A sentimental journey

Join me on a sentimental journey through life with my Littles - the joys, the love, the laughter, and our adventures with travel, foods, school and more! Join the discussion - I'd love to hear from you!

The plane is NOT your living room!

So I have had the occasion to travel a LOT in the last year and a half. There is truly no better place to people-watch (other than maybe Walmart or Disney World) than our nation’s airports. Am I right?

Naturally, I get the desire to be comfortable when flying – but there are several things I observe when flying that absolutely make me NUTS! They can pretty much be summed up by this one statement – THE PLANE IS NOT YOUR LIVING ROOM! Here is a little list of what I believe should be hard airplane rules – feel free to add your very own in the comments!

#1 – CHECK YOUR BAG! Ok…I get it. You don’t want to have to wait at baggage claim. But seriously, if you can barely get that sucker down the aisle without clobbering people that are already seated and even a harder time getting it up into the overhead, then it needs to be checked! Get one of those credit cards that give you a free checked bag, and then check it and forget it!

#2 – PLEASE wear something that resembles actual clothes – NOT your pajamas, and not anything that looks as though some part of your body is going to pop out at any moment. That includes your boobies, your backside/crack, or even your hairy beer belly when you lift your arms to wrestle your oversized bag into the overhead compartment (see #1).

#3 – LEAVE YOUR SHOES ON! No one wants to see/smell/think about your smelly toes touching ANYTHING around them! Again – the plane is not your living room! And if you happen to be wearing flip flops, your toes need to be properly groomed! No one wants to see your nasty-ass man feet with scraggly toenails! And ladies – as a wise friend once said – “if you can’t take care of your toes, it makes people wonder what else you aren’t taking care of!” Cue the “ewwwwwww!” But really…

#4 – Your feet do NOT belong on ANYONE’S armrest! Period. And ESPECIALLY if you are lacking in any area in #3 above!

#5 – Ladies – your hair needs to stay on your head in your own seat area – if you feel the need to “fluff” or toss – save it for when you can do so without whipping the people around you. Oh, and that includes tossing your long hair over your headrest into the seat area behind you. Yes, that really happens.

#6 – For the love of GOD – if you have the need to pass gas, break wind, or whatever else you’d like to call it – PLEASE save us all by heading to the lavatory and doing it in private. Just because you are surrounded by people when you do it and you think that makes it somehow more “anonymous,” believe me – we know who you are! And if you couple your nasty actions with the aforementioned scraggly toes or exposed body parts, it only makes us wonder if your momma taught you anything!

#7 – If you have boobs, you need to be wearing a bra! And this is made all the more critical if they are the size of milk jugs! They do not need to be let loose in an oversized t-shirt, or even worse, some sort of cami or tank top. I don’t care if you paid a ton of money for them or if you’ve just “given up” – those puppies need to be caged!

#8 – Cover your FACE if you are coughing, hacking, clearing your throat loudly, sneezing, blowing your nose, or otherwise doing anything that involves mucous and germs leaving your body. I mean, we all know that sometimes you have allergies or a cold and you can’t help doing it, AND we realize that we are sitting in an enclosed tube of recirculating air and will be exposed to your germs anyway – BUT please at least give the 6 rows of people around you some hope that you are not purposely just trying to give your cold away to anyone you can! Please?

#9 – Ease the seat back please! I mean, we all know the seats have gotten about as small as they can get. I am not a particularly tall person, but when the person in front of me slams the seat back as hard as possible without warning, my kneecaps tend to feel a bit like I imagine Nancy Kerrigan felt when Jeff Gillooly whacked her during the Olympic Games! Would it be too difficult to ease it back or even just turn and let me know so I can make sure my knees don’t end up bruised?

#10 – Ok, so this is #10 so I will stop, even though I think I could keep going for a while…what’s with the slamming of the overhead compartment doors? I mean, do you slam the doors in your house every time you come and go? They latch, people! Just gently close them! Good lord, flying is stressful enough without being subject to the rude, super loud SLAM of the overhead bin door! KaBOOM! And yes, I’m speaking to the flight attendants on this one too! Literally makes me nearly jump out of my skin – and I’m sure it takes years off my life, especially when I don’t see it coming!

I absolutely love the opportunity to wake up in one place and land in another within only a few hours! Unfortunately, the getting there is not as glamorous as it sounds. Flights are full and planes are cramming in as many seats as possible, making the space crowded. And when people treat the flights like they are sitting in their living room, all kinds of unsightliness occurs. I have seen diapers changed on the tray tables (GACK!), toenails being cut mid-flight, flossing of teeth, painting of fingernails, bare feet on the back of seats at tray table height, and we all know the legends of the “mile-high club!”

I mean, c’mon! The plane is NOT your living room! What ever happened to pure, simple manners? I mean, what would you mom say if she saw you doing what you are doing? Or your boss? Can we bring some dignity back to the skies please?

Would love to hear your stories – please DO comment!


Your job is not to be the best…

“Your job is not to be the best; it’s just your job to DO your best, and let God take care of the rest.” (Rebecca Lindenbach)

Today was a tough day for my Littlest (or should I say youngest?) – and probably just as tough for this Momma, who isn’t as great as their Dad is at controlling her emotions when it comes to our Littles.

So today was Taylor’s 3rd gymnastics competition EVER. She loves gymnastics. Actually, that is an understatement. She eats, sleeps, lives, dreams, and breathes gymnastics. She has since she was really little – like 2 or 3. Forget board games, playing with dolls, coloring, watching kids’ TV – she’d rather be flipping around, hanging on her bar, or watching endless hours of gymnastics videos on YouTube. Our garage looks like an extension of her gym, with panel mats, other kinds of mats for which I do not know the name, a bar, a balance beam, and even something called an air-track, for which she spent all her own money to acquire.

She spends about 13 hours in a week at practice – soon to be 16 or 17 when we add Saturdays. She insists on being at the gym AT LEAST a half hour early for practice every time. And when she’s not at the gym, she is practicing at home. She is utterly fearless! Her passion is infectious – even for a mom who has NEVER been even close to as fearless as she is.

I finally put her into gymnastics “formally” because I knew she needed to learn how to do all of these things SAFELY. And I haven’t regretted one minute of it…she is strong and fit, and because she is my sassy one, I love that she has something to keep her so busy – which will help her stay out of trouble when she’s older (or at least I hope that’s the case)!

So I’ll say it again…today was her 3rd gymnastics competition EVER. The 2nd one, which just happened to be last weekend, was really great – she powered through, earning places on the podium and even 6th place in the all-around for her level and division. I beamed with pride for her, and inside, was praying that she could feel and enjoy that rush of being recognized for all her hard work and effort. She gave it her all and it showed.

So today, I was expecting no less. She is a competitor…tough and proud and skilled. The competition started at 8 a.m. and was about 45 minutes away from home. That meant a short night of sleep for me, worrying that I would oversleep and she would miss it or something. But the alarm went off as planned, and bleary-eyed, I dressed and did hair – both for her and me, and we headed off together for the meet, stopping only for chocolate donuts (breakfast of champions) and some coffee for mom.

Then the warmups began – her first event was floor, and I immediately noticed she wasn’t warming up her required double-back-handspring. Then she tried it, and landed flat on her bum-bum hard. I knew that was going to be a problem. Now mind you, she’s thrown that double-back-handspring a thousand times, but it’s the one thing that has gotten into her head before, and I knew this wasn’t a good sign. I tried signaling her for her attention – or even her coach’s attention – to no avail. I wanted her to practice it more before her judged routine.


Excruciating as a parent NOT to charge out on the floor to make her do it.

She also didn’t have that game face on. The one she had in the first two meets. She was goofing around with her teammate and her coach. Her body seemed relaxed and undisciplined, vs. her normal serious, stoic and concentrated self. It was annoying.

The day before, she had been in the garage on her equipment. For about 5 hours straight. Practicing all sorts of things, including a skill that is one level up from where she currently stands. I didn’t think anything of it. This child can’t sit still. Her love for it almost seems like something a future Olympian would have. So I don’t try to stifle it or hold it back. In this case, I should have.

She was tired.

And guess what? She did her floor routine. It looked amazing. She was in time with her music. She was tight and precise. She did everything – EXCEPT the double-back-handspring. Just didn’t do it. You can see it here.

I was crushed. I was mad. I was disappointed. Did I mention I was mad?

She scored a 6.750. She wouldn’t make eye contact with me. Then I had a hard time with the fact that I was actually feeling mad at her. I felt like I should be that proud Momma no matter what. I didn’t like the fact that I was disappointed. But I knew she didn’t do her best. I knew she had given herself permission NOT to throw that back-handspring.

The rest of the meet went ok…but she was off. And her coach was not thrilled. He loves coaching her – she is coachable and talented. He was disappointed. And he was hard on her, as he should have been.

It was a somber drive home. There were amazingly grownup talks about being your best and giving your all – and choices about whether or not you want it. It was that very hard balance of showing your disappointment and also not crushing her spirit. It was hard. She cried, quietly. She was mad at herself. She should be. I was proud of her for it. She didn’t do her best and she knew it. Coach told her she was lazy. She was. She knew it.

We went home and took a nap. Snuggled together. Talked some more. She decided she wanted to quit because “it’s so hard.” But I think what is hard for her is the thought of facing her coach tomorrow evening. She will be fine. She won’t quit. She really doesn’t want to.

But it was a hard day. I hope I did the Mom thing right. I really do. I am so unbelievably proud of her and how far she has come in only one (formal) year in the sport. I love her more than life. And those words don’t even cover it. Balancing the “disappointed” in this moment with the “I love you more than life for forever” seems easy. It’s not, only I want her to know that I need her to be her best “her.” The best version of her she could ever be. Because that version of her is the most precious gift SHE or I could ever receive.

She is a gift. She is a champion. She is my baby girl.

(and she wants me to write that I am not mad or frustrated or disappointed or angry…or just scary…LOL) So that is my gift to her for today. 

October already? Musings…..

Wow…it’s October…where did the year go? Yes, October 1st! Christmas decorations have been in stores for at least 6 weeks. I’m starting to believe what I’ve been told – that the older you get, the faster time flies. I’d choose to just believe that time flies faster the more fun you are having. And boy, are we having fun!

The Littles continue to surprise and delight – and how different they all are! Fourth and third grade, each with their own personalities. All BIG personalities! Teaching me new things everyday – about what is important, how each needs attention, how to discipline, coach and, above all, LOVE!

Sometimes we make mistakes (who doesn’t), but we remain super close and I am so grateful for the smiles, snuggles, love and security that is our home and family.

My cousin Jake, who was the cutest ring bearer a wedding could ever have (20 years ago), just got married. I know someday that we will be giving a child away to the love of his/her life – and yet I’m so grateful I still have at least 8-10 years to enjoy my Littles before that happens.

Colton continues to be more his Mother’s son – more interested in creative endeavors than sports. Shameless plug – he has his own YouTube channel – called “TwoTwistedKids” – please subscribe if you have a heart – he will be so excited. He’s determined to be the next YouTube star – or actor, director, producer…Lord help me if he decides he wants to move to New York City or Hollywood someday!

Lauren is our little giver and lover – the most thoughtful little person I’ve ever known. Teaches me to be mindful of being thoughtful every day – and makes me envious of how naturally it comes to her to think of the littlest things that can affect others. What a lovey little girl. Latest obsession? Unicorns, of course!

Taylor is my diva – need I say more? Can’t wait until she’s 13, loves taking selfies and SO careful and particular about her wardrobe. Little fashionista! Sassy as the day is long, and will surely give me a run for my money in the parenting department. She is our athlete – gymnastics her sport of choice. She is her Daddy’s daughter – I don’t have the sassiness and he does. Witty and clever…OMG may spell trouble!

And then there is Trump – AKA “dumdum” – our yellow lab puppy who has brought his own kind of teaching to this already crazy family. We can’t help but love him…he is such a cutie pie. But he is also a big baby, reminding us that he will NOT be ignored! And without enough attention, he will uproot plants, chew on throw rugs, and otherwise make it impossible to pay attention to him when we need some time to relax! Good thing he’s so cute! Just sayin’!

So what’s the point of this post (other than just a good record for my memory lane later)?

It’s this:

Live every moment – IN IT! Be present!
Take time to stare…really look at those you love…because with every day that goes by, they change.
Take time to talk…just sit quietly and find out what is on their little minds…during whatever time of day works best. Sometimes the best conversations I have with my Little ones is when it’s bedtime and during snuggle time.
Appreciate and learn their differences…it will make all the difference in the world – at least I hope and pray.
Let them teach you…every day, in the Littlest of ways. It will be worth it.

Happy October!

The jar…

So I have this jar I bought. Nothing fancy…just a jar with a lid. It’s clear glass and rather large. Glass lid. Has a little label on it that you can use chalk to write on – whatever you want to label the jar with. Simple. Plain.

I bought it with the intent to label it “2017 Blessings” – then “2018 Blessings,” “2019 Blessings,” and so on. My plan was that on Thanksgiving, we would open the jar, pull out our blessings one by one and read them over dinner – so many reasons to be thankful that year. Nice, right?

Well, it’s June 11 and the jar is empty. Yes, that’s right. Empty.

I am embarrassed. I am disappointed – mostly in myself.

There have been so many blessings thus far in 2017 that I cannot believe I haven’t written them down and put them in the jar.

Let’s start with the fact that my Dad made it through Christmas 2016 after a really terrible scare through the holiday season. Then the visit I had with him the first weekend in January – the one during which we had some precious time to just

sit and talk – about a lot of things. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything in the universe. I left there not knowing if that was goodbye – what a life changing series of moments. Thankfully he’s hangin’ in there and another visit is coming!

And then there is the new chapter in my career – my new role with Olympus. True testament that God provides. HE must have known I needed a change, and HE provided it – and I have never been so happy to share what I have learned and share my gifts with an organization and the people who truly appreciate it. Yet another life-changing blessing for the jar in 2017.

Steve and I celebrated 20 years of marriage in 2017, and took the time and opportunity to share it with our precious Littles through a beach vow renewal on the stunning island of Maui. Makena Cove was the spot, and special it was!

From the Christian/Hawaiian tradition, the blowing of the conch shell, the ukulele serenade to the sweet reaffirmation of our love for each other while our Littles snuggled at our sides. I just know that they will remember it for a lifetime – and pray that they remember it when they are in their own marriages, so they understand what commitment truly means. What an incredible blessing – again – the jar…

Now we are in summer, and another blessing fell in our lap. Trump, the yellow lab puppy, introduced to us through Facebook of all places – is now a member of the family. He is so sweet, and bad, and sometimes we call him “dum-dum” for the silly stupid things he does (and eats). But he couldn’t have come at a more perfect time…the Littles are a perfect age to learn what it means to love something living that counts on them for their well-being. It’s been fun (and tiring). But mostly fun.

Again…still haven’t added that to the jar.

It may be the end of the year before I remember to actually get some cute paper and start adding stuff to the jar. But that doesn’t mean the jar is empty. I guess it just means we are living the blessings – not just putting them into a jar to remember…

Maybe that’s actually the best way.

Maybe the jar needs to be filled with puppy food instead.

Here’s to looking forward to filling the jar of life – metaphorically speaking!