Archives for July 2011


“Mom.”  Hot breath on my cheek stirs me from the deepest of sleep.  “I have a stomach ache.  Can I sleep with you?”

I mumble something incoherent that he and I both interpret as a yes and he burrows under the covers.  His hair smells clean, freshly washed just before bed.  I’m poised to drift back to dreamland, but for a conscious moment, I relish him close.

He sucks in a deep breath.  It’s sharp.  Pain.

“Are you okay?” I ask, more awake now.  He clutches his side and pants.  It’s probably an air bubble, but in my sleepy haze I immediately assume appendicitis and I push on the lower right side of his abdomen.  “Does that hurt?”

“Ow!  Yes, that hurts!”


In the next moment, he is wrapped around me.  Knees and elbows swathed in a narrow frame.  His nose is in my neck, his arm flung across my waist.  He’s hot and I’m immediately uncomfortable.  I’m so tired and my first thought is to push him off on his father who is snoring on the other side of the bed.

But then I stop.  His breathing slows and falls into a quiet rhythm.  In, out.  In, out.

It’s just as it was back when he used to fit a little more snuggly in my arms.  Back when I couldn’t wear his flip flops and his hands weren’t nearly as big as mine.  Back when his hair was a white blonde fuzz on top of his round head.  And instead of pushing him away, my arms engulf him and squeeze tight.

Because I miss back then.  I miss it.

But for a few short hours, I got to relive those moments.  I didn’t sleep much…or at all.  Somehow, though, sleep didn’t matter, just as it didn’t matter back then.  Because the moments fade so fast.  When morning light pierced through the darkness, he finally stirred and unwound his spindly body.  He looked up at me, all blue eyes and freckles.  And eight years passed me by in an instant.

“Hey Mom,” he said with a sleepy grin.  “Can I have some Nutella for my birthday breakfast?”  And as he dashed off to conquer the day, I remained behind.  Tired and teary.  Grateful for a night of little sleep and thankful for those brief, still moments when he snuggled close and held tight.  Those moments will soon be no more.

Happy Birthday, Sloan.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

The kiss of death for any relationship.  Can I see a show of hands, ladies?  How many of you actually used this cliche line when breaking a poor boy’s heart.  Relentless, we ladies are.  But I’m not here to talk about relationships.  I snagged my man a long time ago and have never once even considered breaking things off.  I know a good catch when I find one and me? I got a good catch.

I’m talking about parenting.  You know…’cause I’m a Mom Blog (Capital ‘M’ Capital ‘B’).   About 6 weeks ago I sat down with a friend to discuss the ins and outs of homeschooling.  Have I mentioned we’re considering that for next year?  I haven’t?  Ah…that’s another post for another day.  But, yes, we are.  I began considering it before we knew we were going to move and now I’m considering it because we’re going to move.  I’ll explain more later.

As I soaked in this veteran homeschool mom’s wisdom (her oldest just graduated high school) I relayed to her my fears.  My biggest fear was what if I can’t do it? What if it ruins my relationship with my child to be with him all day long?  What if a wall of bitterness comes between us?  What if I fail?

I didn’t like her answer.  I mean, I did.  But I didn’t.  *sigh*  I’m not making much sense, am I?

“I’ve found,” she said in her sweet and gentle way, “that whenever I am having personality conflicts with one of my kids, it’s usually my heart issue that needs to be dealt with.”

BAM! Right to the gut.  You mean I have to take responsibility for my own actions?  Parenting doesn’t give me a free BecauseISaidSo pass?!  No body mentioned this to me when I left the hospital with my bundles of joy, by the way.  There was no sign on the way out that read, “WARNING: Parenting is hard work and more than likely when you lose your patience it will be your fault and not the child’s.”

But the thing is, I know she’s right.  I’ve known that a long time, but I haven’t really sat and simmered with that understanding.  When I lose my temper with my kids, 9 times out of 10 the problem is mine.  In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll give you an example.

Yesterday I took the kids on a bit of a Tour de St. Louis.  We hit up the City Garden, the St. Louis Science Center and the Loop all in the span of about six hours.  And it required a lot of in and out of the (smokin’ hot) minivan.  I don’t know about your kids, but something happens to mine when they step inside a van.  Whatever it is is definately not hot.  The second they sit in their seats, it’s starts.

“Mom! Landon’s copying me!”

“Mom, Sloan called me a dodo-head!”

“Mom! Tia stuck her tongue out at me!”

“Mom! I’m being bullied!”

And on and on it goes until I’m blue in the face.  My grandmother, when her kids were making her crazy like this, used to get in their faces and say, “My name’s not Mom anymore.  It’s horses butt and you’re not allowed to say that so you can’t call me anymore.”  Can I tell you how tempted I’ve been to pull that line out of my back pocket?  I think her sister had a little bit of a spicer version of that line that she used on her kids…

So, riding in the car?  Not so fun.  Sloan tends to take the brunt of the pestering because he gives the biggest reaction.  Lee and I are constantly telling him to ignore them and let us be the parents.  He has a tendency to…ahem…step in and take matters into his own hands.  This usually winds up with him in trouble.  He’s slowly learning that lesson.

So yesterday we spent some time driving and by the third time in the van everyone was a little frayed.  We had been having a lot of fun and everyone had behaved marvelously, until they got in the van and it started immediately.

And I snapped.  I turned into that mom.  The one that looks all wild and huffy.  I pulled over on the side of the road and let loose – bad mommy style.  As I drove down the street again, oppression set into my chest.  I glanced in the rearview mirror at my kids faces.  They were quiet, Sloan had tears in his eyes and I felt terrible.

It wasn’t them.  It was me.  I was tired and a little fried from a long morning.  Tia and Landon had been merciless in their pestering of Sloan and he had snapped, but he was tired too.  And he’s only 7.  I’m old enough to supposedly know how to control myself.  So I pulled the car over again.  I asked them to forgive me for losing my temper and hugs went around to all.

Then we sang “Kumbaya.”  It was beautiful.

When I lose my patience with my kids, it’s my fault.  Because the kids are just acting like…kids.  Generally I lose my patience when I haven’t taken the time to really deal with an issue.  I brush it aside until it escalates out of control then I look at the kids like it’s their fault.  But if I would just take the time to deal with things instantly, we wouldn’t have the escalation. All it requires on my part is a little bit of time, energy and focus.  Lazy parenting is not allowed.

It’s not them…it’s me.  Can anyone else relate to this?

Give My Regards to Broadway

After some thought, I decided to take my earlier post down.  I was upset and hurt and processing, but decided that ultimately I didn’t need to have all of that out in the world wide web.  To those who commented, thank you and sorry I had to subject you to my crazy.  To those who missed it…lucky you.  And now, without further ado…I give you more of my life..


When I was a little girl, I had two goals in life: Grow up and become a gold medal winning gymnast and  become a famous movie star/singer.  Two things happened to squash those dreams – I wasn’t a very good gymnast due to my tall frame, inflexibility and terror of the high beam (do you know how narrow that things is?!).  I made it to level 7 where back handsprings on the beam were a requirement and thus ended my gymnastics career.  Well, that and a stress fracture in back.  I typically like to give people that as my excuse for quitting – it sounds cooler.

The famous actress thing died when I discovered that I stink at auditioning.  Seriously…stink at it.  Give me a room of 1,000 people and I will happily sing and ham it up all day.  Give me a room of two and I go mute.  Odd?  Yes, I would agree.  It took one semester in Baylor’s theater department for me to figure out that acting would eat me from the inside out.  So I waved goodbye to the dream and grew content with the occasional performance of the “for fun” variety.

In the last six months, however, I’ve had the opportunity to get a little stage time that I don’t usually get.  Singing in church doesn’t count.  I actually work really hard at NOT standing out on stage at church.  Because I naturally lean toward the, ahem, dramatic, I have to be very careful of my heart before I walk on stage to lead worship.  It’s not about me and it’s not about performing.

So when I got the opportunity to perform…well, let’s just say the little girl inside of me skipped a little.  And squealed and clapped her hands while jumping up and down.  Singing in this year’s VP Parade was a big slice of heaven for the little girl in me.  It was fun.  Lots and lots of fun.  I was backed by some of the greatest jazz and blues musicians in the business.  Men like Scott Alberici and “Red” Lehr, among others.

And I had fun.  It was sweltering and yes, my dress did look a bit like a muumuu, but I was on stage with a microphone in my hand singing Give My Regards to Broadway.


I hope the rest of you had as magical of a 4th as I did!  I’m off to squeeze in as much St. Louis fun as I can before we have to leave.  It’s all happening very fast now… (click on the pictures to see them a little closer up)


Let Freedom Ring

IN CONGRESS, July 4 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States

(an excerpt)

…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government…

…We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States;

that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved;

and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

May your Independence Day be full of blessings, family, friends and hot dogs.  God Bless this great country.

To read the Declaration of Independence in its entirety, visit my friend Angie’s website, Celebrating Holidays.  On it you will be find a jackpot of information and history to share with your children on why we celebrate this holiday, where our national symbols originated and what they mean, and creative things you can do with your kids to celebrate.  Her website is a gold mine.

We’re moving to Florida

In February we met with a realtor to discuss putting our house on the market.  We were ready to upsize.  We wanted more space for ourselves, for our children and we wanted to be able to host out of town family when they came to visit.  That was our plan.

God had a different plan.

On April 6, our house officially went on the market and we began looking at new homes here in town.  A few weeks later, Lee got wind of a job opportunity in Tampa, Florida.  We’ve always wanted to live in Florida so whenever a job opened up down there we checked it out.  The thing is, we love St. Louis.  We’re so deeply blessed here that for us to pull the trigger on moving was difficult.  No job ever felt good enough for us to actually make that move.

Until this one.

Lee got really excited about this job potential.  More excited than I’ve seen him in a long time.  But I wasn’t sure.  There were other things playing out in my mind and heart and I was kind of at the point where I was ready to abandon the dream of living in Florida and stake our claim in St. Louis forever.  So I waited skeptically while Lee interviewed.

We decided to put our house hunt on hold until we found out more about the viability of the job.  About five weeks ago, we got the call from our realtor that we had an offer on our house.  At this point we’d heard little from the people in Tampa so we began looking again at homes locally.  But two days after the house went under contract, Lee was asked to fly to Tampa for an interview.

This is the part of the story where I began developing an ulcer.

I waited as my husband flew to Tampa for two days to interview.  And while I waited, I prayed.  I prayed that the Lord would give us wisdom to make the right decision.  Like I said, we’re terribly blessed here.  And a large part of that blessing stems from our amazing church family.  The thought of leaving our church home and the friends we have there makes my stomach tie into knots.  But I don’t ever want fear of change to hold my family back, so I determined to loosen my grip on the familiar and embrace what God might have for us.

I can’t go into all the details of how God showed us His plan, but I can say that He answered my prayer above and beyond what I imagined.  I asked Him to make it obvious if we should go and He really did.  From things like our house selling at exactly the same time the company needed to make the new hire, to our roof needing to be replaced and insurance covering it, to our furnace needing to be replaced and home warranty covering, and on and on the list goes…


God placed random strangers into our lives to speak such wisdom and peace into us that both of us began to shake our heads in awe.  From someone sitting by Lee on the airplane down to Tampa to a bartender, God used others to give us peace in this decision.  It’s truly been amazing.

We did not mention this to many people because we just weren’t sure what would happen.  It’s tricky when a lot of life plays itself out online.  These matters become much more delicate.  We didn’t want Lee’s current company to get wind of this, obviously.  Nor did we want anything said to our kids inadvertently.  But it’s been hard.  We have tried to answer questions honestly without giving too much information away.  It’s felt deceptive, but I sincerely hope that everyone understands that that was never our intention.  This has been a difficult process for us.

On Tuesday of this past week, Lee’s paperwork cleared and he was officially given the job that would move us from St. Louis to Tampa.  We closed on our house the next day.  Once again, God confirmed in our hearts His plan.

But this is hard.

This is really, really hard.  Painful.  Lee will leave in two weeks to begin working in Florida.  The kids and I will leave a few days after him.  And my heart is ripping in half.

My family moved to St. Louis when I was 12.  Though I lived in Texas for six years, St. Louis was always home base.  For 21 years, this has either been home, or home base.  Minus the wicked winters…and crazy tornadic springs, I love everything about this town.  Especially the people.  Lee and I moved here a year before Sloan was born.  This is the place we became a family.  We have friends who have poured into us for the last nine years, watching us grow, watching our children grow and giving us some of the sweetest years of our lives.

I’m sad to leave.

But I’m also excited.  Like I said, living in Florida has been a dream of ours since we got married.  We have family down there and we love everything about the beach.  Our kids have been begging us to move to Florida for years.  They’re thrilled.  And we are too.  But it’s tempered by the dread we feel to leave.

So that’s where we stand.  We are spending our last couple of weeks in St. Louis doing all the things we love to do, spending as much time with friends as we can, and shedding a lot of tears.  We are also rejoicing in the Lord’s provision and look forward expectantly as we await what He would have for us next.

I said it beforenew adventures await us.

Jennifer Aniston did my hair

It was early morning, the air sticky and hot.  I struggled with my dress, which originally bore the shape of a bad muumuu…made out of curtains.  Unfortunately during the tailoring process, the dress had been altered into a bit of a mini-skirt.  I found myself self consciously tugging at it, all the while singing the song I learned at junior high church camp many moons ago:



Oh you can’t get the heaven (Oh you can’t get to heaven)

In a mini-skirt (In a mini-skirt)

No you can’t get to heaven (No you can’t get to heaven)

In a mini-skiiiiirt.

No you can’t get to heaven in a min-skirt

‘Cause God don’t like no little flirt

All my sins are washed away, I’ve been redeemed

(I’ve been redeemed)


Much emphasis was placed on the need for me not to be late.  It was imperative that I show up on time, which meant I needed to leave extra early because I didn’t know where I was going.  It’s always best to plan a little extra time to get lost.  Especially if you’re me.  I’m fairly certain God forgot to install my inner compass when He put me together.

I ran down the steep hill (mountain?) from the cabin where I and the other participants slept, carrying my flip flops in one hand and holding my shortened dress down with the other.  I finally got to the community bathroom where my friend Melissa met me.  She came out of nowhere – I’m not even sure how she got there….she lives in Louisiana.

“What are you doing with your hair?” she asked as I frantically applied my make up.

“I don’t know!” I lamented.  “My hair looks like a mushroom!”

It really did.  Somehow the humidity had tousled it into a bouffant that resembled a portabella on top of my head.  Making matters worse, I held the hair dryer too close to my head and fried my bangs and they now frizzed out in a bubble of straw right in the middle of my forehead.

As I huffed, I heard laughter from the bathroom stall.  Melissa and I exchanged looks and waited.  The toilet flushed and the stall door opened.

It was Jennifer Aniston!  Perfect hair and all…

Walking up to me, Jennifer studied my hair closely.  “Hmmm…” she said.  “Your hair does need a little TLC.”  She sounded just like Rachel Green.

“Can you help me?” I asked shyly.

“Sure,” she answered with a smile.  She was so nice!  I always knew she and I would make good friends.  Jennifer grabbed a brush and turned me away from the mirror then went to work.  She pulled and tugged and twisted and sprayed my hair with some kind of magic potion from her oversize purse.  A few minutes later she whirled me around and Voila! MY hair was red carpet ready. It was even a little longer.  I’m not sure how she pulled that one off… I felt a surge of confidence and I turned to hug my friend.

“What time are you supposed to be there?” she asked.

“6:45,” I answered.  Her eyes grew wide.

“Kelli!  It’s already 8:21!”

“No!” I kissed her on the cheek and dashed out of the bathroom.  I needed to get back up to the cabin to retrieve my car keys and make my way to the meet up point.  I tore up the steep hill that had somehow  become covered in snow.  As I climbed I found a pair of my sandals buried in the snow and snatched them up.  They would go perfect with my unfortunate dress.

This is when I woke up in a panic and had to tell myself that none of that happened and I didn’t miss the VP Parade, which I am singing in tomorrow morning.  Jennifer Aniston did not do my hair and last I checked there were no snow covered mountains in St. Louis.


If you are in the area and want to come down and watch tomorrow morning, I will be on the Riverboat float singing dixieland.  Look for the girl in a muumuu made out of curtains.  Or in a min-skirt if my dream proves to be at all prophetic.  It starts at 10:00am (and yes, I have to be there no later than 6:45) and heads down 4th and Market.  It ends near Union Station.

Jennifer (can I call you Jen?) if you’re in town, meet me on 4th street at 6:00.  Me and my hair will probably need your help.

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