Forever Royal

Friday night we went to the Kansas City Royals game. Something we have done so many times before, both as a couple and as a family of three. 

But this time felt different.
This time felt nostalgic. 
This time felt like something was ending. There was no playoff chase. There was no hunt for a blue October. There was just Friday night baseball on a cool September evening. There was cotton candy and cheers for the home team. There were great plays and ones that should have been better. In the end there were homeruns and a W hung. 


This time there were also standing ovations. 
Watery eyes as we watched some of our favorite players take the last at bats we would get to see in person in a Royals uniform. We watched an opposing pitcher who we once cheered for, who then became an important reason we had some of the guys we were sad to let go of this year. Better yet, we watched him lose while our guys shined one more time. There were autographs on ballcaps for Madeline and there were Salvy splashes. 


There were memories. 
Memories of the watching a group of guys play a game we love to watch together in a way that we have never seen before in our lives. Stolen bases, come from behind wins, and lines that just kept moving. There were memories of Patrick and I watching Hosmer make his MLB debut at the K. There are memories of watching the Royals clinch their first postseason appearance in 29 years and late nights watching October baseball for the two years. There were memories of listening to them speak during FanFest. Memories of watching a team mourn a fellow teammate, a brother this past offseason. Memories of a bond between a team, a bond with a city that seems to go beyond baseball. 


I have read all the articles this weekend. 
I have cried tears with each one. I have watched the highlight videos of careers that we have followed since some of these players were just 18 year old kids. I have been sad. It feels like we are losing more than just great ballplayers. Losing some magic formula that made Kansas City and baseball and these players feel like more than just some random group of guys we watched play nine innings. They felt like friends, like a family to this city and it does feel a bit like mourning to know that we will most likely be saying goodbye to many of them over the next few months.  


So to Moustakas and Hosmer and Cain and Escobar – Thank you for making baseball in Kansas City fun again. Thank you for making it cool to wear a Royals shirt outside of Kansas City again. Thank you for everything you did for our community, our charities, and city. You will always be Forever Royal to us.

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You Matter


A seventeen year old girl in a neighboring suburb, took a gun into a school bathroom on Friday and ended her life. 
I have so many thoughts rolling through my mind about this right now, and I’m not sure any of them are going to be all that coherent, but please try and hear me out, I think this is important.
Today, the pressure that teenagers face is unsurmountable.
I didn’t know this girl. At least I don’t think I did. Maybe I passed her in the aisle at Target. Maybe I sat across from her at Starbucks. Maybe I walked behind her at Oktoberfest last weekend. Did I smile at her? Did I think she was just another annoying teenager keeping me from getting my errands completed? Did I even notice her? 
Did anyone?
At first many wondered if there was bullying, cyber bullying these days is beyond ridiculous. When I was a teenager if I did something stupid only a couple hundred kids would know about it. Which, yes, was mortifying, but once high school was over you could move on with your life. Teens these days have to worry about their every move being filmed, photographed, and going viral for the whole world to see and we all know once it’s on the internet it never goes away. 


Can you imagine that pressure?
On top of it all you have the good old pressure just to be good enough. To be pretty enough. To be smart enough. To be enough for everyone that expects everything out of you. Teachers, parents, friends, boyfriends, coaches. Everyone wants 100% from you and often that leaves you feeling like you are disappointing everyone. If you are someone who is used to giving 110%, feeling like you are letting even one of them down is often just too much to handle.
This young high school senior’s family has spoken out and said that this beautiful, well-loved, high school cheerleader was battling depression. A disease she had been struggling with for some time.
Anxiety and depression are also often things that are overlooked in teens. We expect them to snap out of their bad mood. They get grounded for their apathy when often that is a sign of something deeper going on. I’m far from an expert, but I’ve seen depression enough and I’ve dealt with extreme anxiety my whole life so I know enough to recognize signs and to know that it is easy to hide the signs too. 
Depression is a dangerous disease that many teens struggle with and they are often good at hiding it, or when the signs do appear it can be brushed off as typical teen apathy, anger, mood swings, and general moody teen behavior. 

What can we do?

I’m the type of person who wants to reach out. I want to do something tangible. I want to help in some way. You can research volunteer opportunities in your community. You can volunteer to help with the Crisis Text Line – www.crisistextline.org or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline – www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Recognize Signs

  • IN CHILDREN
  • Irritability or anger
  • Continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Increased sensitivity to rejection
  • Changes in appetite — either increased or decreased
  • Changes in sleep — sleeplessness or excessive sleep
  • Vocal outbursts or crying
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that don’t respond to treatment
  • Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Impaired thinking or concentration
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • IN TEENS
  • Apathy
  • Complaints of pains, including headaches, stomachaches, low back pain, or fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Irresponsible behavior — for example, forgetting obligations, being late for classes, skipping school
  • Loss of interest in food or compulsive overeating that results in rapid weight loss or gain
  • Memory loss
  • Preoccupation with death and dying
  • Rebellious behavior
  • Sadness, anxiety, or a feeling of hopelessness
  • Staying awake at night and sleeping during the day
  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Use of alcohol or drugs and promiscuous sexual activity
  • Withdrawal from friends
  • 10 MOST COMMON SIGNS IN ADULTS
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities. You don’t care anymore about former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
  • Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.


If you need help.

Text the Crisis Text Line at – 741741 and you will be connected with a live, trained crisis counselor who will listen and help guide you to a safe place. 
You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255

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A Neverending Summer

We’ve been soaking in the last days of this neverending summer. 100 degree heat index at the end of September is just not okay. 

Most of this summer has been spent at parks. 

Watching Madeline become brave. 

She now can climb just about anything. At first she needed me close. She needed to know that I would be there to catch her if she fell. Always. 

Then she as she got braver she would venture out more on her own. I would watch from further back. She would still check that I was watching. I was always close enough that if she would start to slip, I would be right there within a step or two.  But I gave her space to explore. 

Now she can climb the ropes, the ladders, the rock walls. She can do it all. I just watch. From a distance. Always watching, but letting her do it on her own. She gets to the top and searches for my eyes among the groups of parents. She spots me and smiles, “I did it!” she shouts. I smile at her and give her a thumbs up, “Great job, baby girl.”

Watching her grow up, watching her learn to be brave, makes me so proud and yet brings tears to my eyes. 

These past three and half years have gone by so fast. Today she is climbing up a jungle gym and before I know it will be the steps to kindergarten. 

We have one more summer with her as a preschooler. Then she will be off to summer school for kindergarten and there will be no turning back. Time will continue to rush by and I can’t slow it down. My little, tiny, brave girl is just growing up way too fast. 

I take a million photos and videos to try to hold onto these moments for as long as I can. I want to remember her sweet little voice. The way she dances everytime she hears any music. How she sings along to every song she hears (even commercial jingles). How excited she gets over everything. The way she always wants to swing higher and higher. 

I just want to remember everything. 

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A Staycation 


We’ve been taking a staycation this week. Truth: I hate that word – staycation, but that’s what it is. Patrick and I are both on vacation from work this week and we are pretending we are tourists with a preschooler in Kansas City this week. 

LegoLand. SeaLife. The Kansas City Zoo. Paradise Park. Crown Center. Parks. Picnics. Movies. 

All our favorites. Well almost, Science City and Kaleidoscope both are closed this week which is kind of a bummer. 


So far it’s been a much needed week. Sometimes the working mom guilt gets heavy. I’ve been stressed lately, my anxiety has been high, and all that means my patience has been thinner lately. I’ve gotten frustrated over things that normally wouldn’t phase me, and then I feel guilty for that and the cycle starts over – rinse and repeat. 

This week has been nice. It’s been good to just be a family. No real concrete plans. Just to have fun. So far that’s what we’ve done. Madeline had been great. A relaxed momma makes for a relaxed Madeline. 

We’ve always taken our vacation during the week of Labor Day. We realized this week that next summer will be the last time we get to do that for awhile since after that Madeline will be in school. 


It’s so crazy to think how fast these last three and half years have gone. The next two will fly by I’m sure. She’s already talking about wanting to go to Kindergarten. I keep telling her she has to give momma a couple more years to get ready for that one. 

She’s growing up so fast. I just want to bottle up these moments with her and keep them in a safe somewhere. This age she is right now is so precious. It’s hands down my favorite age so far from her. Her imagination is everything. She is still so cuddly and loving. She is just a sponge for learning. I’m always amazed by the new things she learns. And by her memory. She remembers details of things from months ago. 

I’m hoping that means she will start retaining some of the memories of the things we do with her now. We have so much fun hanging out her. I hope she remembers some of these fun times. If not, I have lots of photos and videos to help remind her someday.

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A Royal, A DUI, and What it Means to Consider a Sports Star a Hero

It’s been all over the news. The Kansas City Royals pitcher, Danny Duffy, was arrested Sunday evening on a suspicion of a DUI when he was found passed out in the drive-thru at Burger King. There’s details to be found out, and some that you can already do a quick Google search and find, but they aren’t the point here. 

This arrest is happened the same year we (Kansas City, the Royals, the MLB) lost Yordano Ventura to what many assumed was a drunk driving accident. (No toxicology report has ever been made public, but he was leaving a late night party at the time of the accident, so it is suspected that alcohol may have played a role.) in other words, this is something he should have been hyper aware of as he lost a teammate and friend less that 8 months prior. 

The question is as apublic person, an athlete, should someone like Danny Duffy be someone our kids are looking up to? 

This is a subject that has been analyzed and discusses at length for years. Althletes especially often find themselves as heros to many a young child, and much to many a parents dismay many athletes fall victim to drugs, alcohol, violence, and sex scandles that make for tough conversations with little ones about what defines a hero. 

I’m of the opinion that athletes, actors, and musicians do not make good heroes or role models. You can admire their talent. You can dream of performing like them, but let’s not idolize those in careers who are notorious for breaking the hearts of those same children who look up to them. 

As much as I love the Kansas City Royals and want to believe that they are all truly great guys, I know that they too are failable. 

While we will always admire Duffy on the field, off the field, our hope is that he becomes someone who once again earns that admiration.  

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Life Lesson: Be Kind. Always. 

The news gives me anxiety. 

I watch it and I’m always afraid and ashamed by what I see. Violence. Hate. Fear. It’s really just too much. 

I live in middle America. I live in a very diverse suburb of a diverse city in Missouri. My daughter will go to school with children of all races, ethnicities, and religions. She will have classmates who don’t speak English as their first language and some whose parents don’t speak it at all. I am very proud that she will go to such a school. 

She will be raised in home that teaches her that people are people, children are children, and everyone deserves love, respect, and an equal opportunity. 

I am sad that she has to live in a world that will try and teach her otherwise. 

I will do my best to teach her that being kind is the most important thing she can do. That she should always be kind, compassionate, inclusive, and respectful. I will teach her that even if someone looks different than her, talks different than her, or believes different than her they are beautiful and can still be an amazing friend. Because differences are sometimes the best parts of friendships. 

I will not shelter her from the reality that is racism and hate that still exists in this world, but I will teach her to be one that stands up against it.  I will teach her to be part of a generation that really does become the change. 

I want better for her and for her friends and I know that starts with how I raise her. 

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A Broken Crayon Still Colors

I often find myself telling Madeline that broken crayons still color.  


I think it’s one of the more profound words of wisdom I have given my three year old so far. While I’m quite literally reassuring her that the broken Crayola in her hand will in fact still color in her coloring book just as beautifully as before, it means so much more. 

This is advice that I hope she is able to apply to more than just her crayon box. 

In life there are times where she will feel broken. Her heart, her spirit, her motivation. I want her to remember that she is still full of beautiful colors that even when broken can still color. 

She was made for a purpose and even if it might not always feel clear to her, she was created to do great things. 

We call her our rainbow baby because she was born after the storm of our loss. She brought light and color into our lives where there was much darkness and pain. Everywhere she goes she leaves a path of color and joy. I believe this is part of her purpose. Joy. She brings joy wherever she goes. 

I want her to remember that even those days where she feels like the world is working against her, that smile of hers is enough to bring joy to someone around her. A broken crayon can still color. 

Even while she is nursing a broken heart and feels like she might never love again, she can hold a door open for someone and that might make the difference in their day. A broken crayon can still color. 

If she someday finds out that her best friend has lied behind her back, she can go and sit at the lunch table with the new girl in school and make a new friend. A broken crayon can still color. 

I want her to always remember that she is here for a reason. She was created for a purpose. Even when she feels lost and aimless God can still use her and work through her. Sometimes it is that very brokenness that He uses. 

Our own brokenness gives us empathy and grows our compassion. It helps us know the right words to say when we meet someone walking down the same broken road. 

While I wish nothing but sunshine and rainbows for my beautiful little girl, I know that she will face the storms too. I know that she will unfortunately get her heart broken, have her spirit broken, or just feel broken down at times. I just pray that she will have the strength to know that even when broken she is still beautiful inside and out and capable of changing the world. 

That sparkly pink crayon can still color just as bright even if it breaks. 

But for now I’ll just keep buying her new crayons when hers break. I’ll fix as much of her brokenness as I can for as long as I can. 

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Matching Set

Everyday this week Madeline has insisted that we match outfits. 


This started on Monday after I had already had her dressed in a pretty purple floral skirt and white shirt. This was awful. This would not do. This did not match the black shirt and black and white striped skirt that mommy was wearing. I should have known that she wanted to wear a black shirt and black and white striped skirt too. 

There were tears and a full outfit change so that she could match and then lots of extra cuddles to make up for the horrible mistake.  

She has done this before. Asked to wear a matching skirt or shirt that I am wearing. It’s usually a one day phase and she goes back to her normal routine of asking to wear a dress everyday. 

Not this week.

This week, every morning in her sleepy little voice, the first thing she says is, “I want to match.” 

So, everyday I have searched our closets finding similar shirts, making sure that she looks even more like my mini-me than ever before. 

Since I’m not sure how long this phase of hers will last, I’m thinking we might take advantage of Missouri’s tax-free weekend this weekend and see if we can find some more matching outfits. 

I know there will come a day all too soon where dressing like mommy will be the worst idea ever, so I’ll cherish these memories and moments now while I’m still her hero and the person she most looks up to. 

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Boyfriends, Breakups, and Saying No

Madeline informed me last night that her and her boyfriend broke up. 

Reminder: she’s three. 

I asked her what happened. She said she told him not to kiss her and now he’s not her friend anymore. 

Again, she’s three. 

I told her that she did the right thing by telling him not to kiss her, and that she shouldn’t be kissing boys yet. I also told her I was sad that he wasn’t being her friend anymore. That seemed to satisfy her for now. I hugged her and she went on to play. 

I know that most likely the next break up won’t be so easy to cure with a hug, and that makes my heart ache for my little girl. 

Already at three a boy chose not to be her friend because she said no when he tried to kiss her (something they have already been in trouble for previously, so Madeline knew she wasn’t supposed to do it).

What happens when she is thirteen and it’s more than a kiss?

These are the things that already make my momma heart and mind worry. 

What if next time a boy she really likes threatens to break up with her if doesn’t do more than just kiss him? How do I instill strength in my daughter, beginning even now, so that when she wants to say no, she can say no and stand firm in that decision?

How can I make sure that her heart is not broken by a boy who only wants to see how far she will let him go. These may seem like crazy things to worry about, because well, she’s only three. But I believe that foundation of strength, self-worth, and confidence is being built now. 

She watches our every action. She sees how sweetly her dad treats me. She knows what love looks like. I want her to seek that in her life. I want her to grow up not settling for less than she deserves. I want her to expect the best, because she deserves the best. 

For now our little threenager has seemingly gotten over her first broken heart fairly easily. She was able to say no to the unwanted kisses from the boy who is always trying to kiss and hug her. She is learning that while she likes to give out hugs, she doesn’t want to be kissed, and she is in control of herself, so she gets to make those decisions not the boys. 

I can only hope remembers that she is incharge of her body as she grows in to her teen years and that that beautiful heart of hers doesn’t get too broken along the way. 

But I will be prepared with a shoulder to cry on, some sappy music, chessy movies, and some ice cream to make it all better when it does.

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Garage Sale Goodbye

We’ve been trying to get ready for a garage sale this week (which we apparently planned for the hottest weekend of the year #winning). Part of the massive amount of prep that it takes to get a garage sale ready has included going through Madeline’s baby clothes and toys. 

This has got to be a special kind of torture for someone who is as sentimental as me. 

Every dress, every tiny t-shirt, they all seem to hold a memory. I find it so hard to put a price on a memory. 

I know I realistically can’t keep everything. Right? Can I? 

No. That’s just crazy. Especially considering I probably really do have several photos of her in each special outfit. So it’s not like those memories are going to fade away completely. 

Maybe it’s just because she’s the first baby that I got to actually bring home. Maybe it’s a little bit because of the loss of her brother. Maybe it’s just that she’s a girl, and her clothes were/are so adorable. Maybe it’s that we decided we weren’t having anymore and selling things makes that decision seem real and final. Maybe it’s all if it, but getting rid of her baby things… Closing that chapter of her life, our lives, man this is hard. 

And to think, I just thought we were having a garage sale. 

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