Coming in hot for a Summer Landing

I didn’t realize it had been so long since I had posted but as soon as the National Championship hoopla was over we got super busy with Russell’s travel soccer team, lots of early practices and travel etc. It was a fun ride, the boys won their division in the ECNL Champions League to make it to PlayOffs in San Diego. Of course you want to win every game and have every chance to advance but the boys ended with a 1-1 tie, 0-1 loss and d a 2-1 win. I was proud of Russell, I think he played hard, had fun with his teammates and was the best travel partner. We look forward to the busy high school Fall Soccer Season and will jump back into club by mid-November.

Day 1, KCSG ECNL 06 boys in San Diego after a hard fought tie 1-1 in Game 1.

Last day after 2-1 win what did the boys want to do…play more soccer at the park and on the beach.

Russell played his heart out, I’m always proud but especially on a big stage when others might be super nervous. He always says he thinks about every game the same, they are all important and the goal is to play hard and win. Next up is High School soccer so we look forward to matching up to our KCSG teammates during the Fall season.

The boy has UPS!
My sister Jessica and her boys drove 8 hours to meet up with us in San Diego! Family is good for my soul!

He’s a pretty great travel buddy! We are a good team and I have to love that he is NOT a morning person either! This boy challenges me but feeds my soul. Love you baby!

Since we didn’t make it to Thursday games we left on Wednesday to get some extra days at home, work for me and golf for Russell. He’s got the Golf bug BAD! Not such a bad thing but I’m always bugging him about eating and staying hydrated. His 16th birthday can’t come soon enough and as of today we are 12 days out. This month is insane, we are travelling pretty much every week for something or another and I have to try and get my 8 hr+ work day in on the road. Thankfully work is a stress reliever so I enjoy the distraction and process.

July 4th looked a lot different this year, the kids were scattered living their best lives. I was reminiscing on all the years past on friend’s boats, at cookouts doing fun Fam Bam time but truly was so happy my 3 were with the people they adore and enjoy. As luck would have it my bestie friend Stephanie had a light schedule too so we enjoyed her pool and talked our faces off. She’s had cancer twice and GETS all of it. She amazes me and says I amaze her which seems crazy to me. Our ying and yang of cancer is a very good fit.

I’ve been on a good clip these last few months, maybe too busy to think, took wrapped up in work and properly distracted by friends doing fun things, celebrating my birthday the entire month of June (always my favorite way to celebrate) but today was a fun screecher. I’m not sure what prompted it besides Facebook memories of time spent as a family, hard memories from the journey the last year and just feeling so super single. Not single in a dating way but SINGLE like I’m in charge of this shit show and more than half the time have no idea if I’m doing it right. I’m thankful that home feels like home. It feels warm and cozy and not sad. I think a big part of that comes from the conversation we had with Brad about his plan and we couldn’t include a medical facility that would limit visitors. I’ll never forget his face…wide eyed and like “ok if you all want me to die in this house, okay.” It was a sacred process and I wouldn’t have wanted him anywhere else than right with us. Daily reminders are all around and to be honest it can be exhausting trying to process grief.

I have partnered with a friend to help her with some software for companies that help employees through the illness, caregiving and grieving process. I typed out my timeline and notes for her on my way to California last week which was very cleansing to my mind. She’s had horrific loss in her life and we connect on a deep level with very few words. We have a knowing between us that is very cherished and hard to describe. I have terrible PTSD from the last year of Brad’s life which culminates in anxiety that raises my blood pressure to extreme levels. Today I relayed a hard story, took my blood pressure and it was 193/105. I did all I could today to try and alleviate the anxiety, think through things logically but all in all it makes me furious that a person can cause this level of biological reaction in my body. How do you resolve that when your mind is saying it is ok but your actual body is having a major response that is actually somewhat life threatening. Grief is a MOTHER FUCKER and sorry if you think that is harsh but that is the only descriptive words I have for it. I hate how memories make me spiral, I’ve worked with therapists and basically they tell me the situation is so illogical that my brain can’t solve it. So I beg and pray for Jesus to give me forgiveness and forgetfulness, he will forgive all sins including mine. I’m so thankful for my faith. If I didn’t have a Savior to throw all the bad stuff to I’m not sure how I would survive this life. I recommend the freedom of “Giving it all to him” even though today I held it way too long. It is too heavy. Grief is the strangest and worst human experience. IT IS TOO HEAVY. But God says to give it to him…so I definitely try and most of the time succeed except on weird grief days. GRIEF is forever. I wish it wasn’t.

I can step back and be thankful for my dear friends and family that have covered me the last few months. We spread ashes, we had fun, we rested, we did what we wanted on vacation without the vacation nazi making us wake up early…sorry, not sorry Brad. Our rhythm is calm, I’m thankful for that. Carter moved to his first apartment that will change in a month to the final destination. I hope I will get used to the quiet these next two years. I imagine it will be an up and down of busy and quiet when the girls get settled here full time. Maybe in two years I’ll flip the script and do something completely different with our home and life…we’ll see. I’m really not sure I can move away from my gorgeous main suite. The one thing about being a single mom that fits in my core is I can do whatever the EFF I want. Truly my kids are first, my job/responsibilities are next but what is left is WILDCARD baby!

Happy Birthday to me with some really FAB girl friends! Stephanie you are BEYONd! Single Mom BadAss, Cancer Survivor…seriously Jesus you are somethin’ to give me this gift in a real live person!

I guess what I wanted to really hit home on this post is that Grief is really hard, it is different for everyone, there needs to be a wide spectrum of acceptance, zero judgment (yep I’m having a hard time with this) and a focus on joy, health, life and blessings. I don’t do any of this well. I try very hard though. If I could wish away the bad days I 100% would. They sneak up on my like a freaking ninja. I just hang on until the sun rises the next day and I’m usually ok. Sending love and light to everyone and hanging on tight to those around me.

Who would have thought a pandemic would be the ultimate gift?




our beautiful senior with so much good stuff on the horizon

Hi everyone! I’ve thought about updating but honestly our life the last 7 months has felt very normal so I just kind of skirted the idea of updating a blog that deals with cancer. The treatment Brad has been on has helped him feel the most normal since diagnosed. I say that but I’m not him and I know he battles tiredness, low appetite and doesn’t complain as much as he could have.


living the comfy clothes life

We’ve had a great “coasting” feeling for several months but with recent test results his numbers are starting to show some instability so on April 28th Brad will add Irinotecan chemo to his Vectibix immunotherapy treatment. New treatments always bring anxiety because we have a huge unknown of new symptoms and this one is supposed to have some pretty bad GI issues that are untouched by over the counter meds. The other tricky part is I have only been able to attend appts by speaker phone due to Covid 19 quarantine so that is a challenge considering I’ve gone to 99.% of his appointments. We are making it work.

The ying and yang of this Covid situation is almost unfathomable! The gift of time with our family all together is unmeasurable. We normally would only have this if Brad was in a dire situation. To have everyone at home, healthy and thriving and working through this crazy situation together is a gift that no one would normally have. The moods pop up when there is frustration but for the most part we have all been in check, patient and positive. We’ve missed A LOT! We are sad for our kids but thankful everyone is home, we have 3 floors to retreat to and have food to eat, (don’t get me started on the ridiculousness of toilet paper) and all that we need.  I LOVE COOKING so that has been a terrific outlet for me to love on my family through good, healthy and fresh food.  I’ve been experimenting with vegan recipes for Whitney and gave up dairy and red meat to see if I felt better and I do.  It is hard, cheese is awesome! BUT I feel like a lighter version of myself and enjoy making yummy, healthy food for me and Whitney then the usual action packed food for the boys.

So as our city just imposed 3 more weeks we hunker down, reassess how we can do better in these circumstances and move on.  We are beyond thankful for our jobs to remain stable, our finances are stable if not better for all of the hotel stays we cancelled due to events and games getting cancelled.  I’m holding on tight to Whitney’s grad party and senior trip, if we can do it all safely we will FREAKING DO IT!  I’ve dubbed myself Positive Polly because I refused to get sucked into the long term cancellation of life as we know it and as unpopular as it sounds I’m dumbfounded at the local devastation on our economy for not even 2000 local cases.  I get it…I get that we’ve done a good job so far but my GOD we are NOT New York and we need to get back to work asap.  We comply but the financial devastation has to be addressed and thoughtfully tended to.  WE ARE NOT NEW YORK.

The prayer list is long…I’ll list it below.
– For Brad to gain weight so he can handle the brunt of chemo with no margin of extra weight to lose. He eats like Buddy the Elf…candy and sweets, the good stuff is a negotiation so I need him to bulk up.
– For Brad to not have the severity of GI issues expected and have the strength of mind to do the things needed to combat the issues.
– For our Whitney, for her to be her best self during Rock Chalk Dance Tryouts! The virtual format is hard but we have no doubt she will give it her very best. We pray she keeps her motivation strong to move her body, stay strong physically despite the closed in nature of this quarantine.
-We pray she can finish strong with her classes and achieve her goal of 4.8 gpa and all As in her dual credit college classes.

– For Carter, he’s missing his friends and college life. He found out he will be able to graduate next May and to him it feels like he’s getting robbed rather than an accomplishment. We pray the shift can come where he will appreciate the fact that he will be done early and not have to be burdened with more school debt and will find a great career path and young grown up life! I don’t know about you all but Brad and I had a great time in Kansas City living the good life as 20-somethings.
– We pray for Carter to be successful in his grades this semester as it is a critical time with only 3 semesters left including this one.

– Our Russell. He has thrived during this time and is living his best life! He had a bad stretch of getting teased at school for being small and wished everyday to be homeschooled. We’ve seen him grow into a more happy child, with a more positive outlook and loving this format. If it wasn’t for the high school sports opportunities we would consider homeschooling him and just playing club soccer.  We know that he needs to branch out and grow personally through stepping out of his comfort zone. BUT you’ve never seen a happier 13 years old. We are mourning the loss of a tremendous soccer season and missing our soccer families but they do a good job of staying in touch. They have homework weekly and get props from the social media posts.
– As for me, I just keep doing my thing and am trying to adjust to the plans we had and make new plans for our girl to celebrate her properly. Her party is set for Saturday, May 23rd and with the new stay-at-home order lifting May 15th we hope her party will just be the best EPIC gathering allowed after the lift. I appreciate her attitude but do wonder how that girl can stay in her 12 x 12 room for days on end. I guess it is practice for dorm room life.

Thank you for all who read this. Leave a comment if you’d like so I know I’m not talking to myself. I should update more often but in a way I was thinking it felt like a jinx with such a good schedule we were on.


Recent dinner and gift drop off to my sister Jessica, she has baby boy #2 on 4/20!


Led a Birthday parade for my awesome Sister in Law Rachael who is leading the quality efforts at our local Childrens Mercy Hospital. Can’t wait to gather and celebrate in person but the car parades are pretty fun!


Super Thankful This Year

In a world with so much noise I love this time of year when we turn our focus in and look forward to spending time with our family.  My perfect holiday is one where I don’t put shoes on all day and I might end up with a messy bun by the end of the day…or even all day long.  I’ve actually become quite the holiday snob in that I really don’t want to leave my house.  Our normal mode involves early alarms, racing from place to place, hauling lots of equipment, uniforms, costumes, coats, blankets, chairs, coolers and stressing about being on time, remembering everything and WINNING!  I admit I have some stress over making sure my house is clean and lost every ounce of time I had to do it over the weekend but I’ll work some magic after work this week to get it all done.

So in a year when some might think we are looking inward at problems, health issues or other things I find myself counting my blessings and thanking God for everything little and big.  The thing with cancer is you have the same exact problems you do normally but with a big heavy layer on top of everything that can either suffocate you or force you to see through it and find a better outlook.  I think in some instances I feel like I should be treated better than normal because I’ve got so much to hold up, keep on track and manage…in reality, I’m the same mom/wife/sister/employee doing the same stuff as always.  The same thing applies to the person with cancer, the kids of the dad with cancer, the mom of the guy with cancer…and all the other people feeling weighed down by the diagnosis.  I find myself taking inventory a lot because I start to get lost which turns into a bad mood or feeling down. I stop myself and have a moment of prayer and reflection to get back on track.  It isn’t easy to stop that train but if I don’t stop it the end result is not good and no one wants crabby mom walking in the door ruining everyone’s mojo.


This brings me to my sweet kids.  Middle and High School (and College) are hard enough without extra stress.  These last few years I’ve felt like Russell is getting an extra dose of BS from kids about being small and over the weekend he got made fun of for playing soccer…while everyone was playing soccer…he got made fun of for being good.  WTF?  I’m really just OVER the way kids treat him and want to post on every social media possible how EFFING mad it makes me.  But this brings me back to being treated “normal”…kids aren’t going to stop and think “I shouldn’t call him short or tell him he’s dumb for playing soccer because his dad is sick.”  So while my blood is boiling and I want to get on the phone and start texting moms about how mad I am for the way their kids or kids in general treat him I make myself stop.  I screw down that filter and do what I CAN do which is coach Russell on how he can act or what he can do and say.  With God’s perfect timing he learned at his church retreat a great lesson about this exact thing.  Kids that say those things or act like that are “not your people.”  It is that simple.  It takes out the heat of the situation and he can just step back and be like “these guys don’t matter, they aren’t my people.”  Same thing applies to Whitney.  She went through a big thing and friends were mad at her for mistakes they made.  I talked to her about how she just had to sit back and wait for them to get over it and come back and be reasonable.  They all did as far as I’ve heard but the reaction was BS and that is also something that can teach her about leadership before a situation gets out of control.  These little lessons are the same whether someone is sick in your family or if everyone is A-OK healthy.  I hope by not making cancer the focus or using it to treat anyone differently we will benefit in the long run.  We are all just trying to make it work day after day.  Many days we are all OVER it but just have to regroup and keep going.

So today while we are savoring this family time we are also a little anxious about getting the results of a new CT Scan on Tuesday 11/27.  We also have a genetics appointment on Monday but that is more informative and interesting rather than current results we can use today.  I planned a quick one day, work trip to Detroit on Tuesday and while that will be a great distraction I will be super worn out and maybe a little stressed that I’m not with Brad for the scan.  However, it is also a good time for him to go on his own and is at our clinic so he practically knows everyone there.  We should get results from the scan and Chemo #5 on 11/28.  We will have TWO MONTHS down since his diagnosis and two full months of treatment.  Brad’s Nurse Practitioner “Big Nanner” was super happy with all of his blood test results and said his liver function levels are one of a 100% healthy person.  UNBELIEVABLE!  He gained about 6 pounds from his lowest point which is a great start.  These last two rounds he has had increasing hand and foot pain.  This is common with 5FU chemo.  It gives him a chance to rest so that they don’t get worse but he doesn’t much like resting.  On Friday after his chemo he changed the brakes on the van and was hurting pretty bad that night.  We learn each time what to avoid and what to prevent.  I don’t like to see him suffering from any symptoms so it bums me out but I’m able to do extra running around to keep him quiet and give him time to rest.

Brad had a very boring weekend at home while I drove all over two states (not really just 300+ miles) running kids to stuff.  I enjoyed my first Sigma Nu Mom’s Club event decorating Carter’s fraternity for Christmas.  The other moms are so fun and enthusiastic.  I loved hearing them gush about their sons and think we all SEE each other and know how much we love our big boys.  I hope Carter doesn’t mind me making new friends because I think I definitely will!  The current president was talking to me about serving as an officer and I think I just might do it.  Why not?!  He has found a wonderful tribe in the Sigma Nu Fraternity and makes me so extremely proud in how he owns responsibility and has fun but can be the voice of reason at times too.  He’s grown so much in so many ways and I’m grateful for his inner compas guiding him in mostly the right directions.

Whitney attended the Rock Chalk Dance Clinic the next day so I was back in Lawrence again and thankfully was able to help Carter fix his SUV Black Betty while I was there.  We were pretty proud of ourselves for jumping it on our own and getting it to the shop without help from Dad.  It was a good learning experience for us both.  The day worked out perfect as I was able to help decorate my sorority, Kappa Delta, down the road while we waited on the car repair and Whitney made it home in time for her high school dance practice.  That GIRL…she’s so busy, we need to reign her in over the holiday.  She needs to rest and organize as she’s left a path of madness in her wake over the last few weeks.  I’ll be glad to see that pretty girl relax over the next few days and we are all counting the minutes until Carter gets home!

Until our next report…Go Chiefs!

Russell Arrowhead


Super Spring, Let’s Go Summer!

I’m in awe of how Mother Nature has cooperated this year with all of our outdoor activities.  On the days we could use a break it rains and on the days we really need to play the skies clear.  It has been a nice Spring with the rain we need just when we need it.  My backyard is an example of this rain as we haven’t been home to trim bushes and clean up.  We’ll get to that soon.

We added a Family Reunion to our Spring schedule over Memorial weekend.  It was a lot of fun and boy does the Woods/Wright/Stears families make cute kids!  There were piles of them.  The boys played baseball THE ENTIRE TIME and a few brotherly scuffles had to be broken up.  They are competitive!  The sweet Brown girl cousins fell in love with Whitney and Caroline cried so hard when they were leaving she talked GG and Mimi into bringing them to recital at the end of June.  It will be great to have them at our house as they’ve never been.

Blake and Jack ate 1000 popsicles together, you’d think it was a race!

Black and Jack

Black and Jack

Whitney was the pied piper of the little ones and had fun playing with them.  The little girls were dressed up like southern belles with big bows and cute outfits.  I told her I wished she would have let me dress her like that and she said, “Why didn’t you?”  I told her she was as stubborn about her appearance then as she is now and wouldn’t let me do a thing about it!  I find myself telling her that often when she asks why I let her run around with ratty hair and no shirt when she was 5.

Photobooth fun!

Photobooth fun!

Russell was the big hitter and broke the pinata!  He was so proud and put his baseball skills to work!  We found out recently that he made the A Team U9 for his competitive soccer team!  I’m so proud of him!

His pinata trophy!

His pinata trophy!

So June is all about Baseball and our team is doing well.  They had a slump but seem to be coming out of it.  Carter had an awesome hit, I was so relieved.  Slumps of any kind stress kids and parents out because we all just want a hit and a win!

My BIG #45 Pitching

My BIG #45 Pitching

We play the State Tournament this weekend and kick it off on my birthday, Friday the 13th which is always a lucky day!  Hoping for big things!  I’m not going to focus on the fact that this could be our last weekend for this team to play together, I’m hoping to play some next Summer if we can!  LOVE LOVE LOVE these boys and families!  They are priceless and if I write about it anymore I’m going to be in a puddle of tears.  GO SSCowboys!!!  BIG STU Baseball!



We Survived!

So we had three weekends in a row that were seriously monumental in the kid activity world!  Hubby and I divided and conquered but also tried to both be at as many games and events as possible.  Outsiders would look at us and think we are nuts and why do all of this but the truth is, with three kids you just have to be a little nuts.  I know families that have more than three and their normal is this same kind of madness but all the time.  I have some pretty awesome kids who give it their all so we support whatever sport or activity they want to do.  Next Spring we will be pulling back in the Russell department…three sports is just dumb.  But right now I don’t know what we’d take away.  My kids are totally made with this idea of being busy all the time.  After a long weekend of games Carter will still go to a youth group shaving cream fight at the church or to swim at a friend’s pool.  ME…I get in bed and pass out.   I’ve learned to take the opportunity to nap when I can because if I don’t I’m worthless the next week until at least Wednesday.

Russell’s highlight reel…he’s so handsome, so determined and ALL IN ALL OF THE TIME!  I love him so much!


We are off to a family reunion for the holiday weekend.  I can’t believe I’m looking forward to chillin’ in the backseat snuggling with Russell and watching movies on our new van’s dvd player.  A little relaxation and slow down is just what I need after a totally insane Spring.  People keep telling me to enjoy every second because they will be grown and off to college.  I can’t even go there…I’ll be a puddle of tears when that day comes and it seems so imminent with Carter going to high school next year.  At least I have my little Russell who will keep us going long after the bigs are off to bigger and better things.  Hopefully he’ll stay sweet and responsible.

Whitney Jane had an awesome dance competition weekend last week!  It was a great showing for the last regional competition before nationals.  Best of all she was sweet and enjoyed it rather than too much spicy sass that tends to come out when her nerves get the best of her.  One of her dances won Video of the Week!  I think all of her dances got Elite Top First which is the hightest scoring category and all of them placed except her Duo because they only gave one placement in that category (dumb) but I think they would have gotten second.  If you watch the video below please “LIKE” it on Youtube, there is some sort of contest going on 🙂  She’s the one squatting under the umbrella in the beginning then comes out and hams it up in front/center.  She ends up on the right side when they dance with their beach balls.  I could watch this video 1000 times and not be tired of it!

And finally, Carter’s baseball team got to play on some really cool fields in Topeka last weekend.  The dugouts were all professional looking and the fields were really nice.  I stayed home to run Whitney and Russell around and really missed my baseball family.  They had a rough weekend on the field but hopefully got them in a good mindset to finish off the season on a high note.  Baseball is such a mental game, it’s amazing how players can get completely derailed and take awhile to recover.  I’m glad I’ve learned to love the game because I thought it was boring before I learned the rules and strategy.  Russell really likes baseball so it is a good thing I enjoy it now, I have many more years in the stands.  Carter has been pitching some which he really enjoys and it gives our clutch pitchers a break.  I’m mostly proud of his grades, not to jinx him but he has really stepped it up!  It has been a learning year…he learned that studying for tests is a good thing, you have to use a blank map when studying for map tests and it is easier to just do the work than have to catch up.  I hope he carries these lessons into high school!




Just Keep Swimming

Most moms I know are chanting this mantra from sweet little Dory.  Gosh what a nutso time of year!

borrowed from a Google Image search

borrowed from a Google Image search

 I mean really…on top of the madness it has been hot and cold and hot and cold.  Allergies are the WORST in forever so everyone feels sick and doesn’t know if they are supposed to take a decongestant or an antihistamine.  I take one and if my throat stops itching I know it was the right one.  Two Sundays in a row either me or the hubs have been in bed after a weekend of baseball.  We are old, we can’t keep up this pace…or so we say then the next Friday comes around.  I am giving a GIANT shout-out to all of my friends, sister wives (dance moms) and others who help us out on a regular basis!  I think they know we have their back too whenever they need it so everyone stays in balance.  I have lucky kids to be parented by a community of great people.  We all love these kids like they are our own and fiercely care for one another.

MY kids are SO ready to be out of school!  I wish I could stop time right now because their interest in school and the safety of their good grades are not at equal levels…staring down falling or soaring rockets.  I challenge them to finish strong.  I feel like there is an overabundance of teaching moments and I just want it to be easy too. TWO WEEKS FROM TOMORROW and they can breathe a sigh of relief.  Then I gasp with the thought of an unsupervised Summer.  It should be interesting.

So I had the great honor of taking my neighbor Emily’s senior pictures.  I have known her since she was SIX!  Her and a teenage boy across the street (sadly he moved away) gave us a glimpse of what life with teenagers would be like and now we are living it with a 14 and 12 year old plus the equalizer, 7 year old.  Day to day it is either a teenage mamba or is it a booty shaking twerk dance?  Depends on the day I suppose.  It feels great and I’m so proud of my kids then the teaching moments remind me that I’m a mom and I have a job to guide them. It can be daunting and I’m always wondering if I’m doing it right.  I have God on my side guiding me every single day and striving for a balance of love and direction.

Enough gushing…here are some favorites of Emily!

What is ahead for this beautiful girl?  She wants to be a nurse.

What is ahead for this beautiful girl? She wants to be a nurse.

Love this spot!  Perfect light!

Love this spot! Perfect light!

How fab is this graffiti?!

How fab is this graffiti?!


Senior Session Pricing: $275   3-5  outfit changes and location changes.  Includes a disc with an average of 30+ edited images a set of proofs, 24 wallets, and choice of 8×10 or 2 5×7’s and a full copyright release.  I can assist with ordering more and will provide a price sheet.

Quick and Dirty: $75   One location, one hour and we’ll fit in as many outfits as we can.  Disc with 20-30 edited images, proofsheet and copyright release.

I have a baby being born soon and can’t wait to capture her first moments of life then a dance team to shoot.  Both should be super fun! I am planning some family beachy shoots when we go to Myrtle Beach with our dance team in July.  Should be loads of fun!  I need to keep this up so someday I can buy my dream iMac!  Until then I’ll enjoy the tools I have.

One more thought from my friend Dory:

This is totally me

This is totally me



Spring Sweetness

I definitely think Spring is my favorite season.  After a long…the LONGEST…Winter it has been so nice to have bearable weather.  I’ll even take intermittent rain at baseball over the cold and snow.  When we actually have a beautiful, sunny day it is magic!  Good Friday was a gorgeous day, I had my camera so I took full advantage of being at The Plaza with the kids.  They had the day off, Aunt Jessica hung out with them while I worked then we snapped some shots at the end of the day.  The sun was a bit bright and harsh but I wasn’t trying to take the most artistic photos ever.  I just needed a family shot that was cute and will continue to play with them in Lightroom when I find the time.

A quick snapshot by Aunt Jessica by my favorite fountain.

A quick snapshot by Aunt Jessica by my favorite fountain.

Since everyone was all spruced up I sent a text to my dance friends to let them know I’d have my camera for a spur of the moment family photoshoot in the beautiful courtyard at our church.  The Lord has given me a love of photography and the ability to gift photos to my friends. I initiate these little moments and thankfully have friends and family willing to take some group shots for us too.

The Woods/Dameron cousins  April 2014

The Woods/Dameron cousins April 2014

I love being an Aunt!

I love being an Aunt!

Woods Fam at Easter

Woods Fam at Easter

Little Lee Sweet Peas

Little Lee Sweet Peas

_DSC0573Lee girls

The beautiful Lee girls


Nice weather sure makes taking photos so much easier!  Wind and cold don’t do much for smiley happy people!  ***I started this post two weeks ago and forgot to publish it…geez, I’m the biggest slacker when it comes to blogging!


I have the App now, no excuses!

Every time I think about my blog I shrink because I am a bad blogger.  I started it because I has more to say than what I post on Facebook. So now I have the app and hope to jot down more re-caps, thoughts and ideas.

I started a post in June, not sure why since that is one of the busiest months of our year…So since March we have been doing our thing…dance, baseball and are now wrapping up football. I got moved into a new position at work that I am loving because I can do some of my old job…recruiting and grow the relationships with my clients so we have better success as a team. I’ve gotten to know so many new people in the last few months through my kid’s sports and surprisingly many of them work at clients! That helps with an IN with clients since we spend a lot of time together on the sidelines.

The boys had a terrific baseball season that lasted well into July and Whitney finalized her dance year at Nationals in Branson over July 4th. Many of her dances got first place trophies and some first overalls. That all seems like IONs ago…because it was…we’ve started a new dance season and the composition of our team has changed a lot. Most of the high school girls have moved on so we are a young team. My big girl is becoming one of the senior dancers! CRAZY! She’s grown so much in her passion and moved up to Pointe. She will debut on pointe in The Nutcracker the week of Christmas. Big Russell will be one of two Fritz, her Aunt Jessica will be Mrs. Stahlbaum and I will be a parent…if I can find a husband.

Well my goal is to be better about this blogging thing because I’m constantly doing something crafty or creative and would like to share my work and ideas.

Russ vs 88

carter running


Coming up for air

My Whitney had her first of two surgeries on the 2nd day of 2013. All went well, it was rough with her waking up because she was really wiped out and nauseous. But after some crackers and chicken noodle soup she felt so much better!

Peace Out spots!  These spots are coming off because they have been hurting and got bumpy.  Changes like that mean they need to come off to prevent a cancer risk.

Peace Out spots!


Surgeon marked her polka dots before surgery

Surgeon marked her polka dots before surgery

The after shot, it is red from the tape getting pulled off.  This little bit that's left will come off on 3/7/13

The after shot, it is red from the tape getting pulled off. This little bit that’s left will come off on 3/7/13

The next day we were going about our normal routine and Brad came home from Carter’s basketball practice and could barely get in the door! The next day he found out he had ruptured his Achilles tendon and would have to have surgery the following week. So, Nurse Kim found herself back in a waiting room two Wednesdays in a row. Everyone had their follow ups last week and are on the mend.

Carter also got braces and Russell had a big crash at recess that little almost knocked him out. So all four Woods have needed extra TLC from mama.




Then came the GIANT BRUISE!

Then came the GIANT BRUISE!

Me and My Big Boy got some snuggly time.

Me and My Big Boy got some snuggly time.

My cute boy with new braces

QT with new braces

I’m hoping the rest of our year can be more normal as we move towards a busy dance season and basketball moving into baseball. I’ve really enjoyed cheering for this year’s basketball team…especially since it is mostly made up of baseball kids and families. So much fun to sit with good friends and cheer for good kids you know better than just the typical thrown together team.

My stud point guard!

My stud point guard!

Russell is very happy when they win BIG!

Russell is very happy when they win BIG!

My world hasn’t included much of ME in it but that’s ok, I’m doing what I do best which is take care of everyone and make sure we are keeping all of our balls in the air. Bella Pantina continues to be a fun hobby and I look forward to our sale weekends the FIRST weekends of the month! When the weather warms up a bit I’ll be driving everyone crazy with my project crowding up the garage!  I’ve also been trying to sell a few costumes here an there to make extra money.

Me being silly and showing off my favorite hair accessory from last year's dances!

Me being silly and showing off my favorite hair accessory from last year’s dances!

Keeping the faith and my sanity by staying organized and squeezing in fun stuff between the running around like a crazy person.  I think it will be a good year even though the first month has been a doozy.  It really has been a month we’ve been able to cozy up, my friends have showered us with love by bringing meals and coming to check on Brad while he is stuck on the couch much of the time.  WE GOT THIS!

And then we have November

As anticipated October was a total whirlwind further complicated by the addition of two sales, one at Charm and one at Bella Pantina.  At least I cleared out my goodies and treasures to make room for more!  This is Bella Pantina in the West Bottoms and they are open the first Friday-Sunday of every month.  Best way to follow is join their Facebook page.


Halloween was a blast although my big kids were off like a shot so I didn’t get the annual group pic of the three.  We are going to re-stage the pic as soon as I can wrangle them and bribe them into doing it for me.  We had a super hero them which was pretty darn fun.


Mom and Carter the *fat* morph suit guy

Thing 1, Bat Girl and Thing 2…my only pic of Whitney before she was off running with the girls.

Bat Girl Posse’

Russell had several friends from school come looking for him. It was cute, he’s a rockstar!


So now we enter the world of Cinderella for the week.  Whitney will be performing at the Folly downtown  Nov 9 & 10, she has a little part but the production is beautiful.  My favorite part of Cinderella so far was taking photos at the tea and hanging out with my favorite horse, Annie and her mama, Carla.  I couldn’t get enough of this little horse with a big personality! She greeted the little girls and their moms attending the tea.  So cute!

Annie dressed up for Cinderella Tea

And my boy Carter turned 13 on October 25th!  Sniff!  At least he’s still the sweetest little boy I’ve ever met.  He LOVES his mama!  Last night he woke me up to say he was scared, I snuggled him in and he was able to go back to sleep.  Granted he is as tall as me so it isn’t like a little baby snuggle but still such a genuine connection, I love it!

I conned the kids into doing a 3-kid photoshoot while working at Bella.  I didn’t have a current one of them and as you can tell they loved it even though they complained.  The serious ones were pretty easy since they were annoyed with me 😉

Silly pic 🙂

Oh Russell loves his sissy! Carter too but they are totally brothers, fighting best friends.

He makes our world go round!

Too cool for you Mom!