I am working on this one.

I am not trying to attract attention, but maybe I am.

I am trying to attract like mindedness with my kid, who at the moment (this morning), is frustrating me. He has a very strong will and so do I and I’m the mama so I have seniority and tenure, as if that means anything. I find that when I react in a negative way (think yelling and threatening to take away everything he desires), I attract negative behavior back. He mimics me or I mimic him or maybe we mimic each other.

I am practicing staying calm and focused on being kind and firm as I guide him and I together on our shared trajectory. I have so many things to still teach him and to learn myself, at least that is my intention. I am hoping that if I stay calm and don’t overreact, that he’ll mimic me and listen and learn about cause and effect and make good choices too. I am still learning and practicing repetition, breathing and patience. I know it works. It just takes time to practice and it isn’t easy and it’s work. UGH.

All good things take work. I’ll keep practicing and loving on him as we grow up together, one day, one hug at a time. I’ll check back with you in 7 years and let you know how this little experiment turns out.  🙂





The Old Mom

I am now the old mom with BIG kids.

When did this happen? I see it. I know it. But it’s still hard to believe and I love this stage and I love my kids and danced around the kitchen in my jammies this morning, singing to them, “All you need is love.” I know they think I’m crazy yet luckily they laughed and thought I was funny and little do they know how much I adore them.  I am so in love with my teens and almost tween and love this stage of life. I know they’ll be leaving soon and I am enjoying every minute with them, so be it.

I read the BEST parenting article today by one of my favorite authors, Jen Hatmaker, that made me cry.  Check her out here:

You’ll cry too, because she’s funny, real, authentic, and totally gets this parenting thing like no one else.  And she loves women too, just like me and wants to lift each other up and support one another and buy each other wine and high five each other at Target when the littles are throwing temper tantrums.I love her and so does everyone else.  She gets life and is really funny.

I love being a mom. It’s what I always wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be financially independent, knowing I could take care of myself and my family if I had to, and then I wanted to stay at home and raise our babies. Here I am. Living the dream. I love what I do, despite the stress and chaos and craziness that surrounds me some days.

I love being in the car with them and their friends and taking them to and from – most days! Last week, was another story, but today I was good. I took Juliana to her ortho appointment and then we went to get a bubble tea and fried snacks because that sounded like fun to them after school. I didn’t want to be busy. I wanted to soak them in and spoil them while I can. I always struggle with that – not wanting to spoil them and wanting to spoil them at the same time. They were thankful and we had fun together.

When we came home, Juliana was busy tutoring a little girl so Charlie and I went to hide away in his “apartment.” We sat on his couch and ate our snacks and played Mastermind together, which brought back memories for me when my dad and I used to play together. We are usually running around with way too much to do, and yet today we slowed down and just played. Can I even tell you how sweet this was? I am so thankful that Juliana needed a quiet house and that Charlie and I got to hide away together for an hour.

I know I’m writing a lot – but seriously, I really do like and enjoy my kids and today was one of those BIG FEELINGS days. We were at a funeral on Friday, and at a Special Needs Brunch on Sunday and I am still missing Chase every day and am fully aware that life is fleeting and messy so while it’s good, I plan to love on them and live it up every day while I can.

Charlie made me cry tonight when he decided to make dinner for himself and Christian. He wanted special plates to make the meal look fancy. We cooked tempura shrimp and he molded rice in little cups to neatly place on the special plates.  He placed the shrimp in a star pattern and used a brush to place the sauce decoratively on the plate. He was so proud of himself and served his brother in his room, while he studied. He was like a little, proud, Master Chef, Jr. I loved this connection and loved that they share this bond together.

This old mom is content. Life is good and IS what you make it to be and I’m okay with things changing and aging. I am living it up today and everyday and loving this one life right now. And you? Are you living it up and loving it out wherever you are right now?


My Mom and Dad

My mom and dad came to visit me today.  Just me.  Here’s our selfie to prove it:


Well, that’s not really true, but a girl can pretend she’s an only child and had them all to herself, which was true for an hour or two.

I am so lucky to have such loving parents that love everyone, not just me. So many people admire them and look up to them and want to be in their company.  Are you wondering why?  So glad you asked. I’ll tell you.

Here are 11 reasons, because I like odd numbers.

1. They are authentic and real.

2. They are unconditionally loving and funny.

3. They are unselfish and giving.

4. They go out of their way to take care of others. Always.

5. They always welcome friends and family to their home. They never are “busy” and the door is always open.

6. They make good coffee and their home is very gezellig (this is a Dutch word that doesn’t have an English translation, but basically means warm and cozy and welcoming.)

7. They make good bread and cookies and spaghetti sauce.

8. They always see the good in people and lift others up.

9. They love and take care of their family and extended family, always, without any expectations.

10. They make the time to attend the special life events of their friends and family, even driving long distances.

11. They call me everyday and keep in touch and keep the love flowing.  They just get the meaning of life.

I am so thankful that they chose to come spend a few days with us and I guess I’ll share them.  I wish that everyone could have parents like mine. The world would be a better place with such loving people spreading joy to all. Hey, maybe they are Santa Claus?  😉

The coffee is on… door is open. Come on over, BeLoveRs.  xo

15 Years

I’ve been practicing being a mom for 15 years officially today, not counting pregnancy.

I like the word practice, because isn’t that what we’re doing? I’m still learning and I’m probably doing this job perfectly imperfectly. It’s still my favorite job and I never want to retire.

I am proud. I am humble. I am loved. And I am still learning.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years. It feels like he was just born. I feel like other people have big kids. But I’m the one with big kids now, and I absolutely love it, even though I’m fearful and frustrated some times.

Today we celebrated our big baby in several ways. We got up early to decorate the kitchen, as we always do for birthdays.


Charlie helped me wrap all the gifts and blow up all the balloons. Both Juliana and Charlie made handmade, creative cards. Jeff went and retrieved the hidden gift from April’s house for the big surprise this morning, and made a homemade card from both of us . I made our favorite cinnamon coffee cake that made the entire house smell good.


We woke up the birthday boy with bear hugs and enjoyed breakfast and opening presents before the day got busy.

He brought 3 friends with him to celebrate his day. They played video games, went to K1 speed and raced go carts and then went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and milkshakes.


Sounds like a perfect teenager day to me. I’m so glad that he’s made such great friends since we came back from the Netherlands.

I love watching him grow up and see him becoming his own person. He is kind. He is friendly. He is smart. He is funny. He is compassionate. He is athletic. He is handsome. He is fun!

I love you CJ. Happy Birthday!! And many more!!!

Life is good.

My Babies

This is my baby girl who got a cute new haircut today.

My baby girl is really a teenager, but I still call her baby girl and think I always will.

My baby, who is almost double digits, tells me that he is the baby and always will be because he’s the youngest. I tell him that she is also my baby, even though she’s not a baby anymore.


He gives me a big hug and tells me that he’s so glad he came out of my tummy, as he rubs it and squeezes me tighter. I squeeze him back and hold him a little longer saying, “ditto!”
My oldest baby comes home tomorrow after being away for a week with our church youth group on a service trip, and I am so excited! I have missed him so much, even though I know he is safe and having the time of his life and is growing up and all that good stuff. But he’s still my baby and I like him safe in my nest. I’ve been feeling his absence and guess I’m getting a small sampling of what it will feel like when he moves out for college in a few short years. I can wait.

I am thankful for all my big babies!

What do you call your children? Will they always be thought of as your babies, like I do even when they are grown?

Life is good.

Letting Go…Growing Up


It felt like dropping my baby off at kindergarten tonight. Juliana’s on her way to Catalina with 85 friends from junior high school.

The kids are all giddy and the parents are standing by anxiously watching and feeling all the mixed feelings of excitement and joy and fear of letting go and letting them grow up.

They are on their way and we are left behind to watch and admire and wait for their return from their journey and share their stories.

Juliana has the best science teacher who is motivated and excited to share her passion with young ones and is
escorting them, along with several chaperones over night and through the weekend. They’ll drive all night on two busses, arriving in Long Beach bright and early to take a ferry over to Catalina island for some science exploration.

I know she will have fun. She has travelled without us before and loves her independence and time with her friends. She packed herself and is so happy to be going on this adventure. Watching her confidence makes it a bit easier to let go because I know she’s safe and has no fear, but it’s still challenging for me to let go, even though I want to and am. No drama…no fear…letting it go. Letting her go.

You go girl! You’re growing up and I am proud of you. Live it up, sister. xo


Day 254: Super Nanny Needed

Let’s just say there has been a lot of togetherness and today I was close to running out of patience.  I love having kids but their little idiosyncrasies and constant noise making skills start to drive me crazy.

We still have a couple days left of spring break!

I took all three of them with me to the grocery store this afternoon and warned them before we left, that they needed to cooperate and be quiet and to work together as a team. The peace lasted maybe 30 seconds before they needed another reminder. The littlest one just had no idea what I was talking about or maybe I was speaking a different language.  He just didn’t get it.

At the store, I asked him to share the hand held scanner with his sister. They both liked scanning the items and putting them in the cart. The oldest one was helping to make dinner with me tonight and was interested in picking out the ingredients and occupied himself.  The littlest ones were in constant competition. 

Everything I asked was ignored. I gave him another warning, asking him to stand behind me and to follow along quietly, but he couldn’t control his little body. If I said stand behind me, he went ahead. When I asked him to be quiet, he had a question. When I warned him there would be consequences, it didn’t seem to matter and he just asked for a hug. Good tactics, huh?

He wanted what he wanted and I wanted what I wanted and we were at war. Not really, but do you get it? Did I tell you I was short on patience before we left?

So when we came home, I told him he had to stay in his room for the rest of the night, for disrupting the family and for being disobedient. He still didn’t understand and wanted to be with the family. I don’t think he got the connection between his actions and the consequences that were bestowed upon him. I had him write sentences while he was in his room to explain why he was acting like he was and what he should do differently next time.  You see, it wasn’t just at the store that he was being irritating. He was irritating all day to all of us.

So after we made dinner and he finished writing and begged to come out, I said absolutely not. I told him we’d take a family vote and decide whether we should change the punishment.  All four of us voted no and explained why. All of us were sad with the decision but it was the right thing to do. 


Learning together…

How do you teach kids how to behave properly without hitting them or giving in? This parenting thing sure is challenging. I hope tomorrow we can start over again and all enjoy each others’ company again. We’re still learning.




Day 136: What’s Good About All Day Basketball Tryouts?


We had to set an alarm on a Saturday morning. Christian had to be at school by 7:45 am to catch the team bus to the Hague for a mini-basketball tournament. Juliana had to be at school by 9 am for her all day mini-tournament at her school.  They have had try-outs for the last two weeks and after today, the coaches were supposed to make a decision.  I felt it to be important that we were there to watch and cheer and support our kids, so Jeff and I split up to make this happen. 

Since we have one car, Jeff came back after dropping off Christian to pick up Charlie, Juliana and I and to drop us off at school by 9 am, before he left for the day to watch Christian. Charlie and I stayed to watch Juliana play ALL DAY!  Well, actually, Charlie got lucky as his friend’s dad came to pick him up for a play date around lunch time and kept him until after dinner. I was lucky too (I guess) to be able to make new friends and chat with “old” friends while we sat on hard, cold bleachers all day, cheering on our kids!!

I love kid sports for several reasons, but my favorite (selfish) part is probably the community feeling of being together and cheering on our kids, collectively. I get just excited for my friends’ kids as my own. I cheer loudly and get excited and feel the pain when someone gets hurt and want to jump up at the ref when a call is incorrect and cheer loudly when my kid scores or passes and assists.  I  feel passionately about the whole thing… except when I have to sit there for 6 hours! Today dragged on a little longer past my comfort zone, but I did have fun nevertheless. 

I liked seeing my friends and familiar faces. I had fun chatting with the other parents and hearing the stay-at-home dad’s talk about their new crock pot purchase and plans to attend the Let’s Cook Indian food session next month. I haven’t spent too much time with stay at home dad’s and have such an admiration and appreciation for them and their wives and families and am so curious about their choices.  I enjoyed hearing their wives talk about their careers and travels and having time to just all be gathered for the same purpose – to support our kids and our community. I think sports are a wonderful thing and am so glad my kids are choosing to play so I can hang out with my new friends!!

I had fun watching Charlie make friends with the younger siblings and sharing snacks and playing outside in the snow. The boys went out to the soccer field and had snow ball fights and played tag before coming back in to warm up.  



I love that there is a booster club and that parents volunteer to donate and sell snacks and drinks and make a little extra money for the school.

I love all of it (except for 6 hours of it at once!) and I love that Cami gave my kids and I a ride home afterwards so we didn’t have to wait in the cold for a tram, even if the commute is short. It’s great to have friends!!

Life is Good.

p.s.  Good news!  Christian made the travel team, and next week we find out if Juliana made the travel team, as well!  I hate waiting and hope she makes it too – Travel here we come!  Congratulations Christian! I’m so proud of you!!