Category Archives: Family

We Finally Arrived

Almost fourteen years ago, when Matt and I started our lives together, he worked at the mall. It was a good position in a sports store. Sometimes we think back to those days and wonder how we made it though.

Once we had our first son, things changed. Matt decided it was time to go back to college and start a career. We wanted more for our growing family.

It took a move from New York to Indiana to start us off. Matt worked nights at UPS and maintained a full school work load during the day. There were times in the summer when he also worked construction with my brother. I worked part time while my Mom babysat Chandler.

It was a crazy time for us. There was much debt accumulation. We paid for diapers with our credit cards. We lived in my Mom’s basement for a couple of years. But we kept going. Matt worked his butt off trying to make a better life for us.

Eventually, we were able to buy a house and start a somewhat more normal life for ourselves. We had two more babies. We continued to struggle financially. Matt worked the night shift for several years. We always made it though. We lived very simply for many, many years. I worked part time on and off but then finally stopped once I had all three boys on my hands. At that point, we lived even more simply. How? I have no idea. But we did it.

A few years later, Matt graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in mechanical engineering. From the time he started there until he graduated, he climbed up at UPS from night time box handler to a position in the engineering department. The money was better but we still struggled. There were debts to be paid and school loans looming overhead. But we kept going.

We moved here to Vermont about ten years later. Matt accepted a some-what temporary contract position on the base in the engineering department. He’s been there a couple of years. Thankfully, his contract had continued to be renewed throughout those two years.

Yesterday, Matt accepted a promotion for a permanent position as Deputy Engineer over the Civil Engineering Department on the base. This is the job he has been hoping and praying for. This is the kind of position that he dreamed of twelve years ago when we started this journey of bettering our lives. This is a huge promotion. A huge step forward in his career. This, for us, is HUGE.

We have struggled and scrimped and scraped by for all of these years. Having babies and living the best life we can all the while. As the years have gone on, things slowly got better for us. It took time and patience to get to where we are.

I wanted to share this part of our story to encourage those of you who are still in the very beginning stages of your journey. Maybe you just registered for college courses and are wondering how you will raise a family and earn your degree. Maybe you have graduated but now stare down the long road of paying off loans and finding that perfect job. Maybe you are still working at the mall and haven’t even taken the first step yet. Here’s what I want you to know:


Keep going. Keep pushing. Keep your expectations for yourself and your family high. Don’t give up! Find every program and scholarship you can. ASK FOR HELP. If we didn’t live with my Mom and Step-Dad for those couple of years, I don’t know what we would have done. Granted, not everyone has the luxury of that kind of situation, but make the best of your situation. Sacrifice. We gave up so much in those years. And now?

I’m sitting in my amazing kitchen staring at appliances that I have only dreamed of having.

I just talked to my husband on my iPhone. (Yes, this is a luxury to me!)

We have cable! Yes, this is the first time we have had cable in…well, I don’t even know how many years.

Our debts have dwindled.

We gave up so much to get to where we are. But hear me:


We are not rich now or anything. Don’t get me wrong. Maybe my title is a little misleading. There will still be struggle ahead of us. We didn’t win the lottery. But, boy, I sure feel like we did.

Young families, keep hoping, keep dreaming, keep going. I promise you, one day it will all be worth it!

When School Doesn’t Start For A Million Years

I appreciate Summer break. I really do. This time and season for us though has been crazy. We are all ready for some normal. We need school to start again. But we still have a couple of weeks. The boys are tired of each other. They need a break from being home, working on house stuff. 

We are moved in just enough to live normally for the most part. So now? What do we do? I’m trying to plan fun things and make the most of our last two weeks while still trying to get stuff around here done. So my days are filled with keeping the boys busy. Instead of writing on my blog and hanging pictures on the walls. Which is great! When I’m not pulling them off of each other we are having a lot of fun.
I will be back. Soon. Thankfully it only feels like a million years.
*No kidding, I went to post this and I just got an email from a teacher about back to school. I think I just found something to do today! School shopping! I wonder if the boys will share my enthusiasm…

Higher Ground – A Children’s Book To Benefit The Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund

When Irene ripped through the East Coast we were fairly new to Vermont. I was shocked to see the devastation that a hurricane turned tropical storm could cause so far up here! There was news of flooding that wiped away entire homes. Many families lost everything. While we were not affected immediately, there was definitely an urge inside me to do something to help. I volunteered with Vermont 211 to take phone calls and record storm damage. It was something small, but I felt like I helped in some way. When a friend of mine told me about a book he wrote to raise money for farms affected by the storm, I knew I wanted to share it with you. It’s just another small way I (and you!) can help.

I asked Kevin Fitton, the author, to tell me about the book and here is what he shared with me:

The idea behind the book came from a story I heard on Vermont Public Radio about a week after Hurricane Irene swept through Vermont. The reporter (who is actually our neighbor, Melody Bodette) told about a farm in Royalton which lost a half dozen of their cows when the White River surged over its banks. This story planted a seed in my mind, and I soon had an idea for a book about a farm like the one in Royalton. In my story, the storm damages the farm and some of the cows are lost, but their neighbors come to their aid and help them rebuild. Since the book was about neighbors helping neighbors, I wondered if I could recruit a Vermont artist and Vermont publisher to do the book with me and use the book as a fundraiser for farms like the one in the news story. So I took a complete shot in the dark and emailed my manuscript to my favorite children’s book illustrator, Mary Azarian, who happens to live in Vermont (and who I had never met, mind you). And shock of all shocks, she wrote me back and said she would read it. And then, after she read it, she said she would like to be involved if I could find a publisher. So I then contacted Radiant Hen, which is a small Vermont publisher of children’s books, and within a few days, they expressed interest in the project. And then both Mary and Tanya (the editor at Radiant Hen) agreed to donate their time to make the book happen.

Neighbors helping neighbors! I love it! And what a great lesson to teach our kids!

Here is a blurb about the book as shared on Radiant Hen’s website:

When a Hurricane strikes and causes disastrous flooding, the humans aren’t the only ones who need to seek higher ground! A story of kindness, love and inner strength that is sure to become an instant classic.
An Excerpt from the book:

“Now, unless you’re a dairy farmer this may be hard to understand, but those cows are part of our family. We feed them, and by giving us their milk, they feed us too…”

Now here’s how you can help!

The book, Higher Ground, is available for pre-order from I’d love to see them sell out of the books they have prepared for pre-printing! 

100% of the proceeds of the purchase of this book will go directly to The Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund. The price is $10.95 plus shipping (a steal when it comes to buying a children’s book!).

Please join me in supporting some of our most important community members, our farmers! Like the bumper sticker says, “If you ate today, thank a farmer!”

*Not a sponsored post! Kevin is a personal friend of mine. As are many farmers! 🙂

Breathing It In

I’m taking a nap with my sick little guy. I’m trying to breathe in this moment. 

The window is open. The birds are singing. There is a slight breeze rustling the trees. He breathes deeply. In and out. In and out. A slight snore catches his breath every now and then. 

He smells like home. Even though we do not have a place to call our own, this is home to me. Where I can be next to my loves. I breathe in his scent deep into my memory. 

“Remember this moment,” the birds sing to me. “Remember it always.”

*I took this picture using Instagram a while back and I wanted to share what I wrote here and expand on it a bit. Mostly because I know this is a safe place to keep my thoughts. And also because I thought some of you might relate.

The Middle Child Syndrome

The Middle Child Syndrome. It’s the thing that has middle children everywhere wondering about their place in the world. I was a middle child but I was also the only girl so I think that cancels it out.

Our middle child is Chase. He is eight years old. He is the most relaxed and easy going child on the planet. It is for that reason that I think we have allowed the Middle Child Syndrome to sneak in. We really don’t try to leave him out or anything. But apparently, it’s happening.

He had a bit of a melt down last night and when it came down to it, he explained it like this,

“It’s always oldest to youngest or youngest to oldest in this family! WELL WHAT ABOUT THE MIDDLE KID?!”

Oh. Whoops.

We apologized profusely for making him feel left out and swore to him that we aren’t trying to do it purposely. We promised to be more aware of it and to let him go first sometimes too.

So last night he got the first piece of dessert.  You should have seen the smile on his face.

My encouragement to you today is to think about your middle child. Are you unknowingly making him or her feel second best?

Just something to think about from the Mom who is giving her middle child the first piece of dessert for the rest of his life.

Why I Hate That One M&M’s Commercial

If you are a parent,  you probably already know which M&M’s commercial I’m talking about it.

It’s this one:

OK. So it’s funny. I laughed. The song is catchy. I get it.

But why. WHY. Do we need to market candy with sex?


My kids see this commercial on tv all the time. And they laugh. And now my seven year old knows the word sexy. No, he did not know it before. There is no reason he should. Sexy is an adult word. It has nothing to do with anything that a kid needs to know about it. Call me old fashioned. Call me strict. I DON’T CARE.

I’m really tired of our culture over-sexualizing everything. (Shut up little red squiggly line. Over-sexualizing is a word today.) It’s unnecessary. It bothers me.

Sending the message that getting naked and dancing about being sexy in a group of people is not ok. Even if they are just candy. Especially because they are candy.  No, candy is not just for kids. But airing that commercial at all times of the day knowing kids are watching it is not ok with me. Funny or not. I’m not calling for a ban on M7M’s in protest. I’m not going to get all loud-mouthed and obnoxious about it. But I don’t like it. So I thought I’d say so.

And that’s how I feel about that.

What My Kids Think I Do All Day When They’re At School

I read a post by Wendi Aarons today about What My Kids Think I Do All Day When They’re At School and just laughed and laughed. I just knew I had to write my own list because we have this conversation every. single. day.

It’s so funny what our kids (and others) think we do and we we actually do. Much like this picture that’s going around the internet:
So here is my list of what my kids think I do all day:
Tell everyone on Twitter and Facebook about all the embarrassing things that they do.
Blog about “mom stuff” all day.
Sit on the couch and watch tv.
Sit on the couch and google stuff.
Ignore all the chores so they can do it when they get home.
Make the dog hold his pee and never take him out so they can spend their entire night taking the dog out.
Think up new healthy foods and yummy desserts just so they will hate the healthy food so I can have all the yummy dessert to myself when they refuse to eat their dinner.
Bake cookies and treats for other people.
Eat the last cookie.
Disclaimer: Some of these may or may not be true. *Ahem* I love cookies and yummy desserts. And the whole sharing their embarrassing things? I have no idea what they are talking about.

Our New Home

We bought a house! We bought a house!

For the past year and a half we have been living in a very tiny apartment here in Vermont. When we moved here it was our intention of it being very temporary. But life doesn’t like to follow our rules so here we are.

We were finally able to buy but because we still own our other home in Indiana we were not approved for much. We live in a very pricey part of town and we were very discouraged that our budget was going to be so low.

I searched for houses in our price range and was thoroughly disgusted to find two mobile homes and one old farm house. We didn’t want to switch schools and we really love the area. So I called Matt.

“There is one house in the whole town in our price range. I guess we should go see it?”

So we did. As we were driving out to the house I was thinking, “Where are we going?!” It felt like we were out in the middle of nowhere but it really was only a few minutes away from the middle of town. When we pulled up and I saw the view, I was sold. You can’t buy this kind of view for the price they were asking.

It was very obvious how much work the house needed. Lots and lots of work. Lots and lots of money. But so worth it. We fell in love with the house. The price, even with added costs of renovation, was affordable. It was a foreclosure so we knew we could get it even cheaper than the asking price.

We were sold!

We were told it was built in 1850 but after some research it looks like it may have been 1860. It was built on one of the main parts of town at the time and is listed as having historic significance at the state level. I definitely plan on looking into that detail more! Unfortunately a lot of the original character was lost in renovations but there are still many characteristics that I’m really in love with.

I plan on sharing all of our renovations with you all here on the blog.  Renovating an old farm house has been one of those things I’ve always dreamed about and I am super excited to get started!

During my research on the history of the home I read in a book called “Down Depot Hill” (wrote last year) this line from a resident of the street:

“Life here may likely be a modern version of what it was like for the folks who first settled here. Families are still working the earth, the neighborhood kids are still getting together to play out-of-doors in the fields and woods, and the old houses are still providing shelter from Mother Nature.”

That line alone makes my heart squeal. That is exactly the kind of place where I want to raise my boys.

I’m so excited to get started on this new journey and equally thrilled to share it with all of you!

Stay tuned!

What I’m Doing Today

I’m packing suitcases and snacks and movies. I’m loading all my dirty laundry in a big bag so I can wash it at my Mom’s.

I’m going on a trip!

The boys and I are driving down to visit my family in Indiana today. The last time I drive there alone it took me about 18 hours. We drove 9ish hours and stopped at a hotel and drove another 9ish hours the next day. This time we are driving 5 hours to my in-law’s home and staying the night then finishing the rest of the drive the next day.

I might be crazy.

Will I make it? We shall see. I’ve made it before. Here are my travel tips in a video I posted the last time I made this drive.

My newest travel tip, which I found on Pinterest, is to pack the kids activities and snacks in these handy little craft buckets. The boys are very excited about it. We’ll see how long that lasts. My bet is hour one.  What’s yours?

I’m not sure why this photo insists on being sideways. I’ve tried to fix it for 15 minutes. I give up!

Wish me luck!

Will I Really Miss This?

I have heard mothers of babies and young children ask this question before. I have asked it myself so. many. times.

Will I really miss this?

When you are smack dab in the middle of the hardest mothering moments you wonder.

Women who’s children have grown up tell us this. We will miss this. They swear on it. And we wonder.


How will I miss the sleepless nights and the spit up stained wardrobe and the endless poopy diapers.


How will I miss spending hours pretending to enjoy playing race cars (AGAIN) and singing the Barney song (AGAIN) and asking if anyone needs to go potty (AGAIN).


Well, I’m here to tell you how. They grow up. And you face a whole new era of parenting.

One full of teaching your grown child about bullying, about strangers, about not trusting everyone who smiles at you. You teach them about consequences and disappointment and they learn that there are bad people out there. Really bad people.

You spend your days sheltering them from the harshness of this world while trying ever so hard to not be overprotective while they learn life’s injustices. You sit back and let them feel the pain of it. Because you have to. In just a few years, you won’t be there to protect them anymore. So you let the world start creeping in. Slowly. Because soon, so soon, someone other than you will hold their hand and whisper in their ear.

And you hope and pray those people will love them as much as you do. That the world will love them and value them as much as you do. Which is hard. Because you know it just might not.

One day I will miss even these days. These days of soccer practice and game night and Star Wars marathon weekends.

One day soon I will wonder if they are safe. Hope they come home by curfew. Pray to God they are in the “good crowd”. I will…gulp…give them the keys to the car.

One day I will miss this. I know it’s true. Even when there isn’t enough coffee in the world for that 8 am Saturday morning soccer game in the rain.

I will miss this.  And you will too.