31 oct 2018

This post is long overdue. The more days that went by, the less I wanted to upload anything. But the worst part is that I can’t remember the small details of these pictures, the things they said or mishaps that occurred. If that’s not a reason to be diligent, for the little nuances, I don’t know what is, because those are my favorite things about life.

We’ve had so many pretty days this fall. I plop Gertie in the middle of the yard and let the girls run into the woods, which they think is the coolest thing. They took my phone at one point and took pics of what they saw.





That poor turtle finally managed to get away. It probably’d never crawled so fast in its life.

Annie is taking swim lessons. The difference between these girls is amazing. Ruth wants to wear her mermaid flippers and swim down to the whales and Annie I think would be happy wearing her floaties the rest of her life. She cries during each lesson and her arms and legs are all over the place when trying to paddle. We’ve learned that, with her, we need to go slow.

A couple saturdays ago we went to our children’s museum, tested Gertie’s walker on the different surfaces, and immediately went home to start marking our path for her (and us.)


It started out as a small one to get to the garden, but my mom mentioned that the girls could ride their bikes on it, so now we’re planning to wrap it all around our property.


Gertie upgraded her swing and the girls drank hot cocoa as the sunset. This was a delicious cool day, spent almost entirely outdoors.


Tired, but with dear old dad.

After church last week, I stole the girls during Gertie’s nap and walked around our little lake.


Last weekend we went to Manhattan to visit Kate and family. Her son played CCR on his guitar and we went through our normal talking points: traveling, the trials and tribulations of being required to speak spanish at work (doesn’t anyone remember my job as a translator at the insurance company?? shoot me), books, and the same four stories of how we met in college. img_7629


Saturday afternoon Kate stole the girls to go her daughter’s volleyball game so Ryan and I could walk around campus and Aggieville. Ruth randomly asked “What happens at the end of the world?” Kate was just about to get into the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse when Ruth clarified “Do we just fall off?” She said she was afraid to answer because she didn’t know if we were flat-earthers or not.


Walking around campus, for 90 minutes. KSU in the fall is just so daydreamy. Gertie came with us and she didn’t fuss one moment. It was a Wildcat miracle and we kept thanking her at every turn.


We wondered if there were still computer labs there, so I stopped a student and asked where the nearest one was. There’s a couple computers in the Union if anyone’s interested. What I would give to just have classes, homework, and an easy job to focus on again. Kate and I reminisced about how we flunked Accounting so had to take the summer course together. He gave us a project at the beginning and none of us started until the night before it was due, needing the final sheet to balance was the goal, and each of our projects were different. So our entire class was sitting at the same table in the small 24 hour section of the library and one by one they all yelled “Yes!!” and got up to leave. One by one, except for us two until early into the morning. It’s just so funny analyzing the right/left brain. We are right brained through and through. (Side note: Ryan took the right/left brain test and he is 50% left, 50% right. We made him retake it just to make sure and it came out the same. That’s crazy to me, but he is both very analytical and very artistic so it makes sense.)

Side note again, Ryan and I agreed it’s nice we’re both alumni from the same university otherwise we’d have to fake acting like we think any of each other’s stories are interesting.

We walked through Aggieville and tried to remember what it was like to have no obligations. Of course everything looked so much nicer than when we were there.

That evening, we went to Kate’s friend’s barn for a hayride. I wore my usual pepperoni pizza outfit. The girls were exhausted.



I love the rolling hills of the Ozarks, but the pull of the prairie also draws me in. To see the sun actually set on the horizon makes you feel like you can see the world.

Nostalgia at work, we stopped at the gas station of my teenage years in Topeka and drove down the steepest hill in town.

Ryan and his friends went to the chiefs game and we girls stayed at mom and dad’s.

Mom caught an interview with her beloved, Lebron.

So proud. img_1295
Helping me with Ruth’s homework. The bonus of her schooling is Ryan took Friday and Monday off and she didn’t miss a day of school.
Making cookies with the cousins. I hope Ruth washed her hand, but I’m sure at midnight that night, it didn’t matter to me if she did or not.
We had a wild ride after the chiefs game. I got physically sick and then couldn’t catch my breath which caused my feet to go numb and my hands to lock up. It was to the point that they called the paramedics to check on me. Everything is okay except for the fact that my parents and sister saw me rolling around in my underwear. And when the paramedic asked Did you have anything to eat today, my sister said OH YEAH SHE DID. Settle, Lisa. It was only 40 wings.

Never a dull moment, I guess. Halloween is tonight!

16 oct 2018

Parent Teacher conferences this evening. Afterwards we ate ice cream, turned off all the lights, and played Slap Jack.

Her teacher loves her, as I knew she would. And thanked us for being good partners. Little did she know that I almost changed schools an hour earlier when Ruth had to identify all the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs on a worksheet. It was torture. At the same time, it’s good practice for me to explain things simply, which I’m not good at. So we diagramed all over our chalkboard wall, and to a grammar freak, that’s pretty much an art mural.

13 oct 2018 (pt 2)

I hope I never forget that feeling of being watched by your child as you hold them while they’re sick. The comfort and safety they feel just resting in your arms. I may not even get to experience this level of intimacy as a grandparent either, so am soaking this up today. Ryan said he was jealous, having a sleeping baby on my chest all day.

It’s rainy and cold. Annie has kissed Gertie’s head a billion times and I heard Ruth say a prayer for her in the bathroom. They’ve painted a few pictures for us and brought in a toad to show her from outside. Ryan just took them to see a movie. We’re all happy.

12 oct 2018

We’ve had some rough days this week, the girls and me, but those are almost always followed up with calm and rewarding sequels. I know they’re just kids and I know they only know what they know, but the amount of complaining and whining hit a threshold and I couldn’t keep any of my frustration in. The Compassion Experience is coming through our town the end of the month and if we can make it, I desperately hope it sticks in their heads. The amount of abundance our family has, and the amount of waste, it bogles my mind. The more they complain, the more I want to dig my heels into this 1500 sq ft home, make them continue to share a room until college, and throw half their toys away. And maybe a part of that anger was directed at myself, for also wanting more than we need. We are so rich, in the most important of ways.

The lulling waves of our arguments and apologies and snipes and prayers, it’s an inevitable water to tread together as we all mature.

But then, the warm weather broke and we spent a much needed afternoon outdoors in the cool wind. It was life-breathing.



Gertie and I were laying in the grass together as the others flew their kite and above we saw three monarch butterflies flying south. They were flying so high, as far up as the birds and I worried they were too high. I don’t know why I love monarchs so much.

Every night this week either Ryan or I have been gone, attending classes or speakers or meeting with mentors. We’ve been passing by as the other started the second shift, barely enough time to go through our days. Tonight is our church date night and as much as I always love a good event to go to, the best thing is to do is sit across from each other for 2 hours.

Water therapy was cancelled today and I was thankful. We had a slow morning where we played and swung outside in the mist. The girls got new rain boots and rode their pretend horses around outside: Oatmeal and Booma, smacking their reigns and yelling “hi-yah” over and over.

Instead of starting her school work, we got out the paints, and gave Gertie some playdoh. They said they were pretending to be Bob Ross’ daughters. I’ve only shown them a few of his videos and they quickly lost interest, so it surprised me to hear his name brought up. If you could feel the happiness. When they’re in that sweet space, they chatter about everything and call me mama and I genuinely feel like one.

The beginnings of Annie’s painting, it was my favorite part. The top yellow circle is the sun, the bottom two would eventually become our heads. She asked me if I knew what the red line was and answered it herself, saying it’s the line where grass and the sky meet. Thanks Bob!

I’m ashamed to say this is the first time I’ve painted with Gertie. It was part fear of the unknown: her eating it or smearing it all over herself, the mess to clean up, and basically just being a pansy. She loved it, of course. But I can’t fall into the trap of beating myself up for not trying earlier, she may not have been ready anyway.

I’m a contented mama today. Gonna make that choice to be one tomorrow too.

8 oct 2018

The weeks are just clipping along. Every day this week are maxed out and so it’s a good reminder to myself to lean into the chaos and not take it out on everyone around me. Over the weekend my sweet friend helped put on a festival in Siloam and we took the family there, which was so nice. This time we showed Annie where she was born, a little townhouse at the end unit of 4. We told her about the neighbors we had: 2 other stay at home moms with their one year olds and looking back, it was exactly what I needed at that time as a new parent.

Annie did the appropriate ooohing and aaaahing and we headed to the festival running into several people we hadn’t seen in years. Even managed to squeeze in a pumpkin patch shot…. of sorts.

(Gertie had spilt water right before.)
We ate lunch and Gertie sat at the table like a big girl.

And Gertie later thinking her daddy is so funny.


2 oct 2018

We love their new dance school. It’s more serious, which they were ready for. I caught Annie practicing some moves. Zoom in and notice at the end, how they have to hold their head a certain way until the teacher says Relax. ❤️

1 oct 2018

It’s nice having a built-in party waiting for you the morning of your birthday. My gift to everyone else was not talking about it beforehand. Ryan said I talked about it a lot in April (his birthday) but haven’t since. That has mostly to do with hearing Ruthie go on and on about hers for the entire month of August and then the day after her birthday planning for next year. I was worn out.

Annie said I looked like a kid and that’s pretty much the best thing to be said to a gray-haired mama.

Mom and dad came into town and my plan-making went like this:

  • Oh! We’ll get a babysitter, go out to eat, and then go karaokeing.
  • Oh! We’ll get a babysitter and then go out for dinner.
  • Oh! We’ll have a nice dinner at home followed by in-house karaokeing.
  • We can have a nice dinner at home followed by scrabble.
  • Let’s just do yard work.

But truthfully, checking things off our never-ending list is the way straight to my heart. And we’ve got ideas for that backyard that I can’t stop thinking about, so fence posts were pulled up, arbors taken down, holes filled in and more talking and planning. Not a better day to do it either, weather-wise.

Ruth made a list for Ryan of what to get me.  The days leading up, Ruth kept saying how beautiful one of my gifts was, but never told me which surprised us all.


My wig. They begged me to wear it to church the next day. Another gift was a nightgown that was straight out of the senior section and when I put it on, Annie said, “You look like grandma.” I love my granny nightgowns though.

After lunch, we skipped Gertie’s nap and put on Busy Beavers (her absolute favorite show) and mom and I hightailed it to Lowes to pick up some mulch, with a stop along the way to a thrift store. When we got back, Gertie was absolutely comatose relaxed. It’s a good way to get some snuggles in.

Ryan grilled us some steaks and we had dinner outside. It’s also the only place that can hold more than four people.

We put the kids to bed, got the beloved scrabble game out, and opened some beers. We played this on my last birthday while visiting Laura Ingall Wilder’s house in Missouri, so now I feel like it needs to be a tradition. We love our scrabble games. Ryan normally wins. Mom suggested that we slip him an Ambien beforehand so it could be an even playing field.
Dad said we only ever talked when it was his turn and that made us laugh because it was true. But we argued that isn’t that better that everyone is doing something rather than them sitting in silence and you feeling the pressure to put a word down?

A few rounds later mom slipped me this note.

This is only for me to remember because it was funny and you had to be there and like to play scrabble. We all play defensively, guarding those triple word scores (nerds!). So when mom broke down and spelt J-O-T with the triple word score two spaces below the J, we all got excited… especially me because I was next after her. I looked at my letters, trying to come up with a three letter word. I found one and before putting it down, wrote it out in the air to make sure it was spelt right. I laid it out and made a big todo about all I had to go through to make sure it was the correct word. The three letter word, starting with J, was J-O-T.  So mom made fun of me in a deep nerd voice “I’ve never seen that word before and it just came to me.”

We laughed and laughed.

I also got to spend some time this weekend working on a little project that may or may not come to light. At the core, it’s been therapeutic for me, but if it turns out to be more then that will just be a bonus. I’ve pulled in a friend who intimately understands my journey, her having gone through something similar, allowing us to be actual handwritten pen pals; editing and correcting and giving me suggestions on how to improve my idea. I’ve read two books back to back that were written in letter form and have become obsessed with getting back to written mail. So while we could text or meet up for lunch, this feels more special, and I’m forever thankful for her input.

Edited to add: I just walked to the mail and got a handwritten letter from another friend for my birthday! I was skipping up to the front door. You guys do know me!

At our community group last night, Ryan and I shared our faith stories. There were 12 of us there. I’d told it several times before in group settings, but I feel like it’s changed since then so was nervous to add in the new part. You could hear my voice shaking, but it felt good to acknowledge a slice of my life I’ve previously left out. A part that I thought was cliche and sappy and annoying: oh the special needs mom who says her child is a gift. How predictable (eye roll). I’m starting to embrace exactly how big of a gift she’s been to me personally, my growth finally into an adult at 38. I understand now how God knows I’m a slow learner and needed a lifelong assignment, something I can’t run away from, forcing me to hit my doubts and fears head on daily and to trust that everything will work out or at least trust that I’ll adjust if it doesn’t. I’m learning to put my energy into relationships that are a two way street and to not stress if the others fall to the wayside. The ones that stick are meant to be. I’m learning to not worry about the small details in the day-to-day, they honestly don’t bother me as much as they did before. I’m focusing my eyes on the horizon instead of my feet and lifting my head those few inches has never brought me so much peace. So I can’t help but thank you God (via Gertie) for this new perspective I couldn’t have found in any other way.

In other news, today is the first of October and that means we can get out the Halloween stuff which is the most thrilling time of the year for the girls.