Talia earned player of the game at the Dirt Devil tournament.

Bug is 11 Today

Today, we celebrate the middle child.

Bug, you were our Christmas present 11 years ago. Since then, you’ve been our constant reminder of what a heart looks like, what it looks like when you give grace and kindness through your actions and words. So very rare for you to say a bad word about anyone, including your sisters. Your teammates, your classmates, they get the best of you. Cheering your teammates and encouraging them, even when your dad puts you in right field 🙂 Often, you’re the one I hear cheering when sitting on the sidelines.

Your teacher talks about the kind of kid you are, too. Always kind to your classmates, willing to help, and having fun with whoever you are with. He can partner you with anyone, and you just keep going. Parents have told me how you encourage their kids and provide them a safe space to land. That they hope their kid is as a good as friend as you are. Bug – those words mean a lot us as Mom and Dad.

Bug, in the last year, I watched you learn to pour your heart and soul into the game and leave the it on the field. You are working so hard to figure out what you want, and how to get it. Life has come pretty easy and it’s now that you’re learning to step up, work hard, and how to be a leader. Sometimes you’re the youngest out there, and you have to command the field on the mound. It’s a learning process, and I can see you fighting for it.

We also watched you try volleyball this year. My proudest moment – your teammate had a rough, rough time one week. Walked off the court in tears and wouldn’t return. The next week you were next to her in rotation. Every time she made a play, tried to make a play, you were right there telling her “great job” and ‘”You did it!” I could see her shoulders relax and her energy improve. Great job Bug!

We are pushing you academically a little bit, and you’re taking it well. Again, you will have to continue learning to work hard, but I know you can do this all. Your curiosity and brain processes will take you so far. You ask me questions that require me to google answers occasionally. Your goal of being an architect is absolutely within your abilities. You are so capable of thinking creatively and strongly.

You are our walking heart. Our hugger and our healer. Bug, no matter how big you get, you are welcome in our arms for those hugs you freely give. Continue to give grace to all those around you as you do so well. I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months will bring, but I know within my heart of hearts it will bring us joy, dirt, bruises, and smiles. But I know beyond a shadow of doubt, you will make us proud of who you are because you do every day.


Peanut is 14

The last year has been a wild ride. When Covid hit, we thought we’d be done by the school year starting. That turned out to be utterly false, but this year was Peanut’s 8th grade year. Away we go.


Saturday you turned 14. This last year has been an adventure of Covid, on top of so many lasts. Some reminders have been tough. Missing your last birthday mass/social brought me sadness. But the joy you’ve brought on this journey of the last year at SACS, maturing to 14, and stepping up in so many ways, has been significant.

When we started the summer in quarantine, you were the little sister to a big brother and it was almost eerie to watch Sean and Erin er uh your cousin and you fight over things like how to clean a bathroom. The summer was a lot of outside time with the neighbors since we were all effectively stuck at home. You and the other big kids found ways to entertain and take them to parks, etc.

This last year at school was a little ridiculous. We had in school learning with masks and 2 months of distance learning thanks to a positive test in this house. You and I spent tons of car time every morning going to SACS and you walked home regularly.

What’s sticking out right now in my mind though, the most is the time we had traveling to High School softball practice. You made a decision to attend a different high school than we all anticipated and had the opportunity to play softball for them. You played every inning, every pitch at third base and I think you made about 2 mistakes. Everything else was dead on. You batted third every time (except that one time at 4th when they were trying something new). You even had their first steal of the season!

You were invited to play varsity as well, and I watched your confidence grow when the coach sent you in a tie game in the top of the 7th. He put you in a tie game in sectionals. (One of those you walked, one you didn’t make it on base). At some point you hit a double in a varsity game (say what… 8th grade doublin?)

Because you played so many games in Timbuktu, we had a lot of time to talk int eh car. Those conversations, from politics to what colors the trucks were will stick with me forever.

You are the simply the best (Tina Turner creds) with how you talk to your sisters and teammates, friends, parent, and adults. You attend the girls games (swim meets when allowed) and even take some great pictures of them. While your sisters may not appreciate it, you have been the best role model to them for what a sister looks like. Showing up, taking the good natured ribbing well, (I don’t know how often you were called short in the last 365 days), and dishing it back out.

While I cried a few times this last few weeks, because you ended your 10 years at SACS, I am incredibly proud of how they recognized you as a hard worker. focused and a leader. I cannot wait to see what the next 4 years will bring, but I know it will joy, pride, and amazement for the person you are.

Keep on being you and fighting the good fight. You are strong, capable, funny, and so very loved.

Featured image Credit to Nicole Lacoste.

Bug is Double Digits

Days ago now, Bug turned 10. This month has been a disaster so I’m behind. *Sigh* We will all remember 2020 for all the wrong reasons.

But Bug, you turning 10, has been a bright spot recently. This post is usually a highlight of what you did in the last 12 months, but as we went into Covid nightmare March 16, you had a good three months of normal before it went crazy. In that time, you finished third and started fourth grade. You have excelled in math repeatedly and in reading. Last year you were the first done with the 12 Maud books, and I think you would have been this year had we not gone into a 24 day quarantine right then.

You played softball and tried basketball and volleyball. Turns out Mom was right and you like those sports, too. You didn’t make the team you wanted for softball, but you stepped up and worked hard, and were a leader on your team. Even when you were down on yourself for your pitching, you came off the field and were the team’s #1 cheerleader. While we’re working the down on yourself part, I’m immensely proud of you for shaking it off to cheer on your team.

While we were in quarantine, you also decided to make a Christmas card/decoration thing for each and every single one of your classmates. Even while we were wallowing in our pity because of the lock-down, you found a way to try to brighten other people’s days. That has always been a piece of who you are.

Your teacher tells us all the time that you are a kind kid with a good heart who is there for her classmates.

I love you, my little heart. You are a great person, and I look forward to the next year to see you grow and learn.

Wren getting an award for most improved

Jiggs is 8

Somehow even in a pandemic time is flying and Jiggs is now 8.

Jiggs, it has been a whirlwind year for you. When I wrote this blog for you last year, you were just starting on the swim team. At the end of the season you had done a few meets and even won “most improved swimmer” for your team. You worked hard for Josh, and genuinely loved to swim. After the pandemic, when we could get you back in the pool, you said “ah mommy my heart needs to swim”. And, now you’re back in the pool and loving it. I love “watching” you do what you love. (Even if watching just entails drop off and pick up for practice right now, and can’t see you in the pool!) I love your smiles from it. I love even more that you are forging your way here as a Raw and doing this on your own!

But of course, even when you do things on your own, you return to softball. I am stunned at your improvement this year. From getting no hits in last year’s states, to getting THREE doubles this year, I’m just in awe of your work. I’m also impressed at your catching and fielding. You’ve worked hard, so enjoy the fruits of your labor to go be on the 10U dome ball this season.

School has also been fun to watch. Your reading went through the roof this last year, and I’m excited to see where this takes us. You’ve been learning and working so hard, the sky shall be the limit for you.

Lastly, watching you continue to come into your own in our family. You are so very quick-witted and fast with your comebacks on your sisters. You keep all of us on our toes, and make us laugh almost nightly at dinner. Watching your sister play softball recently, I hear this little voice “Come on three-five, you got this”. You attend a lot of games, and you still regularly find some time and voice to cheer them on. And Yes baby girl, they will attend what they can of yours too. Your sister caught some great shots of you, and we’ll see what we can do for basketball and swimming.

I’m so proud of you Jiggs. You have really had to learn to work hard this year, and fight for some gains. But then you did make those gains. You are a great member of this family, and we are so excited to watch where 8 takes us.

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 🙂