Category Archives: Parenting

Our life in pictures

Where to even begin…

So much has happened in this past month, or has it been two since I last posted?  Either way, here’s what’s been goin’ on….


The boys graduated.

Amp in the front, Chip in the back


The girl graduated.



The boys got jobs.


Hubby bought a brand new car.



The girl wrecked her car.

Not her fault, obviously.


Hubby moved down to Joplin leaving the girl with his brand new car.



Hubby bought a car for her in Joplin, and drove it back to the girl.



Hubby drove back to Joplin in his own car, and has finally settled into our new home.

I told him to just bring himself, and maybe his own fork….


And there you have it.  Our crazy, hectic life in a nutshell.  And except for a few little bumps along the way, things are working out exactly as we had hoped.  But I have to tell you, up and leaving your kids hundreds of miles away takes a little gettin’ used to.  I sure hope it gets easier.


Posted by on June 12, 2017 in Family, Parenting


Happy Mother’s Day!

So I’m a little late… But I mean it just the same.  My mom didn’t seem to mind that I called her 3 days late, so I figured my mom blog friends would be okay with it too.  I blame it on my life as a hotel manager.

So yeah, I worked Mother’s Day, but it was still my favorite Mother’s Day to date.

I told my kids all I wanted was to go out to breakfast with everyone before I went to work.  Their present to me was to wake up early that morning and be dressed and ready to go by 8 AM.

After we ordered our meal, my daughter insisted I open my card.  The boys continued their conversations as I began reading and tears began rolling down my cheeks.   Mario’s “Aww, Mom…”  made them turn my way.

Chip, Amp, Mario and my hubby had all written little blurbs of how much I mean to them, and I was touched beyond belief.  As I wiped my tears, Chip and Amp embellished on what they had written, saying they feel so lucky to have us as parents.

I could barely speak.  I think I told them how proud I was of them, and how grateful I was that even though I work ALL THE TIME, they still feel like they can come to me for help or advice.  I always worry that I’m not giving them enough, but that day I found out that they think I am, and they seemed genuinely appreciative.

I brought the card with me to work that afternoon, and read through it multiple times.  My heart swelling more and more each time.  In fact, I’m still carrying the card around and sneak a peak whenever I need an uplifting moment.

The only thing that would have made that day better is if Link had been here too. But he called on my way in to work, and he, too, told me how much I mean to him.  I didn’t think my heart could take much more.

I’ve got great kids.  I don’t know how I did it, but I’ve got great kids.  And I couldn’t be happier or more relieved that they think I’m a great mom.  Not sure how or what, but I must be doing something right.  So I’ll just keep on keeping on – loving them, accepting them, and making time whenever I can.



Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Family, Parenting


I haven’t let go yet

When you let something go for as long as I have, it’s easy to just keep letting it go. I suppose I’m not quite ready to quit blogging though, so I’m forcing myself to sit down and write.

It’s not like nothing’s happened here in the last few weeks.  It’s just that it’s all been about the hotel, and how many blog posts can be about that?

At least one more, I guess.

We now have 2 working elevators.  It was a long time coming – four months in fact – and with a hotel full of 500+ robotics kids and their families, it’s quite a relief not to worry about it this weekend.

I love this robotics convention.  The kids are so well behaved and respectful.  They spend their time strategizing and planning, not running around the hotel while their parents sit in the dining area with coolers.

Not only that, they stay for 4-5 nights which makes for very easy days once they’re checked in.  Easy for the housekeepers, easy for the desk, easy for me.  And they LOVE us, which always makes hosting them a pleasurable experience.

Really, the entire city benefits from them.  Every hotel is booked up with these competitors and their families, and they all go out in groups to patronize the restaurants.

So it’s a little disappointing that next year will be their last.  They’ve come for at least 6 years in a row, and for a reason I’m not privy to, they’re splitting their convention between Detroit and Houston.

It’ll be a huge loss for us.  In many ways.

In other news, I’m enjoying having a Saturday off.  A rare feat in this industry, but a necessity, as it’s Mario’s Junior prom night.  I wanted to be here for her to, you know, write the check for the hair and makeup, and zip up the dress, and soothe her when her shoe broke….

As I was helping her dress, I couldn’t help think how wedding day-ish prom can be.   Good practice I suppose.



Posted by on May 1, 2016 in Family, Parenting, The Hotel


Girl Trip Gone Bad

What I thought was going to be a great mother/daughter weekend, turned out to be heartbreaking for the both of us.

Wednesday night, after I worked and after she bowled, we ran home, packed our bags, and stuffed everything, including her bowling bags into my little Mustang.

Stuffed under blankets and coats, and armed with everything girls need for a fun road trip, we finally started on our way.  As we drove, we talked and laughed and listened to loud music.  We arrived at our hotel late, set our alarm for early, and drove the rest of the way to Chicago.

Despite the ungodly traffic in Chicago at that time of the day, we arrived at her college visit with time to spare.

The school itself was pretty cool.  Neither of us had seen a college that was set up in only one building.  We liked the idea of smaller classes, and the fact that the dorms were right across the street was a big plus.  For two hours we talked about the programs the school offered, toured the dorms, and discussed scholarships.

Before meeting with the bowling coach, we took a walk around Chicago.  Mario tried to picture herself living there and was quite excited.  Although she grew up in a very small town, she’s always aspired to live in a big city.  And from the way she helped me navigate around, I’m pretty confident she’ll handle herself well.

We grabbed some lunch, and headed to the bowling alley.  That’s when things began to turn south.

We learned about the program and then the coach asked to watch her bowl.  She threw a few balls for him, and he was pretty impressed, except for one thing.  Her thumb hole was too big and she was gripping the ball causing it not to roll the way it should.  5 hours later, we were still there.  With her permission they had redrilled her balls, but that little change was enough to change everything.  She found herself dropping the ball or lofting it way out onto the lane.  In her exasperation, she started to cry which only worsened things. All the college girls took turns talking with her, explaining how they had gone through similar changes, and each time she’d relax and try again.

When we were completely exhausted, she exchanged phone numbers with one of the girls and we made the 3 hour drive back to the hotel.

Both of us were scared.  She was to bowl in the regional tournament for her high school bowling on Saturday – a tournament she had been looking forward to all season.  She had been confident she would go in and kick butt, but now, she was so afraid of the ball lofting into the air, that she was no longer confident.

On our way home Friday, we stopped at a bowling alley to throw a few balls.  She began to feel a little more confident, but that night, after we arrived home, she had practice with her team.  She lofted the ball quite a few times and crumbled into tears.  We were running out of time as the tournament was the following morning.

Long after the others had gone, Mario and I stayed and practiced some more.  I kept her calm, reminded her to keep her hand relaxed, and we drilled and drilled and drilled.  Once again, we arrived home exhausted, and still a little nervous about the tournament.  I cried myself to sleep.

Long story short (or is it too late for that?), she bowled one game in the tournament.  After she lofted the ball the third time, she didn’t want to let her team down.  She asked the coach to pull her out, knowing that she would no longer be able to advance individually by doing that.  She bravely held her head up and cheered her team on for the next 5 games.  She watched as her good friend Alice excelled into the top spot, and smiled right along with her.  I held back tears knowing she wished she could have been in that spot with her.

This was it for her Junior year of bowling.  Not quite the end she had imagined.

We both know this was the right change.  With practice and time, she will be back to her normal self, and will accelerate to the top.  I know it.  She knows it.

But right now, we’re heartbroken.



Posted by on January 17, 2016 in Bowling, Family, Parenting


Linked Up

Our visit to Link couldn’t have come at a better time.  (Unless you ask Mario.  Anytime would have been better than her birthday weekend.)

Once again, Link has been having troubles with his eyes.  His contacts were irritating him to the point he finally made a doctor’s appointment.  They suggested he go a few days without them.  On his return visit, they suggested a week more.  For Link, that means no work.  And no work means no pay.

He used a few of his vacation days that he’d been saving for his birthday, which will help his paycheck.  But using them for this reason isn’t fun.   With no contacts, he can’t see.  And the fun things he likes to do on his days off require sight.

This all occurred the week before we were due to arrive.  I’d talked to him multiple times, and each time he remained positive about it all.  I, on the other hand, worried greatly about him.

So on Saturday, when I saw him on the steps leading up to his apartment, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. There was my little boy, all 6 foot 3, 300 pounds of him, with a big smile on his face, seemingly as happy to see us as we were him.

His contacts were back in, and he explained that as long as he didn’t leave them in for extended periods of time, he could wear them.

We spent the first few hours of our visit in his apartment.  He showed off his editing work, and expressed his thoughts on how he could possibly make money on his abridged videos.

My business savvy husband listened intently and with great pride as Link described his plans.  “I know you’ve been telling me all along I should find a way to get paid for what I like to do.  And now I’m starting to get it.”

Once we were caught up, we dragged his buddies out of bed for lunch.  I’d met his friends briefly when I visited with Amp, but this time around, I wanted to spend quality time with them.   Link was a little concerned about us treating 4 grown men to lunch.  “We can eat,” he explained.  “And we’re more than happy to feed you,” I responded.

As we ate, I enjoyed the banter between Link and his friends.  They kiddingly ribbed each other, but underneath it all, I could see how much they cared.  We laughed at their work stories and about the fact that they keep lists of customers’ names they find funny.

After we’d worn out our welcome at the restaurant, we went back to their apartment.  We waited in Link’s apartment while Chad and John scrambled to get their upstairs apartment clean.  Then we gathered together in their living room, all in mismatched chairs, and played online games.

As the afternoon went on, my worries about Link began to subside.  He’s doing well.  He’s got great friends.  A decent job.  He’s making good decisions, and he’s growing up.  I still worry about his eyes, and the high medical bills, and the possibility things may get worse for him, but overall, he’s happy and in a good place.

The day was over all too fast.  We said our goodbyes and let his friends know they’re always welcome in our home.  (Don’t know where we’ll put ’em, but that’s no matter.)  Link walked us out, and I hugged him long enough to last me til Christmas.

It was a quiet ride back to the hotel.  I tried to keep my spirits up by looking forward to the next day – my first Cardinals away game! It didn’t take long for the little girl in me to become quite excited about watching my guys play in Cincinnati.

More on that to come….



Posted by on September 15, 2015 in Family, Parenting


Mom Guilt

I came across this the other day.  Perfect timing, as I’m definitely feeling a bunch of guilt today.

mom guilt

I could almost have a blackout bingo with this card.  Replace “won’t buy them a puppy” with “Missed youngest daughter’s 17th birthday”, and I’ve got ’em all.

Mario’s birthday is today.  She’s at home.  All alone.  I’m in Ohio, gallivanting around with my oldest son, Link.

Let me explain: I didn’t want Link to have to take off work, so I picked  a weekend.  And since we were going to Ohio, and I’m a huge Cards fan, I picked a weekend where we could go to a Cards/Reds game.

Makes sense, right?

Well, that weekend happened to be her birthday.  In all fairness, I thought she’d love to have the house to herself.  She’s 17! What kid doesn’t want the house to themselves over their birthday weekend?!

Secretly, I think she’s loving it.  Outwardly, she’s making me feel guilty.  Or is it just me?

*sigh* She knows what she’s doing.

And it’s working.  Before we left, I took her $hopping.  She came home with a Windows Surface and a homecoming dress.

But even still, the morning we left, she reminded me I was missing her birthday.

So yeah, a bit of mom guilt going on.

A nice visit with Link and a Cardinals win, should easily erase it however.

Til the next time anyway.


Posted by on September 12, 2015 in Family, Parenting


Boys’ Day Out

While Mario had my complete attention on my first day off, the boys had my complete attention the second day.  And almost every day thereafter….

On Saturday, Chip and Amp packed up the van and their car with everything they’ll need for dorm life.  And although we had all gone shopping the week prior, we needed to stop by W@lmart on the way for the usual forgotten, or not thought about, items.

Fully prepared (ha!), we arrived on campus ready to unload.  The boys signed for the keys, took pics for their IDs, registered the car, and then the fun began.  I should note, that when they arrived, the organizer stated, “The brothers are here!”  Proof this school won’t be too overwhelming for them.  It’s a small tech school, where they should receive plenty of attention.  Like it or not.



Notice the strategically placed laundry basket in front of Amp.  Chip’s not quite as photophobic.



I’m sure he’s cussing me under his breath.


When you can’t take close-up photos, you take many. That’ll teach ’em.

You can’t tell from the pics, but the boys look very much alike.  More than once, people asked if they were twins.  Amp didn’t try to hide his dismay.  “Great.  It’s starting already.”  Not sure what upsets him about it.  Chip’s a pretty good looking guy.  But he’s funny about some things.

The first thing we did was arrange the furniture in their tiny room so that they felt they had some privacy.  Then we left them to unpack while we attended the parents’ meeting.

There we were informed they were going to take our children and turn them into upstanding, responsible, contributing adults.  Hubby yelled out, “Good luck with that!”

But I have a good feeling they will.  And I have high hopes that this will be a school Amp can feel comfortable in.  He still has to wear a uniform, but he’s allowed to keep his beard, so long as he keeps it trimmed.

We left that afternoon with surprisingly heavy hearts.  We were so anxious for this day.  Happy to get Chip out of the basement and Amp out of his room.  And while I could go days not speaking to them when they were living at home,  now, I can’t go even a few minutes without thinking of them or wanting to call.  It’s been 5 days, and I already want to go visit them!

They’re only an hour away.  In fact, only minutes from my hotel.  I may just be there more often than they would like.

No.  I can’t.  I shouldn’t.

I won’t.



Posted by on August 28, 2015 in Family, Parenting