Friday, December 18, 2015

I Miss You


I woke up this morning and remembered you were gone. I pulled the covers over my head as the sadness swallowed me like a wave on the ocean's edge.

I miss you, buddy. Your hair is everywhere. I'm still carrying it with me. There are scratches on the floor from that last awful week with you. Your collar is hanging in the closet next to the leash. Your poop is still in the yard. There are small reminders of you everywhere.

As I moved through this day full of emotion, memories of your face bounced in my brain. Memories of how you lifted your head every morning while I bounced down the stairs or how you snored so loudly at night. I miss that sound. I miss watching you with Jack. I miss you laying on the porch in the sun or next to me by the desk. I even miss that bark when you wanted back inside.

I miss you, but I don't miss the dog you were that last week. I miss the one the 13 years before it. That's the dog I'll always remember not the one at the end.

Rest Easy My Gentle Boy.

Until we meet again...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

It's Ok.

It's been seven long days and seven sleepless nights since this disease took over your body like a vampire in the night.

We have a consultation with the vet today to decide what's next. What's next...incredible how much power that phrase holds in this situation.

You've been a very loyal faithful companion, old boy. You were part of  my blood family and now you're a part of my chosen family. We all love you. We love your quirky personality and your consistency. We love how you expect very little, but give so much. We love how calm and committed you have been to Johnny and how you let him think he rules the show. We love how patient you have been with Jack even though I'm sure it's torture for your old body to have such new life running around you all the time. And we both know I mean ALL the time.

They say your average life expectancy is 13-15 years. Interesting how you're just a few months shy of your 14th birthday.

Myles, it won't be the same without you, but we'll be ok. I won't be the same without you, but I'll be ok.

Sometimes we have to dig deep to make the most difficult decisions. I'm digging deep here, sweet boy. And that place we have to go when we know what's right, that's where I am. I hope you know I'm not doing this for me. I'm doing it for you. Thank you for your companionship, loyalty, trust and most importantly love. I will carry it with me forever.

It's time to let you find that dogsled team in the sky. They're waiting for you to lead the pack.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Christmas Miracle For Myles

Dear Myles,

Right now you're resting peacefully in the sun room. You've rested there 1,000 times before, but this time it's different.

For the past two days I have mourned the possibility of losing you. I cried while building PowerPoint presentations. I sobbed on my commute to work. I swallowed down more lumps in my throat than I can count. I suffered through conversations about the weather and other things that don't matter all while preparing to lose you.

This morning Jack drew you three pictures. On the last picture, in his best 3-year-old penmanship, he wrote: "Get Well Soon, Myles."

And suddenly, this indestructible hope of a 3-year-old hit me.

Through our 13 years together, you never waivered. Your love for me flowed steadily and consistently like a river through the middle of the woods. You were present when we got engaged, married. When we brought our sweet baby boy home, you greeted us with your signature happy dance. You never gave up on me when I traveled after college sometimes for months at a time. You were always there ready to accept me just as I was.

And that's why I'm not giving up on you.

Sweet boy, if you want to fight, I'll fight with you. If you want to go, I will support that too. I'm here to wrap my 33-year-old arms around your 13-year-old body and hold you when you're anxious. I'm here clean up your accidents, feed you by hand and take this one day at a time with you.

And if you decide you're ready, I'll be ready too.

But if you want to fight, I'll fight with you.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

3 SIMPLE Holiday Crafts Under $5

1. Paint some ornaments


  • Q-tips for paint brushes
  • Acrylic paint-white and red
This was a hit for a 3 year old, 7 year old and 11 year old on Thanksgiving. It kept them entertained for 45 minutes. The 3 year old rolled his ornaments in the paint which turned out pretty cool. He hung them on the tree right beside each other.

2. A "snow globe"

  • Small ball jar
  • Olive oil
  • Two photographs
  • Glitter
Cut pictures to fit in jar. Place photos back to back and slide in jar. Add glitter. The more the better. Fill jar with olive oil. Screw lid on.

3. Give, save, spend jars

No description needed. These jars sit in our living room as a constant reminder of what really matters. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

To the Mother of Three

To the Mother and Father of Three,

I'm sure it isn't always easy to be constantly have one tugging at your pants while the other lifts your shirt while the third cries somewhere about feeling "left out." I'm sure it isn't always easy to load three kids into one bright red grocery cart while anxiously deciding which one will lose it the quickest and what will cause that melt down.

And dinner do you do it? Prepare a hot meal while three little minds take over every corner of the house with primary colored crayons and white walls? How do you work 9 hours and still manage to do it all? The piles of laundry, the dog hair from the dog you got (against your better judgement) because all your 7-year-old dreamed of was a dog for her birthday? I'm sure you ended up with the dud of the litter too, huh? The one who barks all night long and can't be trained.

How do you do it? The math homework that challenges every brain cell, the english papers and science projects? How do you pack all the lunches and write tiny notes every day on yellow post-its and keep the cabinets fully stocked? How do you make sure each kid feels equally loved and equally cared for and equally special? How do you educate and build up and keep in line all at the same time?

How do you get them all to bed without falling asleep yourself in some twin bed or beside some toddler bed?

How did you do it mom and dad?


Friday, August 28, 2015


Have you seen a person at Costco and you already know everything about them so you don’t have to ask them a simple question like, “How are you?”

Have you sat on a couch with your spouse and tweeted them?

Have you hiked a mountain not for the journey but to get the Instagram shot at the top?

Have you taken a walk just to take a walk not to talk loudly on your phone about things that don’t matter?

Have you stopped to admire the way the setting sun hits the top of a tree and resisted the urge to snap chat your selfie?

Have you sat with your five childhood friends lately or is a group text enough to cure that desire?

Have you gone to a record store and gotten to know the pioneers or is the $1.29 itunes deal to good to resist?

Have you sat with the sun in your face?

Have you tried to slow your pace?

Have you visited an art museum or space museum or children’s museum?

Have you sat of a bank of a river and admired the flow, the way life moves slow?

Have you powered down your lifeline to truly take a vacation or staycation, have you felt the sensation of a hug lately?

Have you told the ones you love you appreciate them lately?

Have you sat with your aging parents and gotten to know them as they are right now in this moment?

Have you told your kid no…you can’t take that trip to the park because this e-mail is too important?

Have you laid on a blanket in a wide open field and talked about all that you feared?

Have you witnessed a moment when a man or woman drops to one knee and lays down their life?

Have you experienced the miracle of a life without asking if there is wi-fi?

Have you rolled down your car windows and disconnected your blue tooth and watched a neighborhood come to life?

Have you sat at the bottom of a tree in the middle of the woods and admired its journey and all that it gives?

Have you embraced your kids? A fully connected, undistracted, uninterrupted hug?

Have you dropped a collection of real, hold it in your hands pictures in the mail for Grandma?

Do you know how good it feels to see the sunrise before picking up your device?

To read a real book by the lake without an electronic vice?

Do you know how it feels to be free?

To open your distracted eyes and truly see? 

Do you know how it feels to be free?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Just The Two of Us At the Movies

Every so often when I start to question myself as a parent, I watch the way you walk toward a drinking fountain. I watch you put your tiny shoulders back and proceed in the direction of a destination with confidence. And I nod. In that moment, I know I'm doing ok.

When I start to wonder if I'm giving you enough this or enough that or enough of this, I stop because I know simply asking this questions means I am...enough.

When I start to ask if you feel the depth of my love, I look at your tiny hand clutching mine during the scary part of a movie and I know I am your comfort, I know you feel my love.

When I start to wonder if you will ever understand my concern for your safety, I pause because I know you look to me in all situations for approval and acceptance. I know you're watching me.

When you cry, I swear a tiny part of my heart breaks off.

When you say something adorably sweet, that tiny part repairs.

When you are happy, adrenaline pumps through my veins.

When you are mad, I want it to go away quickly...I want a magic wand with a secret solution to cure your anger because it is wasted energy for both of us.

When you kiss me, I leave the saliva on my face for as long as it will stay. I love the way it feels while I'm meeting with clients or sitting in team meetings...the saliva stuck to my face. I love the way it feels.

I love your tiny fingerprints on our glass doors and the writing on our walls. I love your muddy footprints and fear of the bath tub drain.

I love all of it, Jack. I love it all.

Get Off The Highway...

Highways are made for fast lanes and people with places to be. They are created for trucks and work commutes and billboards with loud messages. They are made for routine. They should be celebrated because they connect families and friends.

But back roads are created for adventure...for putting all the windows (and the sunroof) down and letting the signs be your guide.

If you really want to get to know a state, get off the highway.

Like today when we had some time to kill and a state park we've never toured. We followed the signs until we arrived at Mounds State Park. I pictured mounds...big ones with people lined up to stare at them. I was a little disappointed by the rolling hills until I stumbled upon a campground. You woke up from your nap.

"Are we there, Mom?"

"No, honey..."We're taking a little adventure."

"Ok," you sighed as if you were tired of my adventures.

Get off the highway. See the towns. Appreciate the state you are in, wherever you find yourself.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I Can Promise You Adventure

You won't always have dinner on the table or perfectly folded newly cleaned shorts lining your dresser or matching socks.

You won't always have the best cookies in class or the most creative Valentine's cards or perfectly parted hair or perfectly pressed pants.

You may not have the things the other kids have...the games or bracelets or phones whatever thing is popular that week.

But, sweetie, I can promise you adventures.

I can promise you the spontaneity of hopping on a bicycle just before the sunsets to feed the ducks (but not the geese because they are plotting to take over the world).

I can promise you tag in the backyard and hikes in the middle of the woods.

I can promise you conversations with the stars and the moon.

I can promise you trips we've never taken and places we've never seen and books we've never read and food we've never tasted (if you ever get up to trying new foods).

I can promise you swimming anytime a pool is near and painting anytime you want to create and listening to music all the time.

I can promise you I'll be there anytime you want to kick a ball around or throw a baseball or toss a fishing line in a pond or play an instrument.

I can promise you I'll be present for your first sporting event or band concert or play or chess tournament. I can promise to support who you are...whoever that is and to love you freely and openly and without apology (even when you're too cool).

I can't promise you the things the books tell me I should be doing, but I can promise you adventure.    

Thursday, July 9, 2015

What a Difference a Year Makes-Another Cozy Fixer Upper Post

I recently watched an old video of Jack walking down our long beat up gravel driveway dragging his blanket. Wow. Our house was in rough shape, but I still loved it. That's when you know it's meant to be...Right? 

Here are some before and afters of our newest landscaping project. We put a full turnaround drive in, fixed the drainage issue, took out a tree (sigh) and added beds. 
And here is the harvest from today's garden. This brings me so much joy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Ducks and An Overcast Stroll in July

Of all the places. Of all the things. Of all the adventures, my favorite is right here with you feeding the ducks.

"Mama, there is a baby. He loves his mommy like I love you," you say smiling with your squinty eyes. "He's so cute."

How do you come up with this stuff? Your uncle Josh used to love to feed the ducks on the lake. Sometimes you remind me of him.

Of all the stuff, the cars and houses and pretty things, the thing that matters most to me is time with you. There is never quite enough.

I love this walk with you on an overcast day with a constant threat of a downpour. I love the way you throw your arms out like you're flying. It makes me smile with squinty eyes.

"A great blue herron!" you scream. "Hi, I'm Jack, nice to meet you."

I love how happy this makes you.

Many years ago your Great Grandpa dragged me outside and he made me walk. He made me walk slowly as he pointed high in the trees at birds. He made me really see the world with open eyes. He made me appreciate the natural beauty surrounding us: the way the river flowed through the woods, the way the street curved and the people who built it, the way the clouds looked just before the sun broke.

This is a gift passed down by him to me and now to you. Don't take it for granted, my dear son.

Don't take it for granted.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nothing Good Gets Away

Tonight as I was rocking you, it hit me...just how much life you have ahead of you.

It hit me that you still have to learn how to tie your shoes and zip up your jacket.

It hit me that you still get to feel that excitement mixed with nerves before your very first day of school.

It hit me that you still get to try hundreds of new foods for the first time and see hundreds of places for the first time and hear hundreds of new songs for the first time.

"Can we turn the Beatles on?" you asked at dinner tonight.

"The needle scratching the record is one of my favorite sounds," I told you.

"Mine too," you said before running outside to play in the sprinkler.

It hit me that one day you would experience the heartache of losing a dog. And we know Myles is getting close. I can hear his labored breathing as I write this.

It hit me that you would still get the butterflies during your first real crush and experience the pain when she maybe decides she doesn't like you back.

It hit me you still don't know how it feels to lose another human being when it is their time to depart this earth.

And just as Steinbeck wrote on November 10, 1958 to his son many years ago:

"...Don't worry about losing. If it is right, it happens-The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away."


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pot Hack

We had some leftover plants this weekend and no extra pots. 

A little spray paint turned these plastic pots into temporary planters with very little work. Ideally, a little color would have been nice, but use what you've got. And be careful not to spray the plant. 

Happy Potting.  


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Look For the Sunshine

My Dear Sweet Boy,

It is inevitable. Some days many days from now, it will happen. Harder days will come. And as you sit in your room with your pillow pulled tightly over your head sobbing into a pillow, I want you to believe...

It will be ok.

I want you to fight for a good night's sleep. I want you to eat well. I want you to take care of yourself in these moments. I want you to go outside and stare at a tree and see the beauty. I want you take a walk. And if you need to cry, if you need to show emotion, I want you to do that. I want you to let the salty rainfall pour down your face until there are no tears left.

And I want you to pick up the phone and call me. I promise to listen. I promise not to judge. I promise to keep an open heart and an open mind.

I love you with every ounce of my soul on the good days and the hard days.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My Wish For You

I want you to get to know the ocean. To feel the sand sink as the waves crash into your ankles. I want you to explore the mystery, the endless sea. I want you to sit on the ocean and take in the breeze and appreciate the simple things.

I want you to find peace in nature on a walk alone. I want you to explore the doubts in your head, but speak kindly to yourself. I want you to enjoy the rain and the way it feels on landing lightly on your face.

I want you to believe in the overarching theory that life is good and that happiness is the simple act of repeating the things that bring you joy over and over and over again.

Like a simple bike ride and the way the world pauses.

Like a hike by a river or a run by a lake.

Like sitting in the backyard and letting the sun hit your face.

Like live music in a quaint coffee shop surrounded by the dreamers. 

I want you to find out what you are most passionate about and pursue it with intention and belief and every piece of energy you can muster up until you've made it and then I want you to pursue it again.

I want you to see people when they need you, to recognize when to reach a helping hand and when to not.

I want you to believe in goodness.

I want you to get your heart broken but only once and be gentle when you're the one doing the breaking.

I want you to see the beauty in the world like the way the sun hits a tree just before sunset.

But above all else, I want you to be happy.

Just happy.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Your First Camping Trip

"The summer sun was not meant for boys like you. Boys like you belonged to the rain."

We had big plans tonight. Your first camping trip (in the backyard).

Mother nature spit heavily on our parade so we filled our afternoon with books and hide and seek and conversations about pooping and other things toddlers find fascinating. The sun gave us just enough time to walk to our favorite midtown corner and read a few books in a small local shop.

We walked and you babbled like you used to when you were a baby. I closed my eyes and went back to that as a baby. And then I realized I liked you just the way you are right now.

You remind me why life is so exciting and easy and uncomplicated. You remind me how happiness comes from doing the same thing that brings joy over and over again until the joy is gone and there is something new to do over and over and over again.

Like a slow bike ride and the way it makes the world stand still.

Like a trip to a coffee shop just to watch people hustle in and out and hopefully catch a few deep conversations.

Like music. Whenever. Wherever. Always.

Like water and the way it has always brings peace.

Like feeding the ducks at sunset on the canal and catching the next sunrise together.

Like sitting and being present and celebrating life the way it is at the exact moment in time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Tiny Movement and Using Space Wisely

If you follow the tiny movement, you know there is a new obsession with living small so you can LIVE big. I support this message. But after one night in a TINY hotel room with my Grandma and my child, it was decided. I could never live THAT small.

Here are 4 ways we have used our small spaces. (And by the way, I don't stage photos and I don't use a fancy wide angle lens camera. Real life is messy.)

Dog Beds under our custom sunroom/office desk. They are clearly used by Myles, the white seal.
Organization in a small house is key. (This is coming from a creative minded person). Here are four small bins labeled: soaps, dental care, lotions, shampoos. I can't believe I own a label maker. Who am I?
And here are built-ins in the bathroom with baskets for each of us. 

I love white bedding. It makes a small room look elegant and bigger. Next up-floor to ceiling curtains...another way to create the illusion of a bigger window.  
Our fixer upper is just the right size for our family of 3. Yes, I do occasionally walk thru a friend's mansion and think it would be nice to be able to do a round-off back handspring back tuck in my living room. And then I remember. Bigger means more stuff and I can't actually do a back tuck or a back handspring. So we're good with small.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Read Me Your Favorite Line

Sitting poolside as you and your Grandma separated by 60 years talk about nothing. 
Enjoying the simplicity of a blackberry melting on a dehydrated tongue as the sun pours into pale winter skin. 
Walking around a tiny charming lake town in central Florida and stumbling on a halfway decent band and a packed patio. 
Seeing a red-winged hawk in flight. 
Heck, seeing any bird in flight. 
Opening an envelope and finding a transcript of an interview between my 16-year-old self and my grandpa in the sky.
Reading it.
You looking up at me with big half brown half hazel eyes and saying "I'm so happy. This makes me so happy."
The way you look positioned next to one of the smartest men the world will know.
And then curled up beside the most tender teacher heart for just one more story. 
We’ll never get it back. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

DIY Photo Canvas Collage

I currently have 1,536 photos on my iphone. 1,535 of those are of Jack. 

  • 9 8x10 canvases ($8.99 for a 10-pack with 40% off coupon at Michaels). 
  • Hot glue gun
  • 9 of your favorite 8x10 photos (if you have a home printer, even better).

Total project was just shy of $20. Total time: 20 minutes. 

Tip: Try painting edges of canvas for a more finished look.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

How to Throw a Kid Camping Party Without Breaking The Bank

I love throwing a good DIY party on a budget.

Theme: Camping

Food: DIY (with a little help from a local cupcake shop)
In order of guest popularity:
  • S'mores on a stick-chocolate covered marshmallows dipped in crushed up graham crackers 
    • Put marshmallows on stick, dip in melted chocolate (candy melt brand), let excess chocolate drip off, dip in crushed up graham crackers, place on plate.
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • Star shaped PB&J sandwiches 
  • Trail mix bowls
  • Flying cupcakes-3 flavors
  • "Bug Juice"-watered down lime green sports drink
  • Pretzel sticks, goldfish 
  • Shrimp tray
  • Carrots and celery with dip
  • Caramel dipped apple bites
  • BBQ cocktail weenies
  • Dirt pudding with gummy worms at the bottom (Jack loved to help put the gummy worms in the jars)

Time: 2:30p-4:30p on a sunny Saturday afternoon

Craft: Parsley and basil potted plats with paint to decorate the pots
Wood necklaces to decorate with paint and markers

Favors: S'more bags to go.

Decorations: Hand me down moss, pine cones, lantern(purchased on Target clearance), tree platters, birch tree straws, handmade place cards (card stock paper). Jack's favorite color is green. Can you tell?

Here are the pictures to tell the rest of the story: