16 Months

Dear Ellis-

Hi there! Sometimes I wonder when you will read these letters. Will you be under 18 and still living here with Dad and I? Will you be in college? Will you be married with kids of your own?

I am not sure who these letters are more for, you or me? I write them so that I can remember you because you are changing so fast, and I forget pretty much everything.   


It's for you too, though. I’m sure you’ll think it’s fun to see how you were when you were little. I always love hear my parents talk about how I was when I was little. It’s neat to see their faces light up as they remember that part of their lives. See, being a parent to a little person is a lot of fun(and work) and I think it is helping to make me stay young just like teaching young people does for me. I get to relive bits of my childhood. It’s okay to pull funny faces and talk in baby talk and to laugh at the little things in life. I do lots of stuff for you that you can’t do for yourself, but you do lots for me that I could never have without having you in my life.  I know you won’t always need me like you do now, so I am trying my best to love it all, from changing diapers, to wiping your boogers, to putting your shoes and clothe on, to carrying you when you’re too tired, to feeding you in the wee hours of the night. Sometimes those tasks seem like a burden or chore, but really I need to remember that this is a season in our lives that I soon will only be able to live in my memories. Always remember to live in the moment, Ellis. Don’t get too caught up in planning for the future because it isn’t guaranteed, and don’t dwell on the past either. Learn from your experiences and move forward. Of course, you should cherish the good memories but be quick to forgive both yourself and others. Too much good time is wasted on regret and bitterness. Learn to move on.

You are such a great little guy.  You are so smart and are learning so much daily.  Your vocabulary continues to grow quickly, just like your body.  Some of your new words are: milk, bottle, snack, bubbles, stroller, Santa, moon, Jesus, teeth and yeah. You are also signing more and all done which helps a little with communication with you. Sometimes it is frustrating when I don’t understand what you want and I can’t help you.


You are wearing 24 month clothes and are close to 2T. Your pants are still a size smaller because your legs are just a bit behind. You still hate shoes and socks. I worry you may get frostbite while we visit Wisconsin for Christmas in a week. We have been spoiled with an extra long fall around here.

You are still a little show man and you know how to get everybody’s attention. You love the attention but are totally fine entertaining yourself too. You love to watch videos of yourself and also stand in front of the stove to see your reflection and do tricks for yourself. You find yourself hilarious most of the time. You are walking well these days and often come close to running. We are in trouble. You also are starting to climb which makes me very nervous.


You still love Reno. You chase him all over, which drives him nuts. You also love to feed him your snacks which sometimes makes up for all the chasing for him. 


You are an unpredictable sleeper. Sometimes you sleep through the night but that is rare. You fight naps and usually only take one per day.  Sometimes it’s for two hours, sometimes it’s for 30 minutes. We never know what it will be.  Usually, you go to sleep around 8:30, but sometimes you party like a rockstar and refuse to sleep until midnight.  You usually sleep past eight, but sometimes get up to see me off to work. At least you keep things interesting. I guess we don’t really need to figure everything about you out just yet.


You still like sports even though you lose interest sooner these days. You love to watch train videos on YouTube and also still watch Chica. You also like the Ellen show lately, but mainly because there is a dancing reindeer on there for her 12 days of giveaways! You giggle and go on everytime he comes to dance. You also are quite the dancer and also spin and spin and think being dizzy is pretty funny.  Your little laugh is so contagious.

It’s getting late, so I better get to sleep. I cannot imagine life without you. You make my life full. I love you more and more each day and feel so blessed to be your mommy. Thank you for teaching me better patience and for making each day an adventure. I love you Bugaboo!


Ellis is 15 Months

Dear Ellis-
I find myself saying things like: "He is so fun," "He is at a great age," and "I just fall more in love with him every day" about you.

You are just a happy soul.  You spread joy to all those around you.  Usually, this is through your many tricks, like rolling it, spinning and spinning, ta-daing, pulling a million funny faces, or flirting.  You are rarely upset and when you are upset it isn't for long.  You just make every day fun and I am often racing home from work because I miss you so much.

I study your face every night when I am rocking you to sleep.  You are just changing too fast and I am still having a hard time accepting the fact that you are a little boy and not my baby anymore.

You are wearing 24 month tops and 18 month pants.  I guess your legs are chasing your upper body.  You still don't love hats and I still am offended by it and am trying to change your mind about it.  

You still are soothed by Miranda Lambert's song "Desperation," but it doesn't work all the time like it used to.  Now to sooth you in the car, I reach back and put my hand on the side of your face.  

You sometimes fight us about your car seat and stand up in it facing the front seat while we are trying to get you buckled in.  You are a rascal.  You throw food on the floor on purpose while eating and laugh when we tell you no.  You also pointed at Daddy and said "Nah, Nah, Nah" one time when he told you no.  (He was pointing and saying "No, No, No!")  You also find it funny to say "Mama" when we tell you to say "Papa".  And chasing Reno is still one of your favorite things.  

Now you can walk, so Reno gets even more nervous when you are coming at him.  You actually have started to keep shoes and socks on which is a good thing with colder weather coming.

You loved Halloween and said pumpkin a lot which actually sounds like "ball ball".  You even screamed that the first five minutes of the Pumpkin Walk up in Logan.  We took you to the Zoo in Logan too and your favorite animal was the fox.  

You are a smart little dude and get into everything including all the things we lock up because you have mastered baby locks.  Your giggle is so cute and you giggle most when Daddy tickles and chases you.

You are addicted to sports and ask me everyday when i get home to turn on football, which is your favorite these days, even though you will watch any sport and yell "ball" at the TV when they are on. I am so excited that you share my love of sports already

Ellis, you have made our lives so much more rich and we are so lucky to have the job of raising and teaching you things.  It melts my heart that you are recognizing when it is time to pray over our food and that you fold your hands, try to close your eyes and say "amen" at the close of our prayers.  It is so fun to see you grow and I look forward to see who you will become.  Love you lots.  Mommy


Fourteen Months

Dear Ellis-
Today somebody asked how old you were, and I responded "fourteen months." They laughed and told me I could just say a year. I guess it may be time to start just saying he's a little over a year. I thought that if I keep calling you the baby months, that you would stay a baby. 
People have started to also say that you are looking more and more like a little boy and less like a baby. I have to agree, even though I don't like the fact that you aren't a baby anymore. The old adage, "babies don't keep," plays through my head lots these days as I often find myself studying your little face as I rock you to sleep. I almost feel like I have to breathe in each moment with you because they are flying by and you are changing so quickly. 
Your newest thing is walking. You took your first steps on a day I stayed home sick from work. I was so thankful for that. You then waited a little over a week to really get used to it. You are now a walker, mixed with side scooting and a little crawling. You can even get up from sitting down. As your dad texted me one day after you climbed into the clothes dryer, "we are in trouble."  Your new found independence and how you are into everything will give us a few challenges, but it's fun to be apart of this journey where you are learning so much so quicky. 

You love pumpkins and point for us to light up our plastic decorations pumpkins the first thing every day. You try to say pumpkin but it sounds more like "ball ball."  

You are saying more and more things, but many things sound like ball. I hate to say it, but I do look forward to when you can speak more so it's easier to know what you need. You do lots of pointing and gesturing while mumbling and I often find myself thinking, what the heck does this kid need? 

You are a character and know when you have an audience. You will roll it for people still and you love to spin and spin. It's really funny when you fake sneeze or cough after somebody else does. You also have been quite funny this week when you are asked to say Papa. You respond rebelliously with Mama instead and get a sneaky looking grin on your face. 

Your hair is hilarious these days. There is a lot of it in the back and not so much in the front and on the sides. Your double cowlick also makes for awesome bedhead every morning. I feel like it's getting time to cut it, but I am really entertained by it so I don't quite want to get it cut just yet. 

You are still my favorite little person and I fall more and more in love with you each and every day. 

This Chorus from Taylor Swift's song"Never Grow Up" rings true these days:
"Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up, just stay this little
Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up, it could stay this simple
No one's ever burned you, nothing's ever left you scarred
And even though you want to, just try to never grow up."

Just stay small a little while longer. 
Love you,


Ellis is thirteen months

Hi folks. Life is just moving along here. It's hard to believe that September is over half gone ready. Time flies when you are having fun. 

The school year is going great. My students are fun and the feeling at my school is amazing. Great things are happening and I'm loving it. 

There isn't a whole lot of news around here. The biggest news is that our new desk should show up on our doorstep any day now.  I think I have said this before but you know you have truly made it to adulthood when you get excited about furniture. It will be nice to organize a bit and to have a place to create cards and also a space to write. I am planning on participating in national novel writing month in November and it will come in handy. 

I also say this often: Ellis is at a fun age. I am laughing at him lots these days he is a silly goober. Sure, he is into everything and a bit of work, but he is so worth any of the hard stuff(even his not sleeping through the night!).

Without further adieu, here is his 13 month letter, even though I have started to just say he is one:
Dear Ellis, 
Just thinking about you makes me smile. That little smile of yours is contagious and I feel so lucky to have you around. You make each day more adventurous and always help me to focus on the good in life. In a world that often seems cruel and cold, you're cute little laugh, smile and attitude help me to see the good and to feel better. Not matter how hard the day has been, when I come home from work to you, I am instantly happy and smiling. Thanks so much for being so fun and for loving me so much. 

Today at work, a co-worker mentioned how he missed out on this age when his kids were young and that he would have liked to be around for all the stuff I see challenging like getting up in the middle  of the night and diaper changing. I thought about that a lot as I was putting you back to bed tonight(I say back because you fell asleep in the car on the way home from Papa's birthday celebration. You must have woke up not knowing where you were because you were a bit upset.).  I realized that sometimes I complain a bit about taking care of you and forget to cherish each and every moment with you. I studied your face extra close tonight and rubbed your soft blonde hair and held your feet as you fell back to sleep. 

As I studied your face, I noticed that you are a little masterpiece full of amazing heritage. You have my nose, which is the Koehne nose I got from my dad. You have the same gap in your front gap that I have which comes from my mom's side of the family. You have a lot of great aunts who have the exact teeth. You have your dad's forehead and chin which he got from your Papa. You have my hands which are my moms hands(I think of her each time I look at my own hands closely. Maybe one day, you will see all these parts of you and think of this great heritage and remember all the special people in your life.)

You are into everything. You have figured out a few of our child locks on cupboards. You don't quite walk on your own yet, but you are walking assisted either by somebody leading you or around the couch or coffee table. You have figured out how to get on the couch and often come up to have a quick cuddle. I love that you are more into cuddling, seeing it hasn't been your thing in the past. 

You love to be outside and even when in our house will sometimes hold yourself up standing to look and see what is happening outside through the window. You still chase Reno all over and love all animals. You recently decided that reno's food tastes good and that his kenel is comfortable. 

You still love all people and try to get strangers attention while out and about. You love food and will eat pretty much anything we give you. You have discovered that cow's milk is tasty and drink it out of a sippy cup. You also say, "Ahhhh!" after each gulp. Daddy taught you that trick. 

You love to throw balls around and get excited about sports. 

You wave goodbye and recently have started to give kisses. You always tell dad it is time to go to work by waving after I get back home from work. 

I sometimes spoil you while changing your diaper by letting you watch the kid show "Chika."  My sister probably won't like that but changing the diaper of a kid who wiggles is like trying to train a worm to sit; the distraction is sometimes needed. Otherwise, we try to limit your screen time. 

You still love books and can often be found reading one yourself quietly somewhere in the house. 

You think it's funny to both bite mommy or pull daddy's chest hair. 

Your giggle is so cute. 

I could go on for hours and pages about you but it's getting late. You are so special to me and I am so glad you are a part of our family. I love you so much and can't even remember life without you.  You are my bugs, bugaboo, small fry, little rascal and I wouldn't want to be doing anything differently these days. I love being your mom and am looking forward to watching you grow more and more. 

Love you kiddo, 


Throwback Thursday

I find it only appropriate on my first day back at work to reflect on the awesomeness that was my summer. It was hard to go back to work today, but it helped ease the pain a bit to remember how awesome my summer truly was, so take a trip down memory lane with me:
There was some swinging. 
Some introducing Ellis to trains. 
And to mascots. 
Some hiking. 
Some playing with "cousins"
Some fish to be caught 
Heads to be bumped
Uncles to meet
Baseball to watch
Rainbows to enjoy
Great-Grandmas to charm
First swims to take
Great-uncles to play with
Grandpas to win over
Farms to be explored
Hands to hold
Books to read 
Sailing across bays 
Motorcycles to grunt and drool over
Traditions to see
Dreams to ignite
Silliness with cousins
Dinos to discover
And cake to be smashed!!!

Summer always flies by but it also is always very full. I am truly blessed to do the work I do and to be able to have the time to play and make amazing memories. Sure I mourn summer's passing but I will cherish every little memory that was made!!!


One Year of Parenthood.

Who would have thought that this little guy....
Would turn into this little guy?

Who also would have thought that I could be so much in love with you?

Parenthood is not easy!  Just sayin'.  It is a lot of being tired, giving up me time-free time, and just plain work.  But, parenthood is also this amazing wonderful miracle filled with moments of awe, love, being proud, laughter and a whole gamut of other emotions.  Parenthood has been the best thing that possibly could have ever happened to me and I feel so blessed to be called Mommy.  This kid has taught me a whole lot in the past year.  He is a character and I love him so much.

Here are the top then things Ellis has taught me:
1.  Sleep is not really necessary.  You can live without it, but you may be a little more cranky than when you actually do get more sleep.
2.  You should love everybody no matter what.  Ellis just has this way of loving people.  He gives everybody a chance and doesn't discriminate.  He also goes for every chance to make new friends, no matter where he is.  I too need to love people better.
3.  Playing is important.  Ellis knows how to make anything a toy and exciting.  Boxes, brooms, basters, toys, anything really.
4.  Outside is a great place.  There are wonders all around in nature.  The wind moving leaves, the sunshine, and animals are all exciting.
5.  Sometimes you just need a mommy moment.  Ellis will check in these days by climbing up to me or pulling on my pants.  He then needs to come up for a quick visit until it is off to play again.  Checking in with mom is important.  I plan on calling my mom and skyping with her much more often.
6.  Food rocks.  You should try everything at least once.  How blessed I am to have so many choices as to what to eat each day.
7.  Always be up for an adventure.  Whenever we ask Ellis if he wants to go, he lifts up his arms to be picked up and taken away.  He doesn't care what the adventure is, but he knows it's good to be going.  I love that he is an easy traveler and that he isn't bothered by much.
8.  Sometimes you just have to be sad, but then you need to get over it quickly.  Ellis feels all emotions and lets you know how he feels.  Today, when he got a few shots, he cried and cried, but after a few minutes, he was fine and over it.  Life isn't always easy and there will be hard times.  In the moment, embrace those hard times but get right back up and forget about the hard and move on.
9.  Poop isn't a big deal.  Clean up fast and get on with life.  There are a lot of analogies that can go with that.  The biggest one is that when you fall, get back on the airplane(Ellis' favorite toy) or get back on your feet.  Keep trying and don't be afraid to fall again.
10.  Life is to be enjoyed.  Ellis is smiling about 98% of the time.  Life is good and is to be enjoyed.  So get to it and enjoy today!

Ellis' Big One Year Letter:

Dear Ellis:
Twelve months, 365 days, countless breaths and blinks you have been living.  Having you here with me makes my life 1000 times more exciting and more full of joy.  You have taught me so much about love and living.  Thanks for that.  Thanks for loving me even though I am still figuring out how to do this mothering stuff.  Even when I screw up or have to see you go through something hard, you still love me and want me around.

You are becoming quite a character.  You are talking more and have a vocabulary of quite a few words including:  Mom, Dada, Papa, Mama, Reno, Ball, Bottle, Bum, Grandma, and Grandpa.  You understand a whole lot of words and can get various toys when I ask you to go get them.

You still love to play catch, even though you are pretty busy and have to go do something else in the middle of a game. You also will throw various balls and then chase them around the place. You love to play the piano and love anybody who will take you to play one.  You love all dogs and get very excited around them.  It is hard for you not to pounce on them when I remind you to be "soft."

You love books and to be read to.  Your favorite books are Say Boo!, I Spy, and an animal sound book.  You know that sheep say "Bah" and that goats say "Mah!" You would listen to the same book all day long, if somebody would read to you that long.

Recently, you have discovered how to get into Reno's cage and how to get to his food.  We are in trouble.  You are into everything.  Cupboards are your favorite but you can only get into the kitchen drawers these days thanks to our childproofing attempts.

You continue to mainly get around by crawling but you can pull yourself up to standing.  You are getting braver and travel across the coffee table and couch and you have even let go a few times and gone one handed a lot.  I'm sure you will be running soon.

You think it's funny to be chased and when you crawl away from me at church or the post office, you turn around and wave goodbye to me.  You love when daddy comes at you saying "tickle, tickle," or when I say: "I'm gonna get you."  Your laugh and squeal are my favorite sounds these days.

You still love music and dance all the time.  You love the music at church and even have started to conduct when we are singing there.  Daddy taught you how to do this.  You had us in stitches laughing at you do so last week and dancing to the opening hymn.  What a hoot!  You also have great rhythm and like to drum on all kinds of surfaces.  I think a drum is in your future.

You love motorcycles.  I pointed them out to you on our trip in Wisconsin and ever since then, you notice them a lot.  Even today, you sat in the grass and grunted at each one that passed by, while we visited with some friends.  You make a funny face while you grunt too.

You love food and haven't found anything that you don't like just yet.  You want anything that daddy or I are eating and especially love ice cream still.  You know how to drink out of a straw and a sippie cup.  When you are finished you sign all done.  You also find it funny to throw your food on the floor for Reno.

You love lights and fans still.  You have recently learned how to turn the light switches on and off.

You still have a few nick-names.  I still call you bugs or bugaboo.  I also have started calling you "The Tornado of Terror," because you are into everything and make messes while playing.  You do know how to put your toys back in the box even though you seem to dump the box right out when you put the toys back in.  I also call you "Small Fry."

I sure do love you, kiddo.  I am trying to remember your face as you are growing much too fast, but it seems to change so quickly that I can't seem to cement it in my mind.  I hate that you won't always be my little baby, but I guess I can move forward and love having you as my little boy.  Always remember that you are so wanted and loved.  You make my life more full and I feel so lucky to have the responsibility to help raise you into a fine young man.

Happy First Birthday and here's to many more that we will spend together.

Love you!


11 Months

Dear Ellis-
You are growing up too fast. Quit it. I mean slow down. I mean I can't stop you but I sure would like to try. 

We travelled to Wisconsin to spend time with your Grandma and Grandpa Koehne. You also get the bonus of lots of other aunts and uncles to visit with as well as lots of friends too. 

No matter where you go, people are drawn to you. You always smile at people and they instantly love you, even people who aren't related to you. Even people who don't like kids much, like you. You are one special soul, and a very happy one at that. I caught myself saying today that I hope you don't lose that happiness and that you will keep being happy and satisfied with life. Too many people become calloused as they age. I think we all could use some acting like a kid in our lives. You remind me to take the time to brighten other people's days, find awe in simple nature and to notice things. Sometimes I get blinded by being tired or the ordinary things, but nothing seems to be ordinary to you yet. 

You have a few new skills this month. You are crawling on your knees much of the time instead of army crawling. You have also learned how to pull yourself up to standing. You sometimes get frustrated because it seems like a lot of work or you can't  figure out how to get your feet right, but you get better at it everyday. 

You have become a mommy's boy lately and burry yourself into me whenever somebody else wants to hold you. Mostly, you are just playing a game because you really will still go to pretty much everybody. I am completely okay with this new cuddle bug that you are because you haven't been too much of a cuddler before. 

You have started to really like books. You love animal books and can bah like a sheep. You also are fascinated by a book about a ghost learning to say boo. I think today alone I read it to you at least five times. It is very cute how you will pick up a book and hold it out to encourage whoever you can to read to you. 

You still hate socks and shoes which may be a challenge when you start walking. It must be that Cajun blood in you. 

You are fitting into 18 month clothes but are getting close to moving into the 24 month stuff. You are a big guy and have awesome reddish hair that is growing and growing like all of you. It even is starting to curl at the ends. It is especially curly in the humidity of Wisconsin. 

You are a very good player and keep yourself very entertained with toys or anything really. You especially love boxes and paper. Maybe we should be buying that for you and minimize the accumulation of so many toys because paper things are much cheaper. 

You love the green blanket that Great-Grandma Huven made for you. You especially like to chew on it, but you will bury yourself in it and lay on it too. 

You follow people around and especially like to go for open doors, cupboards and especially dishwashers lately. You are starting to get into everything, you little rascal. 

You are a food lover and want everything that other people are eating. If somebody is eating, you think you should be too. Favorites lately are: cheese, crackers, bread, french fries, pickles and lemons. You are definitely not a pickly eater. 

Life with you is awesome. I love that you are easy going and go on adventures with me. We have hiked a few times this summer and you are still a huge fan of the outdoors. You are easy going and very flexible. These are traits I hope you keep too. 

I love you so much. Each day it seems like I love you more. It is so fun to keep having the blessing to get to know you better. Being your parent makes me a better person. Thanks for already teaching me so much. My life is better with you in it and you are on the top of my greatest blessings list. 

Be sure that you remember that I love you no matter what. And stay little as long as you can!!

Love you,


A taste of summer life.

In this moment, I am laying on the couch while Ellis plays on the floor. This happens nearly everyday since summer has started. I need the time to wake up, even though Ellis does not. So, I lay and he plays. 

In 40 minutes, we will be watching the USA play soccer in the World Cup. Now, we are watching Treehouse Master, my summer TV obsession. It makes me want a treehouse, but my HOA probably wouldn't approve one! Maybe one day, when my dream of a house near a lake becomes reality, a treehouse will come to fruition. 

The days are filled with walks, letter writing(see my letter writing blog: letteralice.blogspot.com), feedings, diaper changes, reading books(both to Ellis and then for fun during nap time)and keeping Ellis from harms' way. Being a full time mommy is a pretty good gig. Maybe one day we will strike it rich and this could be my full time reality. For now, I'll just live in these wonderful moments. 

Reuben has been out of town quite a bit lately working in Indianapolis. I am appreciating him lots more because parenting is pretty hard core solo. Reuben is wonderful and helps so much. I'm missing him horribly and appreciating all he does even more while he's away. 

We celebrated two years of marriage this past weekend. Luckily, Reuben was able to come home for an extended weekend. It is crazy to think that we have already been married for two whole years. Sure, we are rookies in so many ways, but two years seems like a lot to this rookie. 

Now, it is 10:30pm. Ellis has been asleep for an hour now. We got busy this afternoon. A friend called, after Ellis' doctor appointment, with an invite to a pedicure. It had been almost a year since my last one, so I couldn't say no. Then another friend came to visit and invited us to eat burgers. Most of you know that I can't say no to burgers! Then, it was time to bathe and put Ellis to bed. Because I feel wide lately, I am now pedaling the exercise bike. A filled day and onto five days until we fly to Wisconsin.  Can't wait. 

News of the day: no more helmet head. Ellis looks like a completely different person. A little piece of me will miss little helmet head, but I'm glad the work of it is gone and that Ellis will be more comfortable. 


Ellis is 10 Months Old Today

I cannot believe how fast the time has gone since I became a mother last August.  Ellis is 10 months old today.  That time has flashed by and he has grown so much.  I sure do love that little fella.

Here is his letter:

Dear Ellis:
You are ten months old today.  The time has gone so very fast.  It is crazy to think of life before you.  You are now my regular.

You have grown so fast.   You are wearing 18 month clothes and weight about 25 pounds.  You have three teeth that are growing slowly.  Teething hasn't been our favorite.  You are a little grumpy and have been a little bit more stubborn the past few weeks.  The amazing thing about you, though, is the fact that even though you are in a lot of pain and don't feel well, you always are trying to make other people feel better and always want to make people laugh.

You love your Papa.  When you see him, you do, as he calls it, your "tricks."  You show off by dancing and making noises that involve lots of spit.  You like to blink both your eyes.  You both are very cute when you are playing.

You still love all people.  You are constantly trying to get people's attention so they will make faces and interact with you.  If you see kids, you especially will be noisy(mainly grunting) to try to get their attention.

You laugh more than you cry.  You are learning to crawl and mainly do an army crawl these days.  You have started to chase Reno around and laugh when he barks at you.  You have even started to growl at him the last few days.

You love to get near the wall so that you can kick it.  You beat on the walls or doors, which probably is getting old to our upstairs neighbors.  You also like to open and close the door.  Sometimes you even lock me out of the room because you are just behind the door.  Silly kid.  You also are starting to follow me everywhere and sometimes are clingy and only want your mommy.

Since teething you haven't been eating real food as much and prefer the bottle.  One day you just decided that you were done nursing.  You love dessert, especially ice cream and grunt when we aren't giving it to you fast enough.  You love to drink water out of cups and are offended if we don't share with you.  You also feel the same way, if you are not eating when we are.

You love to be outside.  Whenever you are a bit grumpy, I will take you outside and you instantly are calm.  You still love sports and will clap during the top ten plays on Sportscenter.  You love to play catch with balls and have your very own soccerball.

You love baths and especially splashing.  You try to throw all the toys out of the water and then get made because you are bored.  You also are still soothed by the song "Desperation," by Miranda Lambert.  It instantly gets you quite and calm.  You are very picky about music and like to tell me when you hate a song on the radio in the car.

You will now put your arms out to be held and also love to be thrown in the air.  You will actually try to climb me so I will throw you more. 

You also love to play peeka-boo and especially love to play it with the blanket Great-Grandma Rita made for you. You are becoming attached to that blanket and love to chew on it. It must make your gums feel better while you are teething. You will also roll around in said blanket all over your crib or the floor. 

You still are wearing a helmet to shape your head but could be done with it in a few weeks. It has become so much a part of you that we all will have to adjust to you looking normal without it. You have been a trooper about it and hardly ever complain about it.

I love you more and more each day as I get to know you more and more.  Thanks for teaching me so much about love and patience in these ten months we have been together.  I am so lucky to get to raise you and feel like I've known you forever.

Love you tons,


Reflection on a school year.

As the end of the school year approaches, I am feeling a little like a mother hen who is saying goodbye to her little chicks.  She has gathered them in for a a season and tried to teach them the things they need to survive outside of the coop.

I look through my class lists of names and I find myself asking if I have made a difference for each one of those individuals.  Have I taught them the things from my curriculum that will help them make healthy choices?  Have I showed them that teachers care and that they are each cared for no matter how they act or who they are?  Have I showed them an example of somebody who is not judgemental and gives them the benefit of the doubt on all occasions?  Have I kept my cool?  Have I been fair?  Have I done what I could have?

I truly do love my job.  I like to see young adults figure things out.  I like to see them understand that school isn't just about grades and that how we treat each other is the most important thing we do.

Too many times, we all find it easy to judge other people and complain about "their" behavior.  We tend to forget that we are not all perfect and that we are all on a different segment on this journey that is life.  We are often too hard on each other.  Sometimes we are even too hard on ourselves.

Just a little tidbit of thoughts as I end this day.  There are only a few weeks left in this school year's journey and I hope the last few weeks I can remember this stuff rather than just wishing it away so I can have my break for summer.  I was glad that I was reminded today that my job is significant and that I have a duty to try and make a difference.  What a great responsibility and a tremendous blessing.



Hi.  It's May.  I don't even remember the last time I posted so I thought it was about time. Life is good here.  Just living the dream as I always tell people when they ask me how I am doing.

Right now, I am taking a million pictures from my phone and getting them onto a flash drive.  It is hard work.  I figured, seeing that I am here in front of the laptop and Reuben has Ellis for a few minutes, I should write on here.  Don't you just feel lucky to be reading?  I thought so. And can you believe my little guy was this small?  I have a hard time believing it when I see all these old pics!

Work has been a challenge lately.  Okay, so Monday was a huge challenge, but the rest of the week seemed to go smoothly.  I guess we all have THOSE kind of days.

I hadn't slept more than about 3 hours(Ellis decided that being up from about 4:30 until mommy went to work was a great plan), Reuben and I were both exhausted so we were a little mean to one another that morning, and then one of my students was a complete, well I don't usually use the word that comes to mind, so I will let it go.

In twelve years working in my current position, I have never had to leave my class.  But in the mood I was already in, I was either going to call that girl the word that was coming to mind, or I was going to throw something at her.  Both of those options probably would have had negative consequences.  So, I turned to my aide and said "I am going to go for a little walk, I should be back in a few minutes."  Then, as I opened the door to go into the hallway, I lost it.  When I am mad, I cry and cry.  So, I headed to my office to embrace the coming breakdown.  I then texted my vice principal to let her know what was going on and she went and covered my class and then checked on me after that class.  I was a wreck, so after meeting with the principal(who was also concerned about me and encouraged me to take the rest of the day off and to go home), I decided to go home.

It is amazing what a good nights rest after a horrible day will do.  The next day was fine and the rest of the week went without incident.  Good times.

Other than that, I am just living life.  I work, I come home, I sleep a little, then I wake up and do it all over again.

There are only about 20 days left of school, but who is counting.  I am looking forward to being a full time mommy for a couple of months and having many adventures. As I was telling some friends last night, I like Summer Alice; I can't wait to meet her again. (And by the way, don't get me wrong, I really do love my job and am very grateful for it, but this time of year is what every teacher needs to be able to love kids again come August.  Just sayin')

What have you guys been up to?


Ellis' Eight Month Letter

Dear Ellis-
I cannot believe that you have been in my life now for eight months. It has gone so fast in many ways and in other ways still seems surreal that I have you. There were definitely many times in my life where I didn't even think I would marry and now look at me getting to be your mommy. 

You are a sweet little guy and everybody loves you. Your Papa always talks about how he will open his phone in the morning just to see a picture of you because you bring him so much joy. Mama also says you just make her so happy. You really have such a happy spirit and never are truly sad. You will only cry when you really need something and it doesn't take too long to figure out what you need. Sometimes you throw temper tantrums and arch your back or stomp your feet. It is probably a bad thing that I find said tantrums cute and sometimes let you grump a bit before helping save you!!!

You are getting to be very mobile. We call you the steam roller because you roll and roll and roll. You love to play with toys and especially like to use your feet to play.  You also throw or kick a toy away when you are bored with it. I think you will be a sports guy because you are so good at using your body. You also always want to be standing(either the person you are being held by or standing yourself in their lap). You also like to "do a little jig when prompted and will clap. You still love baths and will splash, splash, splash.

Reno is still one of your favorites and you like to roll to find him. We think Reno will be in trouble when you get the crawling figured out. 

You are quite a talker and still squeal through church. You will be saying words soon and we sometimes hear dada or mom. You click your tongue or fake cough to get people's attention. 

You are a very good traveler and made it to Phoenix  with very little problems. You loved playing with your cousin, Cade and also like your first baseball game. I was worried you wouldn't like the fireworks after because you freaked out inside of me last forth of July but you stared at th in wonder and loved them. 

You are very adaptable and are doing very well with wearing a helmet as we try to shape the top of your head from triangle to circle. 

You make fun noises and my favorite is when you breath very rapidly and tense your legs and hands. 

I had my first real crazy worry because you fell off the changing table the other day. I think I beat you to the ground and cried harder. Luckily, you are built too heavy and did a summersault and landed on your back not your head. We definitely must be much more concentrated when we have you up high. I was so worried you were hurt or permanently damaged that my lip quivered as I cried. I don't want you to ever have to have bad pains!!!

Life is so good with you and I really can't imagine life without you. You make me proud and happy and I am so glad to have the blessing of helping you grow into a successful young man. Thanks for already teaching me so much about patience and love and for showing me how to love life. 

Love you tons. 



This time of year is extra hard.  Part of this has to do with the indecisive weather, part has to do with needing a break from work.  The children in my school are cray-cray and the adults are just as stir crazy.  This is where baseball comes in.  Baseball makes me happy and has made life more bearable. For my birthday,  I bought myself access to Major League Baseball streaming of the audio coverage of each of the games for a whopping twenty bucks.  This has been the best twenty bucks I have spent on myself in a long time.  Not only can I listen to my Dodgers, but I also get to watch one game a day for free.  Right no,w the Reds are playing the Cardinals in the background on my phone.  Heavenly.  

Lately, I have been doing a whole lot of soul searching too.  Recently, a co-worker's son passed away and I was able to attend the funeral, even though I didn't know him well.  This funeral, like many I have been to in the past, reminded me of how fragile life really is and how I need to be LIVING more.  This young man inspired me to remember to do the things I love more because he lived passionately.  Sometimes that means I have to make the time for the things I love.  One change I have done with that is to get my guitar out and in plain sight again.  I even have learned "Amazing Grace" which was sung beautifully at his funeral.  I also have remembered to ride my bike more and have plans to get it road ready to start riding to work after Spring Break(it will be warmer, I hope!).  He was an avid bike rider and I need to get out and feel the wind in my face more.  We bought a trailer to lug the kiddo around in and Ellis loves it so we will be doing lots more riding in the Ficklin family. 

I also was reminded how I need to be nicer and love people more.  Life is too short to hold grudges, be surrounded by negativity, judge people, and just be unhappy.  I am learning to let go of the unimportant things and to cling onto the things that do mean most.  
Reuben and this little critter means most these days.  And the people in my sphere need me to be a champion for them.  I am trying to be more positive and love those around me more because I am doing no one a favor by pretending to be small and insignificant.  I am important and I have talents to help people enjoy their journey here more.  

So...I have thought a bit about what I would want people to say at my funeral.  The young man's brother said in a tribute:  "If you take anything for what I say, know that he was a good guy!"  I want people to say that about me.  Well, at least that I was a good lady, that I would do anything for others, that I was always smiling and helped make people smile too.  That is what I want to be remembered for.  I want to someday be celebrated and mourned because it will be a while until those people who loved me can feel that from me again.  I want to be known as a kind soul who loved life. (Ellis is also a great example of this to me.  How fun that a little 7 month old can teach us things about life.  He's a happy little dude!)

Most importantly, I was reminded that this life isn't it.  We are connected and will be in each others' sphere on the other side.  This is all possible because our Creator is eternal so it is only realistic to think that we are eternal as well.  We will get to live on and how peaceful to know that it won't be as hard there for us as living in this mortal life can be at times.  And how nice it is to also realize that we can make our limited time here joyful, full and rewarding.  We get to choose to enjoy life!

Cheers to all.



How did I become 37 so quickly. I still feel like the young kid I was in college, high school and grade school. 

Here are 37 things I've learned:
1. Dreams do come true. 
2. Prayer is real and produces miracles. 
3. There is a God who knows us each individually and is watching out for us. 
4. Friends are very important. 
5. Happiness is often based on choices and a big choice is often to choose to be happy. 
6. Family is most important. 
7. The right thing isn't always the popular thing. 
8. There are no bad people, Well, at least most people do dumb things but I'm not to judge. 
9. Service not only helps those being served. 
10. Age is relative. 
11. Time does heal most pain. 
12. Life is too short to spend too much time agonizing over work. 
13. Fishing is relaxing. 
14. You can make a huge difference in your own sphere, which ripples into the whole world. 
15. Words are powerful. 
16. You always need mommy, even at 37.
17. Men and women are different, and that isn't bad, it is just how we can compliment each other. 
18. Teenagers are weird but really need us. 
19. Money is definitely not everything. 
20. Work is work. Sometimes it is hard but most the time it is rewarding. 
21. Food is essential and delishious, but can be like any other vice in the world. 
22. Home is whereever those you love are. 
23. Skype and FaceTime help home be anywhere and both ease homesickness. 
24. It is a blessing to have friends that you can connect with after years of separation and not miss a beat. 
25. Being a parent is amazing. 
26. Sleeping is helpful and needed, and should be appreciated. 
27. It can always be worse. 
28. I don't have anything to complain about. 
29. You cannot change or control people. 
30. Marriage is work. 
31. Slamming doors doesn't get you anywhere. 
32. Having your own house(buying) is pretty dang cool. 
33. The sunset is worth making time to see everyday. God is the best artist. 
34. The seasons will always change even when winter feels incredibly long. 
35. Living in the moment is how you should live. 
36. Babies don't keep. 
37. Love is always the right answer. 

There are lots more things I have learned in my 37 trips around the sun, but those are the ones that come to mind today. 

Here is to this trip around the sun being filled with adventure, happiness and lots of love. 



Fat Tuesday

Hi.  Did you know that once upon a time, I was Catholic?  Yep, that's right, I was.  Around this time of year, the observation of Lent happens within the Catholic religion(and among other Christian Sects as well) and I actually like the whole premise of that observation and I still actually observe parts of it.  The whole object of Lent is to prepare oneself for Easter by fasting from something.  This observation happens during the 40 days prior to Easter with its beginning marked by Ash Wednesday, which is tomorrow.

Easter is actually one of my favorite holidays because we celebrate what Christ did for us and that is laying down his life so that we can be saved ourselves.  I like how Lent prepares us for that celebration and gets us more focused on religion and Christ,  so I have kept this part of my Catholic days with me.

This year, I am going to fast from Diet Coke, and candy.  (I have been toying with sweet treats and soda all together, but I am thinking that I would be setting myself up for failure.)  I have been having a major gluttonous relationship with candy and soda and I think the best way to cleanse myself from these bad habits is to take a break from them.

This year, I would also like to add a bit more to my observation of Lent rather than just giving up something and not thinking about much else.  I have been doing pretty well at my goal of reading The Book of Mormon again by the end of the year.  Maybe I will be adding some other study to the mix about Easter and the Life of Christ.  Any suggestions on what to study?

Well, I hope all is well for each of the five of you that read this blog.


Oh and Happy Fat Tuesday.  Basically, you run around doing all the things you plan to give up for Lent.  I may have a very large Diet Coke today and some Cadbury Mini Eggs(they are my favorite!)


Birthday Week

Hi.  I have a habit of not writing on here.  Oh well...it is the season of rocking and laughing at a cute little nugget of a baby.  (I don't laugh at him while rocking him, that is counter-productive.)

This week I will turn 37...or as I like to say 20-17.  Sounds a bit less like I am getting OLD.  I know, 37 is the new 17 but I am feeling old lately.  I am getting grey hair and am tired all. the. time.  (The tired probably has to do with parenthood and not necessarily maturing.)

I like to celebrate the whole week.  So yesterday, we hung out with my adopted family, The Bills.  It was a blast as always and there was much laughing.  That is free therapy people, btw.

Maybe each day I should do something I love to celebrate being alive and having one more trip around the sun.  Any suggestions about things to do?

Later this week, I will write an inspired post about aging and how awesome it is.  For now, I am going to go pretend that I do not need a nap and watch my kids take a test in Health class.



A little late...

Ellis is closer to seven months but here is the letter I wrote to him around his sixth month mark. 

I sure love him to pieces. He is one cute little guy and has so much personality. He is a people person who doesn't mind adventures. He's starting to cuddle more and more and I love it! Isn't he handsome?
He's so dang big. Now over 20 pounds and is head is in the 100th percentile. Crazy. 
Sometimes that head is too heavy to hold up so he uses our faces to steady himself. 

Dear Ellis-
You are now six months old and have gotten pretty big. Your head is actually now in the 100th percentile and your body in the 60th. You are just like daddy in lots of ways. You especially love to wear his sunglasses and giggle whenever he tickles you. You also smile when he enters the room. It is very special to me that you love him so much. I can tell you both will be the best of pals.  

You have started eating baby food and actually love prunes. I think you're weird for it but it helps your digestion. You're least favorite so far is peas but you eat them anyway, even if they make you gag a bit. 

You are close to fitting into 12 month clothes. We actually have run out of the free clothes and I had to go buy you a new wardrobe in that size. Right now 9 months fit but I suspect it won't be for long because you are growing like a weed. 

You are a social bug. You will smile for all people. My students especially love to talk to you when you come to watch them play basketball. You are still a little squealer but are "talking" more and more.  

You are moving more and more and can roll over. Usually, it's when we put you on your stomach but you have rolled from your back to your stomach a few times. You also love to kick your legs and have started to make it a little harder to change your diapers. You also have discovered your toes and reach for them as often as you can. You like laying on your back and playing the most and talk and squeal when you are on your back. You also think that my feet are pretty hilarious and laugh at them every night when I'm getting you ready for bed after your bath. You are also a stinker and are trying to get your diaper off when being changed. You also even laugh like you know what you are doing! We are in trouble!!

You still think Reno is hilarious and love when I help you chase him around the house. Reno is still a little unsure about you but he licks you when he can sneak it in, so I think he likes having you around, even though he is jealous that daddy loves you more than he loves him!!!  

You are getting good with gripping things and have learned how to throw things. I am hoping this means you will be good at sports. Whenever you get bored with a toy, you launch it across the room. You still love to watch sports and are easily distracted by the tv.  You have also started to pat your head whenever you are drinking a bottle to avoid sleep. You also tap your hands on the table or your lap, and you still love patty cake. 

I still call you a lot of different nicknames but bugs is the most popular followed closely by bugaboo. Sometimes I call you Mister Mist and when you are grumpy, Grumpy McGrumperson. Daddy called you our little Oyster the other day because you made a dry poop nugget. Silly daddy. 

You already have so much personality. You are a happy little guy. Right now you are screaming and playing on the floor near me. You also are sensitive to people. The other day when I was balling over a blog post I was reading while you were eating, you stopped and looked up at me with eyes of great concern almost as to say to me: "What's wrong mom? Everything will be ok." 

You have my heart kiddo. I look forward to teaching you things and to learn with you as well. Your little giggle when I come home from work keeps me going everyday. 

I love you bunches and cannot even remember or imagine life without you!
Love you,