Madeline’s First Recital 

We survived! 

She made it through her first recital, and she danced, and she looked adorable, and she didn’t cry even though I think she wanted to a couple of times, and Patrick and I are just so proud of her. 

Madeline and mommy backstage before her performance.
Madeline and Daddy after her performance. He had flowers for her.

It was a long day for Madeline with needing to be at dress rehearsal at 8:30 am and the actual show not starting until 7:00 pm at night. By the time the finale came around Madeline was ready to to crash. She was tired, but she hung in there and didn’t meltdown, and I was so proud of her. 

It was a little chaotic and crazy at time, but overall it was a good experience, and Madeline seemed to have fun and that really all that matters. 

It was so fun to finally see the culmination of all her and her little friends’ hard work come together. The whole class did amazing. For a class with 16 two – five year olds the fact that none of them cried and ran off stage seemed like a major win. 

At the end of the night Madeline was asleep before we even left the parking garage. She was wiped out. We were too, but we still had to drive home in a crazy lightening storm that made our drive home a little scary with street lights out most of the way, a downed tree in the road, and several wrecks along the side of the road. Thankfully we made it home safely and also thankfully we had power once we it home since about half the town was out. Crazy day. 

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Dress for Success

Madeline is going through a phase where she will only wear dresses. 

Pretty typical three year old behavior, but holy terror if you try and put her anything other than a dress. There will be tears and sometimes they aren’t just hers. 

Her favorite are dresses that twirl when she spins in circle after circle until she makes herself dizzy. My little dancing girl is always spinning, and twirling herself around in circles. She never stops moving. 

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Sick Day Sidekick

Tuesday night a stomach bug or food poisoning or possibly the plague hit me hard and I was down and out. I can usually push through. I get migraines frequently, so I’ve learned how to parent even while feeling less than 100%, but this was something else. Surely I was dying because I had never felt such an awful combination of nausea and just severe stomach pain before in my life and this is coming from someone who threw up for almost the entire nine months of her pregnancy. 

Wednesday reinforcements were called in and Grandma (my mom) came over to babysit Madeline while I slept most of the day unable to move for fear of the pain. After my mom left, but before Patrick came home from work, Madeline curled up next to me on the sofa, stroked my leg, and said, “I’ll take care of you, momma.” 

I told her, “thanks, baby. You do such a good job taking care of mom. You are such a good doctor.” (Doc McStuffins is a bit of a hero to her.) She curled up next to me and quickly fell asleep, obviously tired after playing with Grandma all day. 

It is in moments like this, laying there on the sofa, even while feeling sicker than I’ve ever felt before, that I realize just how lucky I am to have this sweet empathetic little girl. 

Her heart is so big and she genuinely cares about not just me, but everyone she meets. I only pray that she holds on to that with every fiber of her being. This world can be cruel and cold and it is so easy to stop caring so much. But baby girl, never stop. Keep loving, keeping caring, keep being you. You will make a difference in this world. You will be a change. 

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Working It Out

I’ve spent the last year working out. Really in more ways than one. I started using the My Fitness Pal app and a FitBit, and tracking what I was eating and how much I was working out each day. It actually became fun. I enjoy getting up and working out. Mainly because I’m not doing just a more series of sit-ups and squats, but instead I found Refit. It’s basically Zumba, but they incorporate positive music (Christian a lot of times) and they are just super encouraging. So instead of a boring workout routine, I just basically dance for 30-60 minutes everyday depending on how crazy my day is. Madeline usually even joins in. It’s been fun and honestly I’m wearing a size I haven’t worn in years and I feel so much healthier.
Last night while Madeline and I were doing our dancing. We started the routine to Mandisa’s Unfinished.

Not scared to say it, I used to be the one

Preaching it to you, that you could overcome

I still believe it, but it ain’t easy

‘Cause that world I painted, where things just all work out

It started changing and I started having doubts

And it got me so down
But I picked myself back up

And I started telling me

No, my God’s not done

Making me a masterpiece

He’s still working on me

As I stood there following the choreography on the screen, my daughter by my side, tears started to form in my eyes. These last few years have been hard. Very hard for me. I’ve always been the one who has believed, who has had faith and trust that God will just take care of things, and then when things fell apart, when we lost Joshua, when Patrick was laid off while we were pregnant with Madeline, when I was laid off the following year… year after year…blow after blow. I started to wonder each time where was He? Where was the God that I believed in since I was a little girl? The one that I prayed to and trusted and had faith would make all things good?

I don’t deny the blessings I’ve received. I have a beautiful and amazing daughter and a supportive and wonderful husband. We have a lovely home and we both (now) have jobs that we truly enjoy and where we feel respected. That said, you lose a child and it’s hard not to question everything you’ve ever believed in. Every bit of faith you’ve ever had goes out the window and no matter how firm you thought your foundation once was, it cracks.

So those words… I understood them.

They resonated somewhere deep within my heart and the tears came as I continued move to the rhythm of the song.

See I’ve been working out lately, but not just my physical self. I’ve been working out my emotions and my feelings towards my spiritual self. I’m not quite sure I have it figured out yet. I still believe. I do. My faith and my belief has just taken a much different shape than what it once was.

I have struggled because church and me don’t really get along anymore. Where my faith shakes out and what I often hear preached from a pulpit don’t mesh, so I don’t go. I can’t listen to a lot of what I hear preached without rolling my eyes, because  when I’m told just to pray more and that will make everything work out. Or that if I just have enough faith, or if we are good enough Christians then good things will happen… it’s hard to reconcile those kinds of false and ridiculous statements against your newborn child dying in your arms while you cried out to God for a miracle. So forgive me if I don’t believe if I just pray harder good things will happen. I’ve never prayed harder than I did that February morning and I’ve never felt as abandoned as I did that February morning, so…

See me and God still have some things to work out 4+ years later.

But that’s okay. It’s just unfinished business.


For more of my thoughts on faith visit: Struggle of Faith.

“I have always considered myself a Christian.

I was raised in Sunday School.  We went to church on Wednesday nights and said our prayers before bed each night.  I thought I knew exactly who I was and what I believed, and then I watched my tiny first born son take his last breath in my arms.

Everything I thing I thought I knew changed.

I suddenly had questions that no one could answer.  The basic Christian sentiments that my friends and family were saying all felt like stabbing knives into my already bleeding heart.” Continued at Still Standing Magazine


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Recital Ready…Almost

Madeline is almost ready for her first recital (only one more class). Now whether or not I am ready is another story. lol 

She does so well in class and when she performs the dance for us. She has all the moves down, but it will interesting to see if she freezes on stage with so many people in the audience or if she shines like the little star we think she is. I really hope she doesn’t freeze up. 

She has one dance and then she gets to dance in the finale too. It will be a long day for her (and is too), but I think she’s excited.  She goes around the house practicing. It’s just about the cutest thing ever. 

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Gone Fishing

I took Madeline fishing for the first time at our local park’s fishing derby. She had gotten a Moana fishing pole for her birthday this year and so I thought this might be a fun little outing. I asked my sister to come along too since she is the one who taught me how to fish when I was a kid. 

We didn’t catch anything, but we sure had fun trying. I’m not quite sure Madeline understands the concept yet, but anytime spent with my girl is always fun. 

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Downtown Days

We made our annual trip down to Downtown Days in Lee’s Summit. We’ve gone every year since Madeline was a baby, actually I think we’ve gone every year we’ve been married. 

Madeline enjoyed getting to meet a few Disney princesses, watching a couple performances from another dance studio that we’ve been looking at, and of course the funnel cake! 

She really wanted to ride the carnival rides, but my anxiety just couldn’t handle that this year. After that story from the other carnival, I just couldn’t do it. Besides, it wasn’t the rides for her age she wanted to ride. No, myblittle daredevil wanted to ride the BIG KID rides. Yeah no kid. You are tiny, you cannot ride the things that nearly go upside down. Not yet. Momma’ not ready for that yet. I a pretty excited that I might have a World’s of Fun ride buddy though in a couple years when she gets taller. 😉

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Just Another Day at the Zoo

We spent Memorial Day at one of our favorite places in Kansas City with what felt like half of Kansas City – the KC Zoo. It was a beautiful day, but it was crowded. We even ran in to a few people we knew including our next door neighbors. Sometimes Kansas City feels like a very small world. 

This time we road the train, the tram, and the boat. Madeline wanted to ride the sky safari, but the line was crazy long and Patrick wasn’t sure if she would really sit still on it. Maybe next time. Thank goodness for the Friends of the Zoo membership. We definitely get our money’s worth out of that thing each year. 

A hot day calls for ice cream. 

Madeline had to check on her penguins. Always a favorite stop. 

We got to see the baby orangutan up close. It was so cute. 

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Irrational Rational Fears, Overwhelming Anxiety 

The news scares me. Legit, straight up terrifies me. I can remember being a small kid and seeing the nightly news and hearing about the scary things and asking my mom if we could get an alarm for our house because I thought that would make me feel safer. So basically this is nothing new. But now, since having a child, since knowing the reality that is losing a child, the nightly news is nothing but a horror show full of terrifying images of things that could happen to my daughter, to my husband, to my family, and I don’t know how to stop the crazy anxious fear that seems to overtake my mind when I hear or read about what is happening in our world.
Don’t watch the news you say. Sure. This would seem like the logical thing to do. Except I would also have to avoid all forms of media and most social interactions with people because at some point I’m going to hear about the awful, terrible, horrible, no good thing that has happened and my mind is going to spiral into the anxiety ridden fearful place that shouts, “this could happen to you.”
When you watch the bottom drop out of your world, you quickly realize that all of those seemingly irrational fears aren’t really all that irrational anymore. Those things that seem to have small odds really CAN happen to you. You start worrying about lightening striking twice and you find yourself checking that your daughter is breathing fifty times every night and having a panic attack when you think you feel her skip a breath.
Anxiety really can mess with a person’s head.
My anxiety is watching the news story about a little toddler who went to a carnival in a nearby town and was electrocuted after she touched a fence while standing outside of a bounce house. Then having a panic attack when you realize that the same group is putting together the local carnival that you planned to take your daughter too and swearing to your husband that your child will not go anywhere near the carnival area because you are too afraid of what could happen.
My anxiety is reading the story of a bombing at a concert of a pop star and wondering if it is safe to ever go to a concert, or the mall, or the airport, or school, or the bank, or really anywhere anymore.
Anxiety and fear seem to be best friends in my head. They play so nicely together, but always against me.
I always wonder if my “crazy” fears are normal mom worries or if they are over amplified because of everything we went through to get to this place. I wonder if losing Joshua has made my fears of losing Madeline that much bigger or if my anxiety would have always been this intense.
Anxiety has been my constant companion for as long as I can remember, fear following not far behind. I worry that at times the intense fear and overwhelming anxiety I feel when it comes to Madeline might do more harm than good.
Madeline started sleeping through the night very early on. She’s always been a good sleeper. I however haven’t slept through the night in years. I wake up in a panic almost nightly, having to rest my hand on her chest or tummy to assure myself that she in fact still breathing. She is three. I’m aware that this is not normal behavior. When we go to the park I am that mom that stays close. My eyes never stray from her. I am almost always within an arms reach. I watch her play, but I am always right there – in case she needs me, in case she falls, in case someone with ill-intentions is watching. I am always right there. My anxiety, the little voice inside my head running through all of the possible worst case senarios won’t let me go anywhere else. I can’t sit on the park bench and relax with the other moms and watch from a distance. My anxious mind won’t allow it.

I wish I had the magic answer here. The solution that would calm my fears, stop the anxiety, and make the constant worrying cease. But I don’t. I’m not sure that I’ll ever stop worrying about Madeline this intensely. I’m not sure the panic attacks and nightmares will ever fully stop. Right now I’ll just keep breathing through them. I’ll keep trying to remind myself that we are doing everything we can to keep her safe and happy and that is all we can do. I will try to remember to pray a little more and worry a little less, and I’ll hope that in time the anxiety won’t feel so suffocating and the fear won’t feel so much like drowning.

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