Currently, Family

A Love Letter to My Town

I was sitting on the couch earlier this week, completely spent from a series of hard days. It was 7:00pm and I had put the kids to bed early. Lately, everything with the toddler has been a revolving script of “NO” and “WHY.” I settled into the couch with my dinner at my side, reaching for the remote to scroll through my recorded shows. My phone chimed with a text from a new Mama friend. We chatted for a moment and I felt myself smile. She suggested an activity for us to do the next morning and I happily agreed. I needed something to pull us out of this funk that had taken up residence in the threenager.


Last week was my 31st birthday. Yay. My husband was out of town working, and I was flying solo with kids and dogs and life. I’m not big on MY birthday, but I love celebrating. Anything that brings people together is a win in my eyes. A group of friends I’m affectionally starting to call my “Mom-Gang” offered to take me out to brunch after our favorite Barre3 workout. Brunch is my love language. Brunch with friends at a restaurant is next-level to me. We had just seated and settled when I hear my name over my shoulder. I turn, as I’m shoving puffs into the hands of my toddler, and I see a new Mom I’ve met that recently moved to town from Seattle. We exchange some small talk, she introduces her husband who’s with her, and they wish me a happy birthday. I turn back to my table-mates and they look at me wide-eyed – how long have you lived here? how do you know so many people? I shrug and laugh, as I rip open a bag of fruit snacks for my seemingly still-famished child.


In the Fall I joined MOPS. I was a healthy mix of nerves and excitement at our first meeting. I met all the ladies at my table and we exchanged contact information. After the meeting we all parted ways and I remembered that night we had dinner plans with my sister-in-law to attend the grand-opening of her friend’s new restaurant, a chicken and waffle place, and they were offering free waffles for dinner. I pulled out my phone and plugged the info in my MOPS group text, thinking all moms want a free meal their kids will eat that they don’t have to cook, right? I hit send, and never hear a word back. Later that evening our family is  gathered around a corner booth with our tribe of kids, cutting waffles and managing syrup use – when I hear my name. I turn around to see a MOPS mom and her family finishing their meal, thanking me for telling them about dinner. 15 minuets later another mom from MOPS comes through the door – her husband is out of town, and she’s so relieved to not have to cook another meal. As we’re finishing our dinner the youngest mom of our group arrives with her husband and 3 month old baby. They slide into the booth next to ours with a shy smile and a nod. I wave and thank them for coming. My sister-in-law is laughing and completely flabbergasted, you guys have lived here what, like 2 months, how do YOU know more people in here than ME?!  I smile and shake my head, equally surprised.


I was loading the dishwasher the other night, collecting the last of the kid’s plastic cafeteria style plates to rinse. I suddenly felt so thankful and happy. It hit me in a massive wave, right as I scraped mac n’ cheese into the sink. I like it here. I’m happy. I have friends. It’s working. Last night I told my husband that I haven’t met a single person here that I haven’t liked. From the grocery store cashiers to the preschool teachers to the random fellow sleep-deprived Mom in the Target – I haven’t walked away from a single interaction with anyone, with anything less than positivity.


I got an email last night from a friend that moved to town with her family at the exact same time we did. Just about 8 months ago. She paid me the sweetest compliment and said how thankful she is that we met. And it made my heart burst. I’m equally thankful for having her in my life.


I’m just brimming with gratitude. For everything. Not all day, every second of the day, but it’s the overarching theme in my life right now. And I have my town to thank for that. All this magic, and these people and the friendships. It’s not me. It’s bigger than me. Thank you, Flagstaff.


Grandma Cheryl

I have a pretty awesome Mom. She takes her job as a Mother, and now a Grandmother very seriously :) She’s fun, and warm and kind. She’s an amazing cook and has the gift of hospitality unlike anyone I’ve ever seen. I’ve inherited her independent streak and her role as a peacemaker.

Seeing her with Merfbaby makes me so thankful that he has a Grandma Cheryl.

She lights up each and every time she sees him, I only wish they could get more time together.


daniella & kelly




Day 26 – Mama Thoughts

As a Mama I have the standard worries: Is he breathing!? Am I doing this right? Should I be doing more, less, or the same of ___?

I think that’s normal, and with each passing day I get a little more confident in some things, and I start to worry about a whole host of other things related to raising this tiny human. Big picture stuff.

Here’s a few that rattle around in my head on any given day:


As a kid I remember being picked on. It was not cool to be the tall girl with glasses. Kids can be so mean about little things, and even things you might not be self-conscious about start to make you feel awkward. When I was growing up, the taunting stopped when you left school. But not anymore. It’s online, in social media, in text messages and blogs. Do I worry Merfbaby might be picked on? Yes, of course. But, more than that I fear he could be the one doing the picking, or standing by watching another kid be on the receiving end of a bully’s harsh words. I can’t protect him from everything, but I’m determined to give him solid life tools.

Tech Overload 

Merfman and I love people watching, next to napping it’s probably our favorite hobby. It’s so interesting to sit back and watch the world spin, and see how other people are doing life. One constant observation is the rarity of face to face social interaction. We were at dinner a few months ago, and we noticed the family sitting at a table near us waiting for their food. Dad was nose-to-screen with his smart phone. Older brother transfixed with a gaming-thingy. Younger brother glued to a tech pad. And Mom was staring off, looking sad. This scenario continued for a looong time, they never look up or said a word to each other.  I know Merfbaby will be far more familiar with technology during his childhood than either Merfman or I were, but I don’t want it to consume him. Merfman and I were both allowed to watch TV as kids, and some shows were off limits, same with video games. It’s part of our culture, I can’t stop it but we can help him to learn self-control. The dinner table is for eating and connecting, face to face. Sure, Merfman and I have jobs where we’re with our phones 24/7 but we try to make each other a priority when we’re eating. Same goes for Merfbaby.

Financial Responsibility 

Since we’re living like no one else right now, so we can really live like no one else later, we’re working hard to change our family tree. There’s a saying that you should leave your kids enough money to do something, but not too much money to do nothing. We want him to learn the value of money, and learn from our financial missteps. In our cashless and debt heavy society we want him to have peace and freedom with money. Understanding that it’s a blessing and we have to use it wisely.


I was a “good” student. Not because my parent’s forced me to be, or put crazy expectations down. Mostly because I wanted to do well in school. It didn’t always come easy, but I worked hard. I have no idea what kind of student Merfbaby will be, and I don’t know how he’s going to be educated yet. Maybe homeschool? Maybe co-op? Maybe public? Private? We’ll take that as it comes, but I do wonder about his learning journey. I want him to have a healthy blend of traditional education and hands on experience. Call me hippie-mama but I’d love to spend a few months traveling the US teaching him US history hands on, like actually going to the places you read about in the books. Nuts maybe, but probably pretty awesome too.


This is a big one. Merfman and I are believers, and we pray Merfbaby follows our example and shares our beliefs. I won’t get too high on my soapbox, but the meat of it is this: the world is hard and scary and crazy. It’s probably going to keep heading that direction, right? I have my faith, and the world still freaks me out and makes me sad. But, life would be so much harder NOT having my hope in God. Life is short, knowing there’s a point and a plan to all of this stuff helps.

Character Building

I guess this sort of goes with the faith thing. I want to raise a human that’s good, and kind, and compassionate. HOW do you do that? I can’t make him be something. I just have to set out the breadcrumbs and pray he follows them, right?



See what I mean, big picture stuff. This is where I think and pray, doing the best I can to be a good example of life for my little tiny human sponge. Woosh, no pressure, right?