Sunday Chat

*tap, tap, tap*

Is this thing on? Oh my word I fell off the face of the earth there. Apparently that is what happens when you go back to work after a 12 year hiatus.

That’s right!! I’m a working woman. And I’m kind of loving it!! I took a position at my church coordinating all of their social media. It is a perfect fit for me. I work during school hours a couple of days of week and fill in the rest of my hours at home in my pajamas. I’m living the dream!!


I was unaware of the steep learning curve that is going back to work. Also apparently that robot we were all promised growing up on a steady diet of the Jetsons? Well Rosie continues to let me down. The laundry is piling up. These people still expect to be fed. And the cleaning fairy needs to be fired.

A month in and I am still flailing a bit. But little by little, we are getting it together. Well, as together as we get around here. #keepingitreal

This week I will share a few posts about some things that are helping me out as a new working mom. Hoping you find them helpful to. See you back here tomorrow!!

This is 40

Today is the day. I am officially in my 40s.

I get that some people dread birthdays. For me I never really have. I know some people might consider 40 old, but I guess it comes down to how you feel and I feel the best I ever have. Truly. 40s are a time of being secure in who you are, knowing what you want out of life (and what you don’t), and living for the things that are truly important. Never have I felt more sure of who I am and who I am supposed to be.

The 20s seemed like such an insecure time. A ridiculous amount of fun was had as a single and newly married girl living in the big city. No kids, little responsibility (outside of paying obnoxious amounts of rent). But it is also such a time of doubt about who you are, where your life is going, am I doing it right and how the heck am I supposed to do this adult thing??!! So much insecurity. No thank you. Goodbye 20s.

The 30s seemed like a bit of a blur. Three kids (plus a 4th through foster care). I don’t think I slept enough the whole 10 years. So much new responsibility it felt crushing at times. Still a ton of joy raising a family and starting an official, full blown, “grown up” life. But still a lot of insecurities about friendships, self-worth, body image (yowza body post kids) and all the ways I was likely messing my kids up. The 30s were very, very good to me, but I am happy to wave them goodbye as well.

40 feels so fabulous to me. My kids are at such awesome ages and I feel like I am pretty confident in my parenting abilities (talk to me again when I have full-blown teenagers). I know the things that make me happy and the things that drain me. I am done with toxic friendships and instead chose to invest in healthy people who love me for me. At the same time I find myself becoming much more generous with myself and my time, looking around for ways to bless others because I have been so blessed in life. After spending my 30s hunkering down and getting er done with little kids, I am finally looking outward again and it feels so freeing.

I was talking to Ryan the other day about this life we have created and how much joy it brings me. I love that we live life large and try to consume every day to the fullest. I totally recognize that my life seems overwhelming to many people. We stay busy, love to travel, take in as many theater and concerts and festivals and local events as we can. Nothing makes me get twitchy more than a blank calendar. I like it full.

I am done apologizing for it. I know living life on such a grand scale isn’t for everyone but I want to live a life of no regrets and for me that means saying yes to as many experiences as possible while making sure we are being responsible with our finances and not burning ourselves out. We don’t always get it right, but I also know I’m not happy still for too long. I think my 40s are going to be a grown up, responsible decade of YOLO (can you say YOLO when you are 40?).

So for those of you who have blazed the 40 trail ahead of me, thank you so much for showing me age is just a number and nothing to fear. I think because I have so many older and wiser friends in my life I look forward to every birthday knowing that it fully has the potential to be better than the last. You gals are definitely making 40 look pretty amazing.

And to those of you who are behind me in your 20s and 30s. Don’t waste a moment wishing for what was behind you or aching to get ahead. I know I have wished away years before and it is such wasted energy. Soak up every moment of every day as the blessing that it is. Stop apologizing for who you are, but always strive to end each day a little closer to the person God wants you to be. And most of all remember, life is way too short to be spent worrying. Grab yourself a square (or two) of chocolate, pour yourself a glass (or two) of red, look life square in the eye and say “I’ve got this.” It just keeps getting better. Cheers.

Sunday Chat

Well last week was a WHIRLWIND (isn’t that how I start out every week lol?).

Ryan traveled the beginning of the week so I was holding down the fort solo. I remember when the kids were younger how God awful it was when he was gone. I was hanging on by a thread at the end of every single day counting down the hours until he returned. When you are in the fog of it, it seems as though it will never get better.

But I promise it does. Now when he travels we do just fine. We miss him and things run MUCH smoother with him around. I have learned that a little frozen pizza never hurt anyone, nor did a little extra TV time. Technology has made it possible to chat over computer in a way that makes it seem like Daddy is still across the kitchen table. And my parents are right down the street to help when I am losing my mind. We got this and thankfully he doesn’t travel often.

Last week was also the last week of school. Silas has been finished for a few weeks but the girls had 2 1/2 days to finish up. God only knows how they filled those two days. I heard lots about desk cleaning and field trips and fun games outside for extra recesses and ice cream parties. We all just kind of limp to the finish after Memorial Day.

The highlight of the end of school was a doozy. We live in an area with one of the most concentrated Dutch populations outside of The Netherlands. There is a cheeky saying around these parts that “if you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much”. We ain’t Dutch, and think we are pretty awesome. In a town where the Vander (fill in the blanks) section of the phone book is the thickest part, you can imagine the excitement when the King and Queen head to Grand Rapids after a state dinner with the president.

Because one of Lily’s classmates has close ties with the King and Queen (who knew??), her class was chosen to greet them at the airport with a song sung entirely in Dutch. They had worked on it for months and months and it was actually quite impressive. I must admit I probably wasn’t as excited as I should have been since we have not a drop of Dutch blood, but it isn’t often you get to sing for royalty (I sung with Barry Manilow which is close to the same). She was so tickled and even requested to shave her legs for the first time for her performance. Apparently hairless legs are essential when you sing for the King and Queen.

If I may digress for a moment: If I could have a time machine I would go back in time and find the woman who first decided she should shave (actually it was probably some man). Lily asked me why woman shave their legs and not their arms and I had zero good reasons. It is all arbitrary and has no real purpose which makes it even more annoying. But she is now welcomed into the club and the excitement is still high about it all. She has years to begrudge it so I’ll let her be ecstatic for now. In the meantime I just figure out ways to wear maxis every day so I can avoid it.

Wednesday was finally the last day of school. It was a half day that started with the all school chapel. I cry every single stinking year because I love our school so much and I can’t believe another school year has gone by. Now I will have a 7th grader, 4th grader and Kindergartener. I could crawl into the fetal position if I think about it too much. In fact I might pause for some chocolate…… (someone got two giant Toblerone bars for her birthday)

We picked the kids up from school with packed suitcases and surprised them with a trip to Cedar Point. More on that tomorrow (as it was a blog sponsored trip) but needless to say it was an awesome surprise and we are still talking about our adventures.

We came home for the most important day of the week. The one in which I celebrated turning 40. I actually don’t turn 40 until this week (more on that coming as well), but Ryan planned a small gathering of dear friends and it was so wonderful to look around the room and see all the people I love in one place.

I was happily upstaged at my own party by another birthday girl. Our foster baby’s parents, who have become lovely friends, brought her by to say hi. She turned 3 on Friday and it was amazing to see her thriving. While our immediate family has spent time with her, Ryan and my extended family has not seen her in over a year since she left our home. What a blessing it was for them and all our friends who spent so much time praying for her. The highlight of the night by far. God is so very very good.

I spent most of today reflecting and basking in the glow of last week. This week offers a small reprieve until we are off and running again on our next adventure. We will throw in a few more birthday celebrations this week because I like to milk my birthdays for all they are worth. You only turn 40 once so I think it is more than called for. Don’t you?


Sunday Chat

Oh man, this week (and maybe next) will go down as some of the best of the summer. And summer hasn’t even really started yet!!!

I love surprising our kids with special things. Partly because it heads off the “is it time yet? how many more days? is it here yet?” that happens when kids know something is coming. Partly just because it is so fun to see their faces when we spring a fun event on them out of nowhere. This past week we got to do two biggies and have another coming up this week. Too. Much. Fun.

Ryan and Silas don’t get near enough time together so I got them tickets to see Wild Kratts live. Silas loves the show and I love him loving it because he always comes to me with fascinating animal facts. We went to the zoo last week and he told me something about nearly every animal. He had no idea he was going to get to go to the show and was so excited to see his two heros in the flesh.

Friday was Hannah’s birthday. Although we went out for ice cream that night we didn’t really do much to celebrate. That is because the real celebration was going to be on Saturday but she didn’t know it. After finishing off the soccer season she came home and we shared the news I have been keeping secret since October (and almost spilled the beans more time than I can count).


I know the cool thing to do here would be to pretend that this present was all about Hannah. But mama loves her some TSwift. And it lived up to the hype. We had so much fun. Going to a concert with a nine year old is the best because you can sing at the top of your lungs, dance like a maniac and she thinks it’s awesome. What a great memory maker for us both. Now I just need to figure out a way to be her official blogger and follow her tour around the country. That’s a thing right?

ps. I have a lot of sponsored posts this week because I have gotten a bit backed up trying to survive the end of the school year. sorry in advance but I think they are some fun ones you will enjoy. 

Sunday Chat- 3 Day Weekend Edition

Isn’t it funny how even when you aren’t working, a three day weekend still feels like a gift. So much good family time and a few days where we didn’t get out of pajamas until well into the evening = success.  We certainly needed it after the last two weeks of running around like chickens with our heads cut off.

I am so jealous of those of you done with school. Going back after Memorial Day seems criminal. Then again I won’t envy you all when you start back early August so I guess it all balances out. But we have all pretty much checked out and I have warned all the teachers that our heads are no longer in the games.

Ryan and I celebrated 14 years of marriage last Tuesday. I didn’t write a mushy blog post or give it much attention on Facebook this year. I have too many friends struggling through the ends of their marriages or slogging through rough patches. I ache for them and never want my happiness to be salt in the wound. So I will just quickly say that our marriage has been a blessing in my life and Ryan has made me better in every possible way. I am super thankful for our 14 years.

We celebrated with some Indian food and a night at the theater. I am not a very adventurous eater but am married to a man who will try anything once. Anything. He loves eating ethnic food and does so quite frequently with his dad and co-workers. So in his honor I found a little local Indian restaurant to check out. I am a convert. I had chicken curry that I have been thinking about ever since. Just amazing. Of course, Ryan is not content with just some boring old ethnic food so he got goat. In a show of anniversary love I tried it. Verdict? Not too shabby. Your never too old to try new things I guess.

After dinner we headed to the theater to see Evita. I am a musical loving girl. Married to a non-musical loving man. When we were dating he got me tickets to see Sound of Music (he had never even seen the movie!!!) and I have been working ever since to convert him to my ways. So you can imagine my delight when all weekend I have heard my hubby singing and humming Evita songs. I’m craving Indian food and he’s downloading Evita songs. Marriage is full of surprises.

Last week we also began the epic process of starting our oldest in braces. We got three different consults which resulted in three different treatment plans and prices. We landed on our course of action and by the end of June Lily will join the millions of metal mouths that have gone before her. Lucky girl. Yet another reason mama needs to get a job….. #bracesaintcheap

We finished up the weekend celebrating my favorite niece and nephew (see only niece and nephew) as they turned 6 and 3 respectively. I sometimes need to pinch myself that my whole family lives close together. It is a gift I never want to take for granted. As someone who didn’t grow up with cousins closer than a few hours a way it delights me when I see them all putting on a puppet show together.

Which brings me to Memorial Day. I am ever so grateful for the men and women who have given their lives so you and I can be free. It is an easy thing to wave our flags around on a few holidays throughout the year but forget most days just what our freedom has cost us. I am 1/4 of the way through the book Unbroken (late to the game, but sooooo amazing) and I cannot get over what our freedom meant in terms of the lives lost fighting for it. Take a moment to really truly sit and be grateful before the day is over.

How did you celebrate the holiday weekend?