10 Oct 2020

Julie and Randy have been coming down every couple weeks to help out with the new twins, and so we’ve gotten more dates night in the past month than in the past six… Two! It’s been so nice though. And they’ve missed crawling over grandparents looking at pictures.

Ruthie and Annie have gotten into the routine of texting each other on our phones if one of them goes on an errand with a parent. One time Annie didn’t realize she was posting to Ryan’s friend group. “Resting in the cart, that’s what’s happening.” Salty.

We hopped over to Tulsa one weekend to visit The Gathering Place which is a really cool free park. Of course I don’t have any pics, we were running all over!

Lunch by the river.

A sample of their texts:


They made a tunnel of pillows and used Gertie’s new treadmill as the entrance.



Ruthie’s wild-haired birthday before getting ready for school. Ryan and I picked them up from school and we ate at her choice of restaurant: Jason’s Deli.



We also hooked up the old nintendo and it’s been so fun watching them learn these classics.

Ruthie’s list of what she wants in a husband. We prayed over her future husband together.

Their martial arts class is starting back with contact class which I hurriedly signed them up for. I’m glad they started off the summer “social-distanced” hitting their own bags and grappling with dummies, just so they get confident. Now they’ve lifted the social distancing and are learning how to hit and defend both standing up and on the ground with other kids. Uncle Matt, who is a BROWN belt (!) said that grappling is important because every fight starts standing up, but almost always ends up on the ground. I am IN LOVE with this for them. Last week was their most physical yet, sparring with partners, and Ruthie hopped in the car saying how much she liked it. It feels empowering to me especially since it’s up to them to earn their next belts.

We went to a park nearby that we hardly ever think of and there happened to be a nice bike park attached for Ruthie to practice on. Not too intense, so a good intro to it all. She loved it.

Gertie has been standing up checking out everything lately. These are tall for her, so it’s fun to see her little head pop up at the dinner table to check out what’s going on.

Before it got dark in the evenings, I was going on solo walks at Crystal Bridges and listening to an audio book. These are my favorite bits of the trails.

Before we went camping with the Wewers, the older girls and I went up a night early to visit Lisa who was sick. Joe watched them as I visited Lisa and thought he’d have to be their teacher. When I came back, they were all watching TV on the porch.

A great weekend camping with the family at Smithville Lake. The weather was almost perfect, a tiny warm, but the evenings were awesome. We had so much space, but always congregated at the parents’ campfire for everything. And we just love our camper, it’s been a game changer comfort-wise and packing up-wise.

Mornings camping. My favorite, with a hot cup of coffee.

On our first trip out with the camper, one of the (new) tires blew and it wrecked the cabinets next to the sink. So we took it all out and are just using these plastic drawers which I actually like better. Ruthie loves having her little bed and Annie ALWAYS wants a warm body to sleep next to, so it’s an ideal set up with her next to Gertie.




We played a game around the campfire one night where someone had to get us to guess an artist or song name. In the beginning it was mom gesticulating wildly with excitement, scott keeping his hand raised the entire time because he immediately knew all the answers and Ryan leaning back in his chair singing a song softly like a pompous professor. Then. Dad took over. And it turned into using clever tactics to figure out the answers. Example:

“Not smallie, but….”


“Yes, now begone!”

Thirty minutes of thinking and hearing dad say, “You’ve GOT to listen! BEGONE. BEGONE!”

Finally the answer: Iggy and the Stooges. (B…. Gone – get it.)

Another one of his, shortened bc it took us a long time to guess in between clues and him saying, “You’ve GOT to listen!”:





Celine Dion!

You had to be there, but it cracked us up and now BEGONE is our new camping slogan.




When mom burned her hand making bacon.

This cat is the most patient. 

We went on a new-to-us trail last weekend where we found huge holes in trees, small bridges, and leafy trails.

Annie’s first grade class had a field trip to a pumpkin patch. We basically had the whole farm to ourselves because they’re not letting public schools do tours this year and we’re considered “homeschool”. The girl in front of her with the pink bow is her best friend, also named Annie. They are connected at the hip and mail each other letters filled with rainbows and random stuff from around the house.

The owner cracked us up in the corn maze. He took a corn off the stalk, explained how they grow, then said, “Do you guys like Cheetos? Do you like Doritos? Corn syrup helps makes those!!!” The parents were laughing. One mom said the year before he got them hyped up for GMOs.

Feeding the cows. This perfectly embodies Annie’s zest for life.

Baby goats.

It was a great day. Ruthie went to a friend’s house and Ryan worked from home with Gertie, so I texted one of the mom’s beforehand that this was basically a girls night out for me. More outdoor fun coming this weekend!

7 Sept 2020

The back to school edition. Ruthie met her new 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Bankston, and Annie met 1st grade’s Mrs. Keene at the Meet the Teacher day back in August. Each of their classes have ten kids and meet twice a week, with me helping with homework that reinforces that previous day’s teaching. I don’t teach anything new, which makes this insanely doable. Annie knocks her homework out while Ruthie will find every excuse in the book to stall. Mom had to help with homework one weekend while I was gone and eventually she had to use a bell to call Ruthie back everytime (The same clanging bell she’d use in the middle of the night to wake me up to help her to the bathroom after her knee surgery. It is NOT sweet and dainty. It’s an in-your-face-get-off-your-butt-and-get-me bell. Ruthie admits she would stay away as long as could because she knew Grandma never gets mad.

Ruthie lost another tooth. When Ryan went to put the money under the pillow (The anxiety of waking them up keeps me from doing it myself), he found a full questionnaire for the tooth fairy.

“Dear Tooth Fairy. No I did not lose another tooth. (When she lost a previous one, she also wrote a note explaining why there was no tooth to collect.) I am sorry to bug you, but I have a couple of questions. What is your name? Is there only 1 of you? If you are not, do you come to me every time? I wish I could see you. Love Ruthie”

We’re realizing that her time is quickly coming to an end with these, so Ryan wrote back and she didn’t recognize his handwriting. I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn a few months ago and it’s about a poor family in Brooklyn. When the daughter got married and had her first child. Her mom said gave her some instructions on how to raise her, including to allow her to believe in Santa Claus for as long as possible.

When the daughter asked why, her mom said “Because the child must have a valuable thing which is called imagination. The child must have a secret world in which live things that never were. It is necessary that she believes. She must start out believing in things not of this world. Then when the world becomes so ugly for living in, the child can reach back and live in her imagination. I, myself, even in this day and at my age, have great need of recalling the miraculous lives of the saints and great miracles that have  come to pass on earth. Only by having these things in my mind can I live beyond what I have to live for.”

“The child will grow up and find out things for herself. She will know that I lied. She will be disappointed.”

“That is what is called learning the truth. It is a good thing to learn the truth one’s self. To first believe with all your heart, and then not to believe, is good too. It fattens the emotions and makes them stretch. When as a woman life and people disappoint her, she will have had practice in disappointment and it will not come so hard. In teaching your child, do not forget that suffering is good too. It makes a person rich in character.”

I just loved this book so much. I’m constantly thinking of little snippets like this. Like how when that little baby grew up, she and her brother were allowed one cup of hot coffee at dinner to do as they pleased. She hated the taste, but loved the smell, so would just hold the hot mug in her hand throughout dinner, bringing it up every now and then to smell. After dinner she would dump it down the sink. When her aunt came to eat with them, she admonished her sister for letting her daughter waste the coffee and the girl’s mom said that she thinks its good for the soul to feel like they can waste something. To feel like they weren’t that poor, that she couldn’t pour coffee down the sink. And they were indeed that poor, which is why it resonated with me. I’ll never forget that book.

Ryan snuck Annie away one night and took her for a nighttime walk at Crystal Bridges. Quality Time is her go to love language for sure. 

One morning last month, I heard Gertie whimpering in bed, so went in to cover her up. Her leg and arm were jerking back and forth and she was dead weight when I picked her up, with her body still jerking. I hollered at Ryan to wake up and he rushed her to the ER. Within the hour, she recovered fully and the doctor thinks it wasn’t a seizure, but that maybe she’d laid on those limbs for so long that they were really asleep, involuntarily moving.

We ate donuts and by that afternoon were in the pool. Gertie is showing signs that maybe one day she could swim. In her baths, she puts her face under the water and holds her breath. I asked her water therapist about this and she said that’s awesome and if she’s not taking in water, then she’s definitely learning. Just yesterday, we let her swim around (in her floaties) and she did a great job keeping her mouth closed and kicking her arms and legs. We’re hopeful.

I wasn’t expecting to be in a photo for their first day of school, but here we are. I’m thankful that their mask requirements are not as strict as the public schools. They only wear them in the hallway.

Only Kindergarten parents could walk back to the classrooms, and one of those moms snapped this pic of her girl on the way out which happened to have Annie in the background.

Ryan snuck both girls away for another Crystal Bridges walk. They sat and watched the glowing soccer ball for awhile.

Ruthie had to draw a picture of herself for school. She thought only the teacher would see and when she found out she’d have to show the class, she about lost her mind. She cried, and I’m not kidding, all day. She said this was the most humiliating thing she’d ever have to do. I told her to laugh about it and get her class to laugh at it too, but she said that no one talks in her class, let alone laughs.

Our Labor Day plans were cancelled so we’ve had a nice relaxing time at home swimming, organizing, and now trying to get our old Nintendo to hook up to the TV.

16 Aug 2020

Last month, I went up to for Will’s Graduation party. Solo. In a hotel room. By myself. It was lovely. I suggested to Ryan that since my Ireland trip got cancelled, I should have 7 separate one night stays away. Lisa, Amy, and I went out for dinner in Lisa’s jeep and I don’t know what it is about a Jeep, but it makes you not feel like a tired, worn-out mom.

I met them at Lisa’s house and before leaving, Will walked in the room and said something to Joe about getting an email from his fraternity. All three of us girls yelled “oooooooooh!!! What did it say Will?! Tell us! Oh my gosh! How exciting!” All of us, at once. And it must’ve broken something in Will’s head, because he told us to stop. That our voices hurt his ears and that he can’t stand it. That it’s like having 3 moms.


He must not know his Aunt Carrie very well, because that just makes me wanna double down. So I said I was SO excited to visit him at his frat house. “Oh no, please no Carrie.” No, don’t worry Will. I’ll ring the bell and already be in the handstand position. “Oh gawd.” Yeah, and you just roll the keg out and lift me up on it. “Just stop.”

Before leaving he told Lisa that we could do so much better. Oh Will! You’ll love us in ten years.

At the party the next day, we saw our Uncle Gary who we hadn’t seen in ages. Still funny as ever and looks the same.

A picture of us probably around 1982. In front of the van my mom couldn’t drive because it was a stick.

We were organizing books for the upcoming school year and Ruthie asked, “Remember when I drew boobs on my English book?” What?? No!

But here they are.

We took our first adventure with the camper. And despite a series of mishaps, we still had a great time with our friends who now live in OK. There’s always a point in our visits, usually after a couple drinks, that I must tell them how easy they are. Because they are. And funny and fun. We’re so thankful for them.

Heading out – the rain finally stopped on the way and we ended up having great weather the rest of the the weekend. This campground had a floating obstacle course as well as a water park with slides. No need to entertain the kids!

The first morning in our camper. 

At one point, all of us sat around the campfire telling embarrassing stories (Annie’s FAVE thing to do).

Gertie’s a champ like always. She loves being outside, the fire, the water… everything. 

She even went down the waterslide with me!

The sign of a good weekend.

Annie conquered her fear of see-saws.

The day before Amy’s wedding we went to Science City. It was fun being a tourist in KC. We normally just hunker down with mom and dad but ended up staying in a vrbo near Lisa.

Ruthie grabbed my phone to take a photo of the clouds. So pretty.

Just a few from the wedding. I’ll add some official ones later, but these are from Ryan’s vantage point. Gertie clapped through the whole thing.

Seeing the twins for the first time. 

Ruthie just loves to cook and bake. She made us stewed beef the other night along with (instant) mashed potatoes and peas. I honestly didn’t know this was gonna happen so soon, but I’m digging it. And all those times of messy messes are hopefully paying off. The stewed beef was great – a new meal to put in the rotation. Here are some of her soundbites during the meal:

“Wow, this is the first time the WHOLE family likes the same meal in a long time.”

“I don’t see anyone drinking, they’re just eating.”

“We’re gonna have full bellies in bed tonight!” (Or something like that)

I looked at her and asked how did I birth my father. Then she tried pound cake and it tasted like scrambled eggs but she needed that humility, ha!


They love looking at the books I printed off from my old Instagram and Facebook account. Ruthie wanted to recreate this photo of Ryan and Gertie.

We all passed around a summer cold last week (which you can’t even admit to anymore) and as we were feeling better on Friday, I said we should go for a drive in the car and look at lake homes, just to get out. The girls decided to dress up, we grabbed Wendy’s and cruised for over an hour pointing out styles we liked and didn’t like.

l drove down our old street to silently apologize to our old neighbors because the new owners have stuff all over their yard and don’t mow. But this was the first time that seeing the house made me nostalgic and sad. Time is flying.

12 July 2020


They react the same way as me when the cheesy music comes on at the end of Full House.

It sold me when the coaches made them turn to me and say, “Thank you ma’am for letting me take this class.”


My monthly date with Jesyka that normally always begins and ends with gluttony.

img_8792Playing in the dirt.

We camped at Roaring River with the Wewers crew. Hottest weekend ever, but thankful for that watering hole.







Gertie’s birthday. The girls made her a background for photos and Ruthie, after practicing her juggling skills, asked to be the birthday clown “Messy”. The name is so if she makes a mistake it’s “just part of the act”. Then we walked to get G’s birthday mail.


Annie put on lipstick and wanted to be a model.

Swimming at the apartment.


Found a new favorite campsite: Dam Site Lake Park on Beaver. A constant breeze, we all slept like babies and had the swimming area to ourselves.






Will had his graduation party, so I came up the night before and had dinner with the sisters. Saw my Uncle Gary the next day who I hadn’t seen in years.


16 sept 2019

Ruthie turned 8 and life is just getting more fun every year with her. She took a few friends to the movies to celebrate, followed by Chick-Fil-A afterwards. Her friends are the SWEETEST, but sweet attracts sweet I guess.

On her actual birthday, we picked them up from school and went straight to Chuck E Cheese. Despite my initial groans, it was very relaxing. No one was there and all the girls had fun running around doing their own thing. Also, soda.



We found a game that Gertie loved.



Reading her birthday books well into the night. I was headed to bed around 10:30 and she was still up.
HBD Ruth!

13 sept 2019

On Wednesdays we go to the library during Gertie’s therapy to do schoolwork. We found this sunny spot that will be perfect in the colder months. Annie is done with her Kindergarten stuff in 30 minutes, but 2nd grade has really upped its game. Ruth’s hanging in there though and has upped her fashion game to match: high-heeled black shoes with athletic shorts, a sweet T, and all the accessories including a bedazzled unicorn head band. Get it gurl.

She’s pulling faces left and right to make us laugh and when I went to her class yesterday to help stuff homework pages, her teacher said Ruthie makes this certain squinched up face so much that now the teacher finds herself doing it at home. Sigh.

22 August 2019

Annie had to miss her first day of Kindergarten because she was still waking up in pain during the night, so Ryan took Ruthie in on Tuesday which thrilled her.

Come Thursday, Annie was ready to go but was nervous and thought everyone would laugh bc she was so. She stalled going to bed the night before and stared out the window at the deer in our yard. 9pm came and went and she was still going strong awake.

Ruthie was so sweet this morning, helping her do her hair and getting dressed. I walked Annie in and she instantly made a friend. When I had to go she smiled her closed mouth smile which means she’s “got this.” She ended up having a great day she said.

Come afternoon, everyone was tired and emotionally spent and hungry and crashed in bed after dinner.

I’m excited about this new year though. Each year I get more confident handling the work at home. The homeschooling part for Kindergarten now seems like a breeze when I remember feeling overwhelmed with Ruthie at this same juncture. 👍

And yes that’s luggage for her backpack. 😂 They’re required to use something with wheels bc of the amount of books taken back and forth and 2nd grade just upped their textbook game, so here we are with a hard cased expandable carry-on.

8 aug 2019

Playing beauty shop today (aka begging them to play with my hair).

Annie: How old are you, I’m 56.

Me: Nice!

Annie: I have three girls.

Me: That’s great, do they get along or do they fight all the time. (Passive aggressive because they’d been fighting all morning.)

Annie: They get along sometimes, but mostly they fight over who’s the prettiest.

27 july 2019

Ruthie found an old burp cloth I saved and had to reenact.

Annie and I spent the evening and night together. She had a sleep study done because of her snoring and will need her tonsils out. One request was to go to the Denny’s that we pass by every day to therapy. Ruthie was so sweet and happy for Annie to get to go, even though she really wanted a pancake breakfast too. Annie kept wanting to call her from the restaurant to tell her things like, no they don’t have the puppy pancakes and that we found a tick in her ear.

No greens at this table! Mac n Cheese with a side of goldfish. She made me laugh so much.

Before going to the study, I needed to pick up some sunglasses because mine mysteriously broke the day before. When asked who did it, they stood side by side and swore nothing. I commended their solidarity. These were Annie’s choice.

All hooked up.

I was telling Ryan when we got home how much she’s changing. At Denny’s she was the bubbly, full of life and chatter Annie. And as she got tired she turned into a calm, all-knowing, quietly arrogant adult-child. She was scratching one of the wires and then I tried to help and she calmly said, “How about we just leave it alone.” I laughed and said, “What?” “How about you and I just leave it alone for now.” I felt like a child. It made me proud and sad all at once. They say once her tonsils out to expect a growth spurt because the growth hormone usually spreads while sleeping and once she gets good sleep, it’ll help her size. I guess I can’t keep her pint-sized forever.

15 July 2019

Cousin Beth and family came into town and we scurried up to KC to catch sight of them. It was also mom’s 73rd birthday. We sang Happy Birthday to her several times that day and with each rendition it got more and more painful. It’s funny to watch how people react when they’re uncomfortable.

A couple Gertie moments. Last night I was about to put her to bed and had her do her goodnight rounds. She said I love you, Daddy when prompted. So I turned her to me and said “I love you Gertie, can you say I love you mommy?” She looked at me and slowly said “I love you…” then started chuckling hard and finished with “daddy.” Ryan and I looked at each other and wondered if she was making a joke. So I made a big deal – “not daddy! Say I love you mommy! I love you Gertie….” then looked at her to respond and she could hardly spit the words out she was laughing so hard “I love you DADDY!!”

Anyway, these are small moments that I know I took for granted with the other two but give me so much hope and happiness. It reminds me that there’s a little mind in there, that she’s not a task or a therapy evaluation sheet needing to be filled out. It was just a good reminder is all.

Then this morning, Ruthie played a version of hide and go seek for 45 minutes with G in her walker all over the house. They were laughing hysterically. When she finally plopped down, she said “shoes”. So I started to taken off and while she was laying there, she said “I love Rupie.” With a big ole smile on her face.

elderly ryan and me.

12 July 2019

Ruthie has started to like clothes and fashion and combing through store mags that come through the mail and then circling what she likes. The other day she saw a jean jacket and was dead set on it.

So I said we could go thrifting this past Wednesday to find one. We’ve agreed that she will pay half for clothes and all for toys, now that’s she’s earning an allowance. And also, I just can’t stomach shopping unless it’s at garage sales or thrift stores.

First stop was Goodwill and we found this cute one for $2.50. We squealed pretty much the whole way home that she only technically had to pay $1.25 when the one in the magazine was $50. She’s worn it every day since.

Speaking of her allowance, I think we’ve finally found a chore chart that works for both her and Annie. This is our second week and it has been great. $1 a day may seem like a lot (does it? I have no idea) but it’s worth it to have them put away the silverware twice a week. I should probably add in “brush mom’s hair” though.

10 July 2019

Still trying to get those beach pics up, but I need to remember this one thing. I heard Annie get up about 5am and run into the kitchen. After a few minutes, she ran back to bed. A half hour later, she climbs into bed and tells me that she thought she heard someone squirting whipped cream from a can in the kitchen and wanted some, but when she got back into bed she realized it was just Ruthie snoring.

24 june 2019

We celebrated her birthday yesterday so that Ryan could be there. Church with her favorite helper (KAREN), her favorite food for lunch (PIZZA), and one of her favorite places to walk and shove her weight around (THE AMAZEUM). Ever since that week with the cousins, her speech has just exploded. Mimicking words is huge, but mimicking full sentences is just so exciting. She can tell us when her shoes hurt by saying “shoes”, which is a gift to me, and every mom, that their kids can explain if they need help. She can say and identify all her letters and colors and can count to 20. She is becoming funny and shy and then not shy and then silly and it’s a relief to finally be less on the side of worry and more on the side of simply loving.

At her neurology check up last week, her doctor was just so excited about Gertie’s growth. She also volunteers at our church’s monthly date night for special needs parents, and so gets to watch Gertie play in her natural environment throughout the year along with her yearly visit.

4 trips around the sun. Can’t wait to see you rocket to the moon now.




15 June 2019

We get excited about the little things, like pinching fingers and knowing where to put the cylinders.

And then Annie- in the makeshift log cabin while all the other kids are running around playing, she’s sitting quietly on the bed reading.

13 June 2019

Photo dump before the real dump: the beach dump.

Annie let Rusty in and wanted a picture before we shooed him out. We love this lazy fat thing. He and Rosie are bringing in about two moles a week which is awesome for our lumpy yard.

Yesterday, the older two and I went to our favorite trail. Socially, Annie is the braver of the two. Physically, Ruthie is. Here’s her progression:

But get her to ask an employee for something or chitchat with new friends at the park and she excels. While Ruthie hides behind her. It’s so interesting, our different strengths.

We found a place with millions of tadpoles and tiny frogs.

The in-laws came down about a month ago and we had a nice time.

A new face painting kit. Ruthie did Annie’s and I did Ruthie’s. They had also bought new stuffed animals at a garage sale that morning.

Our first trip to the movies as a family to see Aladdin. We were shocked at how into it Gertie was. She did get restless and walked for about a third of it.


Ruthie wanted to figure out who’s parents were who’s and started a family tree completely on her own – I was in the other room and she’d run in asking me names. This made me so happy.

Annie’s Pre-K graduation. She showed off some things she made over the year and then sang some songs outside. She’d told me that one boy Mateo (who we’d been praying for all year because he told her that his dad died in the army) asked her to marry him. She said they couldn’t because they just kids but if they see each other later they should ask “Are you Mateo” or “Are you Annie?” and then they’d get married. He’s the cutie in the baseball uniform.



20 may 2019

The girls had an impromptu recital for us waiting room moms today. They just learned it 20 minutes prior, so not bad considering!  Edited to add: Annie told me they had just learned it, but Ruth says they’ve been practicing awhile. Oh Annie! 🙂

15 May 2019

Beautiful day, we hit up 2 parks during Gertie’s therapy and then spent the afternoon in the backyard, followed by Ruthie and me giving each other makeovers. Ended the night watching survivor with two new fans.

This is my favorite time of year where i pledge to hang sheets after every washing and then only end up doing it once. But for real, this summer it’s on.

13 may 2019

Mothers Day 2019 – it was a great weekend. Started off with Ryan taking the girls on Saturday allowing me to take a nap during the afternoon and then waking up to donuts and a new toilet seat, along with bedazzled sunglasses that I’m “not allowed to return”.

We went to church and afterwards had lunch where Annie sat perched on the back of the booth and pretended to be a statue.
Didn’t break for 15 minutes.
And because no one takes a pic of me, i had to do a selfie. I really was there through it all!

2 May 2019

Ruth’s last day of school and for the second year in a row their field day/picnic has been canceled so Ryan took her out to eat.

I don’t know how she gets out almost a month early while only attending two days a week, but we’re not complaining – no fights about combing her hair for three whole months! It can turn into a huge rat’s nest for all I care.

Tornado Warning. Ruth grabbed all the junk she could find along with games and set up a lair for us.

Gertie’s therapists are convinced she’ll be taking her first steps soon and are taking lots of videos just in case. She pulls up all the time now to see what we’re doing.

Her grandma and papa got her an early bday gift and she loves it. Or WILL love it.

And a sweet text from her therapist. She is so loved by them.