A Mother’s Intuition

So, I want to talk a little about mother’s intuition.

I have always believed this is a “thing”. Wayyy back at the beginning of my nursing career I remember a very wise pediatrician once telling me “never never never ignore a other’s intuition”. Dr. Uy was a smart guy. Even when medical tests came up saying there was nothing wrong, he believed in the power of a mother’s “gut” and the sense that there was something that had perhaps not been found yet. Something that maybe could not yet be seen, but was there. And that leads me to the WHY reason I am writing this post.

My son Ty is 16. He is hands down one of the most athletic people I have ever met. The kid played in the state basketball tournament his freshman year, ran state track his freshman year, and played varsity football his sophomore year. He is poised to do the same this next year. That being said… the past 6 months he has been complaining of knee pain in his right knee.

It started out with high jumping… and then progressed with running. He would come home with a partially swollen right knee and he would sit and rub it all night after a practice. He would complain of it giving out and would say he felt a sharp pain in a very specific area on the outside of the knee when he pushed on it.

Mind you this kid is not a complainer. He has missed zero days of school and zero practices. He does not take medication, seldom complains of a single thing but he kept coming back to this knee pain. He would say “mom I just don’t get it… it hurts here” and point. Or “mom what can I do for the pain? What can I take?”

Sometimes being a nurse works against you. Not wanting my kid to be that “one whiny kid” I kept loading him up with Ibuprofen, telling him to ice his knee. That all came to a stop in December when he came crashing down at basketball from a rebound and could not get up again. Literally… could. not. walk.

I got a call from his trainer at school. I hear him say he thinks he tore his meniscus. I heard mention of crutches and icing and therapy. In my gut though… because of the history we had had and the months where I had put a band-aid over the issue I KNEW as a mother something was wrong. I KNEW that there had to be some underlying cause and we needed to get it addressed before he had more issues

I called the first ortho group I had heard raving reviews about. Not going to mention the practice, but I had heard wonderful things about their care. It was close to 2 hours from us, but I did not care. I made the first avail appointment a week late and we set off to get some answers. The physician rubbed me wrong from the get go. I had driven 2 hours to see this physician everyone raved about. My sons knee was obviously swollen and hot. He could not fully flex or extend the joint and he was in obvious pain. This physician we had heard so much about spent less than 5 minutes with us. His diagnosis? Meniscal tear. His recommended course of treatment? 3 weeks of physical therapy. I flat out asked for an MRI.

In my gut I knew his diagnosis was wrong. It didn’t make sense. Lesson number 1 to all physicians- know your patients. This was a STUDENT ATHLETE. No therapy could begin to touch what the kid did every day in practice. No therapy could emulate what those knees went through on a daily basis and no therapist could work a miracle on such a swollen joint. I flat out disagreed with EVRYTHING this guy was saying.

I did get the MRI ordered though… thank God. My son and I left there frustrated, my son was angry. “Its not going to work mom- I know my body, I take very good care of myself. Something is wrong”

Despite these same concerns voiced by me to the physician he did not even THINK to try a different course of treatment. He ignored the cardinal rule taught to me by that pediatrician so long ago… “Never never never ignore a mother’s intuition.” So begins the next part of my story!

I left that day feeling like there was most definitely something not being caught. I called another medical group in another town and made an appointment with a second orthopedic surgeon. Thank goodness I trusted my gut and did!

Ty was seen 2 weeks later (this was all happening over the holidays so that caused things to slow down a bit) and when we arrived at his second appointment he was in the SAME amount of pain with swelling to that joint. The second physician looked at his MRI and while he agreed with the first that there was a meniscal tear, he disagreed that therapy would solve the issue and scheduled an arthroscopic procedure. To make this long story shorter… Ty had surgery 2 weeks later and had a large rock hard cyst removed from his knee joint. It was compressed in the joint not allowing full range of motion and causing the joint to lock up from it being lodged where there should be free movement. Had he tried to have therapy for the next 3 weeks, the joint would have had a grinding from the rock impeding movement ad it would have caused more damage

Point is I KNEW in my gut something was wrong. We all know our kids …their tendencies, their intricacies. We know who complains and who is tough. We know in our gut when something is not right. We know who complains and who doesn’t. God gave us this powerful maternal instinct that cannot be man made, cannot be replicated and cannot be taught. We have to listen to that voice just as much as anyone else. I am SO glad I listened to my mother’s intuition. Don’t allow anyone to stop you from listening to yours. As my husband said, he would have believed the first doctor and moved on. He is glad I was willing to question his diagnosis and seek a second opinion. Don’t EVER EVER apologize for advocating for your child. This intuition is a gift and one we should learn to listen to more.



Year-End Review 2017

2017 has been a monumental year for our family and while it has taken me almost a month to get this done, I am glad I finally prioritized sitting down to type this.

2017 we started the year preparing to move our oldest out of the house. Frantically planning for a graduation, settling on a college choice and getting scholarship applications completed were a definite priority. Nate settled on Northwest Missouri State and we settled into the New Year planning a year of “lasts” as a family of 5 all living at home. A sad time for this mom.

We spent the New Year 2017 itself ringing in the new year with family and friends dancing the night away at my nephew Alex and his wife Danielle’s wedding on New Year’s Eve. It was a beautiful wedding and we spent New Year’s weekend with family at a hotel in Carroll wishing the newlyweds blessings on their marriage.

February brought Nate wrestling with his team in the state duals in Wells Fargo in Des Moines and we were able to go to state wrestling and watch him wrestle a couple matches. They lost in first round, but what a fun experience for him.

March brought Tyler playing at the state basketball tournament in Des. Moines with his basketball team. It was fun to watch the boys play in the “Well” . An experience of a lifetime, especially for a freshman. We lost in the first round but it was a fun experience for our boys and for my son.

March brought our annual Spring Break trip and we headed to Colorado to tackle Estes Park and the Rocky Mountains. After a stop in Nebraska for family member, Cynthia and Chad’s wedding we had a great time but will forever be remembered as the trip where all THREE of my children got sick. Addie came down with altitude sickness day 1, Nate food poisoning on day 4 and Tyler motion sickness on the Royal Gorge gondola on day 6. The trip took us to Estes Park, Great Smoky Mountains, and Royal Gorge with a stop at Dodge City, Kansas on the way home so Clint could take in the Gunsmoke Museum. We had a great time despite illness.

April brought state track for Tyler and we were able to watch him run in two events as a freshman at state track at Drake. He was able to only high jump to 5’10” before having knee issues, but running was not affected and he ran 2 state events, which was fun to watch.

May brought graduation, graduation party for Nate and two cousins at the feedlot and the end of having 2 teenagers in high school. The month really was a whirlwind as we had senior mass at church, senior dinners, prom which we chaired for the senior class, baccalaureate, awards night, and finally graduation and the kids party in which we had the beef producers grill over 400 burgers for the crowd of well-wishers. It was a fantastic way to end his senior year.

June brought the start of travel basketball but not after a quick trip to Atlanta for Addie and I to meet my newest niece, Rylan. We flew down on Friday and back on Sunday- a quick trip for us.

Once we returned… it was dance recital time and we watched Addie dance in tap, ballet, jazz and tumbling. It was fun watching all of her hard work come to fruition!

July brought a family camping week for our whole family on the Shirbroun side at Little Wall Lake and the kids and I spent a week in the camper in the intense heat of the Iowa summers. We were able to get away to a water park in Storm Lake though and enjoyed having so much time with the entire Shirbroun side for the first time in 9 years.

August brought the much-anticipated move to college for Nate and the start of his new life as an adult college student at Northwest Missouri state University majoring in Ag/Animal Science. The much dreaded drop off was painful for this mom, but watching him soar and be so excited about this new step has been exciting for me and I am happy to see him so successful as a college student. I decorated his dorm and made sure he had all the necessities before we pulled away, and admittedly it took me over 3 months to finally stop texting him every single night to say goodnight and love you…. I still do it at least once a week even now though….

September brought the start of football and back to routine. I started another college class toward my Bachelor’s in nursing and delved into Music Appreciation. Addie started 4th grade at a new school where I am not located and finally branched off on her own a little more. More pain on this mom’s heart.

October brought family back to Iowa and all of my siblings together again at my mom’s for a family weekend. More time with nieces and nephews and time together with my kids all home.

November and December brought the holidays and a torn pectoral muscle and surgery for Clint as he separated the pectoral muscle wrestling a steer while working cattle. He had surgery and has been recovering since that time. Therapy is now done, but healing can take up to a year. December 13th brought a possible meniscus tear in basketball for Tyler and a first, then second opinion on what was going on with his left knee. Turns out it was a hardened cyst that needed to be removed and he had surgery on January 9, 2018. As I type this he remains out of sports and attending therapy re-strengthening the knee to prepare for track this spring.

2017 was the year of sports for sure for us! And… a year of transition into the new world of having adult children. We continue to be blessed and thank God for all blessings in our lives. As we continue in to this new phase in life we continue to ask Him for strength, praying for good decisions from our adult children and safety for all of us in the New Year.

Thanks for checking in with us, and here is to a happy and HEALTHY 2018!


Ode to summer vacations….

I know this is a random topic, but the older I get the more I miss the summer 10 day+ long road trips we took with the kids while they were little. At the time they were work, we had packing and planning to do. We had to route out maps and plan where to stay. But looking back I realize what a gift they were….


In the days of having high schoolers, and one now graduating, summer has become about running to and from travel basketball, going to early morning weight lifting and speed and agility training and open gyms. It has become about ATTENDANCE at the mandatory things in the summer that coaches have laid out for the boys high school athletics careers, And while I love to be my kids biggest fan, and I love to be the one on the sidelines cheering my sons and their teams on, I now look back and realize how much I miss throwing my family in the car and taking off on some family adventure for 10 days interrupted.


I can remember the year when the kids, ages 9 months, 6 and 9 years and my husband and I hit the road for a family trip to Atlanta. It was the summer after my Grandma had died and I knew that time with family was so precious. We visited Stone Mountain in sweltering heat, raced around Atlanta Motor speedway, spent a day at World of Coke and the Atlanta Aquarium. Visited the Smoky Mountain National Park and the Civil War Park in Chattanooga and rode the incline railway. Those are the memories I cherish most. I remember driving with the kids into Memphis Tennessee and losing Nate in a hotel elevator when he got off on the wrong floor.


I remember the summer we headed to the Wisconsin Dells as a family. The kids were slightly older. We stayed for a week in a cabin in the Dells and went to three different water parks in the course of the week. We watched Addie and Clint ride in go-carts and we cooked popcorn over the stove the old way in a jiffy pop metal pan.


Then there was the last summer trip we took to South Dakota and Cheyenne Wyoming. We went to the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo and looked back through South Dakota where we took in the sights of the Black Hills. Devils Tower, Badlands, Mount Rushmore. The typical family trip.


Don’t get me wrong, we take a family road trip every year. Since my boys have hit high school we have made it a habit to go on spring break and have made trips to Phoenix Arizona, Naples Florida, a big loop through Oklahoma and Texas including Dallas, Houston and Oklahoma and San Antonio, and most recently the week long road trip we took to Estes Park Colorado this past spring break.


The months before graduation I had been going through pictures of the kids in anticipation of Nate’s upcoming graduation and if there is any one piece of advice I could give it would be TAKE THE TRIP. Looking back at the memories that have been made throwing my kids in the car and driving across the country are priceless. Looking at pictures I am taken back into that moment in time and can remember each trip as if it were yesterday. I am so fortunate to have the blessing of the ability to share this beautiful country with my kids.


This past summer, as it had been the past three years, we were at home shuttling kids to sports and practices. We purposely took our family vacation to Estes Park in anticipation of the summer schedule we had. Down deep I will have a little streak of jealousy for those who are packing up the car and hitting the road on a family adventure in the sweltering heat of summer. When my daughter is the last one left at home and the boys are in college, I know our summer family trips will resume minus two boys who have started lives of their own. They will never be the same. We will have fun. And we will see new and exciting things as a smaller family, but I will most definitely cling to the memories of the family vacations and road trips we took while they were all home. I only hope when the have families of their own we can all take a trip together someday.


My mom will be turning 70 this year. For her birthday she has asked for a weeklong family trip to the mountains with her whole family. This is all she wanted. I know now where I get my wanderlust and adventurous attitude! We are headed to the Great Smoky Mountains for a week. All of us. I cannot wait to spend that time together in a big house in the mountains soaking it all in. This is truly the stuff life is made of!


So in closing- if you get the chance take the tri. It is so worth every minute together away from the hustle and bustle. I look forward to the time away with my nieces and siblings and parents and in laws. This is the stuff memories are made of, and I am already planning the next trip after this one J


Till next time,







Fairtime 2017

How did I not get this posted? Not sure.. but fair time came …and went over 2 months ago. It was our last one showing cattle as Nate has now graduated and moved on. But the memories are priceless. The animals all have a name, Phil and Jack, Ace, Daisy, Junior….just to name a few. I can remember like yesterday the first animal Nate showed, the runt reject twin steer brought home in a dog crate from my dads farm. His name was Junior. We had him and showed him for two years, and when he left us we cried. I also can remember when Nate said goodbye to Phil, the first steer that won him a first place trophy, The night before he went to auction I sat in the showbarn alone late at night with him, talked to him and cried. It was so hard to watch my 14 year old son say goodbye to his best friend.  He knew it was time, but it did not make it any easier on him, on me, on my daughter. Like I said before, we remember each animal individually, all of them loved. All of them a best friend to my child and all whom have taught him about love and loss and friendship.

Fair 2017 was one for the books. Nate turned over the Cass County Fair King crown to the next worthy recipient as Addie was crowned Little Miss Beef Queen 2017. Nate showed his last steer taking top honors in his class and in showmanship. Addie handed out ribbons at the Feeder Calf show and showed our long time family pet dog, Cowboy who appeared to have the time of his life “taking the ring”.

I served for my last year as head of Addie’s Clover Kid Club and served my last shift in the FFA foodstand as a parent and not as a member of the FFA alumni. We parked our camper in the campground for the last time in the foreseeable future as I believe my daughter will likely be a static exhibitor in her future.

I am not done with 4H as I will take over in her 4H club as a leader there. I will continue to work shifts in the 4H and FFA foodstands and my husband is taking on a post on the grounds committee for the fairground. Our support of the youth and adults who live and love agriculture every day continues in a new way.

Whether you live in the midwest, the plains, the coast or somewhere in between I encourage you to support agriculture in your area and support your local fairs. I have witnessed firsthand the love and care put into these animals and in static exhibit projects and the work these kids put into raising an animal in an ethical, safe and healthy way. These animals are pets to these kids, best friends, confidants and partners. I am lucky to be able to live this and watch this in my life. I am lucky to have been raised in agriculture and married to agriculture. I hope you support the farmers, 4H kids, and FFA members in your community too.

As for the future time will tell for us what it will look like as our daughter matures and discovers her own path at fairtime. It was bittersweet to watch my son take the ring one last time, but he now turns his attention to his major in Animal Science at Northwest Missouri Sate and I am excited for what his next chapter will bring. His love of agriculture will evolve into a career doing what he loves and for that I am grateful.

So to wrap up the fair memories as I will quote a 4H poster I read one time while walking around at the fair. It read “We are more than just a 4H Club… we are Family”

This is so true when you set foot in a county fair show barn, and it will be missed.

Till next time,




Back to school… Back to school…


I have been wanting to go back to school for a long LONG time. I am not wanting to do anything new, just advance my degree as a nurse. This is one of those bucket list items I have always had on the back burner.


I have been so afraid to take the leap. I am not sure why… but somewhere along the way I have started to doubt my abilities in myself. I have told myself that I cannot possibly work full time, be a good mom and better myself. I have told myself that I am setting myself up to fail and that I cannot possibly do well as a student 20 years after graduating from college the first time. I have told myself that BETTERING myself (for some stupid reason or another) deprives my children of my attention and means I will miss out on being there for them and being a part of their growing up.


You know what? I was WRONG.


I have been back to school for only a few weeks. I have written two papers in that time and tonight I will be taking my third test and moving into my fourth section. I have received all A’s and one B.


I have been to every sporting even since I started, have not missed a single thing my kids have going on and actually seem like a BETTER mother since I started.


Why? Here are a few reasons…


  1. My kids see me trying to better myself, and that makes them proud. My son actually helped me with the format of my first paper, and my other son proofread it. Both my boys were as excited to see my grade post online as I was. Together we tackled one of my greatest fears in trying to succeed and they were proud of me. Let me stress that again… proud. Proud enough to share my grade with other people.
  2. My kids see me stress the value of lifelong learning and education. Do I need to be in school? Probably not. Do I want to be so that I can earn more, elevate myself in my position and increase my knowledge in the medical filed? Yes. They see me trying to learn and grow… and they see the value in it for themselves and their future.
  3. My children see that placing value on myself is important too. I am a good mom, cheerleader, wife, employee and etc. I take care of everything my family needs and make sure to be at every concert, game, meeting, church event, professional event for my husbands…. but what about valuing things that are important to me? They finally see me placing value on my own interests and that is pretty cool.
  4. They see me utilizing good time management skills. No I cannot watch TV, I have homework. Yes, I can go to the movies tonight because I got all my homework done last weekend. No, I cannot watch that show until I have my paper done. etc. etc. They see me balancing work and family and school and that it CAN be done and time can be managed effectively so everyone wins.
  5. They see me reading. I have to admit… I have not always been the best reader. I would call myself mediocre at best. I would sometimes read for fun, but it was not something my children saw me do on a regular basis. Now they see me taking the time to read… and carry on conversations about what I am learning about. It is a bonus when my kids can talk to me about what I am learning, because it is something they recently learned about too.


So as I approach the mid point of my first class back in school… Philosophy… I am proud to say that I am ROCKIN this back to school thing. I will continue to hack away at classes as long as I have the energy to. And to those neighsayers out there who say things like “why would you want to go back to school??? Ugh….” I say….




Until next time-



Growing up.. thoughts on his last year…

Do you know what this is? This is a photo and a mother hugging her son after his last high school football game he will ever play. Standing by the bus to tell him I know he will miss it… but he has big things ahead of him. This is a mother who is giving her son a hug after watching him for the past 11 years go from flag football to middle school football to tackle football. This is a mother whose heart is breaking and at the same time is swelling with so much pride she doesn’t know what to say to her son. This is me. 

I am not wanting to wish things away.

 As you can see I have been pretty much absent since this summer. I am 100% positive this is because of the fact that I have a senior at home and I am wanting to enjoy every minute of his last days under my roof before we send him off for college. It’s not that I do not like to blog, and it is not that I don’t have topics I want to share… but it is more the fact that when I am not cheering him or his younger brother on from the stands at their MULTIPLE sporting events I am enjoying every moment of having him at home.

 We have done all the mandatory things parents of seniors need to do. Senior pictures have been taken, ordered and picked up. College visits done (I really should do a blog post on that!) a college has been chosen and his housing deposit has been sent in. I am on his prom planning committee and prom planning is full on in the works and is going forward full steam ahead.

I have been told many things as a parent of a child leaving the nest. I have been told the junior year is the hardest. I would actually agree because I think you spend the junior year worrying about what is to come and knowing that everything is the “last” of each event. Whereas the senior year you actually spend time enjoying it because it is their last of each thing.

 I have also been told that God in all his infinite wisdom prepares you for this next step by making the child spread his/her wings a little and they end up pushing back. This pulling away prepares you to give them a push. I would agree with this too. My son is becoming increasingly more independant in his thinking, in his actions and in his mindset. He is pushing back more than he ever has and in doing so… makes it easier for me to say “it is time for you to go”.

My mind set is shifting. I am seeing myself start to prepeare for weekend college visits to take my son to Target for essentials and out to eat. I see myself mentally shopping for his dorm and moving his old bedroom upstairs so my other son can have the coveted “basement bedroom”. I see myself shifting my mindset to “will he call?’ vs. “you must call”. I know the power is shifting into his hands. He will no longer NEED me to make decisions for him anymore. They are his own.

 Don’t get me wrong- I wish I could keep my kids at home with me forever. But I know that my job is to raise them to be smart, respectful, capable human beings. I know that I have to let go…. eventually… of the past little boys and girls that I have in my mind. Gone are the days of match box cars and sticky fingers, sippy cups and Teletubby videos. I have to force myself to look at my son as a young adult and not as a young man. But it is so tough to let go sometimes.

 So I apologize for my absence. It will get better I am sure when my time is not so focused on enjoying every moment. Until then hold your kids tight, tell them you love them and they are capable and enjoy the moment. It goes so very fast.

 Until next time-


Texas Travel part II

Wow. Where HAVE I been???? I know I know, but it has been really hard to get on as much as I have wanted to. It seems like I got back from Spring Break in Texas and then travel basketball started and in a blink of an eye summer was here. So my apologies, but time has just gotten away from me. It happens.

So instead of a big long post all about our trip and how I felt about the whole trip you get a brief summary of the things I remember. Its the best I can do. But I know you busy moms out there in the same boat as me will understand. We got each others back, right?

“And Jesus Wept” statue at the Catholic Church across from the OKC bomb site and memorial. We visited here on Palm Sunday for mass

We started our trip by stopping to see the Oklahoma City bomb sight memorial on Palm Sunday. It was a neat time to go because we were able to attend mass at the Catholic Church across the street where we were able to parade in from the weeping statue of Jesus. Very moving. We did take the time to go through the museum at the site too- which was super beneficial especially to my older children who needed educated on what happened and how the memorial was developed. They obviously were born after the bombing, so needed an education and the museum helped tell the story.

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial at Alfred P. Murrah building


Tyler taking in the view in downtown Dallas at our hotel- it had a basketball court!

We then travelled to Dallas where we were able to tour the JFK memorial plaza, Old Red Museum and stay downtown. We took the time to go to the 6th floor museum which I enjoyed a great deal. There was a long line but it was worth it and every person that goes through gets an audio tour which helps too. My daughter even had one so she enjoyed going at her own pace and I enjoyed the fact that I could actually listen without some one asking me at each stop what they were looking at.

Old Red Museum, Dallas Texas


Grassy Knoll area at JFK plaza Dallas, TX.

After Dallas we stopped at College Station to see my brother in law where he works at the airport. We were able to tour the control tower, see his plane (the flight we were going to take was cancelled due to extreme wind and fear of severe turbulance which would have scared the kids). We also got a private tour of Texas A &M Kyle Field (everyones favorite stop of the trip!!!) and took in a baseball game. So.much.fun.

With the good comes the bad though, and my 8 year old woke with a head to toe rash while we were there that subsequently turned into an urgent care visit. Turns out she is allergic to the penicillin based antibiotic she was on for strep throat. One steroid injection and oral steroids later she was discharged and able to go to NASA. No more penicillin for her!

Airplane Uncle Tom flies in College Station, TX

Touring Texas A&M Kyle Field in College Station, TX

The tunnel leading to the field the players run through … “It’s about us”

The Family

Taking in a baseball game at Texas A&M

After 2 days in College Station we headed further south to Houston. I have ALWAYS wanted to tour NASA and have always been fascinated with that era. Last summer I never missed an episode of the “Astronaut Wives Club” and read the book cover to cover in a week. It was neat to see the progression of the Saturn to Apollo Astronauts, the era of the Challenger and the last of the space shuttle program. I REALLY enjoyed NASA and was so glad we stopped and spent a day there.

Shuttle transported on back of a plane.


Saturn V rocket at NASA

Next stop was San Antonio and the riverwalk and Alamo. Bucket list item for me (not really for the kids) but I enjoyed the stop and was glad we went. It was fun to actually see the Riverwalk and the Alamo was a convenient stop while we were there.

The Alamo


San Antonio Riverwalk

On our way back to Iowa we made a stop in Oklahoma City to see family and I had to take a picture of the red dirt. Compared to the black dirt of Iowa, this was strange to see. Some times I look at dirt lie this and wonder how anything grows in it?


Red Dirt of Oklahoma

Riverwalk boat ride, one of the few pics I made it into. I love family trips…..



Houston roads, I am not in Iowa anymore

All in all I think our Texas roadtrip was a complete success. Thank you Texas and Oklahoma for all your hospitality. If you live in either of these states you live in beautiful country. I enjoyed the scenery, I enjoyed the company and I enjoyed the sights. I feel so fortunate to have been so many places in my lifetime. Have travelled the country and roadtripped all over this beautiful nation we live in.

Sorry my summary is so short- but it is so hard to summarize a weeks worth of wonderful memories into such a short post. I can say this- never am I happier than when I travel with my family. We truly leave the world at home behind, and enjoy every moment.

Until next time!