 20 and we ran out!  I also had mom get 2 large bags of shredded cheese and we didn’t even open one…so good to know for the next time! And we had the largest tub of sour cream that I have ever seen and used almost all of it! Crazy!

open house garageMy mom helped decorate the garage with Gabriel assisting on Saturday morning. We were grateful to have borrowed the tables and chairs from our church so I didn’t have to rent those. We fit 4 tables for seating in our garage and 1 for our candy bar!

Another fun Pinteresty project I saw when I was planning and it too was a big hit!

open house candy bar

I had grandiose ideas of how it would look and got all of my containers at GoodWill or the Dollar Tree to keep costs down…it didn’t execute as cute as the pictures online but people liked it none the less! We chose to shares Isaac’s favorites and had little paper gift bags that people could take a treat with them.

open house candy bar signI was worried that no one would see them but Isaac did a great job of telling people about it. Lots of people liked to be able to take a treat with them for the road.

The open house was so much fun. Exhausting and crazy but such a blessing to have so many people come and help us celebrate Isaac! Our house was full, our garage was full. It was wonderful!

open house

open houseIt was so nice to have so many from my family here that day too. Aunts and Uncles, Great Aunts and Uncles, Cousins and Second Cousins, grandparents and my sister and her family! And I think at this moment pictured above was the only time that my mom sat down all day! She worked hard, we couldn’t have done the party without her help!

Oh and did I show you the wall of Isaac?!

My friend Courtney is AMAZINGLY talented. She does a lot of furniture refinishing and I mentioned that I needed to build a frame for Isaac’s pictures. It was massive, I wanted it to fill the wall and it is perfect. It may never ever come down! Once I take down Isaac’s pictures I can see the kids art, Christmas cards, birthday cards…all on the wall. Courtney I can’t thank you enough!!

open house wall of Isaac

So yep, we survived. We are tired but blessed and so very grateful for the love that all of you showered on our son. Thank you so much!

Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part Six

Mom ConfessionsWhat fun these “confession” posts have been….are you loving them like I am? There is something freeing about laying it all out there. And even though I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions.

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It has been a doozy of a few days around here but we have been bound and determined to make the best of it. Sometimes that is all you can do and I can tell you that having a positive attitude whenever possible sure makes a difference!

I baked some peanut butter M&M cookies the other day. I had ordered this big bag of easter colored M&M’s from Amazon and they came all crushed and broken into pieces…there is something about shards of M&M’s that just don’t taste as good as the full ones. So I found the “best” recipe on the interwebs and got to baking. For the record they aren’t the “best”…they aren’t terrible (as evidenced by the large number of cookies I have eaten in the past few days)..but I am still searching for the best recipe.

Anyways, the last pan was in the oven and then for some reason I walked away…..for waaaayyy too long. So the last batch looked like this.

Burned Cookies

Baking perfection don’t you think? And it is clear that I need some new cookie pans!

I washed a kleenex in the laundry the other day. It was everywhere. EVERYWHERE I tell you. When I cleaned out the lint tray it looked like this…

Dryer lint

It caught most of it, but my black towel didn’t fair so well…I was picking off white specks of kleenex for 3 days.

This weekend we had big plans.

We were supposed to go to Sioux Falls on Saturday after Karlena’s dance dress rehearsal. On Friday night I went to our first ever women’s event at our church (which was amazing btw)…and came home to Karlena with a 104.7 fever. Not good.

I figured it was strep…this is how it always goes down. Fine one minute, really really sick the next. So I took her in on Saturday morning and yep, it’s strep.

Karlena sick

Poor thing was so sick. And then with regular Tylenol and IB dosing, she perked back up. But our plans had to be cancelled because she was contagious.

So we decided to do something over the weekend that I didn’t think would happen until after graduation….

Garden 2015

We planted our garden! I am so excited. We have tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, carrots, onions and potatoes!! Oh and we threw in a couple of pumpkin plants in a different area of our yard. Maybe we will get  a few of those as well.

And on Monday last week we played hooky from work (thankfully we can do that when we are self-employed) and we built this amazing hanging basket holder for our front lawn. It takes the place of the birch tree we lost last year. I love it and so we also got our flowers planted as well!!

hanging baskets

It was nice to take a bad situation and make something good out of it! Sometimes that is all we can do right?!

How was your week? Did you have an opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons?! 🙂

Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part Four

Mom Confessions

This week feels less like a “confession” and more like “life theses days” but there has been a lot going on and honestly this is a way for me to remember it all!  And even though I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions.

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Karlena threw a massive fit after dance class last week because I wouldn’t let her go in the fish pool in our backyard. It was 65 degrees.  Yes it was warmer than it had been for weeks, but it was NOT pool weather, especially not at 5pm. Heck I don’t even know where the darn pool even is right now! I said no. She screamed her ever loving head off for like 10 minutes. So I did what any mom would do. I took a video of her and posted it to FB. Because sometimes seeing another child throwing a fit makes you feel better about your own life. Mama friends, you are welcome.

This young man is the future graduating class of 2028!

Elijah kindergarten

We had kindergarten roundup, which felt oddly like a sale-pitch for parents. I guess because there are choices now maybe it has become a sales-pitch? It was good – but a little weird! 🙂 And how old does 2028 make you feel? OLD? Yeah me too!

This little miss had a fun visit to the dentist this past week…

Karlena dentist

Yes, she had 2 cavities. I think I shared before that I feel like that is a reflection on me as a mother, but whatever…I am getting over it. We will continue to brush, but when it is a battle…typically I lose. :/ Anyways. She got the laughy gas but did SO good. It was a fairly long appointment because they have to let the gas kick in, let the tooth get “sleepy”…and then do the fixes. She handled it like a champ though, so I was proud of her!

A few weeks ago we had a home appraisal done. We are finalizing a refi this week, lower interest and no more PMI (#winning) but as a part of that we had to have a home appraisal. No biggie right? That is until you remember on the morning of that a stranger is going to be coming into your home AND taking pictures of all the rooms and your home is a PIT…that you go into complete and total panic mode.

So what did we do? We skipped work for 2 hrs that morning and FRANTICALLY cleaned. I was a hot sweaty mess. I just threw things into closets and said a prayer he wouldn’t need to open them for any reason (he didn’t PTL!!!) But now 3+ weeks later I have never gone back and cleaned up my mess. Nope…haven’t even thought of it. And maybe never will open the doors again if I can avoid it all together! 😉

Elijah became a man this past week when he came home with this….

Elijah mustache man

Isn’t it awesome? There was a carnival at the school he attends and he came home with these tattoos! 🙂 He looks so adorable!

And finally my oldest went to prom this past weekend. He went with friends from our old hometown. I didn’t get to see him in person because we had things to be at here so I had other moms taking pictures for me! He looks so grown up to me…it is probably better that I wasn’t there because I would have embarrassed him with all the tears! 🙂

Isaac PromWell thanks for hanging in there with me this week…I will try and be more confessional next week!

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