She’s a teenager

Oh my gosh, but here comes parenting the teens. Fortunately she’s a good human.

Happy birthday Peanut. I have no doubt this birthday will be one to remember. Turning 13, but in quarantine. You are in lots of good company as it’s been a long 3 months. But, watching you continue to be the best you, give me hope for the next year.

I don’t want to dwell on the quarantine, but it has colored our last 3 months pretty strong. You lost the chance to play not only school ball, but your last 12U spring ball. It sucks, and it’s hard and I’m sorry for that. But, you’ve been working on your individual skills and you’ve been a trooper about it. You were also super helpful when Dad was working at the school, and I was working at home. Helping your sisters with homework, getting them lunch when they weren’t even grateful (welcome to the club)! Taking them and the neighbors to the part when that became open again. Your maturity is amazing.

You were a good sister, cheering your sisters on when they took on new things. Sitting at a humid swimming pool for 90 minutes waiting for your sister’s one minute swim is a commitment to supporting her. You watched a lot of softball (two sisters!) and went along for the rides when we hustled between multiple tournaments. I heard you cheering just as loud for them as you did for your own teammates.

You also finished 7th grade and got things done. Your grades were impressive, and I’m very proud of you. We just won’t discuss the basket weaving at home project 🙂 Your speech teacher took time to send you a note and comment on your strengths as well. I love getting those emails. Knowing that others see the kind of person you are is gratifying as you tend to keep pretty internalized.

I was impressed at how well you’ve been trying new things; dome ball wit


part of your growing up. I can’t think of how many hours you put in at the softball tournaments manning the concessions, and picking up so many other family’s commitments. You’re strength of getting it done quietly and without fanfare will serve you well. We are proud of you, and we love you.

Bug is 9

The end of the year always creeps up on me, even when I try to plan ahead. Without further ado, Bug is 9!

This year has been full of ups and downs for you, Bug. You started pitching this spring, and I can still remember the joy of your first strike out (and your buddy T being the catcher for that third strike!!!). I will not forget the tears from our first broken bone. Turns out, you are so tough, that you pitched another inning and a half and gave the best performance to date. Watching you struggle to be okay sitting on the bench, learning to cheer through the heartache was harder than I can describe. It broke your dad and I, too But, you showed team spirit, fortitude, and strength. Build on those, Bug.

We also celebrated two more sacraments. Reconciliation and First Communion were big deals. It has always been a joy to watch your heart and soul grow. You are a kind soul who feels big things. I had someone tell me that at the Nutcracker dress rehearsal you reached out to the kiddo who was feeling overwhelmed, and need a friend. It’s not uncommon for your dad and I to hear about your friendship skills. You make us proud that you lead with an open heart. Never stop that open heart.

And, of course, we dance. Watching you perform on stage is a delight. (Maybe not so much doing the hair and hearing about how hard I pull to make the bun!) Watching you grow in confidence and skill is so much fun to see. I may have no idea how this dance things works, but you’re figuring it out. Thank you for taking us along your ride. You begged for a solo, so we’re giving it a whirl this year. I can’t wait to see what you can do!

Dad and I are always proud of you, and how you do hard things. Your heart is legendary. The growth this year in maturity has been incredible. Your teachers and coaches tell us of the kind of teammate you are. I hope you never forget to enjoy the games and the dance. Keep your open heart and enjoy the beauty you see in everyone!


Bug is 8!

Last birthday of the year, I present Bugaboo is 8!

Bug, we’ve had so much growth this year. It’s your second year of competition dance, and you are stepping up to lead a little more. You’re a little more confident in your abilities, and still working hard. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that you’ve only been dancing for 3.5 years. It’s been fun watching you do Hip Hop, too. You come out smiling ear to ear, and sweaty! Day to day, the answer changes on your favorite form of dance, but never that you love it.

Softball is another theme in your life. Momma coached you this Spring, and I had fun. (I hope you are a better ball player after our season, but either way, I had fun!) Then, this fall you tried travel fall ball, and had a blast with Daddy as your coach. I can’t tell, though, who had more fun, you or him! I’m proud of how far you came in pitching, because when I first had to catch you, I didn’t sit on the bucket for more than 2 pitches. Now, I barely get more than 2 times in 30 minutes of pitching.

And then we get to school. Man, when your teacher says “I wish I had a class of your daughter”, Mommy and Daddy are thrilled. Thank you for constantly being kind, helpful (but not overbearing), fun, and generally just a good person, and a great student. We’ve played a lot of hangman, made up some worksheets, and generally just watched you thrive in school.

Bug, you are sad that you haven’t yet seen your sister wrestle. I love that your heart is so big, you are excited to support your sisters interests. Today, my beautiful girl, you told a young man when he said “hate”, that “hate is a strong word”. I can’t remember what he hated, but you quietly and strongly held your ground that hate isn’t okay.

Baby girl, you have a strong and kind heart, a brain that’s capable of learning, a mindset that learning is fun, and a work ethic that will take you places. I’m so excited for the next year to see where it takes you. Daddy and I will be here for everyone of your goals, so let’s go

a) get multiplication memorized

b) get better at ballet

c) try out for the Nutcracker




you will make this world a better place


Getting big


Sliding safely into home


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.

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 🙂