What will you choose?

A few days ago, I was grocery shopping at Aldi with my 3-year-old daughter.  The store was busy as usual.  It was filled with men and women, elderly couples, and lots of young mothers with carts overflowing with groceries and little kids.  As I shopped, I found myself smiling and making casual conversation with a few of the other customers in the store.  (I just can’t seem to help myself… I’m an extrovert!)

When it was time to check-out, I ended up in line behind a mother with three little boys.  Her youngest was seated in the cart and trying desperately to “help” his mom.   Unfortunately, when things didn’t go quite how he hoped they would, he got upset.  As his frustration level rose, it appeared his mom’s anxiety level did as well.  Continue reading

The Ultimate Guide

This past weekend my family embarked on a spontaneous excursion to Interstate State Park.  It was a gorgeous, 70-degree October day in Minnesota.  The sun was shining bright in the blue cloud-streaked sky.  Red, orange and yellow leaves were just starting to dot the dominantly green landscape.

My husband, Chad, and I agreed that we couldn’t waste this opportunity to get out and explore with our three kids.  After-all, picture perfect autumn days can be sporadic in the land of 10,000 snow-fLAKES

So we packed our little crew into our mini-van and drove the 52 miles to get to Taylor’s Falls Minnesota.  Continue reading

It Starts With Me: A Mother’s Honest Confession

It’s July in Minnesota.  We are not quite half-way through our summer break, and if I’m completely honest… I have been STRUGGLING!  I’ve been struggling with my patience, struggling with my temper, and struggling with this whole parenting thing.

I have three kiddos and I love them to pieces.  They are truly a blessing in my life.  You know that saying, “children are a gift from above?”  It’s true!

But let’s be real.  My kids don’t always behave in a manner that conjures up warm, fuzzy, “I’m feeling so blessed right now” emotions.  Continue reading

You Are Not Alone

I could hear the baby wailing from across the department store. My first reaction was to breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn’t one of my kids.  I was enjoying a quiet shopping trip all alone, a scenario that rarely happens, especially on a Friday afternoon.

My husband had the day off and had graciously offered me a chance to sneak away so I could buy some much-needed items for myself. We both knew what a nightmare it could be to try to corral our kiddos in a dressing room while we frantically tried on clothes.  I was definitely relishing in this unexpected moment of retail solitude. Continue reading

I Won’t Stay Silent!

Two weeks ago, I heard the heart-wrenching news that one of my former high school classmates had been shot and killed inside her Colorado home. Molly Nickal was just 35 years old. She left behind three beautiful children, the youngest a 3-month-old baby boy. Her husband, Gary Nickal, has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder.

As I read the news articles chronicling her tragic demise, it was very clear that this beautiful woman was a victim of domestic violence. According to an article in the Mankato Free Press, Molly’s family had been afraid for her because her husband was controlling, violent, and had isolated her from the rest of the family. Molly had even told one of her sisters that she felt like a prisoner in her own home. Continue reading

A Fatal Distraction

My four-year-old son was silently struggling for his life near the edge of a swimming pool filled with people, and no one knew it… including me.

It happened so quickly.

I had just taken my little guy’s life jacket off so he could run into the house and go to the bathroom.

The pool party we were attending was starting to wind down and my mind was preoccupied with our after party plans. I wanted to call my husband to confirm our dinner arrangements. Just then, my son tugged at my arm. Continue reading

Dumpster Diving

“I’m hungry!” My 3 ½ year-old son said repeatedly as we made our way down the stairs and into the cluttered kitchen below.  Still rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I mumbled a drowsy: “what do you want for breakfast?”

Much like the red laser beam from one of his favorite nerf guns, my son’s gaze zeroed in on his target:  a stash of candy that I had placed on top of the refrigerator.  I tend to keep “the really good stuff” up and out of reach.  But some of the kids lingering Valentine’s Day candy had recently been moved to the top of the refrigerator as well.  I had naively thought that it would be safe from grabby little fingers up there. Continue reading