Yearly Recap {2013}


It’s been awhile since I’ve done an end-of-the-year recap post; in fact, it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about ANYTHING at all. I saw this yearly recap on Rage Against the Minivan and decided to participate, too.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?  2013 was a pretty tame year for me. We took in our second little foster daughter, loved on her for eight months, and then she reunified with her birth mother. That was hard.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?  I honestly don’t even remember what my resolutions were from last year. I’m sure one of them was to lose weight, which has happened! I will make new resolutions for 2014… I want to get back into exercising regularly, I want to take more time to enjoy the little things, and I want to simplify life in general.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? I had a few cousins give birth to beautiful babies!

4. Did anyone close to you die?  Thankfully, no!

5. What countries did you visit?  I had a brief trip across the border into Mexico, but other than that, all of our vacations were in the US. We visited Montana, Colorado, and South Dakota.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?  Patience, time, and living more in the present.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? April 2013 because we were placed with our second foster daughter and also because rights were terminated on our first foster daughter’s biological parents that month. December 20th she officially became an “adoptive placement” –looking forward to finalizing in the next month or so! On November 25th, our little girl was having a routine surgery and we had a baseline MRI done for her neurofibromatosis and discovered some things we weren’t expecting and that will require more in-depth medical consultations in 2014. November 27th, the little girl we had been fostering returned home to her mother.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?  Successfully parenting two little girls aged two months apart and mostly keeping my sanity, not to mention being a mother the other four kiddos.

9. What was your biggest failure?  I didn’t put as much time into my business as I had hoped to. Seems like time got away from me in many areas of my life.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?  No, not really.

11. What was the best thing you bought?  A huge, comfy couch big enough for all of our massive family to sit on. Also, my NutriBullet -I use it every single day.

12. Where did most of your money go?  Taxes and kids.

13. What did you get really excited about?  We have two open spots for foster children and I get extremely excited when our home phone rings, hoping for a little baby. There are only two types of people that call our home phone – social workers and doctors.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?  Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show. We play that a lot to calm Jaz down.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? I think I am happier.
– thinner or fatter? Definitely thinner, which makes me happy!
– richer or poorer? About the same, but I think we have more of our debts paid off!

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?  Traveling and seeing the world, taking photos, and talking to friends.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?  I would like to spend less time online and on my phone, which is hard, because it’s how I make a living and stay in touch with most people!

18. How did you spend Christmas?  We spent Christmas at home for the second year in a row. This never happens.  Usually, Justin ends up having to work over Christmas and we head to the rig. On Christmas day, we drove to Dickinson and hung out with family for a few hours.

19. What was your favorite TV program?  Walking Dead, Girls, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and So You Think You Can Dance.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?  Oh, gosh. I’m not sure I even read a whole book last year. I probably read a few, but I can’t remember what they were. My family got me Humans of New York, a collection of photos and stories, and I’ve been loving that the last few days!

21. What was your favorite music from this year?  Unfortunately, most of my music is stuff my teenage girl listens to, because my time is spent shuffling kids from one place to another. When I do get time to myself, I’ve been digging Ryan Adams, Passenger, The Neighbourhood.

22. What was your favorite film of the year? Honestly, I don’t think I even saw a decent movie during the last year!

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?  I turned 34 and didn’t do anything memorable. I will be turning 35 in 10 days -yikes! I don’t have any big plans, although I will be meeting some of my besties for a quick trip a few days after that! I can’t wait!

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Starting to build the house we have been planning. We purchased 40+ acres in 2012 and were hoping to start building last spring, but it just didn’t happen that way, as we need to figure out how to get a road across the creek!

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? I still live for cozy and easy, but I’m starting to branch out a little more, thanks to Stitch Fix! My “personal stylist” sends me great pieces I would never typically pick for myself.

26. What kept you sane?  My husband and my kids. They are also probably the ones that make me not-so-sane.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.  Not everyone is going to share the same parenting standards that I hold myself to. And that’s okay. I can offer advice, support, and encouragement, but in the end, I cannot change people. Sometimes, I just need to let it go.

send help.

please. i haven’t seen my kids in DAYS.


I’m sorry…

I can’t work out today.

The dog ate my shoelaces.

Good thing he’s cute.

eleven things.

a clue!

I think it’s been approximately twenty years since I’ve done a meme. I have been suffering from a major case of blogvacationitis lately, so thank you Thea for giving me something to write about!

The Rules:

  • Post these rules
  • You must post 11 random things about yourself
  • Answer the questions set for you in their post
  • Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
  • Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them
  • No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people!

11 Random Things about Me:

  1. My dog {Ozzie – the shiba inu} is a runner. He is highly intelligent, but once he knows he has an ounce of freedom from say, slipping out of his collar, he is outta here. I may be saying this because the little shit took off today and hasn’t returned home yet. GRR.
  2. I don’t drive through car washes. That’s what husbands are for, right? I don’t mind doing the U-Wash though.
  3. I am not a fan of talking on the phone. I much prefer texting, emailing, or going for a good old-fashioned coffee date.
  4. When I was younger, I never wanted to be married or have kids. Now here I am, married for 12 years this month, with four kids, three cats, two dogs, and am in the process of getting licensed to be foster parents. What the heck? Who am I?
  5. I have had a mole on my collarbone. It was approximately the size of a pencil eraser. I was extremely self-conscious of that mole while growing up. I remember in 8th grade wearing a tank top with a band-aid over the mole, saying the cat had scratched me. I had it removed a few years ago. One quick slice and buh-bye. Now, I just have a small flesh-colored scar.
  6. I have these weird eyelashes that grow out of the inner corner of my eyes. I never really thought much about it, until one day when Jdogg made fun of me. Every once in awhile I will pluck them… usually, when I am plugging that one black hair that grows under my chin.
  7. I long to be organized. I’m not.
  8. I have an extra bone in the roof of my mouth. You just checked to see if you do, too, right?

9.  I hate watermelon, actually I think I hate all melons?

10.  I had light, light blonde hair until I was a freshman in high school and died my hair strawberry blonde. It turned olive green. My hair has never been the same since.

11.  I have a dream of being on Wheel of Fortune.

Questions I was tagged with:

  1. In the movie of your life, what actors play your family? Geez, Thea. This is a hard one. I would choose Rachel McAdams for myself and Ryan Reynolds for my husband, because, WHY NOT?! My children should play themselves and earn their keep.
  2. What one area of your life do you wish you could hire someone to do for you? COOKING! My husband does a great job on his days off, but what about those other two weeks?
  3. If I’m peeking through your window between the hours of 4pm to 6pm, what do I see? A mess.
  4. What television show do you put the kids to bed early for? None, since I have a DVR. BUT, I do love True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, and Hell on Wheels. Those must be watched with no kids around.
  5. When’s the last time you wrote a card to someone when it wasn’t their birthday? I personally love sending my friends cards, but I don’t do it nearly enough.
  6. What’s the deal with time zones? Really. What IS the deal? I live in Central time, however think Mountain time feels the most natural for me. Not to mention, the next time zone over is only like 50 miles away. So everytime we go visit family in Dickinson, we gain an hour and lose one coming back.
  7. Do you prefer active vacations are lazy vacations? I prefer both. Any vacation is a good vacation. Sometimes, adventure is good, and sometimes, laying at the beach is what is needed!
  8. What one song represents your life right now? Sexy and I know it. Okay. Kidding. How about. Crap. I just don’t know.
  9. Do you do laundry every day or once a week? I do laundry several times a week. And then it sits in baskets, unfolded for another week.
  10. Someone gives you $5000, no strings attached. What do you do with the money? I’m thinking I would probably get the hell out of here for a bit! Take the family somewhere awesome. Norway? Iceland? Hawaii?
  11. Are you happy? Sure am!

My Questions for you:

  1. Do you lie about your weight on your driver’s license?
  2. What is your favorite quote/saying?
  3. Where is the best place you’ve ever traveled?
  4. Do you put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher as they become dirty, or do you pile them in the sink a mile high?
  5. Name your all-time favorite blog.
  6. Are you more like your mother or your father?
  7. What time period in your life has been your favorite so far?
  8. Share one of your long-term goals.
  9. And a short-term goal.
  10. Can you shoot a gun?
  11. Do you consider yourself judgmental?

People I’m Tagging:

  1. Brooke
  2. Mary
  3. Nancy
  4. Jen
  5. Alice
  6. Steph
  7. Mindi
  8. Trish
  9. Megan
  10. Laura
  11. And YOU, the lurker.

Come back and leave me a comment with your link so I can read them! Fun!

just be.

I sit here on my favorite corduroy chair with my warm blanket and a steaming mug of coffee, with a computer on my lap and a cat at my feet. The kids have just been whooshed outside to meet the bus at the end of the driveway, and I sit as I do every morning for a short time. This is the most peaceful time of my day. So quiet. So un-chaotic. I love the chaos {most of the time}, but sometimes it’s lovely to just be.

I think about how I arrived at this place in my life. Many, many mistakes and lots of hasty decisions. It’s so odd to think that if I had just made one different decision all those years ago, my life may have veered off on such a different path. But, all of those decisions and mistakes added up to be so right.

I am blessed with an awesome husband, who has put up with me and my quirks for over a dozen years {not to say that he doesn’t have his!}. Children who know they are loved, get it, and are able to pass this love onto so many others. Some may think our hearts and house are overflowing, but we have so much more to give. We will open our doors {and hearts} to those children that may not know this kind of nurture. My family will be the love, acceptance, and stability that they need to thrive. I’m excited {and nervous} to see what our new journey will bring.



Linking up with Just Write.



Happy Friday, friends! What’s new? Are you constantly running around trying to get things done and wishing there were more hours in the day, like I am?

Do people even READ my blog any more? I have noticed that when I don’t write a lot, the comments kind of taper off. Weird. Note to self: Write more blog posts. So, if you’re still around, say HEY! in the comments! What’s on your Christmas list? What are you doing for the holidays?

Here is my week, in iPhone photos:

Saturday morning, we were having our laid-back, lazy morning and I came across this post from one of my favorite ladies in the blogosphere. I cried. I read it to the twins, then might have cried just a little bit more.

The twins, looking at the photos in the post:

The twins and our “pig with a purpose”:

We got our hair done, my roots were getting dang skanky, and the twins were looking like they were born in the wrong decade:

We played with a box. A big box. There may or may not be a child in there during this photo.

Bridger has been busy singing his little heart out at 539 different concerts this week. We got to have our own special “lunch date” on a school day!

Do you like my outfit? Pajama pants? I channeled my inner-person-of-Walmart for that one. My shoes are pretty darn cute though. I have them in gray and brown.

Ashton’s campaign to raise money for clean water ended yesterday. His grand total for his 3 months of fundraising? $1,100.10. Pretty awesome, huh? Bridger is still actively collecting money for his CLEAN WATER FOR CHRISTMAS campaign. I swear, he was the easiest person to shop for this year! You can give back by clicking here to visit his page!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

her hero

My daughter came home last week and said she had a big project due for school — The Hero Project. She couldn’t tell me who she chose and it was “top secret” around these parts all week long as she printed photo after photo and typed and glued until late at night.

Now, she probably just wants to score some extra points with me or for me to buy her those neon jeans she’s been dying for, but OH MY HEART. So cute.

i think i will forgive her for calling me crazy.




My twins are raising money for charity: water, and would be so happy if you could help:
Ashton’s Thrilling Drilling Campaign
Bridger’s Clean Water for Christmas Campaign

six for saturday

1. What is it about the cooler weather that makes me want to hole up in my house and do absolutely nothing except lounge around in my sweatpants and play on my computer and watch movies with the kids? I ventured out with the youngsters to the public library and Target, but the entire time I couldn’t wait to get home to put yoga pants on.

2. I found these awesome steals the other day in the clearance section of a furniture store here in town.

Now we have been re-doing our entire main floor and finally getting to all those projects we had been putting off. There must be something magical about a corduroy chair?? And why is corduroy so hard for me to spell?

3. You heard me blogging, tweeting, and facebooking about Bridger’s Clean Water for Christmas campaign at the end of last year. He has decided to embark on this campaign again this year and will be starting up at the end of the month. But now, his twin brother, Ashton, has started his own campaign. His goal is simply to raise $600. He is currently at $75. If you can help him out, it would make his day {and the people in need of water!}. Donate here:

4. I have found my blonde self again. It feels good.

5. Remember this spider?

Well, we had him and his 20 closest friends living all over our front porch. Until yesterday. There was the cutest little gray and yellow bird hanging out on the post, and the kids and I were oohing-and-ahhing over him. All of a sudden he flew up and snatched one of those huge-ass monstrosity spider-things out of it’s web. Then proceeded to eat the whole damn thing, even though it was bigger than his head. He wasn’t done there. We watched as he plucked Billy Bob Joe out of his web and flew off with him, presumably to share with a friend.

6. I love that my boys enjoy keeping me company on my Couch-to-5K training runs. Today, it was cold, rainy, and windy, but they happily hopped on their bikes and pedaled away beside me. I should also mention that tomorrow I start Week 5, and I am scared. My calves are screaming at the mere thought of it.




**The kids are getting back into the groove of school and everything is going great! Other than the fact that 60% of our household has a sore throat right now. Dumb! Averie is just loving middle school, as I knew she would, being the social creature she is. The whole locker-thing is kicking her ass, though.

**These early mornings are not kind to me. I may or not text my husband every day after the get-on-the-bus rush, “MORNINGS CAN BITE ME”. Coffee makes them a little more bearable.

**I’m taking the kids to a benefit concert in Minot this weekend, put on by The Black Eyed Peas. I am so, so excited to stare at Josh Duhamel see Ashton’s face when the band comes on stage. He kind of idolizes Will.I.Am and has some sweet white-boy moves and rap skillz.

**I have never watched the show, Toddlers and Tiaras, but a mother and her daughter just came on the Today Show while I was writing this, and the little girl was acting like a programmed robot-child doing her little dance and blowing kisses. How obnoxious. That mother should be slapped. Plus? The robot-child said she participates in the pageants for the TOYS. Not that I’m judging. Nope.

**The bugs in North Dakota are HORRENDOUS this year. The worst I have ever seen or experienced. I have massive, ginormous spiders {and webs} on my front porch, around the house, on the plants and trees, everywhere. Usually, I would freak the hell out and have nightmares and scream for my husband to get rid of them, but this year, if there is a chance that these spiders will eat some of the other bugs, I will leave them. Until I see one in my house, then the freaking out will commence.

**I am now on Week 2 of the Couch-to-5K program. It’s actually going pretty well. I am thinking I won’t be saying that in another week or two when it calls for me to run longer than 90 seconds at a time. If you haven’t registered for this race yet, you must. I think it’s pretty great. Not that I am biased or anything.


I’m giving away a $50 gift certificate to Tea! New clothes!

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I seem to have missed last Friday’s instaFriday {friday, saturday, where did you go? sunday?}, so today you get insta*takes! I’ve got to show off all those lovely little instagram photos somehow, right?

Another week flew right by me, which means we are almost at the start of the school year.

That means: school clothes shopping… my daughter loves, but my wallet does not. Because every 7th grade girl must have this and this and NOBODY wears THOSE anymore. They are so last year.

Erin and Jaida came to visit and now that the girls are supersitters, we left them home with the young’uns and headed out for a wild night on the town filled with lavash and blackjack.

We burned off the calories once we got home by having an intense dance competition. I won, of course.

The next day, we took the girls to their much-anticipated week at summer camp. Of course, I made them pose for the obligatory photo outside of their cabin, because I pretend to be THAT MOM just to embarrass them.

While she was gone, the twins and I had some quality one-on-one time. It was spent playing games and reading in, you know, boxes. Only I couldn’t really squeeze my ass into a box.



Speaking of asses and things that don’t fit, I’ve been busy working on a super-secret project for my other site, The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. The great unveiling will take place next week! SUSPENSE!

That new carpet we put in last week? Wet. Soaking wet. Because of this storm and lots of water in window wells, which leads to water in the basement:



Throw in a quick trip to the rig and the bunkhouse and there you have it, a week gone by in the blink of an eye.




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