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

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

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. 

Continue Reading

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. 

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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. 

Continue Reading

Dancing with Cinderella 


Tonight, Madeline dressed in an Ariel tshirt and a crazy dress up skirt, asked her dad to play Beauty and the Beast and dance with her. He had a long day at work, and was tired, but he held her hands and he danced. She spun around in circle after circle and was thrilled that daddy was dancing with her. 

These are the moments that I want to always remember. The quiet Friday nights at home. Our family. 

As I watch them dance I couldn’t help but think of the Steven Curtis Chapman song, Cinderella, and think about how it won’t be but a blink of an eye before I’m watching them dance at her wedding someday. Time is moving too fast with this little girl. Three years has flown by, I’m afraid think how quickly the next 20 will go. 

She spins and she sways

To whatever song plays

Without a care in the world

And I’m sitting here wearing

The weight of the world on my shoulders
It’s been a long day

And there’s still work to do

She’s pulling at me saying
“Dad, I need you

There’s a ball at the castle

And I’ve been invited

And I need to practice my dancing

Oh, please, Daddy, please”
So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

‘Cause I know something the prince never knew

Oh, I will dance with Cinderella

I don’t wanna miss even one song

‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight

And she’ll be gone
She says he’s a nice guy and I’d be impressed

She wants to know if I approve of her dress

She says, 

“Dad, the prom is just one week away

And I need to practice my dancing

Oh, please, Daddy, please?”
So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

‘Cause I know something the prince never knew

Oh, I will dance with Cinderella

I don’t wanna miss even one song

Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight

And she’ll be gone
She will be gone
Well, she came home today with a ring on her hand

Just glowing and telling us all they had planned

She says, 

“Dad, the wedding’s still six months away

But I need to practice my dancing

Oh, please, Daddy, please?”
So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

‘Cause I know something the prince never knew

Oh, I will dance with Cinderella

I don’t wanna miss even one song

‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight

And she’ll be gone

Continue Reading

Portrait of a Dad

To most this is just a photo of a dad holding his newborn daughter, but let me tell you, it is so much more. This is a photo of a dad who less than 14 months earlier had held his first born, his son, for the first and last time all at once. It’s a photo of a dad who has been through a tremendous tragedy and yet been an unwavering rock of support for his wife through the loss, another pregnancy, and now the birth of their new daughter. It’s a photo of a dad who is already so in love with and filled with wonder and amazement at this tiny little girl in his arms. It’s a photo of a dad who has just felt his broken heart heal a little bit while looking into his daughter’s big beautiful eyes. Today, that little girl is 3 years old and says daddy is her best friend. I’m pretty sure that feeling is mutual.  There is a reason this is forever my favorite photo of you two.


Patrick,

I’m not sure I can put into words how grateful I am to have you not just as my husband, but as the father of my children (but you know me, I will try). I remember the day we got married. I thought I loved you such an incredible amount then, but then that day I saw you holding Madeline, our sweet, beautiful, daughter in your arms for the first time it was like falling in love with you all over again. Watching you become a dad has been the most incredible thing to witness. From your willingness to change cloth diapers (thank goodness we are past that!), to watching you patiently let our little Princess try to “make you pretty” with her tiaras and beads. You have become such an amazing dad, and Madeline and I simply adore you. The days where Madeline has gone into full threenager status and is driving me crazy, you know how to talk us both down off of the ledge. We love our family adventures with you, our movie nights, our game nights, and our just be silly nights. You make everyday and everything a little more fun. I am convinced you are the world’s greatest husband, and Madeline knows you are the world’s greatest dad! We just know we are lucky to have the best! We love you bunches!!!

Happy Father’s Day from your two favorite girls!

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Making the Time Count

I’ve read the posts, we only have 940 Saturdays between when she is born until she turns 18. We only get 18 summers. Like nearly every parent, I read those articles and suddenly realize that I must have something in my eyes, because they are watering uncontrollably… Okay, I sob while reading them and then insist that Madeline come and let me cuddle her like the tiny baby that she must always remain! 


Yesterday, while we were at our second birthday party of the day, I stood there and watched Madeline run around the gymnastics place playing. She looked so big. I realized how fast time was going. She has friends. She gets invited to go to parties for kids whose parents we don’t even really know. When did that happen? She has become her own person. 


As Patrick and I stood there watching her jump into a pit of foam cubes, hang on uneven bars, jump on a trampoline, and walk across a balance beam, I told him that it so hard to just watch her and just let her go. I still see her as this tiny, breakable, little baby, but she’s not. She’s a big kid, who can do big kid things. 

I also realized how much fun she was having, and I felt proud that we have been able to give her so many fun opportunities already at just 3 years old. 

Sometimes I’ve worried that she has missed out on something, because I’ve been a working mom. Typical working mom guilt. It’s hard to send her off to preschool everyday, but then I watch her play. She is flourishing. She has so many friends. She plays well with others, she loves to make new friends wherever she goes, and she is an includer. Preschool has been amazing for her. 


Because Patrick and I both work during the week, we always make our weekends with Madeline count. From trips to the zoo to mini golf, movie nights on the sofa or playing basketball in the front yard, we make sure we are creating family memories that will hopefully last Madeline a lifetime. 

Continue Reading