Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

My Mom Job

I am getting close to 20 years into the mom gig.  That’s child’s play compared to some gals, but I’m not exactly a beginner either, am I?   I have been thinking about mom skills a lot lately; I’m trying to assess what I have learned from my years on the job so far.  (Please, let me have learned at least one thing.)

Yesterday, Scott and I were talking about how our parental roles were quite clear when the kids were young. He says it boiled down to two things:

  1. Safety
  2. Activity Director

Simple.  We liked that.  Sure, those roles required stamina.  They were physically demanding, and often led to exhaustion, but what doesn’t feel better than a hard day’s work?  Moms with young kids go to bed weary, and wake up the next day knowing they get to do it all again.

Eddie is our oldest; that poor boy.  He has to be the first to teach us everything.  Scott and I have noticed that at some time in the last year, he crossed over a line.  Eddie is leading us into unfamiliar terrain, and Scott and I are trying to get our parental footing down.

One night after work last week, Eddie sat on the couch and talked with us about work, and what has been keeping him busy lately. Then, he played us a new song he’s learned on his guitar.  I don’t think two people exist on this Earth who could provide Eddie with a more interested  and engaged audience than Scott and me.   That moment was my awakening.   Listening and a bit of encouragement is all a son who’s almost a man really needs from his parents.  I really got it in me to do so much more, but  I can tell I shouldn’t.

I’m grateful that Zeke and Olivia are still wandering through familiar terrain.  It’s clear these two are getting so much closer to crossing over that line to join their big brother.  Once they cross over,  the invisible line that has them  tethered to us  snaps.  Then,  we are all in a free fall.

Zeke had friends over last week, and they wanted to go to a water park.   Zeke and a couple of the other boys do have a driver’s license, but they still have restrictions on how many passengers can ride with them.  They needed Scott and me to drive them.  Scott and I could not have been happier to be needed.  We relished in the moment.  When Scott and I mentioned to the kids that we were sad, because we knew we were just a year or two away from getting the axe, and not being included in their plans, Olivia told us she will never NOT want us to come to a water park with her.   Thank you, Olivia. It’s nice to know some kids are actually loyal.

I don’t know why Olivia likes us, because we can be kind of mean.  When we were at the water park, everyone split up into groups.  Scott and I went on the Lazy River.  On one trip around, we happened to see Olivia, her girlfriend, and a new friend that is a boy waiting in line on the bridge above us.  The kids waved to us, and then Scott had the good idea to pretend that he and I were about to make out.  The look of horror on Olivia’s face was magical.  Her girlfriend was laughing pretty hard too.  Scott and I enjoyed that moment, and congratulated ourselves for our quick thinking for at least the next four trips around the river.  I think that when you’ve put in all the long hours of parenting, you get to take these moments to humiliate your teenagers, and really enjoy them.   We should get something out of the deal,  shouldn’t we?

I wasn’t so mean to Zeke.   Zeke is 16 now.  I know he needs his space. I told him before the boys came that I would stay out of the way.  Privately, I also committed myself to being calm, quiet, and not even slightly embarrassing.  I had to give myself this speech, because none of that happens for me without effort.   I really would like to give myself some recognition here.  I pulled off an Oscar winning performance.   I thought I behaved like a serene and cool woman. Not one bit like myself.

I didn’t realize what an effort I was making until I was alone with Olivia and one of her best pals.  We started joking around, and before you know it, I was doing the running man, and some other, equally awesome dance moves, and it just felt so good to be able to be me.  I am thankful Olivia’s friends are silly and fun, and not opposed to crazy moms. I hope Zeke appreciates what I do for him.

I love being a Mom. I love it so much. I love thinking about it, and figuring out what I need to do better, and what is going right.  I know the Mom role evolves in a lifetime, but I don’t think it ever ends.  I was talking to two moms recently.  One mom has a grown child going through a tragic time. The other has an almost grown child going through an emotionally challenging period of life.  After talking to these two moms, I came to this conclusion:  In many cases moms feel their children’s pain with greater intensity than the child who’s actually experiencing the difficulty.  I know this is not true in all cases, and for every mom.  But, for many moms it is truth.

ed and mom graduation

You know the worst part about this?  Moms have to suffer in silence.  Most of us moms know that if we tell our kids how distressed we are over their burdens, it only makes the child’s burdens worse.  Nope.  Moms have to selflessly pretend to be full of courage and cheer, and tell our kiddos to pick themselves up, and march through that crap storm, because that’s good advice.  And, pulling your grown child on your lap, and snuggling them while you both cry is not an option, sadly.

At least all of us moms can hug each other.

Here…I’ll leave you with this.  Basically, the worst song ever made.  Almost certain to leave my Mom friends a mess. I’m sorry. I know we’re friends, and I just shouldn’t.







Anniversary Story

Hey!!!!!!  Are you mad at me?  We never talk any more.  Where you been?

It’s true. I feel like the wave of impulsive blogging has passed.  I guess it was a phase. That doesn’t mean I can’t stop back and say “Hi!”, does it?  Especially since now and then folks ask me why I’m not blogging anymore.  What nice people to ask me that. I even had someone offer up some ideas for subject matter, hoping to give me some inspiration.  It worked.

It’s tough to be me.  I’ve got that one part of brain that just loves attention.  I mean, I’m getting a little too old to pretend it isn’t true. Don’t you think? When I was a wee lass, I could often be found standing in the middle of my big family, hamming it up.  I don’t remember anyone else standing next to me.  It was just me, and an audience of loving relatives.  The audience laughed, and encouraged my nonsense. Really,  when it comes down to it, you can always blame your family.

But, then there’s the other part of my brain.  The part of my brain that is self conscious. The part of my brain that knows it’s weird to enjoy attention.  I think I’ve told you this before, but I am legit jealous of shy people.  I always have been.  I’ve always been drawn to the quiet people.  I married one. Sure, I like quiet people, because they’re less likely to interrupt my show, but I also like quiet people because I admire them, and wish I was more like them.  You always want what you can’t have.

Can we talk about this summer?  This thing is off to an incredible start.  Zeke and Olivia are on a missions trip this week. Eddie is busy being 19, which doesn’t require much from me, sadly. Scott and I find ourselves staring down the path of empty nestism.  Holy crap, does that all go quickly.

It is Scott’s and my 23rd anniversary today.  Last week, we were hiking and talking about the week ahead without our kids.  We decided we needed to make the week a practice run for the future when our kids no longer live under our roof.  Like most of the folks I know, Scott and I accidentally made our kids our whole life.   Oops.  Who are we without kids now? We have no idea.

On our hike, I remembered something.  I said, “Hey!  Sunday is our anniversary.”  We congratulated each other right there,  because I’m pretty sure for the last 23 years, or so, we have remembered our anniversary ON our anniversary, or AFTER our anniversary passed.

We decided to test our empty nest skills AND celebrate our relationship skills of the past 23 years with one trip.  We decided to go camping.  In a tent.

When the kids were very young, we thought we were going to be a camping family.  We were just getting rolling with that, and looking at possibly buying a pop-up camper when Eddie got very sick with Lyme Disease.  Eddie was bitten by a tick on one of our camping trips.  About a year into that helacious fiasco,  Scott and I decided we hated camping.

Well, maybe we don’t hate camping anymore. People change. Our camping skills are a little rusty, but we do watch “Naked and Afraid” A LOT.  So, how bad could it be?  We get to have clothes, and matches, and a camp stove, and a flashlight, and toilet paper.   It’s like the freakin’ Ritz.

We have a shelf in our garage reserved for camping stuff..  For the past 11 years we haven’t given that shelf much thought.  In fact, I think we came pretty close to dumping the contents of that shelf into the garage sale pile last year.  I’m glad we didn’t.

We have a plastic tub that is filled with a lot of our camping supplies we bought when the kids were young.  It was fun opening that tub.  I’m always surprised to realize I’m not as incompetent as I thought.  We have  decent stash of useful camping items. Good job, Miki.

I was really excited to sort through and organize our items for our trip.  At the same time, I was struck with  several waves of melancholy.  That bin was packed to prepare for a camping trip with two adults and three small children.  I started going through all the items and memories began to assault me.  If I was living a “Lifetime” made for TV movie (and, I wish I was), that would have been the  scene where I stared longingly into space before a  montage of family camping memories were shown set to sad music.

The montage would include me wearing Olivia in a backpack, while she cried because she was hot; the boys would have been rolling on top of each other in the dirt, and beating each other with sticks.   That montage would probably make you cry.  Tears of joy.  That you aren’t me.


We had some fun camping.  I was sad it was over.  Scott and I came to a conclusion on one of our hikes.  It’s really  hard to escape who you are.  Just because you think you might be getting kind of old, and you have been pretending to be a mature adult for more than half your life, doesn’t mean you are.

When I met Scott I was 16 and he was 19.  We bonded over sports, fitness, and sarcasm. We loved to have fun.  We loved to play almost anything.  Turns out, we still do.

We went to Perrot State Park in Wisconsin. We spent $100 on our anniversary weekend, and I’m trying to figure out how we could have had more fun had we spent $10,000.


Perrot State Park.  12.5 miles of hiking trails.  I think we hit them all.


15 mile bike ride through insanely awesome trails.  This is Perrot Nature Refuge.




These are cows we saw on our bike ride.  Bet you’ve never seen cows before.



I think it’s okay that we made our kids our life.  When we start having more of those moments where they don’t need us like they do now, I feel pretty sure we’ll revert right back to the stuff we love.  We saw such incredible views this weekend.  My eyes couldn’t get enough of it.  Those views made me think of all the other beautiful views we haven’t seen yet, in Wisconsin and beyond.  I was thinking that when you’re very curious, it is hard to be depressed.  There’s too much to see. There’s too much to do.

Happy 23rd Anniversary to this freaky, fun guy.  The future looks full.





I’ve been approaching this blog post  from every angle.  I want to say something.  I need to say something.  I’m pretty sure I’m SUPPOSED to say something.  But, there’s a decent chance that thing I say might not be said well.  I SO want to say this thing well.

I need to tell my blog friends a story.  When I witness goodness, faith and generosity, I feel compelled to share the story.  I was born to tell stories.  The reason for my pause is this: I don’t want you to misunderstand. This is not a story about me.  It’s not a story about my family.  It’s not a story about me asking you for sympathy for my family. This is a story about other people.  This is a story about faith.  This is a story about prayer, and answered prayer.  This is a story about witnessing the God of the Universe responding to real time requests.  This is a good story.  So, I’m tellin’ it:

Chapter One


Long, long ago…back when Scott and I were just past being kids ourselves, Scott was a teacher and coach at a tiny school in Iowa.  About 50 kids per grade.  We LOVED this school, and this community.   After 8 years in this community, we got an idea that we were meant to leave.  So, we did.  We moved to Wisconsin, and it broke our hearts.

We built our lives, and raised our kids in Wisconsin, and life is good.  But, we never lost contact with our Iowa friends.

Chapter Two

Eddie Gets Sick

When we moved to Wisconsin, we had some struggles.  Eddie became ill.  His life wasn’t turning out like we expected.  Not at all.  Eddie battled a debilitating illness that kept him from school, and just life, really.  We told little Eddie that we would spend every spare moment and resource we had available to us to find a way to help him feel better. So, we did.

Chapter Three

Eddie Gets Better

I guess Eddie’s illness just had to run its course.  Its 12 year course.  Towards the end of high school, Eddie got up on his feet a bit more.  His life started to look a bit normal. We can’t actually tell you what made him better, or even what was wrong with him.  We just know that thousands of mouths petitioned Eddie’s cause to our God in Heaven.  God answered with a miracle.

Eddie IS better.  But, he has some things he missed.  Like, school and working.

Truthfully, he still has some ground to cover.  Staying upright and healthy for more than a week is something he is looking forward to achieving.

Chapter Four

Eddie Goes to College

Eddie has a unique spirit.  His spirit is both strong and flexible.  The spirit God gave Eddie allowed Eddie to find  a way to pursue his high school athletic dreams, while also carrying a  burden.  It was quite a display of courage.

Eddie is going to wrestle in college too.  He says he isn’t finished.  He wants a chance to fight to the top.

Chapter Five

Paying for Eddie’s College

When we were spending money on doctors and miracle cures, we weren’t thinking about college.  We were just fighting for the POSSIBLITY of college.  College is now possible.

When people have asked Eddie what he’d like to do after college, he hasn’t had an answer.  He told us the only thing he can really see himself doing is helping people.  He sees himself in an impoverished country, doing what he can to offer some relief.

Hear me now, it isn’t that I’m not proud. That’s a sweet thing to hear your teenage boy say. I mean,  I’m the one who told the little tiger in Kindergarten that we were lucky to be poor (relative to the kids Eddie knew).  I followed that statement up with proof.  I said that we couldn’t possibly enjoy everything we had as much as we did, if we had more than we needed.   I guess the little sucker chose that one moment to listen to me too.

I don’t know if Eddie will do this impoverished country thing.  We all have big ideas when we’re young, don’t we?  I was going to be a children’s author and missionary, oh, and a Ninja in my spare time.   But, I guess, based on what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t be so surprised if Eddie didn’t do just as he plans.  He can be like that.

Chapter Six


I have been praying this college thing over.  I have been attempting to turn every overwhelming wave of fear into a prayer.  On this very day, I told God I was going to fast and pray. I was going to ask him to help us figure things out.  Like, how Eddie can find money for college, without money for college.  And, how we could responsibly take out loans with Eddie’s extravagant plans to earn millions feeding the poor.  So, I fasted and prayed.

I know.  Telling people you’re fasting is breaking the rules.  No one likes a bragger, especially God.  But, I’m breaking the rules, because the story must be told.

I told God I thought he meant for Eddie to go to college, and I was asking for some direction.  I told God I would fast and pray today, and seek a sign of peace.

Chapter Seven

God’s Answer in the Mail

After a day of fasting and prayer, asking God for peace that we could afford to send Eddie to college, I came home and got the mail.  In the mail was a fat white envelope.  In the envelope was a long, long letter with pictures of some beautiful families, and faces from our past.  In the envelope was a check.

God used Scott’s former athletes and students to deliver a bright bolt of encouragement and confirmation into the lives of my family.  These beautiful families explained what it meant for them to have a teacher and a coach like Scott to invest in their lives when they were young.  They told us that Scott was a guy who was used  to help spur them on to their own great stories as husbands, dads and employers and employees.

These guys explained they wanted to express their appreciation with a check.  And, by the way, maybe we could use it for Eddie’s college.

I cried.  I cried a lot.

I know that in this story, I’m making God sound like a big magic Genie.  He’s not. That’s not how it goes. But, then, sometimes that’s just how it goes.  Sometimes we get to see the hand of God moving in our immediate atmosphere. Often he moves through Humanity.  I’m a witness.



Chapter 8

Scott is Weird

Poor Scott.  The kid takes a compliment kinda hard.  He can’t face it.  He really can’t.  He loved seeing pictures of his former student athletes, and their families, and acknowledging what awesome lives these guys are living now.  He’s so genuinely happy for them.

Scott will strongly protest any  compliments sent in his general direction.  He will stand firmly in his belief that it was NOT anything special on his part that helped any of these boys.  He has a sincere belief that it was, in fact, these boys, and the community that was special.  I agreed.  This community was special.   I also agreed with Scott that he was in NO WAY special.  Sometimes you just tell a guy what he needs to hear.

Chapter 9

To Whom Much is Given…

Do you know that verse in the Gospel of Luke?  “To whom much is given, much will be required”.  That is us. That is our family.  We have been given much.

We are rich.

We are rich in friends and family.  We are rich in faith.  We have been given much.  So, I guess that means much of us is required.   I’ll take that trade.

I pray we recognize what is required. Even if what’s required is impoverished, and in another country.

May God bless these boys, and their families.


ed co wrestlers


Vacation Lessons

I’m evolving.  I mean, my thoughts are evolving. I am coming to the conclusion that it may not be possible for me to hold a permanent position on most things.  There’s so much to consider.

My blogging is changing.  As in, slowing down.  Possibly, close to coming to a halt.  It’s hard to tell exactly when.  I don’t know if blogging is necessary now.  It used to feel necessary.     I’m not surprised. Isn’t that life?  We change and grow.  We can only live the chapter we’re in today.  The next chapter always holds changes in our story line. It’s fun to look back.  It’s fun to see how previous chapters build a plot, and create a context for what happens next. What happens next isn’t possible without all of the what happened before. I think I’m getting it.

In the past, I have blogged detailed recaps of our spring break trips.  Gosh. That was fun. This year, I will condense our spring break into the lessons I learned.  Gosh, you know I love a good lesson. Gosh, I love the word Gosh.

We spent the week of spring break in a few ways:  visiting a college in Kentucky for Eddie.  Reuniting with my oldest friend at her home in North Carolina, and a few days on the beach.  It was a happy week.

Here’s what I learned:

1.Hillbillies are not visible from the interstate.  It’s quite a source of pride for my children and their cousins to know that their descendants on my mom’s side are Kentucky hill people.  My mom has a picture of our kids’ great, great, great grandpa. He is a tall, handsome black man.  He and his white wife,  helped raised my grandma in the hills of Kentucky for a few years of her life, until she moved to Wisconsin with her parents.  I would give a great deal to go back and talk to these great grandparents of mine.  We thought that maybe we could get a glimpse of our history driving through the Appalachians.   Didn’t happen. Unless the hill people are residing in truck stops, Walmarts and sports stadiums, we didn’t spot anything that looked quite like Kentucky Hill People.  After one stop in Kentucky, Scott told me he thought someone at the gas station  looked like me.  He said maybe we were related.  Scott’s a sport.

2. Some college kids prefer to get drunk on fun.  Eddie visited a super cool college in Kentucky.  He has a wrestling friend there who kept Eddie up all night with his wrestling buddies.  They had crazy adventures that included long boarding down the hills of Kentucky (they didn’t see Grandpa either), and eating at a Waffle House at 3 am.  These guys have thought of a hundred ways to have fun, and it’s the kind of fun they remember in the morning.   I liked this school very much.

3. Flat tires. Boys become men.  I was skeptical that our ol’ van could make a long trip like the one we took. Scott had confidence in the “Blue Bullet”. Scott was right. The van served us well.  I really love that vehicle.  We did have one flat tire.  In the middle of nowhere.  Late at night.  In the middle of nowhere. Did I mention we were in the middle of nowhere?  We heard a bad noise.  I applied my solution for car trouble. I turned up the radio.  Scott got all picky about it though, and made us pull over.  When we realized we had a flat, I instantly went into parental problem solving mode. But then I quickly saw how my two teenage boys-becoming-men were all over this problem with their Dad.  I noticed none of the guys expected Olivia and I to get out of the car.  It seemed like the boys were kind of operating on instinct, and I am not ashamed to say that my heart swelled.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m about partnerships.  I’m all about how women can run the world, and run it well.  But, I’m not gonna lie.  I like knowing the men in my life feel a little protective sometimes.  I’m not even going to try to reason that out with ya’.  It’s a bit primal, but there you have it.  The truth is out, and that’s how I feel.

4.  Liking your kids + modeling kindness + correction = nice kids.  My oldest friend has triplet boys, and a daughter.  Her kids are so sweet and well behaved. We fell in love with them. I wasn’t surprised at all.  My friend is a few years behind me in the parenting game.  She’s at that stage where you have to referee and correct a lot.  Don’t get me wrong, her children were golden.  I mean, these kids had the best manners EVER.  I just happened to come around the corner in the morning to see my friend settling an argument her kids were having between themselves while playing a game in the yard.  I know. Huge shock, ’cause that almost never happens with siblings.  It made me chuckle to see the serious looks on the kids’ faces, and what a good job my friend was doing of reminding them to be nice, and could they promise to remember to be nice before she let them go play again?   It reminded me of how hard it is to be a good parent.  I wish I could go back, and offer my younger parental self some reassurance.  I’d say, “Hey Mik, these boys aren’t going to be beating the crap out of each other forever. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t give up. Keep up the silly lectures, and handing out the consequences,  because some day you’ll be glad you did. Some day, you’ll see that all your man  hours weren’t completely for nothing; those wildly aggressive puppies will some day become more like your friends.”

5. I’m easily influenced – After 24 hours in the South, I had a Southern accent.  I thought it to be quite authentic, and I felt it couldn’t be helped.  My kids begged me to stop.  Again, if I could help it, I would.

6. I’d rather eat better food than more food – My super awesome family indulged me on this.  I asked them if we could skip fast food, in favor of spending more money on higher quality food. They agreed.  The plan was a success.  We had some delicious meals made with local ingredients.  See, that’s another thing you couldn’t get  away with when your kids are young.  I like teenagers.

7. Vacationing with teenagers does not improve your self esteem.  We were in some close quarters on the road.  Someone always had to share a bed.  I made a joke about me sharing a bed with Eddie. Before I even got the joke out of my mouth, Eddie hollered in utter disgust.  Like I stabbed him.  It was obvious that this notion was the MOST disgusting event Eddie could conceive of in his mind. And, let me remind you, Eddie wears ripped sweats, that  you could crack in half from all the attached crust.  Really?  I’m THAT disgusting?

beach spring break 2016

8. Vacationing with teenagers will not improve your marriage.  It is best to have a strong relationship before you attempt to vacation with teenagers.  Teenagers will not abide any interaction between their parents that looks a bit like love, affection or fondness.  I believe at one point when we were driving,  I tried putting my hand on Scott’s neck, and I received a swift slap on the arm with an unopened Gogurt from one of the teenage ingrates.  I’m sorry. I lost my head.  I forgot that Scott and I were merely tour guides.  I didn’t let it happen again.


9. Families from Wisconsin can enjoy the beach in most weather – Zeke and Olivia had never seen an ocean. Eddie had been to the ocean once.  The temperature was in the 60’s,  and we had the best darn day at the beach.  We had the sunburn to prove it.

miki beach

Here I am in my Wisconsin Bikini.  It’s racy.

10. Trapped in a van for days with my teenagers, who at times find me disgusting, and who will not accept that I am in a non-platonic relationship with their father, is my favorite place to be on Earth. Seriously.  For real. This is the truth.  I had moments on this trip when we were laughing and talking with these teenagers, and my heart was so full.  I couldn’t express the love in my heart, because teenagers aren’t always up for hearing about how a mother loves.  But, let it be known.  I am keenly aware that my family is at the end of the time in our lives when our trips look like this trip looked.  These five people are likely to expand and grow.  Additions to the family will be a blessing, and additions will be loved. But, additions will be the next chapter.  I’m going to appreciate every word and moment in the pages of this chapter we are in now.  I LOVE this chapter!!!


kids spring break 2016



End of Era Skills

My blogging all but dried up during the cold, busy season of wrestling. I mean, winter.  I forget that it isn’t spring, summer, fall, wrestling for everyone else.

Anyway, I’m back now.

Because I have this writing compulsion, my poor Facebook friends have had to take the heat. In light of my inability to find time to blog, long and regular Facebook posts have become my jam.  I’m ready to blog again; now I can put all my nonsense into regular blog updates.. My Facebook friends will be glad for it.

I have just one subject on my mind today: how badly I handle the end of an era. Not good at it at all.  Eddie is going to college. He will be moving out.

Three of the worst days of my life were the three days I dropped off our kids at Kindergarten.  Since that time,   I have developed only a few meager skills to improve my ability to cope with days like this.

I remember dropping Zeke off, and running into a friend of mine on the way out of the school..  This friend was just as nuts about her kids as I am mine.  I was blubbering and carrying on, and even though she gave me a nice pat on the back, I could read in her eyes that she’d thought better of me than this pathetic display.  No need for all the fuss, really.

In my head, I am totally aware that over the years, gazillions of moms who love their kids  have managed first day of Kindergarten, and high school graduation without theatrics.  I can too. Except, I’m not off to a very good start.

Yesterday, I was in the bathroom at a restaurant, and I heard a little boy tell his Mom, “Hey.  I’m not suppose to be in here. This bathroom is for gewls, not boys. I’m a boy.”

I remembered when Eddie was offended by the same thing when he was little, and then I got choked up.

Later, I was watching a show with a dad playing football with is two little sons, and there the tears were again. Scott always played football with our kids.  Boo hoo!!!

Then, I watched a rerun of “The Middle”. Sue Heck was going to college. You’ll never guess what I was doing.  Okay, so you did guess.  Crying.

Little kids and TV aren’t the only things making me cry.  I was putting gas in my car, and heard a sad song playing over the P.A..  That’s all it took.  Tears in my eyes again.

All three of our kids remember how I handled the whole Kindergarten debacle.  I’d like to think they remember it, because it really isn’t like me to cry and carry on.   They haven’t seen it much in their lifetimes.  I generally save the all out crying for deaths of loved ones…and Kindergarten.

I remember 5-year-old Eddie trying to make me feel better about his Kindergarten debut.  That kid was so happy to be growing up, and a part of his own society.  He couldn’t figure out why his Mom wasn’t on board.  I wrote in his baby book that one day after school he was trying to make me feel better.  He said, “Mom, when I’m at Kindergarten, just go to the zoo!”

See,he said that, because we took the kids to the zoo a lot, and he knew I liked it there. Now can you see why I’m CRYINGGGG????  Isn’t that SOOOOO sweet????!!

I know. Pull yourself together, lady.

I’m going to try.  I really am.  Because kids moving on is good. That’s what you want them to do.  It means they’re healthy, and it means you haven’t done the worst job as a parent, right? Plus,  Moms say goodbye to their 18-year-olds every year, and you don’t hear them whining about it.  I mean, if my 18-year-old was clinging to my leg, begging to stay, THAT would be something to cry about.

I’ll pull it together.  I promise. I will.  I’ll go to the Zoo.


ed and zeke wrestling

First they’re little.



Ed State 1

Then…POOF!  They’re big.  It’s a trap.

Holiday Bits

Dang…you got some snu on your collar.

What’s that you say?  What’s SNU?

I don’t know.  What’s snu with you?

I tricked you.

Telling good jokes is one of my New Year’s resolutions.  So, off to a good start, I guess.

Seriously though, what IS new with you?  We haven’t talked in a while.  Did you get the ceramic skillet and sharp knives you’ve always dreamed of for Christmas?  Well, I did.  And, I’m not just saying it to make you jealous.

When I open gifts that I can use in the kitchen, I really have to give myself a good mental scolding. I’m not adequately appreciative.    There’s this little, selfish, adolescent part of my brain that is saying, “I never asked to be in charge of making all you people dinner anyway.”

That’s not very mature. I got to be a kid once. Now I get to make dinner.

And, seriously, ceramic skillets are the way to go.  I like mine a lot.  I might even string it on a gold chain and wear it as jewelry.  But who wants jewelry, anyway?  Shallow people, that’s who.

I did give Scott bath towels for Christmas.  See,  I did this little trick on purpose.  Scott does all our laundry.  I thought he may be overjoyed to open some big, beige towels at Christmas.  I gathered from Scott’s luke warm response, I may have made my point.

Besides being ungrateful, I believe this Christmas was one of my best ever.   Keep in mind, about 90% of my Christmases have been the best ever.   I’m not picky.  Just throw some people I love, good food and a few days off together in a room, and I’m a giddy gal.  Especially when I open my ceramic skillet.

We spent some QT with our parents, most of Scott’s and my siblings,  and our siblings’ families.  I know family stuff doesn’t always turn our right for people. Siblings can be pretty hard on each other.

I should try to figure out why we like our siblings.  Maybe there’s a formula to follow that could help new parents. If I could break it down, I could write a book and help lots of people.

Like, make sure all your kids eat broccoli, brush their teeth and have a newspaper route.  If you do all three of these things, your kids will grow up to be adults who are not overly sensitive, forgive easily, laugh a lot, enjoy hanging out, and won’t fight over Great Grandma’s tea kettle when you’re dead.

I’ll kick it around a bit, and let you know what I find out.

Smith boys xmas 2015

After spending time with both sides of the fam, we went to a ball-busting national wrestling tournament, “The Clash”, to watch the boys.  Oops.  I shouldn’t have said that.  I’m sorry if that hurt your ears.  I may be spending too much time around wrestlers.

The tournament was intense. Your team doesn’t get there without a special invite.  Some of the best wrestlers in the nation were there.  I can’t believe how much fun it was.  We hung out with the other kids’ families, and cheered on our guys, who were often the underdogs.  Watching kids fight like beasts for the good of their team is inspiring.    I love sports.

One time,  a particularly aggressive kid, dumped Zeke on his neck. Eddie jumped out of his chair and yelled, “He can’t do that to him!!!”

The ref pointed at Eddie, and told him to sit down and be quiet.  At which point, Scott stood up, and yelled, “That’s his brother, and that’s his brother’s neck.”

At which point, the ref told Scott to be quiet as well.

I’ve never been more personally entranced by a situation than that one.  I should have stood up after the ref yelled at Scott to keep the chain going.


Did you make New Year’s resolutions?  I didn’t.

I kind of glommed on to one of Olivia’s resolutions, but other than that one, I’m without goals this year.

Olivia is 14.  Is that the age were you fluidly move back and forth between  the child you were to the adult you’re becoming?  Because, that’s what I see happening.  I like what I see emerging.

Olivia canned social media for a few days.  I could hardly let my daughter do that alone, right?  I have to save face, and pretend I’m like a real parent.

Olivia was telling me about turning the lights out on social media;  that wasn’t her only goal.  She also plans on being her true authentic self; not persuaded by popular opinion or vanity.  She had some specific steps in mind to move herself further in this direction.

I’m like, “Where do you get this crap, Olivia?”

No.  I’m joshin’ ya. It WAS one of those moments though.  One of those moments when you are just happy to have a front row seat to the “Watching your kids grow up show.”  Sometimes your kids make you want to rip your hair out.  Other times, you think they may just be more mature than you.

Happy New Year



christmas kids 2015







It’s Christmas Eve.  I have been up since 4:19 this morning.  That’s about an hour too early.  I could have stayed in bed, pretending my body has a bit of common sense.  That’s futile, in my experience.

I might be too excited to sleep. It’s Christmas Eve, you know.  We’ve got chestnuts to roast, and popcorn to string. Well, maybe I would rather read my book and play some ping pong, but still.  It’s a day to enjoy.

I have this buzz in my head.  It’s persistent.  I stopped this morning to acknowledge the buzz; I’ve been hearing it for a week or so now.   I asked God if He’d translate what I’m hearing.   I hope He answered.

I have been thinking hard about my friends and family carrying grief this Holiday Season.  If that is you, then I think the translation of this buzz is meant for you to hear.

I think I’m supposed to say two things:

  1. Tomorrow won’t look like today.
  2. You’re sad, and it’s okay.

My sister, Gail, posted a picture this week of a past Christmas.  She said it was one of her best Christmases.  That Christmas, Gail’s beautiful son, Ryan, was alive.  Ryan was a fun maker.  He was full of joy.

Gail said that she remembers laughing so hard it hurt that Christmas; she has a picture as evidence.  I enjoyed my family too that year.  But, I look at that picture, and I have a different memory.  That  was another Christmas when I faked it.   There have been more Christmases than I want to count when I generally faked having fun, and faked being present.  Grief and sadness keep your mind occupied.

christmas sisters

That Christmas, like so many others, I was wrestling with thoughts of Eddie’s future; trying to make peace with his health that seemed to be in an eternal downward spiral.

One year, on Christmas, Eddie was too sick to take the trip to Iowa to see Scott’s family.  Scott and I made what felt to us like an excruciating decision.  We left Eddie home with my parents for the day while we made a lightening quick trip to drop off presents, hug Scott’s family, and then turned around to come back home.

This decision felt traumatic for Scott and me.  We just had a hard time accepting that this was our son’s life; missing life, really.  It felt like a grave omen.  As we were getting ready to leave for Iowa, I heard Scott sobbing in a corner of the basement.  Scott was grief stricken too. Those were sad days.

That was yesterday.  That isn’t today.  I thank my precious Savior in heaven for showering mercy on this family of mine, and restoring Eddie’s health.  All good things come from HIM.

The fact that our deepest wounds have been healed, does NOT put me in a position of authority to talk about dealing with grief at Christmas.  You may rightfully be thinking, “You don’t know how I feel, Miki.  Your problem is solved.”

You’re right.

That doesn’t change the fact that my heart feels pain for others who have to fake it this Christmas, or any Christmas.  And, I feel compelled to tell you it is okay. YOU are okay.

I want you to know that you are NOT alone.  You are not forgotten.  I prayed for you this morning.  I care about you.  But, I also want to tell you that the God of the universe cares for you too.  I’m not preaching to you.  I’m not interested in converting you.  I just want you to know today, that if you are sad, and you feel hopeless, there is a supernatural hope that can be found through faith.  My faith in Jesus is not my religion.  This faith I have is practical and supernatural., and sustained me  when grief gripped my heart.  This faith of mine yields hope, and that’s what I know you  need.  Hope.  We all need hope.

Hope that a better outcome is ahead.  Hope that we can survive the present.


Romans 5:2-6

2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 



I want you to have hope.   Today is not tomorrow.  You are not stuck here.

If you’re faking it today, it’s okay.  It’s really okay.  I want to tell you that you are brave.  You got up today.  You showed up.  That is enough.

Be kind to yourself.  Thank yourself for moving along.  That’s all you need to do. You just have to take the next step.

I will keep praying for you today.  I will pray that you know you are not alone.  I will pray that you find supernatural hope.  I will pray that you just take the next step, and congratulate yourself when you do.

You are loved.  This is your time and place on this Earth, and your life has meaning.  I pray you feel God’s love for you this Christmas.

Merry Christmas, my friend.







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