Dear 5:00 AM…

I set my alarm for 5:00 AM this morning. Go ahead. You can laugh. It’s funny.

I really thought I could handle it. I even went to bed at 9:45 last night. I felt very responsible when I turned the lamp off before the 10:00 hour. How grown up of me, right? But what seemed like mere moments after closing my eyes, the alarm on my phone start screaming in my ear.

5:00 AM?!

I don’t know what I was thinking.

Incidentally, I spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect alarm sound to wake me up. I listened to every option provided on my phone and I painstakingly chose the sound that was least offensive. It sounded like little fairies ringing bells, gentle and serene. When I chose it, I pictured myself leaping out of bed in song. Like a musical.

Good Mornin’. Good Moooornin’.

In this vision I tap danced through the house, happy and free as a lark. I don’t know how to tap dance, although I did take lessons a few years ago and had the time of my life. I should do that again…

But, oddly enough, when my alarm went off this morning, it didn’t sound like fairies ringing bells any more. IT SOUNDED LIKE THE DEVIL HIMSELF CLANGING SYMBOLS IN MY EAR.

It was angry and harsh and I wanted to punch someone, not sing.

Then I got back in bed.

“Is that your alarm to get up and work?” Lee asked. He wasn’t really interested in the answer so much as he just wanted to acknowledge the offensiveness of being awakened by evil bells at 5 in the morning.

I grunted in reply and promptly closed my eyes. For the next 37 minutes, my brain and my body warred against the morning. It went down something like this:

BRAIN: “Get up. You have a lot to do this week. If you don’t get up now you won’t have time to get anything done this morning.”

BODY: “Shut up.”

BRAIN: “Seriously, just get up. You will be fine if you get up and move around. You can have coffee. You won’t regret it, but you will regret staying in bed and not getting anything done.”

BODY: “Shut. Up.”

BRAIN: “Alright that’s it you lazy BEEP. Get up! Get up! GET! UP!”

BODY: *sitting up at squinting at the clock that reads 5:24* “Ten more minutes. Now shut up.”

BRAIN: “Check the clock. I think it’s been ten minutes. Check the clock. Seriously. Your window of peace and productivity is shrinking exponentially. Check the clock. CHECK IT!”


Sighing, I rolled out of bed and landed with a thud on the floor. Stumbling to the kitchen, I noticed how beautiful and serene the house felt. Dark and quiet, patiently waiting for the hustle of energy to roar to life. I liked it. The peace of the moment made me happy.

It did not make me feel like singing, though. Or dancing.

If any of you need me later, I’ll be on the couch taking a nap…

While I’ve got you all captivated here with my amazing and deep words of wisdom and grace, I might as well show you a few pictures from our Easter weekend, don’t you think? Wouldn’t that make your day? You’re welcome.

We spent the weekend with my cousin, Sean (whose book I hope you all purchased and are impatiently awaiting its arrival) and his wife, Addie, and their two cuties. The huge waves at the beach Friday made for three hours of crazy fun for the kids.

Glow in the Dark Easter Egg Hunt. Too much fun.

Sloan and his pet fox...I mean, dog.

I hope you all had a Happy and Blessed Easter filled with love, laughter and lots of chocolate.

Dear Mom and Dad in England



So while you were off galavanting (something I’ve found you seem to be quite good at) about the English countryside this weekend, I was left to handle Easter on my own.  While you toured Shakespeare’s birthplace and hiked through the animal infested forests, I realized that not only did I need to create some kind of Easter feast for my family, but I also needed to fill up Easter baskets with goodies.  I realized this on Saturday.

I would like you to know that I managed to squeak by without you but I almost ruined Easter for good.  And Christmas too.  And I blame it almost entirely on you.

I dashed out Saturday afternoon for a last minute grocery run, in the rain.  Me and the entire senior citizen population of St. Louis County.  I bought a pork roast.  Not even a pre-packaged one from the refridgerated section, but an actual one from the meat guy.  He’s not a butcher is he?  Do I just call him the meat guy?  Whatever.  I bought it from him.  He wrapped it in white paper.  Fancy.

Score one for me.

I also purchased a round birthday cake with a picture of a bunny on it.  And ice cream.  I was rocking the Easter preparations.

I purchased 45 plastic eggs to put in their baskets.  Why so many?  Because I didn’t buy anything else.  You know, dear mother, how you always filled up our baskets with fun little trinkets and goodies as a kid?  Yeah…I didn’t do that.  I kind of forgot.  Thank God I had the DVD’s you purchsed for the kids before you left for England, right?

Minus one for me.  Holding steady at 0.  Plus six for you, though, for planning way in advance.

When I got home I tried to sneak by the kids with the plastic eggs.  You know, because how was I going to explain that the Easter Bunny used eggs we already owned.  I failed, though.  Eagle Eyes Tia saw the eggs and screeched with delight. 

“What are those for?” they all asked, pushing in on me like tiny little blonde vultures.

I thought quick on my feet, though.  You would’ve been proud.  “We’re going to put them in your Easter baskets and see if the Easter Bunny fills them up while you sleep.”

BOOM! Score three for Mommy.

They each got a movie, a chocolate bunny (of course) and 14 eggs, which the Easter Bunny did fill while they slept.  Except the Easter Bunny is stingy and paranoid about their teeth rotting out so the eggs only had one chocolate or a couple of jelly beans in them.  When it was all said and done they only had a snack bag amount of candy.


Three measly jelly beans...

Three measly jelly beans...

“Is dis all dere is?!” Tia exclaimed after searching through her basket.  There were no stickers, no toys, no coloring books.  “Mom, where does the Easter Bunny come from exactly?” Sloan asked, a little disgruntled.  “Is he real?” 

I had to bite my lip from answering, “Look, the Easter Bunny moved to England, okay?!”  Minus four for Mommy.  I hereby stand at a negative 1.

“That’s what they say,” I answer, dodging the question.  “Well, is Santa real or is he just a guy in a costume?”  Six eyes stare at me intently.

“St. Nicholas was a real man who delivered gifts to boys and girls,” I answered, sweat beading on my hairline.  “Hey look!  Breakfast is ready – come eat quick!”

Plus 1 for dodging a bullet. 

I did remember to put the pork roast in the crock pot (God’s gift to half brained moms) the night before so Easter dinner was partially prepared early.  Which was good since I had to be at church at 7:30 and didn’t get home until 12:45, which means Lee was in charge of Easter lunch.  They ate without me.  Pork Roast, Stove Top stuffing from a box and sourdough bread.  No vegetables or special sides to make the meal memorable because I wasn’t there to fix.

I get plus 2 for preparing the meat early, but minus 1 for not preparing anything else.  I think this leaves me at a plus 1.


The rest of Easter Sunday was quite lovely, actually.  While we desperately missed being with family, I must say it was nice to just be our little core unit of 5 for the day.  I reminded me, Mom and Dad, of all those years when we were growing up and didn’t have family close by.  My holiday memories are filled with leisurely afternoons with you all and Brett. 

We went to Applebees for dinner, which felt kind of lame, but it made the kids happy so I’m giving myself 1 point.  And when we came home, we cleaned up the house, put on our jammies, ate bunny cake and watched Yogi Bear as a family.  I’m awarding myself another point for going with the flow.

So that means my final tally came in at plus 3.  Not bad.  Easter wasn’t a total wash after all. 

But it still would have been better with you here.

Have fun for the remainder of your English adventure.  Tell Will and Kate I said hi…

Love, Your Daughter in St. Louis.

If only they looked alike...

If only they looked alike...


I laughed until I cried when I saw this picture. Landon's head looks detached from his body.

I laughed until I cried when I saw this picture. Landon's head looks detached from his body.




Studio Shot!

Studio Shot!

On Earaches and Mary

On Friday night Landon asked to go to bed.  This was after he asked to take a nap on Friday afternoon and he slept for two hours.

Not normal.

At 11:00 Friday Landon woke up crying.  He was at the tail end of a cold so a little medicine, a kiss and a cup of water and everyone settled once again.  Until…

One O’clock rolled around and we heard the desperate pleas of our little one.  And he never went back to sleep.

“My eeaaaw huwts,” he cried all night, clutching at his left ear.  We rocked and sang and he’d slowly drift to sleep only to jolt awake again with a cry.  Back and forth we went between his room and our own room, Lee and I alternating trying to sleep and holding our hurting boy.  We debated heading to the ER but knew it was an ear infection and decided to wait it out until morning.

At 5:30 we put in High School Musical and I dozed on the couch.  By 9:00 we were in the pediatrician’s office where it was declared he had a nasty inner ear infection with a painful looking bulge and by 10:30 we were home with a little boy who looked like this.

Pitiful Landon

Not only did he look exhausted, he also look abused due to an unfortunate run in with the corner of the iPad the night before that left him with a shiner.  He was pitiful and in pain most of Saturday but by Sunday morning had perked up considerably thanks to numbing drops, antibiotics and twleve hours of solid sleep.  We were on the mend, and we were happy.

When his ear began dripping blood on Sunday morning we began fast and furiously treating what we think may have been a slight perforation in his ear drum with both antibiotic ear drops and oral antibiotics as we are flying a week from tomorrow and we need his ear healed.  So far the pediatrician has cleared us to fly and is confident that he will be fine by the time we leave.  This is a good thing because if she said he wouldn’t be I was already planning the car trip.

Sunday afternoon I went to a practice for an Easter drama that a few of us are putting on on Easter Sunday.  It’s a beautiful piece of work and I found myself very emotional at one point when the character of Christ speaks the word, “Mother?” This happens during the crucifixion scene.

And my heart broke a little as I pictured Mary watching her baby suffer.  My heart crumbled just seeing Landon suffer through ear pain, but Mary watched her son beaten, bruised and hung.  She watched the blood drain from the very hands that she held as a small child.  She saw the flesh torn from the back of the boy she bathed as a boy.

She suffered.

As my children grow I’m realizing more and more that I will always and forever see the infant form of them.  Sloan is developing a man-child look about him and yet I still see the expressive toddler who marveled at the moon.  Tia’s face matures a little more each day and yet I still see the big-eyed infant who couldn’t wait to conquer the world.

Landon is right where I want him right now.  He is today who I will never forget.

Mary felt the same way.  I understand that more and more the longer I parent.  She saw the man who hung on the cross, but did her mind flash to him toddling into her arms?  It most surely did.  Did she remember sloppy kisses and delighted laughter?  I’m sure of it.  As she stared at his arms stretched wide across the beams, did her own arms ache with the memory of the weight of her infant?  Did she smell the stench of the stable and see the dark, round eyes of her firstborn nuzzled against her chest? 

What kind of memories flooded her mind’s eye? 

And as he suffered and died slowly, did she experience pain herself?  What was swirling through her heart?  It pains me to even think about it, as it pained me to watch my toddler clutch at his ear in pain.

When they hurt, we hurt.

And then, when she heard He was alive – what did she feel?  What kind if disbelief and shock and fear and joy coursed through her veins?  When she saw His resurrected body, did she still see the little boy she raised or was He different somehow?  Did He give her an extra long hug and a kiss on the cheek, a balm to the wound she had suffered three days before? 

I wonder about these things.

Mary was a mother.

I am a mother.

And so I ponder.

My New Toy

After selling much of my childhood and pieces of my parents souls on Craig’s List, I finally made enough money to purchse the one thing I’ve desired for awhile now.  A good camera.


My parents are moving from their home of 13 years into a small condo.  It’s a good thing.  It’s the right decision.  But it means getting rid of many of the items that I grew up with. Furniture and decorations that have graced the houses of my parents different homes for most of my life.  It’s hard – not as hard for me since I have been living on my own for a long time – but definately hard for them.

My mom was sweet enough to let me post and sell her stuff and, as a reward, split the money she made fifty-fifty.  And thus my brand, spanking new camera.  My magic camera that actually takes the pictures I want it to take.  And I’ve had a good time taking said pictures this weekend.

Yesterday we went to my parents house for one last holiday meal.  And we all tried to keep it light when discussing their move, because if we started talking too seriously, the tears would begin to flow.  So we laughed and joked, but inside we were all feeling a bit sentimental.  Change is never easy, even if it’s necessary.

Despite the emotions, however, we had a wonderful day.  The weather was perfect, the kids were well behaved and I was able to document it all just the way I wanted to…

Here is a little collage of our Easter Sunday:


Click on the image to see a larger view.

And, of course, here are a few more pictures from the weekend.  The camera has been practically attached to my hand…


Blurred background! That was the one thing I wanted in a camera - the ability to actually focus on what I wanted to focus on.


We had a crazy week with several nights of late bedtimes.  Which means Landon did a lot of this Saturday morning when we went to Forest Park.

We had a crazy week with several nights of late bedtimes. Which means Landon did a lot of this Saturday morning when we went to Forest Park.


Poor boy. His parents need to get him a haircut. He's looking like a mushroom head...

Poor boy. His parents need to get him a haircut. He's looking like a mushroom head...

We’re going to the Zoo today so look forward to more pictures tomorrow!

Today’s post for STL Family Life is up.  Go check it out and let me know what you think!

Smile *sob* Smile

I came across these sweet videos the other day and my heart melted.  My babies are growing up too fast.  I never thought I’d be the type of person to say that and get all weepy, but it does make me a little sad.  Those stages go by so fast.  How is it they are aging so quickly and I am staying the exact. same. age?


As I lay in bed this morning, trying desperately to pry my eyelids open, I couldn’t help but correlate the emotions I feel about my children aging with the emotions that this particular day bring about.  Happy and Sad.  Good and Bad.  Gratefulness and Humility. 

Today is the day we remember and observe the sacrifice of Christ.  It is heavy.  It is hard.  It is “the sad part,” as Sloan told us this morning.  In fact, he got up early and drew us a picture:

Sad Part

Notice the top corner says "Sad Port"

If you look closely, the picture shows Jesus on the cross.  The two people on the right are the soldiers who crucified him and they are laughing.  On the left are Mary and Joseph and they are crying.  And on Jesus’ head is the crown of thorns.

This day makes me reflect and ponder.  It’s something that occurs deep within the recesses of my heart and I often want to run from these reflections because they often uncover the worst of myself.  And it is sad.  It’s the sad port, erm, part.

But balancing out the sad is the joy in knowing the end of the story.  And it just so happens that Sloan depicted that as well.  He called it the “Good Port.”

Good Part

Jesus was not defeated and the grave did not hold him forever.  Notice the “sparkles” surrounding Jesus in Sloan’s drawing.  It’s because Jesus rose and “He was so shiney when He came out of the grave, mom, because His body was new.” 

That really is the Good Part, isn’t it?

So as I look at these videos, I’m reminded again of the preciousness of life.  I remember how quickly life happens.  We blink and the moment is gone.  And it’s sad.  But it’s also good.

Happy Easter.