Moments from the Week- a moment of clarity and a week in pictures


As many know this week has been full of ups and downs as my father in law was admitted to the hospital and subsequently spent a couple of days in the ICU. Thankfully he is now on the road to recovery (still in the hospital but on a regular floor) and we are incredibly grateful for the prayers and positive thoughts that have enveloped our family.

My moment of clarity came when I was smacked in the face with the harsh realities of a loved ones hospital stay and the complexities of everyday living. When someone you love is seriously ill you spend your moments praying for their recovery and walking the world in a haze, yet there remains riding lessons to get to, homework to be done, presentations to write and birthdays to celebrate. I am grateful beyond measure that this medical journey was over in the course of a week but what hit hard was the realization of how so many family’s deal in this reality for weeks and months at a time. They juggle it all while trying to support and care for an ill loved one…..

Here are some of our highlights from the week in picture form:

Our youngest Ellery Jane, named after two of the strongest most fearless women who walked this earth,has turned into just that- a fearless little 3-year-old!

birthday girl

Sidney is preparing hard for her first show this weekend. She had three lessons over the course of 5 days and a trip to the store to pick up her riding gear this week.


This was our Audrey girl last night. Not sure if you can tell but she had already had a bath and was heading up to bed when she realized that she had homework she needed to complete and of course no sharp pencil to be found. 


Our 4-year-old Welsh Springer Spanial had what appears to be a seizure yesterday afternoon so the little girls and I spent part of last night at the vet while Brock took Sid to riding. Poor girl was worn out after her adventure but we are hopeful she too is on the mend.


 Finally god love the boy! Now that we can actually see his eyes we can tell when he is begging. This is a daily occurance in our house. 


Finally the song that helped me through the week:



Dear Ellery  Jane,

Let me preface this by saying I know you can’t read. While I do believe that you are quite possibly one of the smartest kids to ever walk the planet I don’t however think you are scouring the internet for my blog posts 12 hours before you turn 3. In fact you are safely ensconced in your nursery upstairs sleeping away the last few hours of your two-year old year.

On this day three years ago your father, sisters and I had managed to devour more fried rice then humanly possible. We had toasted your impending arrival at the local Japanese Steakhouse (a tradition we had started the night before the birth of your eldest sister) and manged to stuff ourselves silly with Tereyaki chicken and one too many fried won tons as well. We sat around the Hibachi grill laughing hysterically at the antics of your 6 and 3-year-old sisters wondering what the table would look like with one more seat taken.

Ellery Jane our table is so beautifully set with you at it. You with your bright eyes, wild hair and crazy conversations. Tonight you told your gymnastics teacher that you were  “feeling a tad ridicules”  while doing a backward roll and we all exploded at the words that managed to come out of that little dynamite body of yours.

You my child are a forceful presence. You don’t shy away from a challenge and bring a zest for living rivaled by no one I have met.

I often pause and look at you to thank God for the gift of parenting a child so different from myself. I was such a pleaser as a kid. First to bed at night because it made my parents happy; always a smile on my face even in the darkest of days.

You on the other hand choose to embrace your sad days with straightforward honesty and your happy days are full of pleasure you take from your own doing.

Three is a good number Ellery. The third girl born shortly after her parents 33 birthday will no doubt have a fabulous third year.

Many adventures await you my darling but I know I don’t need to tell you that.

Your daddy and I love you so much. Go now and run into this your third year. Your daddy and I will be chasing after you.

Much love,

Your one and only mama



I’m in a rush.  Quick stop to pick up a birthday card and then pile back into the car and take the big girls to gymnastics, at least that’s my plan.

We run into the Hallmark store. Sid and Aud occupied by the Christmas tree ornaments on display (yes on September 16). I grab the card and head to the check out thrilled with my own ability to pick the most appropriate birthday sentiments with record-breaking speed. Patting myself on the back that as the only one at the check out my plan will work, I will make it out faster than even I had intended and should land at gymnastics a full 2 minutes ahead of start time.

It is there at the check out that I get delayed. My money lifted in hand to pay.

The couple takes me by surprise. I had not seen them enter or heard them in the store as my girls giggled and I raced.

He asks the cashier next to me how the crazy stuffed animal that sings a Halloween song works. She shows him and then his wife lays out a most surprising laugh.

He in his Sunday best (only that it’s a Monday night at 6:30), tie and all. Her in her “go to meeting clothes” as well. Together they had to have a combined 160 years of living  between them and there they stand laughing over the animated stuffed animals that I always find so annoying.

I pause to just watch them; to take it all in. Almost as if on autopilot she stretches her arm to reach his tie. She gives it a quick nudge to straighten. I stumble over my “rewards number” for the cashier and gather up the girls to leave.

Moving to our car I can’t stop thinking about them. We pile in, the girls chattering about the newest Barbie ornament and it is there I pause again.

They are walking out of the store. His 80 plus years of living have worn down his shoulders as he walks hunched. He holds the door for her and they walk to the sidewalk. Wordlessly he holds out his hand for her and helps her down the step.

I ask the girls to look at the couple and in silence all three of us watch them walk across the parking lot to their ancient Crown Victoria.

The miles logged by those legs.

The girls and I drive away still without the words.

When I pull into gymnastics and look down at the clock I realize that the girls will be a full 5 minutes late to class and I really don’t care. The pause in the day was worth it.

a little late but labor day 2013 recap

These ladies walked into my life the fall of  my freshman year of college. They have been firmly engrained there ever since.

rach lisa heatherjen

Labor Day 2013 marked the second annual girls weekend get together. Last year we all stayed in one home, this year we had to upgrade to two house with the addition of the 9th baby, the ever adorable Emma Katherine. So that’s 8 adults and 9 kids together for a weekend of fun and celebration.

Labor Day 2012


Labor Day 2013


We planned activities. There was the zoo outing.


I think the men would have rather walked on hot coals then spend hundreds of dollars on a barely touched and poorly cooked lunch from the overcrowded eating area at the zoo.


This was about the time that we all decided it was best to abandon ship and go home.


Although we did have moments like this:


And this:


There was alot of this over the course of the weekend:


Great conversation and great cuddles.


It dawned on me at one point during the weekend that we have entered a new phase of our friendship. Emma will most likely be the last baby of this bunch.



It’s actually really sad for me to think. I feel like I have just passed through my own intense period of parenting and in my head always thought I had plenty of time to love up all of my friend’s babies and pass on that well-earned wisdom. Ah not so much.

My head has been down these last nine years focusing on getting through the trenches of babyhood that I forgot to look up and love on those that call me “Aunt H”.



I always wanted a big family, four kids at minimum. I realize that the chances of me having more children are slim to none but what hit me hard Labor Day weekend was that because of these ladies I do get the chance to be a part of a large, rambunctious family.  More moments connecting with all of these children will be in my future.