When I was growing up I wanted to be a rollerskating waitress or to play for the Green Bay Packers…yes I said play. Later in college I broke my wrist and elbow rollerskating and my stature didn’t warrant any draft picks, so both of those options were ruled out. I settled on getting a degree in business and hoped for the best.

Marketing is alright, but after being in the workforce for almost a decade I’m still searching for a career that I can be deeply passionate about. Maybe I’ll play guitar and sing at Potbellys? Or I could become the spokesperson for Cleft Awareness and share our message? Both of those options seem to be far off so maybe I should focus on something we’re already doing? It’s no secret that we love projects and the DIY craze is booming. How can I become Nicole Curtis and have my own show on HGTV?

Not only do we have the handy skills to pull it off, but we also have the marketing skills to build it up. Thinking I could take some steps toward my pipe dream I had planned to post an update on all of the projects we’ve done – complete with checklists and budget numbers. I could utilize my best SEO tactics, create a Pinterest board and push as much traffic to this site as possible. We’d make millions of dollars, quit our day jobs and spend the rest of our days making things beautiful.

I know it sounds crazy, but there are lots of people who have done just that. One of my favorite success stories is that of Young House Love.¬†Looking for inspiration I went to visit their blog and the timing was ironic to say the least. I have always been a realist and while I appreciate the motivation of a dream I also believe that no matter what you’re doing, even if it starts as your passion…..it always turns into a J.O.B. Things start out with the best intentions, but as soon as we get a taste of success – we always want more. We push & push and get greedy to a point that our one-time passion turns into something weighed with a heavy responsibility.

In the last two posts on Young House Love, John & Sherry informed their thousands of fans that they have decided to move on. They are burnt out. In just 7 short years, their passion turned into something that was so overwhelming that it caused many aspects of their lives to be out of balance. Needless to say, I didn’t post an update on all of the things we’ve done to our house, I didn’t look to Pinterest and I won’t be optimizing this post for increased web traffic. None of that really matters!

I want to be happy in my job, but I also need to remind myself that I have many other more important outlets for fulfillment outside of my career. Life is too short to continuously search for something more. I am going to slow down and appreciate all of the things right here & now! And..if you’d like to see my house – then please come visit and we’ll sit in our newly renovated kitchen, drink a cup of coffee and talk about all the funny & amazing things our kids are doing.





Embarrassment is an interesting and uncomfortable thing. The bad news is that I endured enough of it as a kid, but the good news is that it was so long ago that I can only remember it from photos. It also strengthened me to a point that I rarely let those types of things bother me. While I’m grateful that it now takes a lot to turn my cheeks pink, I still don’t want my kids to have to feel embarrassed by anything – especially things that are out of their control.

I worried about Ella starting school. It’s been a month now & when I ask how things are going, she barely says a thing. One night she mentioned that some kids were mean to her & my heart sunk. After some conversation I learned that some of the older kids were picking on her after school. I try not to jump to the worst-case scenario & instead ask open-ended questions. As I prodded for more information I realized that they were just taunting her for being the “little kid.” Whew – we dodged a bullet! While I was relieved, I also knew it would only be a matter of time.

That time came last week. Just like usual at bedtime I asked if things were going okay, but instead of the normal silence she said, “mom can I tell you something?” Again my heart sunk. I think I stopped breathing. She went on, “some of the kids ask me what happened to my lip.” I replied, “well, what do you tell them?” She went on, “I told one girl that I was born with a cleft lip & palate and my lip used to be open (as she tugs her lip up) and this mark is from my surgery.”

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 9.45.36 PMMy heart swelled with pride and then it just as quickly filled with sadness. She then said, “but i just tell the other kids that I don’t want to talk about it.” I asked her why not and she said the words that crushed me. “Because it’s embarrassing!”

Embarrassed. My little spitfire child! With a larger than life personality and more spunk than I even thought humanly possible. All this time I had hoped that all those characteristics that sometime drive me mad, would also be her life vest and keep her afloat during a time that is critical in shaping who she becomes. And yet here we are, only one month into starting school and she has already withered and caved.

I tried to explain that she has nothing to be embarrassed about and that when asked, she could use the same response she shared with her friend – but she said she’d rather just ignore it. I’m okay with that approach, but only if she’s truly able to block it out with impact, which is definitely not the case. I offered to come and talk to the school but I think the thought of that embarrasses her even more.

At this point, I don’t know how to help her and that damn near kills me. I hope that if we keep instilling confidence and reassure her that she is perfect in every way (we’re not talking about behavior) that she will be able to work her way through this and come out stronger – making these moments a distant memory. If not, I’ll have to go to school and kick some ass!