With the Cold Comes the Memories

Lately the weather has been beyond cold. When you start getting excited about it finally being 20 degrees, you know it’s been just too dang cold.

Of course, with the cold has come little bursts of snow. Nothing major, but still. Seeing that layer of white cover the ground. Feeling that cold air freeze my nose and fingers. It hurts. And not just in the I think I’m starting to get frostbite kind of way.

It hurts somewhere deep inside.

It’s like all of the memories of everything that went wrong, all of the memories of sitting in front of a small white casket in the freezing cold, they all come back with each snowflake that falls.

My energy changes. The holidays were a distraction. It was easy to stay focused on Madeline and my husband during the holidays. I kept myself busy with game nights, movie nights, and projects.

But now.

Now the holidays are over and I know February is inching ever closer and my heart just hurts.

I hear myself getting frustrated with Madeline over things that I normally have more patience for. She wouldn’t put her shoes on this morning, and I know I was short with her. I shouldn’t have been. I gave her some extras hugs and kisses before dropping her off at school this morning. I’m not sure that made up for it, but I’m trying.

I’m trying to focus on her. Our precious little rainbow girl. I’m trying to focus on my husband. I wouldn’t survive without him most days. I’m just trying to focus on anything that lets me forget for a moment that Joshua should be turning five next month.

I should be thinking about kindergarten registration and asking him what kind of party he wants this year. I should be planning to make his favorite cake and mailing invitations to his friends. Instead I don’t know what his favorite cake is. My house won’t be filled with a bunch of rowdy five year olds all playing superheroes and trading stories.

February 20th will come and Patrick and I will remember him. We will wonder together what he would look like today. What he would be asking for for his birthday. We will hug his little sister a little tighter that day. We will do things a little slower. We will take the time to remember what should be.

Continue Reading

Dance, Baby, Dance

Our little showstopper has her second dance recital this weekend. She even got to do a dance with daddy. She did so amazing (Patrick did too).

As I watched her dance, I filled with pride. She smiled, she knew all the steps, and she was a joy to watch. My usually overly shy child shone bright.

I often wonder who she will grow up to be, what she will accomplish in her life. I know that whatever she decides to do, it will be amazing to watch.

Keep shining bright, my sweet girl. You are amazing.

Continue Reading

The Missing Trick-or-Treater

Our family always does holidays big. 

Patrick and I are continually trying to make sure that Madeline can look back on her childhood and see magic. We want her to have memories of all of the special traditions that we have started with her and will continue for years to come. 

Halloween is no exception. 

This past month we have gone to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkins. We have painted pumpkins. We have done Halloween themed crafts and made treats. We have gone to our town’s yearly Pumpkins on Parade. We have visited fall festivals, Halloween parades, and trunk-or-treats. We have gone to Boo at the Zoo and played dress-up for days at a time. Tonight we will trick-or-treat and pass out treats of our own. We have created amazing memories with our brave little Supergirl. 

All throughout all of these special moments there is that one piece missing. 

That one piece of our family that is always missing, yet we feel it all that more intensely during these special holiday moments. Joshua. 
We always miss him, every moment of every day. 

But these holidays. 

These special, magical, amazing family moments we get to have with his little sister make his absence felt even more than usual. 

We have four years of adorable photos of our sweet girl dressed up as a ladybug, a black cat, Princess Sophia, and Supergirl. With each costume I wonder what her big brother would have wanted to be. Batman, a Ninja Turtle, a Ghostbuster, a dinosaur, Superman to match his little sister…

I look at the matching sibling costumes that my friends post, I see the adorable Poppy and Branch Trolls costumes, the Catboy and Owlette PJ Masks outfits, and my heart wonders if Josh and Maddy would have wanted to dress-up together. 

The very first thing I ever bought for Joshua when I was pregnant with him was a pair of My First Halloween pajamas. We didn’t even know if he was a little girl or boy at that point, but I saw the soft pumpkin covered pajamas and just knew that our baby had to have them. When we dressed his sister in them two years later, my heart ached knowing that this was not the way I wanted to be passing down his things…unused. 

That feeling of missing is always there, but these holidays…they make it especially hard to fight back the tears and the longing to know just who he would be now. 

Continue Reading

Superhero Skills

Madeline is convinced she is a superhero. 
So much so that she is going as Supergirl for Halloween this year. 


I’m hoping that her superhero skills serve her well. She is brave. She is strong. She is always trying to do the right thing.

It is no mystery that kids, especially girls, can be cruel to one another. I swear I want to walk around holding up a shield when she starts school. But instead I will do my best to arm her with enough self confidence to know that she is worthy of respect and that insults are not worthy of her time. Enough compassion that when she is a witness to bullying of any kind she can be one of the ones that stands up and speaks out. 

I will send her with armor, just a bit more metaphorical than the Wonder Woman shield I was planning on walking into her first day of Kindergarten with, though let’s face it not nearly as fun

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

Continue Reading

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. 

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.  

Continue Reading

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. 

Continue Reading
1 2 3 63