August 16, 2018

It’s hard to watch

So many emotions

So many feelings

Friends coming over and saying goodbye

Talking about what to pack and what to take

The bittersweet march of time

Kids leaving for college

As another feels the grief of losing a child

Watching things happen

Clearing out a photography studio

What to pack and what to take

Another moving her son across the states 

Everything keeps going. Nothing stops

We have no control. We just do what we do

Friends to the end

Friends forever 

The goodbye tears

The goodbye smiles

The goodbye hugs

Everyone saying goodbye

Goodbye to friends. 

Goodbye to a baby

Goodbye to a great career and hello to a new town

Moving into the future

Living for today 

Looking out to tomorrow

Christmas Tree – 2017

Every year around this time we get the Christmas tree. Every year around this time we wonder why it is so big. Every year around this time we struggle getting it into the house. Today was no different. Today is Sunday, December 3, 2017. This is kind of early for our tree. It seems like we procrastinate and are lucky if we get one a week and a half before Christmas. Apparently, we are on the ball this year. In years past, we have had ridiculously tall trees. I guess 12 feet sounded short to John.

The tree had been hanging around outside for the past few days. You know, just chilling and dropping branches. John went and picked it out himself. He was excited, as it was a 12 foot tree. Shorter than last year. It’s funny how at the tree shopping place they all look so short. Until you get it in the house.

John said he cut at least a foot off the top and about a foot off the bottom too. I can’t imagine what it would have looked like if he hadn’t. The tree is beautiful, and heavy, and wide. Did I mention it is heavy?

I heard the doorbell ring and the dogs of course went crazy, barking and running to the door. I opened it and it was John. He told me he needed me to help with the tree. Oh fun, I thought. That’s not really what I thought, but I’ll leave it at that. The tree was at the bottom of the steps already in the stand. Our steps consist of 4 or 5 steps, a landing and 3 or 4 more steps. We don’t use the front door a lot, so I don’t know exactly how many steps are in each section. I was looking at the tree from the top of the steps. It looked big, and heavy.

John picked it up to move it and it tipped over and he just about fell trying not to fall. Of course I laughed. He started swearing. He got the tree back up and told me I would have to help him carry it in. The tree is big, and heavy.

He was complaining how he couldn’t really step up the steps with the tree because of his legs. In the past he had injured both legs and ankles. Not to mention the fact he is getting old. His words, not mine. So, I was summoned to help. He was going to hold the bottom and I was to hold the top part and we would bring it in. I grabbed my end and we started lifting it and I started to trip backwards up the steps because it’s hard to walk up the steps backwards whilst holding onto something, as the something you are holding onto gets lower the higher you go. We were almost to the top and then John realized we can’t take the tree in top first because it won’t fit in the door that way. If we did it that way, we would have stripped the branches and had a Charlie Brown tree. Joy.

So we have to turn it around and start over. Now I am at the bottom of the steps and John is on the landing. We picked it up and started hauling. It is really heavy and awkward. The further we got in the door, the more the tree is coming down on my head. At least it is fresh and the needles don’t feel like real needles, like they do at the end of Christmas. We survived the steps. The tree is in the house. We get it standing up and we are laughing so hard because my hair is completely flattened on my head by the tree and I can’t even see because my hair is completely covering my eyes.

But guess what? We still need to get it on the plastic bag that it will go into at the end of Christmas. That means we get to lift it again and place it on the bag, in the center of the bag. John showed me where he wanted it to be. He said he would lift it and I could tell him where to put it. Yeah, you probably know what I’m thinking. Haha.

Here we go again. John lifted the tree up and started moving it back towards the plastic bag to the landing spot where he wanted it. I told him to keep going. Again, keep going. Then it was, okay, stop. He set it down and now I was trapped behind the tree against the wall. I had to squat down and crawl out underneath the tree. I am sure it was quite a sight watching us bringing in the tree and placing it. Of course, Tayler was nowhere to be found to help us. Typical teenager, when you need help, they disappear.

Every year around this time, we get the Christmas tree. Every year the tree is too big. Every year we say we are getting a smaller tree next year. Today was no different. Every year we laugh at each other when we are getting the tree in the house. I am so grateful that after almost 20 years of marriage, we can still laugh with each other and have fun.

Now, just like every year before, we will try to remember what color lights we put on the tree last year. We change the lights every year and we struggle to remember the color, every year.

The tree is beautiful, and heavy.

Life is fragile – live accordingly


When my dad died in 2000, it came as a total shock to us. He seemed totally fine and then he was gone. He had major health problems before that, quadruple bypass surgery at 48, and double bypass again at 58. They say it lasts about ten years, which was true in his case. He was 60 when he passed.

One of the hardest things was to watch how it affected the kids. My kids. His grandkids. It was so sad. So much time taken away. Snatched away in an instant. He loved spending time with them. They were almost 14, 12, 9 and 10 months. I struggled with the fact that Tayler would never get to know him. She would never get to know how funny he was. She would never get to see his soft side. He had one. Few people got to see that.

As I sit here and rewind the day of the funeral, my saddest memory is watching Spencer at the funeral. At that time he was 12. Such a vulnerable age. Such a fork-in-the-road age. We contemplated whether we should take them. But at the same time how can you shield them from death? How can you shield them from life? It wouldn’t be fair to do that to them. It wouldn’t be fair to not let them say goodbye. The whole situation wasn’t fair.

The rest of the funeral is kind of fuzzy. I remember walking into the church and seeing the casket. I couldn’t hold it together. I could not look at it. I couldn’t even really go near it. I watched people going to him. I watched them pay their respects. We were in a line just waiting to go sit down. So many people came up to us giving their condolences. So many people who knew him. That part I remember.

Once we sat down and the funeral started, I kind of got tunnel vision with Spencer. The only song I remember played was Amazing Grace. Standard funeral song, right? And why not, it’s a great song.

We were in one of the front pews, because that’s where family always is seated. I was trying to just be. I was trying to just get through it. I was trying to stay strong for the kids. I glanced over at Spencer and he was scooted way against the edge of the pew. He had both hands on top of the pew and was turned away from me. He had his head on his hands. He was crying. My heart was wrecked in that split second. I tried to comfort him. He pulled away from me. He was mad and sad at the same time. He was 12. The vulnerable age. The fork-in-the-road age.

He learned about death that day. He learned about losing a loved one. He learned about losing his grandpa. I can still see him, sitting there, so upset. It was so hard for me to watch. I questioned every decision we had made about taking them. But again, how could we deny that. I think I would have felt worse if they had not gone. I think the older they got, they would have regretted it if they had not gone. I was so focused on him, I can’t even remember the other kids. I feel bad I can’t remember. We all went through it, yet I can only remember Spencer’s reaction.

Kids are so vulnerable. Did we scar him. Did we scar them. Should he have learned about life and death in that moment? Should he have learned about life and death so young? So many questions, which at this point are irrelevant. At that point, they meant everything.

I realized we couldn’t shield them from life. We couldn’t shield them. We just couldn’t. Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes life sucks. But you know what, for sure life is fragile–live accordingly.



(in the pic, Spencer is on the left, the other two are my nephews, Dustin and Garrett)

the baby turns 18 on monday

It’s that time of year. Fall is getting closer. There is a morning chill in the air. The kids are heading to college. I see the posts on social media and the mixed emotions of the parents. It is a huge life step for these kids. It’s a huge life step for these parents.

I don’t know if I am going to be ready next year when Tayler goes to college. I have mixed emotions. I wonder how quiet it will be around the house without her meowing all the time. That’s her thing. Her annoying little thing that she does when she wants attention. She will say meow. And then she will keep saying meow until we acknowledge. I wonder if I will miss that. I wonder if we will be okay without her. I wonder how she will do without us. She’s not a normal kid. She has actually been raised pretty much as an adult. She has been around adults and around us always. People comment all the time about how mature she is. She’s the kid, that even though it is her senior year, she still wants to hang out with us and do stuff with us. We usually go out to supper on Fridays and she usually comes along. If she doesn’t, it always, “Hey mom, will you get me a salad with a chicken breast please.”

She turns 18 on Monday. She’s the last one. I am still trying to process that. I can still remember being pregnant with her. I can still remember what a great job Dr. Minder did delivering her. Every.single.time we see him out anywhere, he ALWAYS asks about her and wants to see pictures of her. He has a special bond with her. A lot of people have a special bond with her. She is an amazing kid. She has a heart of gold and would help anyone who needed it. She is very caring.

As a parent, you always wonder if you prepared your child well enough for the real world. You wonder if they will survive the real world. They always think they know everything, but we as parents, wonder if we taught them enough. If we showed them enough. If they will be okay. If they will even survive. Did we spoil them too much? Did we make them do enough? Did we prepare them enough for life? I hope so.

As I see all the social media posts, I saw one in particular that spurred this post. The post was from a friend of mine from long ago. Her name is Hattie. She has that quiet beauty, that natural beauty. She posted how it happened in the blink of an eye. How her baby is going off to college. The overwhelming feelings and how they say it will pass—-and she said it may pass like a kidney stone. Her nest is empty. Ours is almost empty.

I can’t believe the baby will be 18 on Monday.

does your busy mean something?

Does your busy mean something?

I hear it all the time. I say it myself. You know what I’m saying. We ALL say it a lot. We say we are too busy. Too busy to make healthy meals. Too busy to workout. Too busy to clean my house. Too busy to take the dog for a walk. Too busy. Just too damn busy. Too busy for so many things.

In this life of work, gym, meal prepping, hanging out with friends, kids sports, enjoying some drinks, and anything else you can stick in here, the BIGGEST thing I hear is, “I’m too busy.” Do you really think you’re too busy, or do you think that’s an excuse?

I don’t know, sometimes when I say I’m too busy, I guess I am saying I just don’t really care if I do this or that or whatever. Fill in the blank. The experts always say, you have to want to do it in order to succeed. You have to make it a priority. You have to make yourself a priority. Sure, I can understand that, but sometimes I don’t really care.

Maybe I just want to be lazy once in a while. Maybe I just want to relax once in a while. This life is super fast-paced. We all are pushing ourselves to the limit. We are so stressed. We are so focused on our careers or we are so focused on ourselves. I get the whole fitness aspect of being busy. It really is an excuse, because maybe we truly aren’t ready to change yet.

Buuuuuut, moving on to the big picture of being busy. The life picture of being busy. The super important aspect of being busy.

The last few weeks in our community have been crazy. A local pharmacist passed away. 44 years old. So damn young. A local realtor had a stroke. Also 44 years old. So damn young. One of my clients’ mom is really, really sick, more than likely cancer. Under 60. So damn young. Another client took her husband in for chest pains. Under 50. So damn young. It is getting really scary how many health incidents are happening to younger and younger people. We just never know how our lives are going to turn out. Why not make it worth it?

take the time to enjoy your life
take the time to play with your kids
take the time to spend with your wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever
take the time to be just a little bit less busy

When “they” say life is short, “they” aren’t kidding. I cannot believe how time is flying. My youngest child is on the verge of turning 18 and is a senior in high school this year. How the hell did that happen?

We all have choices. We all get to decide the road we take, right or left, up or down. What’s the outcome? We don’t know that. We do know that we can spend as much time as possible with the things that mean something to us. If eating healthy and exercising is important to you because you have a shitty family history and you know this will help, ABSOLUTELY do that. If you work 80 hours a week, but spending time with your family is important to you, knock those hours back and ABSOLUTELY spend time with your family.

We get so caught up in our careers. We get so caught up in everything. We need to take a step back. Take a step back and evaluate your life. Make it count. Don’t just go through the motions. Make it mean something. Make it important.

Make your busy important. Ummm, maybe your family.
Make your busy meaningful. Ummm, maybe helping the helpless.
Make your busy matter. Ummm maybe taking your spouse or significant other out for a date or a nice weekend getaway.

Life goes by so fast. It truly is the blink of any eye. It flies. We have no idea how much time we have on this planet. Make your busy mean something.

Two Cookies, Two Coffees and Two Waters

The last few weeks at our house have been a whirlwind of pain and suffering. On February 11, 2016, my husband broke the small bone in his leg, just above the ankle and really messed up his ankle. He was across the road from our house, hunting with the dog. He went to jump over a small draw and caught his foot on grass or a weed or something. His foot bent back and sideways and he fell on top of it. When he got up, his foot was turned completely backwards. So what does anyone do in that situation? Crank it back where it should be of course, TWICE! What???!!! Who does that? Luckily he had his cell phone and called his boss, who is also our neighbor. So nice he was close by. After he put his foot back in he started walking up the hill to the highway where our neighbor picked him up and took him to the ER. I was at the studio, and got a text from John, which said, “Rick is giving me a ride to the hospital I broke my ankle I love you call me when you have a chance give me a ride.” That was it. Lovely. So Tayler had the broken jaw in November and now this. I told them that if I break anything I am killing someone.

Flash forward a few weeks to February 25th. Finally. Time for surgery. Let’s get this show on the road already. It has been a LONG few weeks waiting for this. Great. Let’s go. So ready. We were instructed to show up at the Same Day Surgery at 8:30 a.m. We get in the room and the nurse starts asking the obligatory questions they have to ask everyone. She asked John if he had any metal anywhere on his body, to which he replied his earrings and screws in his head from his brain surgery in 2000. I then responded, “His nipple rings.” I was kidding of course, but the nurse could not stop laughing. We couldn’t either. I think I’m pretty funny sometimes. She then gave the instructions on what to change into and said they will be with us shortly.



Hanging out, waiting. Waiting, hanging out. How much longer? Holy crap. John is still in a shit ton of pain. Then, finally. They come and get him to take him back to surgery. It is now about 11 a.m. The surgery takes about 45 minutes. To the waiting room I go. Hmmm, look at those cookies. They look pretty damn good. They have sugar, chocolate chip oatmeal, chocolate, and a few I have no idea what they might be. Might has well have one, with some coffee. Because waiting. So I have the oatmeal chocolate chip one with a great cup of clinic coffee. Okay, now what? Magazines. Time to catch up on who’s cheating who. Well, that took about five minutes. Standing, sitting. Sitting, standing. Checking out Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. Done. That took about 30 minutes. Now it is about 11:45 or so and I see the surgeon walk out into the waiting room. He came over and told me that everything went well and it turned out exactly the way he wanted it to. Sweet! Glad it’s done. Now I can go see him.


Not so fast. Still waiting. Why is this taking so long? Maybe I’ll have another cookie and another coffee. The chocolate cookie this time. Tastes okay. Missing something. Coffee is still good clinic coffee. Then I think to myself that I haven’t really had any water today. Oh, there is a water machine. So I have two waters while I still wait. Now it is 1:30 p.m.



Finally, they come and get me. They take me to a different room. When I walked in and saw him, his eyes are all puffy, like he just woke up from a two week sleep. He was groggy as hell. Apparently he had trouble waking up after the anesthesia. I knew something wasn’t quite right. He told me all he could think about was how long I had been out there waiting. Awwwww. The nurse got him some coffee and juice and something to eat so they could give him some pain pills. It took a while for him to feel okay. She took out the IV and then went over instructions on what to do when we got home and all that fun stuff. She then said he could get dressed and she would come back in and get him to wheel him out to the car.

He was smart enough to wear shorts, so at least we didn’t have to worry about trying to get jeans on. I helped him take off his fashionable hospital robe and gown. We got his shirt on. Then it came time for the pants. He put his right leg (the bad one) in and then the left. Then he had to stand up so I could help him pull up his pants. So here I am right at his waist, he’s 6’3″, trying to get his pants pulled up. I have my arms around him and keep pulling but the pants get stuck on his butt. We both then started laughing and couldn’t stop. I seriously thought I was going to pee my pants. I had to get down in the squat position so I wouldn’t pee. We still could not stop laughing. I am sure the nurses were wondering what the hell was going on. It took us a good five minutes before we could not look at each other and start laughing all over again. It was hilarity in the middle of a shit show. So we finally are now all ready to go. It was about 2:30 by now. The nurse wheeled him out and helped him into the Jeep.

We got home and I left him in the Jeep so I could go let the dogs out. Our plan was to go up the front steps of the house instead of through the garage. I told him I would go behind him up the steps in case he fell. He could fall on me.  He started up the steps and guess what? He just about fell backwards down the first step. That would have been a disaster. We finally got in the house and got him settled in the chair. Ahhh. Home. Time to start recovering.

After I got him coffee and water and all settled, he looked at me and said, “Thank you for taking care of me.” My heart melted.

We are still laughing about the pants.

…hopefully the next 6-8 weeks go fast.

So, My Daughter Is Pretty Amazing

I absolutely love how my 16 year old daughter rocks the confidence and self esteem. She amazes me with her sense of humor and her compassion and empathy for people. She is one cool kid. She writes herself little notecards all the time with her to do list or things to take on a trip list.

She and her dad went to Sioux Falls today to get the screws taken out of her mouth after the jaw break incident. Six weeks went by pretty quickly. It was extremely painful for her and the doc said she “handled it better than most men.” Her pain scale from when when she broke her jaw was pretty consistent at a 7 out of 10. Today was a 9. Ouch! Glad that’s over.

This was her notecard for today…rocking the confidence and self esteem…


My favorite – “dress cute & warm.”  Love Her!