our 2018 in tiny one second little snippets. I love this way of documenting. I love seeing our everyday moments all gathered together. this is us. we are here. we are living and doing and loving and crying and laughing and through it all… we are here & we just keep going.

After not documenting 2017 it feels good to document our lives again…

nothing can take away our memories. our purpose. our striving to be better and fulfilled and connected to one another and that is what I see in this video.


all in…

I poured my heart & soul into this one… the girl & the video. ha.

I spent a few months gathering photos, scanning photos, crying over photos, placing photos, finding the exact music with the right words & beat, making & re making this video.

it is like a time capsule for me. not only of Mikayla’s life but of our family’s life. the good times, the hard times, it is all in here. I remember every day just by looking at these photos, what was happening in our lives at that time & I love having it all together here, in one place.

things that struck me the most were, just how little Mikayla was when she came to live with us. she was 6, she was the age Sophia is now, she was still a baby. it hits my heart deep, how much of a change that was for her & all of us. Little did we know that all of our lives were about to change forever, in the best ways possible. We became us, if that makes sense.

I remember diving in head first. I remember the day that happened. it wasn’t spoken, I just knew & I am so thankful for that moment now. you know, when life is happening, you just do it. you do what you need to do to keep life going & then when you get to some sort of an “end” or resting point or point of reflection, like a high school graduation, you realize that although not every day was easy, you wouldn’t change a thing.

if I had it to do all over again, I would still go all in. I would love just as hard.

looking at this video makes my heart happy. makes me proud. makes me excited to build even more memories & even more years together.

I know that when you graduate high school you don’t realize what an accomplishment it feels like for your parents as well.

all of the early mornings getting everyone up & fed & out to where they need to be on time, after school pickups, homework, spelling tests, field trips, volunteering, practices, supporting from the audience, pushing, expectations….. all of it, every day.

as a parent, to watch all of your hard work pay off, to watch them succeed & move forward & to know that you had something to do with that, yep, that is an amazing feeling.

so all of you parents out there, working hard every day, please pat yourselves on the back. you deserve it!!!


Mikayla, I look forward to watching your journey. I know that you are going to thrive…… all my love, mom.


broken dishwaher…


it has been a very busy couple of weeks & the next few weeks until June are only going to get busier & fuller. We just celebrated Easter on the most beautiful day, my grandma turned 93 & we all got to be together to celebrate, Mikayla just turned 18, Sophia will soon turn 6, Mikayla will graduate high school, Jarred will turn 21, Sophia has a dance recital & my photo schedule is beginning to take shape for the summer!!! all exciting things.

but right now I just want to slow down.

yesterday I realized our dishwasher has been leaking under our kitchen sink. we are actually lucky we caught it, it looks like the floor was going to cave in if it was left with that puddle of water any longer.

my first thought, “well great. I don’t have time for this. I don’t have the money for this. why me??????”  shaking my fist to the heavens. ok, not quite that dramatic, but close.

just one more thing to deal with.

but, we went on with our day, we had an awesome little, fun birthday party for Mikayla. pizza & cake & gifts & just a few of her friends & the fire pit & tent in the back yard. all night I just kept loading that dishwasher with dishes, knowing I wouldn’t be able to use it but just not quite ready to dive into washing the dishes by hand.

then today, I realized I couldn’t hide from those dishes any longer.

the window was open, Sophia was running in & out of the house taking everything she owns out back into the tent.

I set up one bowl with soapy water, one with rinse water & set out to wash the dishes.

I know, it seems like such a ridiculous thing to write a blog post about. but, this struck me as soon as I started.

instead of throwing the dishes into the dishwasher & moving onto the next thing. I stood at that sink & watched my drapes blow in the wind. my music was playing low & the window was open & Sophia was laughing & the sun was peeking thru the drapes so perfectly.

I stood & washed & rinsed & thought.

I thought about my husband & the fact that after Mikayla & her friends left to go to a late movie & after we had pried Sophia away from the fire pit & gotten her in a bath & put to sleep, instead of going straight to bed, we talked. like, just talked, not about the kids really, about ourselves. our lives. the future, the past, the day.

I realized that we don’t do that enough. we live our days together & we love eachother but sometimes it can be so easy to just turn on auto pilot & go.

I stood at that sink today & realized that this life, our lives together are too special to be lived on auto pilot. i thought about what is important to me & it isn’t being busy, it is being. just being. with myself, with the moment, with my family. just being.

i stood at that sink & felt so lucky.

i felt at peace.

the calendar is full but i cant let that run my days. i cant let being busy take away from the life that i really want. the life where the little things mean something. the life where i can look at someone that i have loved for 13 years & realize that just like me, they are constantly changing too. we are together a work in progress & that is an amazing thing.

i am sorry that it took my dishwasher breaking to take the time to remind myself what really matters to me.

it sure isn’t having a dishwasher that matters to me.

it is this life that we have built together.

& always will be.




memories in motion…

end of February, 2017.

when I first looked at these photos, all I could think of was memories in motion. so that is what I will call this series.

this day, I asked her to put on a pretty dress & go jump on the bed for me so that I could take some fun photos. she looked at me straight faced & said she was busy!!! I mean really. she kills me. of course, about 10 minutes later she came out with a pretty dress on & asked me if I still wanted her to jump on the bed. haha. yes, little girl, of course I do…

I posted one of these on Instagram & this is what I wrote…

“give me grace. give me strength. give me quiet. give me peace. sometimes moments & emotions seem to swallow me whole. I let my emotions get the best of me. they make me feel like a child, I convince myself that I am watching my world crash around me, even when it’s not crashing down at all. why is it that when one thing in my life feels unbalanced, I cant seem to find my footing anywhere? I guess just one more reminder that I will forever be a work in progress…”

I have read this & re-read this & these words mean so much to me. these words are so true to who I am & how I feel right now.

forever a work in progress…

swinging with my girl…

so, the past week has been hard. very hard. I’m not ready to write it down yet, hopefully soon.

I am reflecting on the past. thinking of my children & all of the years I have spent giving every piece of myself to them.

parenting is hard. we all make mistakes. we learn. we keep going.

I can only hope that none of them ever question my unconditional love. my desire to do the best that I can. my desire for them to do the best that they can.

I know that family are the people that see you at your worst & love you anyway.

and for that I am grateful.

so today, swinging with my girl, that felt good…

you know what, life isn’t easy.

but, life is good. full of blessings & laughter & love.

and for that I am thankful.

I am thankful for my sweet, sweet girl & all of the joy she brings to everyone around her.

especially her mama…


Jan-february so far…

well, not doing so hot keeping up to date with my daily posts. been doing pretty good with my photo a day, just not posting them, its ok, cant win them all. ha.

January 23…


just waiting on the cookies. my little cutie.

these blurry photos, these mean so much to me. I imagine that when Sophia is grown & our last child leaves the house to do amazing things, I imagine that this is what my memories will look & feel like. grainy, blurry, completely out of focus but full of emotion & love…

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January 26th. Happy birthday to mom!! I was going out to dinner with mom & art for her birthday, we had a really busy day that day & I told Sophia she would get to see grammy the day after her birthday, oh my gosh, the tears. she just melted into tears, she had to be able to wish her grammy a happy birthday & blow out the candles. so we made it happen & again I am reminded, this is the stuff of life. this is the stuff that makes life bigger & fuller & make it what it is.

happy birthday mom…

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a little bit of snow to end the month…

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February 2nd.

not the best photos but I had to snap a few. Sophia found the little box of treasures that she came home from the hospital with. where does the time go…

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February 12

the weather got nice & we took our paints outside for the first time this year…

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trips to the park in February in Nebraska!! awesome….

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and a little car wash…

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of course, starbucks…


and more park, February 22nd. 2 days before another big snow storm!!

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my little treasure collecter…

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basking in the sun..

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February 25th. we went shopping for the last time for a prom dress for Mikayla. bittersweet moments for sure! we found the most beautiful dress this year, she truly is stunning & looks like a princess in this dress!! I imagine I will probably cry at prom this year…

and of course, dressing room shenanigans…

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last night, February 26th Sophia & I went to go see my cousin Lisa’s son Boston as Lord Faruaat in his high school production of Shrek at burke high school. he was AMAZING!! so happy we went to see this awesome show. Sophia loved it!

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well, that is it. up to date on photos. maybe not all of the emotions involved but, when I see the photos, I always remember the exact emotions I was feeling.

I guess that is why I love these photo a day projects. it brings to light all of those emotions that we go thru in one day, one hour, on minute, with a family of 5.

Winter concert 2017…

Valentine’s Day 2017, Mikayla’s last winter concert of high school!!

They blow. Me. Away. Every time.

Mikayla had a few solos this concert & she did amazing. This was her first concert being asked to stand after her solo. Seriously, made me cry.



Amazing job mikayla & the Millard west band.

I will miss these days.

why i marched…


why did I march in the Omaha edition of The Woman’s March On Washington?

how can I put my answer down into words?

the short answer is because…  TRUTH MATTERS. WE MATTER. OUR FUTURE MATTERS.

I made signs for the march all day that Saturday. I wanted them to convey everything I was feeling. I wanted to channel all of my sadness & frustration & anger & just plain disbelief in to these 5 little signs…



really, a bunch of women marching all over the world, ok, 3 MILLION women marching all over the world & people look at it & all that they can come up with is that we are marching for pro-choice reasons. how ignorant is that????

I marched because this man does not speak for me. yes, he is my president, the president of the country that I live in & I need him to realize that he is indeed my president too. I marched because I know that he does not speak for me & my values.

i believe that he is particularly dangerous for our children, our next generations. children that are discovering themselves, the world around them & where they fit into it. I can not even imagine having a 10 year old son & trying to explain to him that the awful things that this man says about women & minorities & people of other religions are not ok & it is not ok to treat people so poorly. it is not ok to disrespect people in such a horrible way. how do you explain to a young boy or girl that the things that he says are hateful & ignorant but then explain to them that enough people believed in the horrible things that he says & voted him to become our 45th. president of the United States of America??????????????

how do you tell your daughter to stand up for herself, her body, her safety, never let anyone treat you with disrespect & if someone does, you tell me. I will help you. then that little girl is watching the news, she hears the things that this man says & she looks at me & asks me “isn’t that our president?”  & I have to say yes.

how will she process that?

how do you teach your sons to respect girls & women. to treat them with respect & stand up for them. how do you teach your son how to enter the dating world & how to be respectful & loving to others & then have them see this big, powerful, wealthy, man stand up there & disrespect women & treat them like they are less than him??????????????

how is that boy going to process this?

the talk becomes normal. it becomes ok & normal to hear such horrible disrespect coming from a man of such power & all of a sudden our kids think that that makes them powerful & strong.

it is dangerous territory. it permeates our lives no matter how much we let them know that it just isn’t ok. we can not give them an answer as to why so many people believed in such a man, all we can tell them is that we do not speak or act like that.

and it is bigger than that.

when you have a man that is so loud, they can’t help but hear his words.

it is not just about them learning how to be treated & how to treat people of the opposite sex it is about them learning about how we treat anyone. how all of us treat each other.

it is not ok for my kids to listen to the news & have to hear this man speaking hate language about people from other countries. people of other religions.

we talk about it in our house.

Mikayla is 17, she has come to her own decisions. she has processed this entire election with her dad & I. we watched, dumbfounded as people got behind this clown.

Sophia is 5, she hears more than we know. she takes it all in & sometimes she will ask questions, sometimes she will give us her input. like when she was asked why she was marching at the women’s march & she looked up with those big beautiful eyes & said “FOR HUMAN RIGHTS”

I cried.

they listen, they hear, they take it all in, they are processing all of it. everything they hear at that age is contributing to their moral compass for their future.

and this is just one reason he is dangerous.

we can not go backwards.

ok, adults want to believe in this man & the hate & bigotry that he spews but dammit, not my kids. not my family. we are not going backwards & I marched to say that I am not following this man anywhere. I am not one of his sheep, blindly following him back to hate.


I have seen many posts on social media from women stating they were embarrassed by the women’s march. I read these words, from multiple women. I read them, trying to put myself into their shoes & all I could come up with was that this is one thing that these women did not do… put themselves into another person’s shoes.

I didn’t march for myself, because I feel like there are things I can not do or that I am persecuted in any way.

I marched because I know that there are millions of people out there that are persecuted. because they don’t make as much money as others. because they love another woman. because of the color of their skin. because of their religion. because English is their second language.

I marched because my heart aches for these people. good people. just trying to live the best lives they can. they have mothers & fathers & children & people that love them. they are just like you & me & now we have a man running this country that believes they are second class citizens.

I have read these posts from these women & they seem to think that the march was some whining, temper tantrum for liberals. what????????????????

this was a place to stand tall, strong & resolve in our beliefs that all people are created equal. it’s not just a saying, it is truth.

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I marched for these girls to see, it is bigger than them. it is about all people. they are lucky, they do not go without. they have warm homes & loving families & great schools & warm dinners & toys & cars & people pushing them to go to college & telling them they can be anything they want to be as long as they put in the work. they need to know that not everyone has these things.

they need to understand that even in a world that revolves around money, that is not real. how you treat others is real. how you see others is real. how you help others is real. your truth is real.

I have actually been told by family members, just wait, he may put more money in your pocket at the end of the year…. I couldn’t believe my ears. I DON’T GIVE A SHIT HOW MUCH MONEY I HAVE, IF OTHER PEOPLE ARE HURTING BECAUSE OF IT, I WOULD RATHER BURN IT.

and that is my truth.

shane & I work hard every day. we work & we work & still sometimes, the last few days of the month I have no money for groceries. we are considered a middle class family in America.

now, come to my face & tell me how I have done something wrong. you come tell me to my face how I just don’t work hard enough. I dare you.

ok. sorry, that was a little confrontational but seriously. people get a little money in their pocket & all of a sudden they are looking down on everyone they think might not have as much as them. I am getting a little side tracked here, but not really, because this is the mind set in America today.

I marched because this new president of ours is perpetuating this mind set. I will not sit back & watch it happen.

so I marched. we marched. & this little girl marched tall & proud, with her little bunny strapped to her back, holding that sign high. THE. WHOLE. TIME. & I could not have been more proud. I hope she will always remember this night & if she doesn’t, I hope that she always remembers to stand up for herself, this planet & for others.

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I marched because this man does not care about this planet. I marched with a heavy heart because this man has no care about this planet.

his second day in office he signed an “executive order” to move forward with the Dakota access pipeline, his only reason was it would create “good jobs, great, great jobs”


at what cost?

he gives no thought of the sacred land, the sacred people, the sacred water. the repercussions that our future generations will face because of his decisions. my heart aches.

meanwhile, he is a money man. money, money, money.

science isn’t real, alternative facts are truth, we will never run out of water, fracking is safe, pipelines are safe, who needs trees, who needs sustainable energy, global climactic change is fake, people not from America don’t matter, muslims are scary, all muslims are terrorists, not everyone needs health care, women have no right to make medical decisions for their own bodies, if you are fleeing horrible living conditions, war, poverty, sexual slavery & other human atrocities, guess what, our new president says you don’t belong here. the list goes on & on & on & on. there are too many reasons to march & all that I am left with is…


like I said during the election, I don’t know what is scarier. that one man would believe all of these horrible things about others & feel so superior or that millions of people would actually hear what he says & say to themselves, yes. yes, that is the man that I believe in.

now that is scary.

But, do I truly believe that everyone that voted for this man believes in everything he says? No. I do not. I just don’t know how to reconcile those differences. I believe that his scare tactics worked. We have seen that used in our world’s history, in horrible ways, & it frightens me to see this man using such tactics. I know that people are scared because money is tight & we live in an uncertain world but giving in to his dividing ways, I believe, is only going to make the world more dangerous. For all of us.

I have heard that people think we marched because we are pouty, cry baby little snowflakes pissed off because “our candidate” didn’t win.

I didn’t have a candidate.

I marched for anyone that has ever heard his words & felt like lesser of a person because of them.

that is my short answer for why I marched. I will continue marching. I will continue to stand up for the things that I believe in, such as…

our planet. human rights. integrity. morals. all people are created equal. love is love. black lives matter. water is life. a woman’s right to choose. every person’s right to a quality education & health care. inclusion. acceptance. kindness. truth. science. free speech.

I march knowing that the world is bigger than me…


I am awake. we are awake. we see you & we are not going away.

and if my kids are reading this, I marched for you.

Jan. 18-20, 2017…

oh my gosh it was nice out today!! still a little chilly but it just felt great to get out & take a walk & get some fresh air…

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I love playing card games with her. we play most evenings after her bath. always old maid first, then go-fish, then animal rummy, then crazy 8’s… she usually beats me!! ha. this night we were playing old maid & she said “mom, you look like the old maid because you vacuum all the time” I may have gotten a little upset so she backtracked, a little… “no, you don’t look like the old maid, maybe just a little, when you close one eye & vacuum you look like the old maid, or a pirate” where does she come up with this stuff??!! haha,

love my little card buddy.

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January 20, 2017. inauguration day for Donald Trump. I cant believe I just typed that sentence. I have so many emotions surrounding this day & I am trying to write them all up in a blog post, trying to get it down so my kids will know what side of history I stood on. well, they already know. but, I cant seem to make it thru writing that blog post, hopefully soon.

but, for the record…

I stand with people. I stand with all people. I stand with morality & kindness & truth. I stand with this planet. i stand with truth. real truth. i stand with science & facts.

I am not a big believer in alternate facts, especially when it comes to my children & the planet we will leave them.

anyway, I tried to stay away from the inauguration as much as possible because it made me so sick to my stomach. but, it beat me down.

at the end of the night Sophia & I watched a little ‘full house’ before bed & it was perfect to just sit there & laugh with my sweet girl…

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Jan. 9-12, 2017…

still enjoying making sure I get my camera out for my photo a day.

bath time with my happy girl. I know that one day probably sooner than I would like, she will be showering on her own. these days too shall pass & I just want to be present for them while they are here…



Sophia got to go to build a bear which was her Christmas present from grammy. oh my word she was so excited! she had asked for a build a bear for Christmas, she just loved the process. picking her bunny, stuffing her, giving her a heart full of love to stuff inside of her & of course, picking out the outfits. Shelby, the girl who helped us, was the best!

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she named her bunny Sophie. love it.

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and a little blueberry muffin for Sophia & coffee for grammy & I afterwards…


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just a normal night at home, making dinner. I go back to work on Monday after being gone for 4 weeks after my surgery, I have so enjoyed this time spent at home, on these cold days, with my family. I know, I only work 20 hours a week, not a big deal. ha. but I really am a self proclaimed hermit, I’m ok with that.

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