Jiggs is 6!

And here I am, same as every year, trying to figure out how we got through those 365 days so quickly… Jiggs is 6!

This year, we have finished K-readiness, and started Kindergarten. We have learned to ride a bike without training wheels, played T-Ball, and two seasons of soccer. We danced our way through the Nutcracker and a recital.

Your teachers constantly send us praise for you behavior choices at school, and that makes us proud. We hear that you can be counted on to use your manners, follow the rules, help your peers, and be respectful. Way to go Jiggs.

Watching you play sports has been incredible. It’s clear you’ve had to sit on the sidelines too long, and when you get a chance to be on the field, you shine. In your first year of soccer, you scored a lot of goals, set people up to score, and had fun running the field with friends. In T-Ball, you somehow made the play of a lifetime with a full on tackle, while wearing a skirt! In dance, they put you up with the older kids last year and you stepped up and learned more.

I like watching you take on challenges head on day in and day out. While I will never know what’s going to come out of your mouth at either your sisters or I, your joy in playing with them is evident. You’ve enjoyed your role as the baby of this family, and sometimes I’m absolutely stunned that we got to 6 already. Other times, it’s hard to imagine you haven’t always had this ability to fill a room so completely.

And, this year, I think you came into your own as a Jiggs rather than a Bits. Your personality is so vibrant that Bits just doesn’t cut it anymore. So world, I present Jiggs. We are grateful for your presence, and your life and your full belly laugh! Your energy at whatever you are doing (singing in church, playing sports, or throwing a temper tantrum) will serve you well for the rest of your days.

While I sometimes wish for life to slow down, I know that you are ready to have life go a million miles an hour and see what’s down that road. And so Jiggs; enjoy 6. Enjoy Kindergarten and whatever else takes your time, energy, and love this year. I will do my best to watch, appreciate, love, and cheer you on! I love you Jiggs.

Peanut is 11!

I present Peanut at 11.

Its been a big year here. Starting and ending 5th grade, and becoming a middle schooler. Making the B team in softball. Working out hard. Volunteering at the library. Visiting Pennsylvania without parents.

I have to say your tenacity has shown through time and again. Over the last year, there have been times when a lesser individual would have quit. And you didn’t. You stuck through, kept trying, and never gave up. Sure, we had some tears and frustrations, but then you got a taste of success, and off and running you are. Many times I have said “There’s no excuse for you not to be the hardest worker out there”. “Out there” can refer to sports, academics, and so much more. And by God, Peanut, you are a hard worker.

You have also been a great sister. You supported your little sisters by watching them at soccer at sports. Sitting through the Nutcracker at Christmas and 2 recitals in June. The first time you saw your sisters after they performed, you immediately told them they did a good job. Watching you sit through the Bug’s first competition was priceless. You, along with Dad and I, had no idea how this worked. But you sat through a bazillion dances and told her how well she did.

You’ve been stepping up your responsibility game. Helping shepherd your sisters to where they need to go when Dad is working at the school. We were able to leave you alone with your sisters in a stressful situation, and you did well. You’ve also been working with Tasha on getting her trained. Both of you are doing well, and it will get better as both of you age.

Let’s talk to your goals. Last year you wanted to:

  1. Move downstairs ♥
  2. Read a 500 page book ♥
  3. Get bat on ball ♥
  4. Have fun. ♥

Checked those off! Job well done!

This year:

  1. Put ball in outfield/hit a double (or higher)
  2. Do more service hours than required every quarter
  3. Reach out and make 1  new friend
  4. Push myself in something (I think you decided your goal was to get someone out who bunts)
  5. Read 50 books this summer (might be hard to track this, but we’ll see)
  6. Babysit

I love you Peanut. I’m proud of the kid you are; kind, hard working, and an overall great human!


Watching Youth Sports

We currently have 3 children living at home, ages 5, 7, 10. All of them are crazy busy in the Spring. One plays travel softball. One plays in-house softball, and does competition dance. One does rec soccer and rec dance. All of this is their choice; I don’t make them play a specific sport at a specific level, and I can promise you that I don’t make anyone dance. They are required to be active in some way, but they define the path.

We have received their basic schedules from about May 1st through mid-July. Peanut plays 8 double headers, mostly on Tuesdays, and a few Thursdays.  She also has 5 tournaments over weekends. Practice will be whenever they can get fields. Bug has two dance competitions and one recital. Her in-house games will be Tuesday and Thursdays. (There’s a trend about to happen). Her dance practice will continue to be Mon/Wed. One of her competitions is the same weekend as one of Peanut’s, but only about 9 minutes from each other. Bits has dance on Wednesdays and soccer on Thursday and Saturdays. Her recital is the same as her sister, so there’s that.

What this means is that I will have three kids at three different fields/gyms at the same time on some Thursdays and Saturdays. We only have two parents so we will have to get creative on the how. The wildest part is that we are also each coaching a different team so we can’t drop and run and return and… We’ll figure it out because that’s what we do.

Mike’s birthday weekend – at a dance competition (and more), his actual birthday, practice. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and our anniversary. We’ll be at a competition the weekend of Mike’s birthday, and his actual birthday will be at practice. Mother’s and Father’s Day will be spent at the ball fields, as will our anniversary.

And while you might think I’m complaining “so busy” or “overwhelmed”, I’m not complaining. (I’m certainly, at times, overwhelmed!)  I chose these 3, I chose to allow them sports and activities. I am however, unable to determine where else I’d rather be on Mother’s Day, Father’s day. I’m thrilled to be on the sidelines cheering these kids on. It gives me great pleasure to watch them interact with teammates, make a great play, turn a pirouette, etc. Spending my time watching my kids have fun and laugh and try and succeed is nothing short of amazing to me. I’m grateful for this time in my life with these kids.

I’m just hoping they are prepared to eat a lot of meals on the go.



Bug is 7!!!

In our last birthday of the year, Bug is 7.

Bug – you are 7. Rocking 1st grade, having and making friends, playing sports, doing competition dance, and more. You love school and all that goes with it. Learning and actions and friends and all that energy!

You are a joiner. Your activity list alone makes me tired; 3 hours of dance a week, basketball, volleyball, softball, choir, girl scouts, swimming. You love to try new things and your enthusiasm makes it very hard to say no. If it were up to you, you’d do more basketball, more crossfit, more, more, more. It’s so fun to see what you’ll try next.

When asked, you volunteered to speak at the Spanish mass to introduce “Dance in the morning”. And Bug – you did great. I don’t know if the choir leader knew you enough to know that “Dance Dance Wherever you may be” is close to your tagline or not, but it’s the right choice for you! 🙂

First grade has shown no real problems for you. You were so upset the first week of school, though. You hadn’t made any friends. When we dug a little deeper, you were upset because you had friends and were playing with them, but you think you should have made more friends. I honestly don’t know anyone else who is constantly, actively looking for opportunities to make friends. You are busting right through math and now you are an all star reader! (nice job, Bug!)

Your heart is still so kind and loving. Driving you to swimming one night, I made a comment about hating something. And you said “Momma, hate is a bad word”. And I had to pause and say, “Yes, Bug, you are right. In this case, though, I don’t hate a person.” (I think I hated the roundabout!) But later someone else used ‘hate’ about a person, and you said again, “Momma, you can’t say you hate someone. I’m trying so hard, Momma, to help people not hate”. This may be your other tagline.

Bug – you are a good, kind sister, most of the time. Although you and your sisters can get into it, you really do a nice job of congratulating them, supporting them, and generally caring about them. At Peanut’s games, you make friends with other little siblings, and you are right there to tell her that she did well. When Bits had her first soccer game, you were there to tell her she was awesome.

I’m so excited to see where we go the next year.  As Leeann Womack says “I hope you dance”! I hope you keep removing hate from this world. Daddy and I are always proud of you, and can’t wait to celebrate you! (after a full day of school, mass, and 2 hours of dance!)

Bits is 5!!

This week, I was asked how old my kiddos are, and I had to say 21, 10, 6, and almost 5. No more almost 5, today Bits is 5. Five is a big deal. It’s big girl status.

Bits, 5 years ago, I had no idea what you would bring, and now I’m getting an inkling. You live life out loud. You have a zest for life that is amazing. Always moving, always living. Watching you be big enough to do things has been somewhere between exhilarating and terrifying. You’re complete lack of fear has made me more fearful. But I watch you go and love every minute of seeing your triumphs.

When you are taken to another sports thing for your sisters, you run headlong into finding new friends, regardless of age or gender or shyness. You cheer your sisters on with unrelenting shouts of “go Shakopee” or “go Peanut”, “you got this Bug!” I know you are waiting for your day to shine, but you already do. Your sisters came to cheer you on at soccer of their own accord. They wanted to support you after your support of them.

I’m proud of how well you do at school. You listen and try, and make new friends. You play and enjoy and work hard every day. I’ve yet to have a “she had an okay or bad” day discussion with your teacher. It’s always good.

I watch you and your gap-toothed smile (thanks to some metal steps) and your style that makes you so uniquely you, and I can’t help but be grateful for your presence in our lives every day. You make all the hearts in this family happy just by being the kind of kid you are. Love you so much, can’t wait to see you grow this year 🙂


Kiddok is 21

A short little blog post announcing the oldest is officially an adult. She can pretty much do everything she wants except run for president and Senate.

Happy Birthday, Kiddok. While we won’t get to see you until Christmas time, I sure hope you are having fun studying abroad. Although we were all sad when you left, we told the littles that you were living your dream, and when someone announces a dream, works for the dream, and is living it, we do all we can to support them. So, just know, although the tears were there, even Bits was saying “but she’s living her dream”. So we’re behind you and supporting you!

Can’t wait to see you and hear your stories. Have a fabulous year, Kiddok, and I can’t wait to see what fun and learning you have this year.

Side note: This will be the last yearly birthday post for her. I had to find a cut-off point, and 21 feels like a logical time.


Goals for the new school year


The girls all started school today at the same building for the same hours. This year is one and done. Next year, Peanut moves to middle school, and never again will they be the same hours. But for now, we have one drop off and one pick up.

Starting 5th grade. I fully expect that she’ll be exhausted and exhilarated and scared of the work ahead this year. Pretty much how we start every year. But for 5th, two friends are in class with her, so I’m reasonably hopeful she’ll be thrilled. Her goals for the year are to get As in math (she’s going to have to work for them), read 40 books in one semester (not so hard for her). At conferences, if her teacher tells me Peanut actually talked in class in September, I’ll be stunned. But, none of the boys with her name are in her class so she gets to (finally) go by her preferred name! Small victories!

Her current activities this year will include band, choir, softball (at least for this fall), and crossfit. (Oh, and walking her dog!)

image3 (2)

Starting 1st. A small jump this year. Nothing too exciting, but not brand new either. Most of her friends ended up in another class, but she has a few in hers. I expect her to be exhausted and unable to stay calm through the end of the night. Her love of people has her thrilled to go to school, but it’s taxing on her a bit to be involved in everyone and in everything! Her goals for the year are to learn her math facts, get 20 (!) AR points this year (she has a head start with 4), and make one more new friend.

Her current activities include dance, swimming, and activities at SACS, and who knows what else will strike this one’s fancy.

image4 (1)

Her first day in K-readiness. It’s an all day every day pre-K program. Bug had the teacher two years ago and we’re STOKED that we get her again. (Her teacher already sent a picture home of all the kiddos having fun!) I have no idea what to expect for her tonight. She’s probably going to have a lot of things to say, but whether she can stay focused long enough to say it… She says she’ll tell me her goals when her teacher tells her what they are. My goals are for her to have fun, learn a little, and have a blast making new friends.

Her current activities include dance and swimming.

image2 (2)

Losing with Class

This weekend, Peanut’s U10C softball team played a Father’s Day tournament in town. We went 2-1 in pool play, coming up against a hard to hit pitcher. Kids got to go home, regroup, and head back to the fields Sunday morning (Happy Father’s Day, to all the dads!) We won the first game in bracket play.

Then came the semis. We typically get 3 innings in one game. Our pitchers, catchers are still learning so it’s not the fastest pace game, but they play hard for those three innings. The team we played was evenly matched, and we were just barely ahead by the end of the third, but we had enough time to play one more inning. We gave up all five runs to get behind so we had to fight back. We tied up the game and went into extra innings. Twice. By the end of the game, we lost by two (tying run on second).

Our kids left their hearts, souls, and maybe a few tears on the field. They had played the equivalent of two games and came out just short.

There are not much worse ways to lose. The question is, how do you lose with class? I think the coaches and players did (as did the parents). The coaches and players cleared the bench to allow the next teams to get on the field. I didn’t hear badmouthing of the other team or the umpire. Although we’d been kidding as parents that there’s no crying in baseball, our kiddos shed a few. The coach told them it was okay to cry, and to come back out and play hard Tuesday. Coach said he’d never been part of such a close and good game, and he was proud of our players.

As a parent, there’s not much worse than watching your kid hurt, and knowing that there’s nothing you can do about it. Our kiddos hurt yesterday afternoon, but they should hold their heads high. And while I much more would have rather them have to learn to win with class, these lessons are valuable. It’s one of the reasons we send them out to play sports. NOT to have their heart broken, but to learn that you can come back and play again. Losing doesn’t define you, and it doesn’t make  you a loser. How you respond is the the definition of your character.

Did  you play hard and fair? (check). Did you do your best today? (check). Did you leave it all on the field? (check) Did you have fun with  your teammates? (check). Did you treat the other team with respect and wish them good luck or good game? (check) Did you hustle on and off the field? (check) Did you call the game stupid or throw your bat or helmet? (nope) Did you say “never playing again” (nope). Did you take a bit to be sad, and say “I want to do better”? (check)

My daughter and her teammates are learning to work. They played their hearts out, kept their passion but didn’t lose their tempers. They held each other up and cheered each other on!

This team has already exceeded my expectations and I’m excited for their next tournament. I’ll be gone thanks to a trip to Scotland for work. So I’m hopeful someone will take pictures, and someone will provide updates. I’m hopeful my kid does her best and has fun. And that team continues to support each other!

Note: All pictures from the fabulous Nicole Lacoste at NicoleLacostephotography, used with permission. https://www.facebook.com/shakopeephotography/



Double Digits!!!

Peanut is 10 today… We’ve hit double digits, and we’re pretty excited about it. Well, she is. Hitting 10 is a big deal apparently.

Peanut, You’ve been very impressive at the gains and growth in the last year. You’ve started and ended 4th grade. You slayed the 4th grade academically, made some new great friends, and grown up a little more. Your sense of humor has been fun to watch grow, although I’ve got to get quicker because apparently sarcasm rubs off…

I’m proud of <the majority of> your interactions with your sisters. While we all have our moments with each other, there are moments that stand out. Walking off the fields, your sister will grab your hand, and you’ll accept her hand without questioning. While you may not always appreciate the “big sister” designation, you are learning to live with it. 90% of the time, you’re a great, if reluctant, role model. When you sat through your sisters’ recital dress rehearsal, you made sure to tell each one they did well. You’ll take the time to come to their games occasionally, and cheer them on, play with them, and then read to them. You are helping to honor them, and we’re really proud of that.



In the last year, you have learned more about the world around you, and have been learning more about the world in which we live. You followed the election and asked really good questions. We had real conversations about news and slants. We had conversations about racial divides in the U.S., and how other countries are working. I’m proud of the knowledge you tried to absorb, and your analysis of the big things we have going on in this country.

This year, you also tackled tough challenges for you. You got put on a high level softball team this fall, and you did your level best to keep up. You had to give a 5 minute speech in front of classmates, and you rocked it. You had your first large project, with lots of due dates and real work, and you did so very well. You tried a new Crossfit gym.

You have shown such great levels of responsibility and maturity. Your work ethic is starting to show, and it’s one I’m proud of for you. I never hear your coaches tell you to hustle. You have worked hard on your school work, and rocked your AR goals. After two hard years of saving, you bought yourself an iPad, and you’ve been saving again. When the opportunity arose to work on the local Shakopee park that was accessible for all, you worked really hard on it. You built the slide, and worked on more. You worked as hard as the adults, and the pride you took in that was awesome. At the time you signed up to help, you thought you were helping a park that would not benefit you personally. You thought you were just helping others that needed help, and I’m so proud of you for that. parkbuilding7

This year, your goals (as stated by you): a) get bat on ball, b) move downstairs, c) read a 500 page book in 7 days d) have fun. I’m not sure about the move downstairs, but I like the rest. Dad and I will help you with all of those as you want. It’s a good thing you like libraries, though, as I can’t afford your book habit!

Your dad and I love you, and are so very proud of the kiddo you are. We are so very grateful for you and the strengths you bring to this family. Keep learning and growing and loving and helping. Your heart is strong, and your mind is too. Believe in yourself as much as your dad and I believe in you. longwoodgardens2.JPG



Teacher Appreciation Week

September 2016 076I lose track, I can’t remember when exactly Teacher Appreciation Week actually is, but I always appreciate the teachers in my kiddos’ school. Teachers have a tough job, and while they may get validation from the kiddos with hugs or high fives, I don’t know if they get enough parent validation, so I’m here to provide that every once in a while.

Earlier, I sent an email to each teacher and copied their principal. The notes were focused on the kiddo/teacher interactions, and the kiddo’s progress on the year. It’s a new thing I started last year based on some suggestion from Facebook. It seems like so little I can do, because I can’t do the big things… I have zero pinterest abilities, limited funds, limited time to be at the school, etc…

My three kids are currently 4th grade, Kindergarten, and preschool. The school they belong to has been amazing for them. They are honored as individuals. The school’s mission is to nurture the body, mind, and soul of the children, and to develop leaders. The nurturing and developing .

When Bug randomly fell asleep in class one Friday, rather than waking her up to shove math class at her, they let her sleep and woke her after up after an hour to go play (and emailed me to watch in case she was getting sick).  When the amazing librarian realized that a book from Peanut’s favorite series had just been delivered, she made sure to tell Peanut, and let her check it out first. When Bits busted her mouth (at a park under parental care, and not at school), her teachers worked with us for appropriate snacks. I could continue examples, but I have to allow my girls some privacy.

Oh, they are expected to also integrate and work with other kids in their school. They are offered opportunities to play sports or sing choir (and next year is band; shudder)! They have group work during school hours. They are expected to be capable of presentations in front of their class, and speak in front of the school (classes put on mass).

The school also honors family time. We’ve rarely had homework that required weekend work. When we pulled the kids for a family vacation from school for 4 days, no one blinked. They wished us fun and enjoyment together, and worked with us for homework.

Academically, they are held to high expectations. If a kiddo is underperforming, I’ve been told. If they are excelling, I’ve been told. Peanut had integrated work when the class learned about the states. Social Studies, English, music, science, art, and probably math. They are using technology as I do at work (google sheets, anyone?). The kindergarten curriculum starts first grade math concepts in the third quarter. But homework isn’t the be all end all for my kindergartener.

I won’t speak to all the things that the teachers and support staff have done for my kiddos as my kids have a right to privacy. The teachers and other staff are amazing. I will be always grateful for the school and to know that my kiddos are loved, supported, and encouraged as individual humans.