Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Happy Birthday Liza!

She's NINE today.
I've had nine years with the coolest, sweetest, silliest girl around.
Nine years of her hugs and jokes and giggles.
Nine years of watching her become an amazing little person.


Nine things about Liza...

1. She loves big.
2. She doesn't care if her pants are too short, because she doesn't care what others think... she only cares that the pants are comfortable... and if the most comfortable pair are too short, well she is going to wear them anyways!
3. She falls asleep with everything that was important that day on her bed... books, crayons, stuffed animals, her backpack. It's all there, safe in her bed.
4. When Liza meets someone, they are immediately a friend. She gives everyone a chance.
5. She forgives easily.
6. She stands up for herself.
7. She is brave and tries new things even when she is nervous and afraid.
8. Liza likes to think she's a tomboy but she's as girly as they come.
9. She loves animals!

And speaking of animals... I was able to give Liza a different kind of gift this year. On Sunday we went to visit a friend of mine who has horses. Liza got to groom and ride and feed the horses apples. She even got to give one a bath! We have more surprises planned for her as we continue to celebrate her life this week.

I can't imagine life without Liza in it. She's my favorite girl!!!





Sunday, September 20, 2015

Soccer Mom

We are LOVING being a part of our local soccer league. Coaching the U8 boys has added so much joy to my life. As my neighborhood becomes quiet and different with all the recent changes... the soccer field is becoming my happy place.

I love the game.
I love my team.
I love coaching.

I also love watching Liza's games from the sideline with the rest of the parents. There are some really good players on her team and it's exciting to see how well they play the game at such a young age.

And then there is Liza... she trips and falls while trying to do a goal kick. For those of you who don't know... a goal kick is not something you should be falling over. The ball is stationary and it is yours. No one is fighting you for it.

Oh Liza. :)

I love the game and love seeing it played well, so there are times where it could become painful for me to watch Liza... because I would LOVE for her to be an amazing player. But then I remind myself... she is not yet  9 and she is clutzy and this is her first year. And when I remind myself that, I can't help but laugh and say "that's my girl!" every time she falls over her own feet... or almost scores on her own team because she forgot which way her team was going.

When I remember that's MY Liza out there on the field... my sweet girl with the biggest heart in town... my super girly girl who told me a few months ago she's going to be a tomboy (not even close!)... and she's being brave and trying something new... my heart swells with pride!

I don't care if she scores on her own team.
I don't care if she forgets what her position is and ends up in the wrong place on the field.
I don't care if she doesn't stop one shot when playing goalie.
I don't care if she trips and falls over her own feet a gazillion times.
I don't care if she isn't a star player.

What I do care about is that she goes out there and does her best... whatever that looks like.

And while she's out there doing her best I will be on the sideline cheering for her as if she were a star player... because encouragement will take a child so much further than belittling comments from the sidelines.





You should have seen me and Mike when Liza scored her first goal!!! Her teammates really helped her out but she is the one who put it in the goal. She worked for it and after so many tries one shot finally went in! In that moment... there was nothing better happening in the world. PROUD MAMA!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


The question I have been asked often in the past week is...

How are the kids doing with school?

It's a question that makes sense. Our school across the road was closed and we were put into a new one. A much bigger one. One a little further away from home. One with new-to-us teachers and new-to-us friends. The kids are riding the bus for the first time instead of walking to school. Everything is new.

And the answer to the question is...

The kids are doing just fine.

I took them to the school a few times in the month before school started and we walked around and got used to it and learned where things were. We went to both nights of open house since Jason's teacher was there on night one and Liza's on night two... and we stayed for the full hour and fifteen minutes both times... just getting used to being there. We did play dates at the school playground with kids who already had been going to school there.

I set Liza and Jason up to transition successfully.

The kids are fine with school. Except recess... if you ask Jason about recess you will see a disappointed kid who thinks the playground is overcrowded. He doesn't enjoy having to wait in line to do things.

But the kids are fine.

What few people are asking is...

How are you doing with the school change Laura?

And the answer to that is...

I'm not doing fine at all. 

I'm depressed. I hate it. I feel like I don't belong. It's not my school.

MY SCHOOL is closed.

I went from a school where I was involved.
A school where I knew many of the kids and their families.
A school that knew they could call on me when they needed help... and they did call.
I was a part of MY SCHOOL.

But now I'm in a new school... and it's not my school.
They do not know they can call on me for help.
When my kids talk about their friends I have no idea who they are. I don't know what they look like or who their parents are.
Someone is already doing everything I did at my school.
I am not needed.

I went from being a part of something... to being a nobody. And I don't know if I have the energy to work my way in again. I don't know if I care to start again.

And every morning when I walk out the door with the kids and we turn to the right instead of the left, I feel like I am going the wrong way.

When I get home from the morning bus stop... I just leave again... because it's too quiet. It's too weird. It's too different.

I miss the kids from my school.
I miss them stopping at my house in the morning.
I miss hearing them at recess or gym.
I miss their smiles and hugs.

And I miss seeing my friends at pick up every day.
I miss stopping to talk for fifteen minutes while our kids play.

I miss everything about my school.
And while I know this new school is just as good and I know my kids will make good friends and be just fine... I don't know when I will be ok. I don't know if I'll ever adjust to it. I don't know if I want to.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Clothes are Wierd!

I lost 25 pounds since January so I need some new clothes that fit correctly. I started my shopping by spending some time browsing the internet this weekend, and today I went to some stores.


What happened to fashion????

I mean... I don't really have much fashion sense which is why you will typically see me in jeans and t-shirts. But really!! As I browsed the internet and stores I was having a really hard time finding anything I liked... anything I would actually wear!

I kept seeing things like dresses that would make me look like I threw on my lover's oversized flannel and walked out the door.

That isn't a dress! It's an extra long shirt. Toss on some leggings and add boots and maybe it can work. But it is not a dress.

TJ Maxx was an interesting store as well. The dresses in there looked like someone finally took down their curtains from the 70s and turned them into dresses. 

Old Navy needs to learn how to use enough material when making shirts or we will all be looking indecent in our see through clothes. Those tshirts are so thin I'd be afraid to wash them!

And then there are lines... lines on clothing. It's important to pay attention to where the lines go because lines take your eyes places. I was browsing tops when I came across this photo and the pants had me cracking up...

I'm calling these the "Please Look at My Vagina" pants.

Seriously. It is hard to look anywhere else but there because of the lines! It's like an arrow saying "Hey you! Look right here! LOOK AT MY CROTCH!"

Think about the lines friends! And by all means... if you want people looking at your crotch all day, buy these pants. But before you do... you might want to check out the back view...

Outline the bum... no thanks!

These win my vote for worst pants ever!

Anyone else having a hard time finding clothes that are wearable?? Because I keep walking out with more jeans and tshirts!

Saturday, September 12, 2015


I managed to survive last week... the week when everything started. School, work, soccer.

Ahhh... soccer. :)

I played soccer all the years of growing up. I love soccer. It's my favorite sport.
But somehow I managed to have nothing to do with it for the past too many years.

That has changed and the game is back in my life again and I'm oh so happy about that!

With all the school changes, I started asking people how they meet people at a huge school. I was told to sign the kids up for soccer because they will try to put kids from the same school on the same team. Well...that kind of worked out but it's not a big deal because WE ARE PLAYING SOCCER!!!

This is the first year for both Liza and Jason and they both have a ton to learn. They'll get there... because I will teach them.

After getting the kids signed up I received email after email asking for coaches. Eventually I figured I might as well... I'd be hanging at the fields during practices and games anyways. It's not like it was going to take much more of my time. And I knew the game and technique and would actually be able to teach the game to the kids. So I agreed to coach Jason's U8 team and it's the best decision I have made in a long time!

I met my team on Tuesday for practice and what a fun group of boys!
Today was our first game and I was just loving being a coach and encouraging the kids on the field. In fact, I was having so much fun that I didn't even care that it was only 60 degrees and raining. Jason did great and gave all positions a try. He stopped several goals as goalies, prevented more on defense and scored a goal on offense. Not bad at all for his first ever game!

I did not coach Liza's team because one team is enough... but man was it fun to watch her! She has no clue how the game works but she got on the field and ran her little heart out. And then she played goalie...because she wanted to. I had given her a few tips the night before and I just loved watching her play and use the things I taught her.

I have a feeling we'll be doing family practices at the park quite often this fall. It only took a week for all of us to fall in love with the game!






Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Oil Creek Bike Trail


Earlier this summer, when the kids were at camp, me and Mike decided to try out the Oil Creek Bike Trail. We figured it would be a good one to do without the kids, because it was a little further away (close to 1 1/2 hours if I remember correctly), and the trail is a little longer than we usually take them on.

We did our research, loaded up the bikes,and headed out for the afternoon/evening.

I must say that this trail did not disappoint!! We had read that it is a slight uphill from the park to Titusville, so that's the direction we decided to go. I'd rather have downhill on the way home... even if it's only slight.

We made our way from Oil Creek State Park to Titusville where we stopped to check out the Drake Oil Museum... or at least we walked the grounds because the buildings were closed. The scenery along the trail was beautiful, and we stopped a few times to take a small side trail to the creek.

It was about 19 miles round trip, and even though we didn't need them, I was excited to see shelters along the way. My fear is always that I will get caught in a bad storm with nowhere to hide out. (Having contact with lighting will do that to a person!) There was also a restroom somewhere around the midpoint of the trail. All good things to have!

I think we will take the kids on this trail next summer. We'll pack lunches and just make a full day of it. I think they can handle it! And having the oil museum at the other end will give us something to do to break up the ride a bit.

We give this trail five stars!



New gear!











Almost ran over this guy!







We really enjoyed the trail!

And ended the day with a beautiful drive home!!


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

G. Family Photos

Beth is a friend and has often been my assistant while shooting several weddings over the past few years. When she asked if I had time to photograph her family I knew I had to fit it in.

And I am so glad that I did! They are such a fun and sweet family and I enjoyed the time I spent with them. And their boy... well he's just adorable!















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