Leaving the Range

Eight years ago, I was a newly-jobless mother of two girls, ages 1 and 3. I’d left my job as the director of communications for a sizable non-profit in exchange for more time with my progeny. I envisioned delightful outings and play dates and leisurely afternoons spent reading and cuddling and baking cookies. And sometimes, that happened. But truth be told, I was miserable. I was broke. I was lost and fumbling, unsure of my purpose or value.

So darn precious. Those days were long, but the years were short. I will not cry. I will not cry.

So I started freelancing. I picked up projects here and there, but it wasn’t enough to fulfill my need to create. So many words. So many stories. I did what every red-blooded white lady who lives out in the …

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It’s not very often that I get to spend time with one of my best friends, and it’s not often I get one-on-one time with my oldest daughter. Until last night. Thanks to some generous promotional folks with Intrust Bank Arena and  Cirque du Soleil‘s production Toruk (based on James Cameron’s Avatar) I was able to do both (as well as give away some tickets on my Facebook page). We all loaded up in my road-weary minivan, and headed to the big city for a night of entertainment and culture.  We started with some sushi at Kanai, a great little place in Wichita that can serve as either a fancy date night locale, or an approachable place …

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“You should open a dessert stand! You’re the best cooker.”

My two daughters sat devouring their berry crisp, their short hair a mess, their ever-longer legs dangling from the bench seat at the kitchen table. A blueberry/strawberry/crumbly mess gathered at the edges of their stuffed mouths. Was this thrown-together dessert really that good? To them, it was. It was just sweet enough, warm, and made on a whim. A little, I suppose, like the way I mother.

As a mother of three, I’ve just now begun to take stock of the way in which I’m raising my children. I no longer pore over pages of parenting books and while I still read parenting blogs and turn to others for advice, I’m standing pretty firm on my own two exhausted legs. For the most part, I’ve got this …

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Time is Drawing Near

Soon. Soon love will fill this corner of the bedroom.

The wee hours of the morning. That delicate span of time when either you’ve stayed up very late, or gotten up very early. My husband is the latter. He leans to kiss me in bed, my hour tousled unattractively against my pillow. I tell him I love him, words spoken through my lisp-inducing mouthpiece used to prevent nighttime teeth grinding. Baggy black sweats with holes in ever-increasing places sit across my hips, purchased when I was 10 weeks pregnant with my first baby. They’ve served me well. I wear a soft-because-it’s-old faded gray t-shirt, screen print of a sporting goods store cracked and disappearing on the front. It’s his. Just like this squirming life inside me.

I’m 36 weeks pregnant with our fifth child. Two are in heaven, …

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Sisters strolling in the park. I pray they’re always this close.


Last night was a doozie. One of those evenings where every button is pushed, and by the end, every hair is pulled out. Tempers flared. Words hissed. Patience broke.

My youngest has been particularly difficult lately. Every other word is spoken as a whine, and when all 42 pounds of her 3-year-old body decide they don’t want to do something, it’s a back-breaking exercise in frustration. And she thinks it’s funny. And I used to let her get away with too much because, well, she’s my baby. And her older sister had me so wound up with her melodramatic preschooler-acting-like-a-preteen drama fests that I quite welcomed a different kind of naughty. But now? Now? My oldest has entered a “mommy’s little helper” phase while my youngest is …

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Was that really a piece of dog hair embedded in dried snot on my child’s face? Yes. Yes it was. Unfazed, I reached up and pulled it off, and then thought I’d better clean that snot off, too. Gross. Only, not gross. Just normal. It’s weird how normal gross things are when you have kids. I’m nearly immune to the smell, texture and sound of bodily fluid as it drips, squirts and flies out of my children. Motherhood. Is this all?

I can still remember when my first-born nephew was around 18 months old (that would have made me 6 and a half). He was eating a cupcake (or something white, I can’t really recall). He had a smudge on his face, and my sister casually reached over, wiped it off with one finger, and licked …

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