His Word, Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups


Sometimes I wonder if we’re close enough. Not as in geographically. Or even in the same house.

But are we close enough that it’s going to mean something when they get older. When they want to talk about things that really matter.

Do they genuinely see me as a refuge? As a safe haven? As someone who really has their back? Are we that kind of close?

I know at some point, they will turn to their peers before they turn to me. But, do we have that close-knit bond that will allow them to understand that, despite what predicament they get into with or without their friends, they can call home? They can call their Momma…and I will listen or help.

I want to be close enough to them that when they get older and they get into a wrong relationship, they can call me and I’ll listen without judgment or even negative non-verbal communication.

Will they know that I just have their best interests at heart?

Are we close enough for them to know that they can rely on me to be there when their friends decide to drink and drive and they aren’t comfortable getting into the car with them?

Are we close enough for them to know that they can rely on me to be there when they decide to drink and NOT drive and they need a ride home?

Am I laying the foundation, daily, that is required for us to be this kind of close?

Am I putting in the hard work, the dedication, the time necessary to make this kind of close a reality?

Am I praying the hard prayers that seem to go out into the abyss, only to be answered many days, weeks, months, and years later?

Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

The Journey

As this summer continues to unfold, I am excited to share new experiences with my children.

Every summer before this one, my kids have had to go to ‘camp’ all day. They’ve typically enjoyed it because the camp they’ve attended has kept them crazy busy! (So there’s less ‘mom-guilt’ for me.)

This is the first summer I’ve been able to stay home with them, and I’m not gonna lie, there are days where I’ve completely lost my ever-lovin’-mind, to the point where my kids probably wish they could go to camp…just to get away!

See, I’m pretty much an introvert, with a few extravert tendencies. I need time alone with just my thoughts, to recharge and get amped up for the next adventure.

Since my kids got out of school on May 20, I’ve had a total of approximately 3 hours to myself. And those have been spent in the bathroom.

To say I was beyond ready for a small break is an understatement.

Yesterday, we decided to do something new! Well, new for me…not the kids. We decided to take the bus around town. It was incredibly awesome for me, cause I didn’t have to drive or stress about stupid STUPID construction traffic in Lafayette. (If you live here or have to come here for anything, you totally get this.)

Our plan was to go to the Hanna Center. I know they have a small playground, and we had packed a lunch, so we were going to eat and just chill. I even brought the book I’m currently working my way through. Slightly wishful thinking.

Well, I wasn’t exactly sure where we needed to get off the bus, so we ended up missing our stop. I noticed as we were flying down Greenbush Street that I needed to come up with a back-up plan. i

“Ok kids. McAllister Center it is!”

This is where they’ve gone to summer camp before, so I knew they had a small park to play at, as well as a picnic area.

We ate and chatted about things and played for a while. My daughter, who goes to middle school in the fall, told me she is the most excited about lockers. And is the most nervous about getting around.

I could tell our time was winding down, so I began to look at the bus schedule to determine our next move. I decided it would be easiest to walk to Market Square and go from there. I’m sure some of you locals are thinking I’m crazy, and perhaps you’re right…but hear me out on this one…

The kids had traveled some of these roads before, when they walked to the pool from camp. So, I knew we weren’t going to be totally lost…plus MapQuest…an essential travel tool.

We started out, and I wanted to enjoy the walking and the scenery. For me, we were on roads I’ve never been on, surrounded by sights I’ve never seen.

What follows are some pictures of our expedition.


Our first selfie on the bus!


Emma posing (always!) at McAllister


Wild berries
Wild berries


It might be a little difficult to see, but the trunk of this tree is crooked!



This tree stopped me in my tracks. The owner has several bird feeders hanging from the branches. All at once, the kids and I agreed that it reminded us of Gloria Dump’s tree in ‘Because of Winn Dixie’ by Kate DiCamillo.


Some pretty flowers along the way.


Some more pretty flowers


And yet more flowers


The kids with their delicious truffles from Richelle in a Hand Basket


Two signs that really spoke to me!


Elijah and his red, white, and blue vanilla truffle. He LOVED it!


If you know me AT ALL, you know I love chickens! I knew my husband would NOT approve of an $80 chicken purse purchase, so I just had to snap a picture of it!
I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS PILLOW (except the $700 price tag). If you have to have this, you can find it at Interior Objects.


Meet you at Arni’s!
Emma loved what they did with their flag pole!


On the bus ride back to the depot!


My whole goal in this day was to just BE. Be present. Be in the moment. Be all-in with my kids. I had had a rough morning, and wanted to connect with them in a way I had yet to for the day. I wanted to document it so that we could reflect on it in the days to come.

This had been me...operating from zero resources.
This had been me…operating from zero resources.

When my hubs got home last night, he knew that I needed a break. So he agreed to take the kids off my hands for a few hours. (Remember how I said I’ve had exactly 3 hours in solitude since May 20?)

He knows how they enjoy fishing, so they went to Big Fish and Campground to have some quality time together.

My son really wanted to FaceTime me while they were fishing!
My son really wanted to FaceTime me while they were fishing!


He also wanted me to know that he loves me!
He also wanted me to know that he loves me!


Tad & Kids fishing
Tad & Kids fishing


Elijah's Fish
Elijah’s Fish


Emma's Fish
Emma’s Fish

Sometimes I have a difficult time ‘letting go’ of my desire to be needed. But, I find when I do, I am much more fulfilled. My husband gets to do his thing with the kids. I get to do my thing alone. And when we all come back together, we are all much happier people!

(Sidenote: my daughter is reading this as I’m writing it…she said that SOMETIMES we are all happier people…when I asked her what she meant, she informed me that sometimes she needs a break from the two of us. Wow…she is truly my ‘mini-me.’)

Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

Summer Vacation, One Week Down

Hi friends! Happy beginning of summer!

Summer requires ice cream!
Summer requires ice cream!

We officially have one week of summer and one holiday under our belts! As many of you may know, this is my first summer not working full-time. This is my first summer with my kiddos 24/7, and my bonus daughter every other week. This is my first summer where I will likely want to pull my hair out before my birthday, which is June 20.

Fun at the park
Fun at the park

So far, things have gone pretty well. I worked about 8 hours last week and will do the same most weeks this summer. Our schedule hasn’t been rigid, but we have had things to accomplish each day.

Here’s a rough outline of how my husband and I are doing things this summer.

Generally speaking, the kids are in bed by 10 pm. Let’s be honest, anything later and we are all going crazy…kids are cranky, husband and I don’t get our ‘alone’ time and fall into bed right after tucking them in…it’s just better if the kids are still in bed at a semi-reasonable time.

Typically I’m the first one up in the mornings, even during the school year. It allows me quiet time to blog, write, have bible study, and just prepare for the day in general. This is also the case during the summer.

Reading is required…

The hubs leaves for work between 7:30-8:00 everyday. The kiddos are awake between 7:30 and 9:00, depending on which kid and how busy we’ve been. This typically allows me about 1-1.5 hours of time, not completely uninterrupted, to work on things, like write this post.

The kids are required to do 30 minutes of reading everyday, which, I prefer they do before we leave the house. When we leave the house, we head to my part-time job, which, fortunately, I’m allowed to bring the kiddos and they generally have fun!

Can't have summer without baseball!!
Can’t have summer without baseball!!

Most days, we are packing a lunch, so we don’t have the added expense of buying lunch while we are out. It’s not a feast, but it does hold them over, and generally includes PB&J or lunch meat, yogurt and some kind of fruit. We may have a picnic lunch or we may eat in the van, en route to our next stop.

We did some errand running last week — signing the kids up for summer camps, last minute summer clothes shopping, and the like. This week, I’m hoping to cut the errand day down to one per week. Hopefully I can get all errands ran in one day because our construction traffic in town is INSANE and it takes forever to get anywhere.

A double rainbow...for His glory!
A double rainbow…for His glory!

This week, we will go to a movie (only on Tuesday, as our local theatre has discounted tickets on Tuesdays). We will likely go to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis and maybe visit some family down there as well.

In the next couple weeks, our schedule is going to get a little hairy, with VBS and summer camps — I’m going to feel like a taxi service, except unpaid…lol.

I hope you’ve been able to enjoy the beginning of your summer. I can’t wait to hear what you and your family have been up to!

Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

Summer Fun

Well, mamas of school-aged kiddos, that time is upon us…summer…in some households, I think it could be considered a curse word! 🙂

For our house, this is the first time since I’ve been a mama I’m not working full-time this summer. The work that I will be doing is part-time (and I can take the kids with me), and of course improving my writing craft.

In case you don’t know, I have a 10 year old daughter, a 9 year old step-daughter, and a 9 year old son.

summer fun

Here are a few things that we will be doing for activities this summer:

  • Free bowling. Yep, I said FREE! If you go to this website: www.kidsbowlfree.com, you can see if this is available in your area. The kids get to bowl two free games every day, and for a small one-time fee (I mean SMALL, like $20 or something) you can add 2 adults to bowl with the kids. So, we are basically getting two games of bowling every day of the summer for less than the price of a movie!
  • Speaking of movies, I know in the past, our local theatre has done free or reduced price movies during the summer. While it may not be the latest blockbuster, it’s sure to kill some time and entertain the littles!
  • Of course, there’s always the park and the pool. Our local pools offer discounted rates for swimming after 4:00 pm. You could see if your pool does the same.
  • There are also crafts to be done during summer. Especially on those gloomy days. Here is one I really like: Heart Wreath Craft.
  • One thing we did over spring break was go to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. While we were there, we purchased a membership. Economically, it just made sense. For the five of us to go one time, it was over $100. For a full year membership for the five of us, it was just over $150. Plus, we get free carousel rides!
  • Other things that we will likely do to fill the days are: visits to the library, bike rides, walking some local, easy trails, and fishing (my son tells me that McDonald’s french fries make the best bait — which is good for me, since I don’t like slimy worms!).

The kids have some sports and church summer camps they’re planning to attend, so that will also use some time.

I know that, with a little planning, and some whitespace for down time in our schedule, we can make this the best summer ever!

I’m really anxious to see what kind of mischief we get into, since this is the first summer we’ve been able to do this. Don’t worry…I’ll report back as the summer progresses!

What about you? I would love to hear what your summer activities will be.

Link-Ups, Series

Dairy Queen, Hotels, and Racing

When my husband and I started dating, we knew that we would be in for some wild rides. I mean, how could we not be? We each had school-aged children we were bringing into the relationship. I have a ten year old daughter, a nine year old son, and he has a nine year old daughter.

One such adventure brings me back to Labor Day weekend of 2015. We decided the five of us would travel to Brownsburg, Indiana, to visit my brother and his family. Living outside of Lafayette, Indiana, Brownsburg is easily a day trip, but we wanted to allow the kids time to swim by staying overnight in a hotel.

A week or so in advance, I, with gusto, jumped at the chance to prove my hotel-booking abilities to my new fiance. I did a search for area hotels, and, having found one that proved to be satisfactory in the two big requirements: breakfast and pool, I booked it. Success!

The day of our trip comes. We head south to visit with family. The weather was gorgeous. The food was fantastic — of course, when is grilling out NOT a supremely awesome choice for summer meals? And the company was enjoyable.

As the day turned to early evening, we knew we needed to be getting to our hotel to check in. We say our goodbyes, and get everyone loaded up. At some point after we left, I decided I wanted Dairy Queen. Being such an excellent navigator, I opened my Mapquest app on my phone and got right down to finding a Dairy Queen in the area.

It seemed the closest one was quite a distance away, but hey, it was a warm night, and our spirits were high from the wonderful day we had. We ventured on.

As we traveled, it was becoming unclear where this elusive Dairy Queen might be. We ventured on.

As we turned into the golf course, my fiancé was beginning to question where Mapquest was taking us. He was adamant that there would be no Dairy Queen in the middle of a golf course. I was adamant that THIS is where Mapquest was taking us, so there MUST be a Dairy Queen. To which he replied, “Unless there is someone living in this neighborhood named Dairy Queen, there is NO Dairy Queen here!”

Well then. I guess my fine navigational skills just got knocked down a notch or two. Ok fine. Well, Mr. There-Is-No-Dairy-Queen-here, then by all means, please lead us to a Dairy Queen.

Sure enough, he did just that. He pulled out his phone (we both have iPhones, both with AT&T as our carrier) and opened his Maps app. Which promptly delivered us directly to a Dairy Queen parking lot.

Ok, there’s my first slice of humble pie for the evening.

Once we had our fill of ice cream and the kids were beginning to get a little stir crazy, we decided it was time to call it a night, and headed to our hotel.

Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the festivities in Brownsburg, Indiana over Labor Day weekend, let me share something with you. Brownsburg is the NHRA drag-racing capital of the world (if not the world, certainly the USA). And guess when their biggest event is? Yep, you guessed it, Labor Day weekend.

Suffice to say, every decent hotel room within a 15 mile radius of Brownsburg was booked. Which, was of no consequence to us, because I am a master-hotel-room-booker.

Or so I thought.

My charming and gentlemanly escort pulled up to the hotel I booked and walked in. Confident in the fact that his woman, with two degrees, has this room ‘in the bag.’ Poor fella. He didn’t know what he was about to face.

Apparently, when I booked the room, the website had defaulted to a day two weeks in the future. So, we had our room booked…for the Saturday in two weeks. Um, not the best situation, considering where and when we were staying.

Humble pie slice number two was a little rough going down.

Not to worry, my man is a problem-solver. There is a hotel right next door. Let’s see what their room availability is.

He goes into the hotel, and comes out successful. We have a room! We were so excited.

Until we got to the room.

It was a room with two full-sized beds. Not exactly prime sleeping conditions for 5 people. But we managed to make it work, without anyone falling out of bed. But not before we went swimming in their outdoor ‘heated’ pool. Oh yes those are my air quotes, because there was NOTHING heated about this pool. Fortunately, the woman at the front desk of the original hotel, you know, the one with the room booked in two weeks, felt bad for us. She allowed us to swim in their hotel pool. Which was thankfully, indoors.

You know the old saying, “We will laugh about this someday”? Well, we do, now. Although that night, I was really beating myself up.

I felt inadequate. Incapable. And most of all, I thought for sure that this would be the beginning of the end of our relationship. I mean, really? Who wants to be with someone who can’t navigate or book a hotel? I just knew our demise was approaching.

Fortunately for me, my husband is a wonderfully forgiving man, who gives me more grace than he gives himself. He was cool as a cucumber the whole time, which was a good balance to my embarrassed, red cheeks.

I guess the lesson I learned is that we all make mistakes, no matter how much we try to be ‘perfect.’ And the important thing is how we handle the mistakes. Do we let them make us bitter? Or better? Now, when things begin to escalate between us, and one of us is about to say something we might regret, all we have to do is say ‘Dairy Queen’ and this event comes back to mind and we can laugh together.