“Where’d She Go, Mom?”

On the way to dance class blaring Justin Bieber’s “Oh, Baby,” and yelling it at the top of our lungs…we get there and my 4 year old asks…”Where’d she go, Mommy?”

There something about listening to teeny bopper music with my little girls that makes me feel like a kid again, myself.  I revert immediately back to my boom box blaring self.  NKOTB pumping out at the highest possible decibel until the speakers were permanently ‘scratchy.’

So, when my 4 year old asked me to play some Justin Bieber, my answer was a resounded yes.  I had been waiting for her to ask for two reasons…one, I love Justin Bieber.  Two, I need an excuse to blare the car stereo and have dance parties in the kitchen.

Knowing there were only fun times to be had here, I was blown away anyway…by my 22 month old.  As we are jamming in the car, singing “Baby, Baby…” at the top of our lungs…I hear a third voice.  It’s Lo.  Joining the party.  She joins in for the last “Ohhhhh!” Priceless.

Dancing around like crazies in the kitchen, shoulder shrugging and jumping up and down…ahhhh…a piece of childhood relived.

It’s in these moments of life that I realize everything all at once.  How blessed I am, how fun this is, how full circle life is…and just how badly I want to hit the pause button.

My little dance party girl

It’ll sound silly to half of you, but this is my last year with a true ‘toddler’ schedule.  Next fall, Brianne will be in school five mornings a week.  The year after that, Lo will start pre-school and Brianne will enter all day Kindergarten.  I knew these first years would be fleeting, but knowing that upfront doesn’t seem to be  enough to shore up the ball of tears that well up in my throat when I picture my kids in school all day.  No more shopping buddies, play groups, library story times…it’s going to be tough to let go of.

Though I always look back at the ‘baby’ and ‘toddler’ stages my kids have gone through with a tinge of nostalgia, the ‘next’ things they do are always just as great.  But letting go of ‘toddler’ all together?

I will be that mom.  The one that will wave goodbye with a smile when the Kindergarten bus comes, and bawl my eyes out when it leaves.  My babies…

They can have all the Justin Bieber dance parties they want.   Right now, it’s pure innocence.  Pretty soon, they’re going to understand what he’s singing about, and I might not be so quick to oblige.  Ugh…I’ll probably cry then, too.  LOL.

Happy “Bieber Fever!”


Think Happy Thoughts.

“DIG DOWN DEEP!!!” my daughter, Brianne, yelled out to one of the HHS runners at the first home track meet this season. It struck me so funny I collapsed onto the infield rolling in laughter.

My little runners racing each other…

She’s been around the summer 5K circuit with my mom and I since she was just a little bean sprout, and hanging out at the track since she was 18 months old.  It’s very obvious that she feels it’s ‘her turf.’  High-fiving the High Schoolers ‘Good Luck” and “Good Job”…passing out stickers…(the boy’s reactions are the best).

“Are you going to be a runner, Brianne?” I asked her.

“I already am a runner, Mom.” she stoutly replied. I mean, a couple more years and there will undoubtedly be a “Duh,Mom’ hinging on the end of that phrase.  I’m all about encouraging her interest in the sport.  I would LOVE to watch her tear up the track.  Fingers crossed….

Still, she just turned four.  Way to early to label her a runner for life yet, right? However…..

This spring she has been just as caught up in preparing to ‘win her race’ than she is with breaking in her brand new bike.  We are all forced to play starter (‘boom’ for the gunshot start included) and cheering crowd to prepare for the big day, as well.

That local summer 5K circuit I mentioned starts out every year with the Huron Lighthouse 5K in our home town. I’ve entered Brianne in the kids fun run since she was 2. That precious little toddler, putting her head down to sprint to the finish was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!!!!

See, in her mind, she believes herself to be equal to full grown peeps.  She pumps her arms, concentrates on her breathing…does everything she sees Grammy, Mommy,my good friend ‘Coach Dee,’ and all of the high school distance runners that we help coach, do during practices and races.  It’s hilarious to watch.  Who wouldn’t want encourage it?

My little runner, stretching with me after her first 1/2 mile run.

Never, did I think, she’d be begging me to let her run with me at four years old.  Everyday, asking if it’s warm enough to wear her new running gear that she got for her birthday.  Or, asking for new running shoes to win her ‘race’ in for her birthday.  “Really?  No American Girl doll?  You want running shoes?”

“Yep.  One’s with the pointy things sticking out of the bottom,” she specifies.

(Yes, she means spikes.)

We started running down the street and back together, and the girl looked up at me with an enormous smile the whole time.

“I’ll be damned,” I thought.  “She might just have a natural love for this.”

My little runner and I out on a cool-down run.

We ran down the street, down to Grandma’s house and back (half mile), then we decided to try a mile.  She got all decked out in her running clothes and Little Nike Runner shoes and plastered a huge smile on her face.

My little four year old ran a whole mile that day.  When she whined, I trained her to respond to “Runners don’t…”  with “quit,” and to think about happy things when it starts to hurt a little.

“Mom, when I’m running my race you gotta tell me ‘Get your butt moving!!!”  Fearing I may push her too hard, I opted not to run with her on race day.

This year, at the kids fun run…she completed the whole thing (I’m not sure it was a full mile…but she did the whole course).  Decked out in her pink running outfit and Nike running shoes…hair braided like Mommy when she runs…and a huge smile.  She didn’t care that it was only 55 degrees out.  Running tank, shorts, and Barbie socks over a couple fingers to keep warm.  She ran by me cheering for her smiling and waving…and then smiled at the other kids running with her as if they were sharing the funnest moment ever.

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As she jolted off to the finish, I had a huge lump of tears in my throat.

I scooped her up for a congratulatory hug, and when she caught her breath, she said “OK, I want my M&M’s now.” (there was a pack in our race packets.)

Talking about the race on the way home, I told her I was so proud of her that I cried happy tears the whole time she was running.  When I asked her how she felt during the race, she said…

Future 1 and 2 runners for Tigers XC 🙂

“I thought about happy thoughts, Mommy!  Like you and me going to Snoopy’s house, and riding the Jr. Gemini……”

I saw pieces of me in her today, and I’m glad they’re good pieces.

Happy Strides…


The Big Girl Bed.

Well, that’s it.  No more baby crib.  It has been disassembled, loaded in the shed of disheveled furniture we don’t have room for in our tiny house, and replaced with a ‘big girl bed.’  I got misty eyed, saying goodbye to what has been a part of our household now for the last 4 years.  Not just the crib, but babies.  Little babies, which in my case were both so small when they were born that the newborn sized clothing was too big on them.

I remember helping my husband assemble the crib for the first time in preparation for Brianne.  It was an absolute menace…as was taking it down for the last time.  It’s as if the crib itself needed to get one last word in.  Before Brianne was born, I would sit in the room we had fixed up for her and stare at that empty crib and all it’s pink frilly glory.  After sleeping by my side for a month after my C-section, she spent her first night in that crib.  I checked on her no less than 10 times to make sure she was breathing.

In preparation for her little sister being born right after she turned two, Brianne got moved to a big girl bed early.  At 18 months, she slept right through the night in her big girl bed and never turned back.  She was so happy!  I never expected Little Lauren, now 18 months old, to be ready for a big girl bed herself.  Yet, in Lauren’s vocally persistent way, she made it clear that she could no longer sleep comfortably through the night in her crib.  It was time.

Freshly adorned with Tinkerbell bedding, Lauren climbed up there and had a little ‘big girl bed’ party for herself.  Slept through the first night, and never turned back.  That first morning the loud thud of her falling out of her big girl bed ensued a sprinting panic, and there she laid on her back looking up at us with an ‘Oops, I forgot I had to climb down’ expression on her face. “I’m al-wight!”

Now, all I have are memories of the crib days.  St. Pat’s Day morning finding Lauren sitting up for the first time in it.  Brianne jumping up and down with the giggles each morning.  Lauren kicking the wall trying to express her unhappiness with her 7pm bedtime.  Lauren throwing dolls, socks, books, and anything she could reach to throw over the edge of her crib to express her unhappiness with her bedtime.

So small.  They start out SO SMALL!  So small that every little thump at night made me jump up and check on them…or make my husband get up and check on them.  Now, it’s whomever they call that has to get up.  Which was real funny to Jim (my husband) because they call out for mom a lot.  I’ve gone from being so worried about them and all their tinyness to “1-2-3-not-it!” when they call for ‘Dada’ at night.

No more baby coes…now it ‘s terrible two tantrums and four year old sass…

With every new stage that my kids enter, I’m tempted to look back and cry over the time that’s already passed by so quickly.  But then, I look at these two beautiful living reminders that life is great… that I get the privilege of hanging out with all day…and it’s hard to feel sorry for myself.  Brianne is now starting to read books to Lauren, and Lauren is now starting to boss Brianne around.  With the passing of every stage, comes a new one full of new reasons to laugh.

Happy Memories…


The Birthday.

Brianne is my oldest daughter, and she just turned four.  For four years, she has been my little buddy.  Being the first-born, it’s equally as hard not to favor her a little than it is to be harder on her because I don’t know any better as a parent yet.  All in all, though, we’ve become best buds.  Hopefully, she’ll still feel that way when she’s a teenager.  I’m banking on a ‘No’ there, and planning on being heart broken when the time comes that she doesn’t want me around.  Although I have hope that she’ll remain my best buddy forever, my realism in the matter causes me to want to celebrate a little extra now, while she still thinks of me as her ‘best bud.’

The Birthday Girl at her Under the Sea Little Mermaid Party!

When Brianne asked me for a Little Mermaid party for her 4th Birthday, I was all in.  I loved that movie as a kid, and now she loved it.  Too cool.  Load that on top of a sentimental need to mark her birthday with the fact that I love to plan parties and you’ve got one heck of a birthday celebration for a four year old.  Call me crazy, and I probably am a little, but I LOVED every minute of planning Brianne’s Birthday party.  Most likely more than she did.  Her party became such an event, that we bonded just planning for it.

Best Little Mermaid cake, ever!

After scouring the Internet picking out ideas from other Little Mermaid parties and organizing them into a Pinterest folder, we began tackling one project at a time.  Passing out invitations at school that were rolled up like messages in a bottle.  Picking out decorations to make her party look like it was on the bottom of the ocean.  Grandma (this is where the gene pool comes into play) having an artist make a toddler sized stand up cut out of a mermaid for the kids to take pictures with …and showing up with boxes of ‘under the sea’ treasures to load in goodie bags for her friends. Not to mention the very talented friend of hers that made the most incredible Little Mermaid cake to match a picture Brianne picked out off the Internet.

When the day finally came, she and her best friend set up the games she had picked out …dolphin ring toss and fish bean bag toss …and planted the beach balls we had blown up for everyone to play with.  Meanwhile, I tasked my family and a few friends to attack the kids chairs with blue and green streamers to make it look like seaweed, while I set up the purple and blue colored table cloths, plates, and cups.  The paper lanterns acting as sea bubbles on the table was one of my favorite  ideas.  Brianne and her BFF covered the tables with Little Mermaid confetti and little plastic fish…and fish masks for each place at the huge kids table.   We even had The Little Mermaid movie playing on the wall in the background.  It was awesome.

Brianne and her BFF

It was as much fun to decorate as it was to watch the kids whip beach balls at each other when they showed up.  I have two girls, so I was definitely not ready for wrestling boys.  Add macaroni and cheese pizza and sugared up birthday cake to 25 pre-schoolers and madness ensued.  Brianne had to show all her friends what a good runner she was, and made 50 laps around her own birthday party.

One might say ….shoot, even I said …that this is what happens when you spend too much time on Pinterest.  Really, though, I would do it all over again in a heart beat.  Brianne loved everything, from her color coordinated outfit and tierra to match her party, down to the balloons and shell whistles.  She let all of her friends help her open her presents, and hugged each person after she opened her gift.  She’ll talk about that party all year.

We’ll all remember when my baby turned four. ( Which is great, because I’m not sure we’ll be hosting 25 pre-schoolers ever again!)  I self-admittedly get carried away with just about everything …but it sure does make for some great memories.  I hope that when Brianne looks back someday she’ll realize that all the effort is out of love for her.  It may appear that she’s spoiled …and she is …with my love.  I’d do anything for her…even make 30 marshmallow octopuses with candy eyes and legs for her birthday treat to take to school.  Hey, they’re only little once.  Bring it on, Pinterest.

Happy Pinning!


…and now …

April, 2019, and Brianne just turned 11. Though much has changed, she is still in love with ocean and The Little Mermaid. She wants to be a marine biologist, and we are still best buds. It is getting a little trickier as she grows up and reaches for independence, but I am still all in. I’m so grateful I started this blog to remember all of these moments, and glad I took the time when I had the time to “go big.” Time is speeding up, now, and she is almost as tall as me. She dreams big and works hard, and I love to encourage her. Brianne, most importantly, loves Jesus, which brings all who know her joy.

Happy 11th Birthday, to my beautiful ballerina, kind-hearted trumpet playing kiddo and future marine biologist.

The Ice Cream Stand.

Opening day at the local ice cream stand is a big deal.   How, you ask, do you know it’s ‘opening day?’  I can tell you how I found out.

Eating Ice Cream at Pied

That particular day while picking Brianne up from pre-school, the only thing we parents could here was clamoring and screaming to likes of “MOM!!!! WE HAVE TO GO TO PIED!  PIED PIPER IS OPEN!  ICE CREAM OPENED TODAY!  PIED OPENED TODAY!!! CAN WE GO NOW?! ICE CREAM!!!!!  YAY!!!!!”

Shortly thereafter, they all show up at the playground with chocolate ice cream mouths…

I mean, who’s going to argue with a screaming mob of pre-schooler’s that are so hyper because it’s warm enough to play outside…let alone the local ice cream joint  is now open?  Forget it.  It’s mad chaos.  One kid gets wind that it’s open and the whole mob suddenly erupts.

Pied Piper is an institution in this town.  When it opens, there’s a line down the street.  We’ve lived here for a little while now, but.this was the first time in my life it’s taken me 2 hours to get ice cream.  I ran into EVERYBODY up there!  Athletes I help coach, friends of mine, friends of my kids, people my husband has sold cars to or that have worked with him, babysitters, other pre-school moms that I run into on pick/drop off everyday…it’s as if the whole town breathes a sigh of relief to just slow down for a moment and talk to one another.

My girls, of course, are a hit whenever we go there.  Whether it’s running into ‘the runners’ or their little friends from pre-school or play group…they are little social butterflies!  To the point where I even noticed them trying to get boy’s attention…yep, that happens already.

I have to say, watching how excited my girls get to run into everybody at Pied makes me so excited for their futures here.  My husband and both went to huge high schools…here, the high school cafeteria is the size that one of our classrooms would have been.  Here, every student has their picture on the wall with the rest of their class.

I can just picture Brianne and her best friend walking those halls together…totally running the school…which they will…and walking over to Pied after practice.  Or, hanging out there after a day at the beach in the summer time.  Life in a little lake town…

Happy Ice Cream Eating!