Wednesday, September 17, 2014

21 days to make a habit...and a 33 year old

I feel like sometimes the daily doldrums in life are often the hardest to deal with - the stagnant, dull, inactive moments. I've found myself a little down and out as of late. I can't really pinpoint one exact reason. It's a handful of small, personal things all piled up that are bringing me down. Overall, things are fine; nothing big or unusual or overly stressful on my plate, so I don't know what my deal is. I do know that I don't want to feel like this for much longer, so something needs to change. 

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. And in 21 days I will be 33. So, I have a convenient 21-day-marker to achieve some small goals that will hopefully make a difference in my attitude and overall outlook on life.

I've written them down for myself, with 21 boxes to check off next to each one (I love a good box to check off). Six goals in three categories - mental, physical, and spiritual - as I truly believe all three are intertwined. And together, I really feel those will impact my emotional well being. So, win-win-win-win. 

Here's to the next 21 days. May they be an active, uphill climb to a destination that is worth the view. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

perfectly enough

Last night, Leah came in to my room and quietly rustled me awake.

“Mom,” she said, “I had a bad dream.”

I gently lifted her onto my bed, and for the next few minutes, we sat in the dark room lit only by the dim light of the street lamp outside, and she told me all about it. I reassured her that everything would be okay and then, after a few more minutes, we tip-toed, hand in hand, back to her bedroom where she nestled comfortably back into her bed.

And then I woke up.

I have dreams like this every so often. The details of each dream are different – the scenery, situation and topics of conversation change – but in each dream, Leah talks.

I wake from the dreams conflicted. Initially, I’m at peace; so grateful for a glimpse of normalcy with Leah, even if it isn’t real. And then, I’m usually sad. Sad for the chats that, logistically, we just can’t have. Sad for all the conversations that will never be. Sad for the fears and the frustrations she will never be able to convey, as well as the happy and hilarious moments.

I’m torn because I do my best to just accept Leah the way she is, and I feel like, most of the time, I do a pretty good job. Yet part of me continues to mourn the person she will never be. Which is completely ridiculous because the person she is is enough.

Perfectly enough.

For now, I’ll cherish the little girl she is during the day and treasure the late night chats with the one that visits me in my dreams. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

If you build it...

In 1989 they built it, and in 2014 we came...and crossed off an item from our Iowa bucket list. 

After watching Field of Dreams last weekend, Ryan and I decided to take the girls up to the farm where the movie was filmed to take in the last glimpses of summer. 

We couldn't have asked for a better day. The corn was at its peak - mostly green, just beginning its golden transition. It was 75 degrees with very little humidity. I feel like we could have been outside all day! 

We donned our leather gloves and played catch in the outfield. 

We lost ourselves in the tidy rows of corn. 

Oh, the corn! 

Ryan stood at the pitcher's mound and threw the first pitch to his girls. 

We ran the bases.  

 And stood on them too. (We all had home runs.)

 We tested out the bleachers. 

And explored nearly every nook and cranny we could find. 

 Kate was happiest getting down and dirty in the rocks. 

 Leah was just plain happy. 

And we had a dreamy day exploring one of the many fields in our little Iowa. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Help us NOT SPEAK for Rett syndrome

I'd give almost anything to hear my sweet little Leah's voice again. The little voice that once told me her favorite fruit was an "appie" or that she wanted more "cheese peese." The tiny voice that mixed up trickier words like "opatus" for Octopus. 

The voice that was never able to mutter that she loved me before it was taken away. 

I'd love to hear the silly thoughts running through her head each day. Her fears or joys from the first day of school. Her thoughts on living in -40 degrees last winter. What a seizure feels like. Her best friend. Her favorite activity. Her thoughts about the biggest and smallest events in her life. I'd love to hear it all. 

But I can't. 

So yes, I'd give almost anything. I'd absolutely give up speaking for an hour to spread awareness of Rett syndrome and the hope that current clinical trials are providing RIGHT NOW. 

Would you do the same? If you'd give up speaking for just an hour, join with Leah's little sister, the newest spokes sibling for the Rettland Foundation, in donating just $10 for your not speaking kit. And then find a friend or two, head out into your community and spread the word - without a spoken word - about Rett. 

To Follow Rettland Foundation on Facebook, click:

To Follow on Instagram: @rettland

Sunday, August 31, 2014

August in an instant

August simultaneously crawled and flew right by. Leah was soooooo beyond ready to start school again, so those first two weeks were a bit painful. We tried to fill them with fun things, but it seemed there were always extra hours in the day. But, no fear, school did, actually, start. And we made it through the summer mostly unscathed! 

I'm calling it a win. 

The final two weeks of August were filled with adjusting to new regular schedules (first grade! preschool!, piano lessons!), sending Ryan off to Finland (but this time for only a week, not three) and of course, getting sick (so. many. tissues.). 

As of today, we're all good. And settled. And smelling fall. 

And it smells goooooood. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Kate and I are venturing into new territory over here, as I joined a co-op preschool with a few of my friends. There are 5 kids total, so once every 5 weeks, I teach Kate and 4 of her cute friends all about the alphabet, numbers, patterns, senses, seasons and other themes. 

So far, so good. Though, I haven't had to teach yet. 

Kate was so excited for her first day. She packed her new backpack very carefully (mostly her own personal diaper bag) and was very serious about making sure Leah didn't take the pink bows to school with her. 

She put on her best game face for her photo op (or she at least tried to narrow it down to a few of her best faces), complete with shouting hooray for the garbage truck driving down the road and picking her little button nose. 

And just like that, this two year old is off to her first of three years of preschool (hence the pre-pre-preschool sign). She's going to do great things, this little one. Of that I am sure. And I'm glad I get to come along for the ride.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

catch up

I'm slowly playing catch up (mostly for my own record keeping), but for those who have been asking, I'm now caught up through June, which includes: 

Boston Marathon (weekend and race)
A trip to Springfield, IL
Day trip to Galena, IL

And a few others in between. I postdated them all, so for some reason they weren't coming up in any RSS feeds. 

Next up is the last seven weeks of our little summer. And after that I hope to get back to some more thought-provoking posts that have been swimming around in my head, as opposed to a travelogue. Though I wouldn't trade those travels for anything (except maybe a cure)! 


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

first of first

The much-anticipated first day of first grade has been two years coming. Every time I think, I'm not old enough to have a 1st grader I remember that, actually, I'm old enough to have a 2nd grader, and then I immediately feel better. 

We had a successful meet and greet night where we walked through Leah's classroom, saw (and sat in) her new chair and desk, dropped off all her school supplies and met her new teacher, Mrs. Radosevich (yes, I spelled it wrong on the sign). She has one of the same aides as last year and one new one. AND two of her best buddies from Kindergarten are in her class this year, one being a locker buddy. 

It was also nice being able to send her back to the same school, with no huge changes - the first time that has ever happened in her 5+ years of school. I almost didn't know what to do with my free time. 

Leah was up and ready to go on the first day way before the bus arrived. She knew exactly what she wanted to wear (still loves those horses!) and she was incredibly efficient all morning. We played outside for a good 20 minutes just waiting, waiting, waiting. We had ample time to get pictures (and Kate was not about to be left out). And the grin on Leah's face could not be wiped off. 

I send her off each day just hoping we are doing the right thing. Hoping that everyone at school believes in her as much as we do at home. And they do. They believe in Leah because Leah makes them believe. The light in her eyes and her grinning, gregarious personality almost force others to believe. She's in there. And she is going to do some amazing things this year. 

First grade is off to a first-rate start. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

swim days

One of our favorite summer activities in Iowa is "swim days", courtesy of the fabulous Sister Cropper. The Croppers are a family in our ward (local church congregation) who open up their pool to the ward members and their friends every Tuesday, all day. 

I know. 

When I grow up, I want to be like Sister Cropper. 

My girls LOVE swim day and start talking about next Tuesday on our way home from the current swim day! 

I think Leah feels free in the pool. She's really good at kicking and moving around to where she wants to be. She just graduated to this life jacket this year and it worked great! She's tall enough to stand in the shallow water, but still kicks and swims everywhere too. 

Kate has become a little fish and loves kicking and floating on her back (this is her smiling - seriously - she is grinning here). She thinks she can jump off the side of the pool, but really she's just hopping and then I pull her in. 

Kate got so used to seeing Sister Cropper in a swim suit that when she saw her at church recently she looked at me and said, "Mom! Sisser Copper all clean!" 

There's always an abundance of food and friends and we usually spend about 3 hours there just soaking in the sun. For now we've packed away the sunscreen and hung up our suits and towels to dry. Can't wait until "next Tuesday" June 2015. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

10 mile goal: report

Remember that goal we had to run or walk 10 miles this summer? 

Well, the girls basically blew it out of the water. 

As of the last day of summer vacation, they walked more than 20 miles. They really surprised me! Most days we went more than a mile. The girls were exhausted, which was the goal, and usually happy to boot! I carried each girl ONCE (on different days) for about a quarter of a mile, and that is it. 

We picked a lot of flowers. 

Took a few breaks. 

Twice (or thrice?) we went with dad. 

 And once we went with friends. 

 Once we checked out a brand new trail. 

And once Kate and I went sans Leah (who was running around at camp), allowing us to find a path less traveled and much rockier. Kate was a fan.

But usually it was just me and my smiley crew, slowly but surely making our way down the paved path. 

We always ended our walks with snacks and water in the back of the car. 

And a few times it resulted it late morning naps. Because it's summer, so why not!?

All in all, a worthy goal, good effort and such a great result. Definitely an activity that will be repeated in summers to come. I'm so proud of those four little legs!