Closing out Third Grade and Preschool

Another school year has come to an end.  Can you hear me shouting with joy?

In all seriousness, this has been as stressful school year for us.  You’d hear me frustrated over the amount of time devoted to test prep through the virtual school my son attends. You’d hear me frustrated over the amount of times I had to direct a preschooler into what he should and should not be doing.

One day last week was a really horrible, horrible day. The kind of day where everything falls apart – people, appliances, computers, electricity.  A day where you stand with tears running down your face and you plead with your third grader to “please be so patient with me. I am having a horrible, horrible day.”  And then I chose to end the day with laughter and ice cream.

That’s how I am choosing to remember the closing of this year.  With the laughter and ice cream. Not the tears and frustration and horrible moments.

I want to remember a third grader who worked hard to excel at reading.  A third grader who repeated times tables.  A third grader who drew silly little superheroes on his math worksheets.  A third grader who practiced piano so diligently. A third grader who played in his first piano recital. A third grader who auditioned for his first piano guild membership.  A third grader who stood up to bat and effortlessly hit double after double after double.  A third grader who can swim the butterfly stroke and do a underwater flip when he comes to the end of the lap lane.  A third grader who completed “surgery” on “Patient Bob Paper” complete with a doctor’s coat, an Ironman glove and empty 3-D glasses.  A third grader who spoke a bit clearer, stood a bit taller and conversed a bit deeper.


Dr Kory and Patient Bob Paper Anatomy Class Spring 2013

Dr. Kory and Patient Bob Paper – Anatomy Class at Homeschool Co-op. It was also pj day.


I want to remember a preschooler who learned to write his name with an extra line in his E.  A preschooler who drew a line under his name “so the letters don’t fall off.” A preschooler who sat in the back of the car and used his fingers to add up to ten.  A preschooler who encouraged and lead his preschool co-op classmates.  A preschooler who still came to me for snuggles.  A preschooler who didn’t want help with puzzles.  A preschooler who swam hard in the pool and ran hard on the baseball field.  A preschooler who sat through endless piano practices. A preschooler who organized all our iPad icons into groups depending on who used which programs for specific purposes.  Yes, it is cute but also very frustrating when I can’t find my App. A preschooler who spoke a bit clearer, stood a bit taller and conversed a bit deeper.



Cade was so excited to write his name. He even wrote it on the wall over his bed.  Note the line below his name "so the letters don't fall off."

Cade was so excited to write his name. He even wrote it on the wall over his bed. Note the line below his name “so the letters don’t fall off.”


And now we will pack away the textbooks and celebrate with laughter and ice cream!


On Tuesdays, I attempt to post in the Slice of Life Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Click over to their site to find some amazing writing by others who post Slices!



Baby Dedications and Bathroom Stalls

Her son looked so cute.  She had found him a little tux.

He was the first baby I held after Aidan.  How could I tell her how hard this day was going to be for me?

My husband and I sat in the pew at our friends’ church.  Friends on one side.  Strangers on the other. We knew the custom in our faith of child dedication. We knew the order of the service even before we walked into the church.

I started to tear up even before they were called up to the altar.  Actually I started to tear up walking into the church.  I knew the time would be painful.

It was time to shake hands – greet your neighbor – shake their hand – give them a hug.  I knew the church ritual.  Put on the smiling face. Greet a stranger as if they were a friend.

I was in tears. I wanted to run.  The lady next to me extended her hand.  The stranger asked me about why we were there.  I blubbered something.  I added some quick statement about sorry this is hard for me my son died a little over a year ago. I remember thinking who throws that into a conversation during the “greet the person next to you” time at church.

We were sitting in a pew toward the back.  My friend, her husband and their son were called forward.  Everyone coo’ed at the adorable little baby. My friend was all smiles.  Her husband was so proud of his little family.

My heart pounded. My pulse quickened. I wanted to run. I wanted to hide. I wanted to sob.

The baby dedication started.  I stood up discreetly and bolted out the door. I didn’t have to say anything to my husband.  He understood my pain.  He didn’t try to stop me.  He didn’t come after me.  He knew I’d return when I was ready.

The bathroom. The bathroom would be a safe place.  I could cry and be alone.  I would compose myself and then go back in to sit next to my husband. Just a few minutes was all I needed.  No one would even know what happened.

I closed the bathroom door in hopes of closing out the ceremonial words, the doting, the cooing, the praying over a young family, the dreams, the hopes.

Instead the words only seemed clearer.  The bathroom was not a safe place.  The bathroom had a speaker.  I listened to the entire ceremony as if I was the only one in the audience. The words were clear and crisp. My sobs were uncontrollable.  I prayed no one would enter in.

I spent her baby’s dedication in a bathroom sobbing as I mourned for my son who was dedicated before God minutes after he was born and hours before he died.  I mourned my son who was dedicated to God surrounded by family members who stood in a somewhat circle in the delivery room around my hospital bed as I was hooked up to machines and iv’s.  I mourned my son who was dedicated in a hospital-issued diaper and blanket.   I simply mourned my son.

I can’t remember how long I stayed in that bathroom. I don’t remember if I stayed in there during the entire dedication. I can’t remember if I dried my tears and got back to my seat before my friend and her young family sat down. I never asked her if she knew I had left the room during the ceremony.  I don’t think I’ve ever told her how that one day was part of my healing process.

All three of my boys have been dedicated as the practice in our faith. One in a hospital room wearing a diaper and blanket.  One in a church wearing a shirt and vest and dress pants.  One who actually was dedicated separately with each side of our family – once in a home wearing shorts and a t-shirt and once in a cabin wearing swimming trunks.  All were surrounded by loving family who prayed beautiful prayers over our family and boys. All trusting and surrendering my boys – and our parenting – to God.  None of those services required an escape to a bathroom stall.


Brainstorming and Heroes


Who is your hero?  Tell why that person is your hero.

My 8-year-old son is participating in an online writing class over the next two weeks.  The session is focusing on “Writing to a Prompt.”    The prompt happens to be about your hero.  The first lesson is on brainstorming.  I got a glimpse of his brainstorming list after his class.


Mommy.  Mommy is a hero because she cooks.

Daddy. Daddy is a hero because he makes money.

God. God is a hero because he made me.

God is a real hero. He does everything.


My heart melted at all three. And also chuckled that I am a hero because I cook.  I’ve come along way from turkey sandwiches and Ramen Noodles in college.

Of course when I asked him about his hero homework for tomorrow, he said, “Oh I forgot to list Steve from Minecraft and Spiderman.  My (online) teacher said I can list make-believe heroes too.”

Tomorrow he has to tell his (online) teacher which hero will be his focus for his paper.

Which one does he want to write about?

Steve from Minecraft. Although he hasn’t mentioned yet why Steve is his hero.

It’s okay. At least I made his brainstorming list. 🙂


Who is your hero?  And why?


I’m attempting to post on Tuesdays as part of the weekly Slice of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

Laundry Day (Literally) Stinks

Two bags of clothes sit in my garage.

I wish they were going to friends or a collection box or a donation center.

They will go in the trash.

I don’t check pockets when I do laundry.

My mom never checked pockets either.

I have washed (and dried) toys, pagers, money, wallets, coins, wrappers, crayons, chapstick.

I washed three fish oil tablets left in my sweatshirt pocket – along with a vitamin d capsule and a multivitamin.

Fish oil is supposed to help my skin glow, my body better function, my muscles not ache.

It was not supposed to ruin my clothes.

Washed fish oil horridly smells like: FISH that has gone bad.

I rewashed, rewashed in bleach, covered in baking soda, soaked in vinegar, rewashed.

Nothing could remove the smell.

My son’s favorite science center t-shirt – gone.

One of my son’s Spiderman sock from Christmas – ruined.

My sweatshirt – destroyed.

Random socks, little pairs of underwear, little pairs of jeans.

My husband’s workout sweatshirt.

All are wet and sitting in tied bags in my garage.

I wait to put them in the outside garbage can.

They smell like fish.

I don’t want to attract the cats that wander in the court.

I should have checked the pockets.

Better yet, I should have taken my fish oil right away.

This laundry day literally STINKS!


I’m  attempting to post every Tuesday as part of the weekly Slice of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

10 Years Ago

10 years ago.  

10 years ago I said hello to my first baby.
10 years ago I said goodbye to my son Aidan.

10 years ago I waited and waited to hear that first cry.
10 years ago I heard that cry after we told the Dr. to stop CPR.

10 years ago I watched my son breathe and heard his coos.
10 years ago I saw his breaths stop while he was in my arms.

10 years ago I counted six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot.
10 years ago I cut off a curl of his reddish hair to tuck away.

10 years ago my body had just given birth to a baby.
10 years ago I left the hospital empty handed.

10 years ago we planned our son’s funeral – tiny casket, songs, custom headstone.
10 years ago I sent my mother and mother-in-law to pick out a baby outfit for burial.

10 years ago my dad hugged me tight and no words were needed.
10 years ago my father-in-law told me “well done” at the grave site.

10 years ago we were given comfort from others.
10 years ago we gave comfort to others.

10 years ago I felt fear, relief, peace, joy, sadness, loss, love, laughter, tears.
10 years ago I fell more in love with my husband as we made the ultimate decisions for our son.

10 years ago.

It seems like yesterday.

It seems like forever ago.

10 years ago.

If you want to read more about Aidan, his diagnosis, and his story, please check out this previous blog post.

Three hours to write

How do I balance it all?  Sometimes I ask that of myself.  Today I realized one of the systems I have in place.

Not only am I a wife, a (wanna be) athlete, and a freelance writer and editor. I am also a homeschooling mama.  We homeschool for many reasons, which I won’t go into today.

But today I realized how I can make it all work (successfully).  We use an online/virtual charter school as our method of homeschooling.  Basically what this means is that my son has a “real” teacher he has to interact with throughout the week.  His curriculum is already scheduled without my extra work.  His materials are sent every August in boxes.  All I have to do is review, prep and teach. And the best part:  he has online required classes, which it is really cool to watch him work his way around the computer in his classes – the skills he learns!

Today I need to work on a story due later this week.  I need to make phone calls. I need to learn about people. I need to prepare to be able to write tonight after my house is silent.

And the reason I love the way we homeschool. Today my son interacts with his teacher and his scheduled online classes. Tomorrow he interacts with his teacher and his scheduled online classes.

Three hours today. Three hours tomorrow. Three hours for me to focus on what I need to do to be a better me while making him a better him.


I’m  attempting to post every Tuesday as part of the weekly Slice of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

Finding inspiration in what you can’t blog

I stare at the blank screen.  I’ve been waiting all week for inspiration for this post.  I can’t find it.

I take that back. I’ve had inspiration, but it has come in the forms of things I can’t, shouldn’t, don’t need to blog.

The small details of frustrations. The large issues of concern.  The wishes for drama-free. The confidences held.

In those moments of inspiration, I can create beautiful blog posts. Sentences that speak healing.  Words that bring comfort. Phrases that make the various situations all better.

The sentences, words and phrases don’t find their place on the blog but are mostly released elsewhere. Some are conveyed verbally. Some are sent privately.  And many just stay in my head.

Maybe someday the sentences, words and phrases will be ready, available and released to blog for others to find healing, hope and “I’m not alone.”

But now is not that time.

How is that for a very cryptic post – don’t worry – I’m fine. 😉

I’m  attempting to post every Tuesday as part of the weekly Slice of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

On the Prairie


On the Prairie

I feel refreshed, restored, renewed

On the Prairie

I see the darkest night, the brightest sunrise, the biggest open sky

On the Prairie

I smell scared skunks, fields of fresh dirt, farms of cattle

On the Prairie

I hear the wind, familiar voices, grandpa’s polka

On the Prairie

I find healing, hope, direction

On the Prairie

I remember, reflect, dream

On the Prairie

I breathe.

Every November, my family and I pack up our van and drive 20+ hours to visit family in the Northern Plains. I cherish this time of “escape” from my normal routine.

I’m  attempting to post every Tuesday as part of the weekly Slice of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

My coffee pot died

My coffee pot died this morning.  Well, the pot didn’t.  The whole bean grinder inside of it did.  When I pushed the on/off button, all it did was hum. It wanted to start but couldn’t.

Just yesterday, I bought a bag of whole coffee beans.  I had one remaining packet of ground coffee.  Just one to use this morning to make our daily coffee. I just had to push the “grind off” button before starting the pot.

I could shop for a new coffee pot, but I don’t have a car today.  My husband is driving my minivan.  His car is in the shop. Its battery is like my bean grinder.  It wants to start but all it does it make a low hum.

I could grind all the whole beans in a separate grinder, but I gave away my grinder. I didn’t think I needed it anymore.  I gave it back to my sister when she relocated closer to me. She gave it to me two years ago because she had too many bean grinders.  It is now at her apartment three hours away.  She may have to bring it back, but maybe she is using it now.

Sometimes, I give things away and then need them later.  Clothes. Airline tickets. Food. Coffee Grinders.  It is sometimes a pattern with me in my need desire to be generous to others.

Maybe my neighbor has a coffee bean grinder. Then I can walk over to her house or send my boys to ring her door bell. I will watch for coffee pots to go on sale. A nice one. One with a grinder that doesn’t hum.

I’m  attempting to post every Tuesday as part of the weekly Slice of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

Happy Birthday – Slice of Life

Today my son turns 8!

I can hardly believe it.  I still can remember the day he was born.  I was overdue and was scheduled to be induced on a Monday. My parents from Minnesota decided to come out early. As a little back story, they weren’t able to make it for the birth or short life of our son, Aidan, so they were determined not to miss any future births of our children.

My parents unexpectedly arrived at my house on Friday evening.  Throughout the evening as we talked, I just couldn’t get comfortable.  Finally later that night, I figured out I was in labor.  My doctor wanted me to take a bath at home and relax for  a bit.  Instead, we told her we were coming directly to the hospital. I don’t think she believed I was truly in labor.

My husband rushed through red lights on our way. Since it was after midnight, the only open door into the hospital was the ER.  I don’t think the ER staff believed me that I was truly in labor. They took their sweet time. Even asked if I wanted a wheelchair.  And we slowly made our way up to the maternity floor.

I don’t think the nursing staff on that floor believed I was truly in labor.  Instead they had me get changed and asked for a urine sample, which I nicely gave.  I was hooked up to monitors and put into the bed.  My husband kept prodding the nurses to check me.  They took their sweet time.

Finally they checked me. “Oh, um, what time will the doctor be here?” The nurse who was getting the infant stuff ready asked if she could do her rounds on the other babies. “Um. I think you need to stay here,” she was told. “What time is the doctor getting here?” the first nurse asked again with a bit more force.

Yes. Finally someone believed I was truly in labor. Finally the doctor showed up. She checked me and told me to push. A full twenty to thirty minutes probably passed from when I entered the ER doors to when Kory was born. No drugs – even though I told my mother I wasn’t going to have my baby “old school.”

After Kory was born, my parents and some friends arrived. I remember our friends had made sure to stop by a local store to stock up on chips and goodies for them to have in the waiting room. We all laughed, and my dad offered to move our car that was parked in such a funny way in front of the ER doors.

At my six-week check up, my doctor said, “Well I am glad I got there in time to catch your son.”

Of all the things I have been through with having kids, I’m thankful for short labors and deliveries! I think Kory’s was around four hours looking back.  Aidan’s was six from start to finish even with being induced,  and Cade’s was about that too. Let’s just say with Cade, my doctor told me at what point during regular appointments that I should demand to go to the hospital. Don’t hate me for short labor and deliveries – it truly has been God’s way to bless me with everything else we have had to go through with pregnancies and births!

And I’m so thankful that Kory was born healthy and strong. He continues to inspire me. He continues to surprise me. He makes me laugh. He makes me cry tears of pride and fear. He makes me a better me.

I love you Kory!  Thank you for being a part of my life! And happy birthday!

I’m posting every Tuesday as part of the weekly Slice of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.