Making Memories: How Entering a Facebook Contest Allowed for My Daughter to See Her Favorite Band.

Do you ever wonder if anyone ever wins the contests on Facebook? I tend to like, follow, share because I love the thrill of entering contests, and I believe if I win it is meant to be. One contest I recently entered was by a local event promoter, Carrie the Moment Sales + Events. The contest was to say something funny or cute that your child says wrong, for a chance to win 2 Okee Dokee Brothers tickets at the Minnesota Zoo. My daughter had recently danced to “Roll on River” by the Okee Dokee Brothers at her Pre-k graduation and really enjoyed their music. I knew immediately I had to enter my favorite thing my daughter says, “cheek butts instead of butt cheeks.” SHE WON!!!! We were so excited!

Carrie was so great to work with, and she was very quick to mail me the tickets. It was going to be such a treat for my daughter and me to have a mother/daughter date night. As we pulled up to the parking lot, my 5 year old daughter exclaims to me, “Mama, I’m so nervous, this is my first concert; I don’t know what to expect!” As we made our way through the gates of the zoo to the amphitheater, there were princesses and face paint. We wanted to get to our seats, so we only had time to meet the princesses, but she was in heaven. My daughter told me, “I know those are just people dressed up as princesses, but that was AMAZING.”


We took our seats just in time for the Grammy Award Winning, Okee Dokee Brothers to take the stage. The show was amazing. The songs are super fun for both adults and kids. The band was extremely interactive with the crowd, and with the lack of breakdowns by the children (or adults) in attendance you would have had no idea the concert was taking place during most of these children’s bedtimes. I promised my daughter a CD at the end of the show, and she b-lined it to the merch table after her favorite song, “Roll on River” was played during the encore. After we got her CD, she wanted to wait in line to get it signed. As we walked to the car, my daughter was on cloud nine. She clenched her new, signed CD, bouncing up and down to the car proclaiming, “I’m so excited! I’m so excited!”

Everything about the night was so fun. It was also very bittersweet because I drop my daughter off at Kindergarten, next week, so it was extra special to have this time with her. I am so glad I entered the contest because I will forever have the memories of the entire experience. So, if you also wonder if anyone ever really wins those contests, THEY DO! It could be you next. I absolutely recommend following Carrie the Moment Sales + Events on Facebook. She always has tons of discounts for fun events to do with your kids, and often she is having giveaways, just like we won. I also absolutely say to check out the Okee Dokee Brothers, especially if you have kids or grand-kids. My daughter has already listened to the CD and watched the DVD, which came with her CD, and she wants to get the rest of the CDs. She has also asked if we could go to another one of their concerts. In addition, Music in the Zoo at the Minnesota Zoo was amazing. There is seriously not a bad seat, and it is a very intimate concert setting.

Remember to Like, Share, Comment when you see a contest and YOU could be the next winner!


How Our Dog Almost Died After Her First Camping Trip

The weekend started out just like the first time we went camping, as a family of 4; except, this time we were braving it and bringing our dog for her first camping experience. We were trying another campground, and meeting my sister, friends who were visiting from England, and my husband’s best friend. When we first set up, I was very amused at the difference camping life is with small children and a dog compared to bachelor life. We set up and started grilling; skies were clear and we thought the impending storm was going to miss us. It didn’t. We scattered to grab what we could, secure everything, and move as much of the food (and whatever would fit) underneath the canopy.


Our dog took shelter underneath the picnic table, her favorite is to sit under people while they are eating to try and sneak whatever food is dropped. The kids gathered in our mini-van and watched a DVD. The thunder was growing closer, and the CRACK of the lightning even startled the adults. Many of the campers near us left in their vehicles for the night, but we decided to stick it out for at least one night. The evening was pretty uneventful, aside from our friends’ having a hole in their air-mattress. My daughter and dog snuggled in tight with me, and my husband got the top of our camping bunk-bed cots (I guess, my son called bottom bunk).


We cleaned up, the next morning, with our English friend, Salome, having to constantly tell our dog to get out of the rubbish (garbage). We moved my sister’s canopy to attach it to ours (after our bachelor friend took down his tent and belongings in less than 10 minutes to head to a softball tournament). My son loved pointing out we now had a living room, kitchen, and bedroom. I think these pieces all together are bigger than the first floor of our house. A few walks and naps were taken, and eventually Salome and I headed out on a bike ride. The afternoon and evening turned out beautiful, humid from the storms, but a fantastic day for weather. The adults played a fun game of Phase 10, with a break in between to take the kids swimming and make dinner. Then we all turned in for the evening.


The next morning, we were all anxious to get home, so we started taking everything down (which took way longer than the 10 minutes of our friend the day before). I told my son his job was to hold onto the dog’s leash so she didn’t get away. Eventually, I sent him on a walk down the path where we were camping, with two other children and another adult. They returned to let me know our dog had diarrhea; I went back with the two boys and cleaned it all up. Overall, I thought besides the crappy ending with my dog (literally), it was a great weekend.

As we got home, I started coming down with a head cold. Then Monday, I had a tummy ache. I also learned one of the other kids (not mine) had a gastrointestinal flu. I went to bed at 7:00pm to try and kick the sickness I was feeling, and of course my dog followed me as she always does. Tuesday, at 2:30 am, my dog woke me up to go to the bathroom. It’s unusual she needs to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but we also don’t go to bed at 7:00pm often. I let her out. Then she woke me up at 4:00am to do the same. I knew I would need to inspect in the morning and probably take her food away. Maybe she got into something. The humans were all feeling better, and my dog was acting completely normal. She turned her nose up at me when I tried to offer her bland rice. I took the kids to their ice-skating camp, and stopped by my sister’s to say our good-byes to our friends from England before they flew across the pond. On our way home, as we stopped for lunch, my husband messaged me that our dog was vomiting. I told him we were on our way. As I opened our front door, our dog was standing at the top of our stairs, wagging her tail as usual. Then she laid down and puked again.


I called our vet. They had me check her gums, I was asked what was going on, and they were trying to fit her in to see them. I was called back a few hours later, my dog had just drunk water, and I was told it was a good sign. The vet didn’t have any openings that day, but we set up an appointment to drop her off for monitoring the next morning. I had already called the Emergency Vet, and knew if we were going to get in… we would wait until 6pm. 2 more hours. THEN my dog puked up the water. She was very lethargic. She was breathing loud. She was in pain. I didn’t know what was going on. I sat on my living room floor, crying and singing to my dog because really I was out of options.

Once the Emergency Vet opened, we knew she need to go in and loaded her on the floor of our van, so she would be as still as possible. As we checked in, there were a few people in front of us. They checked her gums and instructed us to sit down. I actually wondered how sick you really needed to be at the emergency vet because I knew my dog was doing terribly. About 15 minutes later, the vet walked over because she said my dog looked significantly worse, checked her gums and immediately asked to take her back. I started to hand her to the nurse, but I realized I was wet. Initially, I thought my dog had urinated on my dark clothing, but I quickly learned it was blood exiting her rectum. My dog was rushed to the doctor, and she was immediately placed on an IV. The vet came in briefly and told me my dog was in a bad place. She asked about anything my dog could’ve gotten into. I told her about camping and about the 1 bone (EVER in her whole life) we allowed her to nibble on for a few minutes. I got a brief lecture how bones are bad (I know this. Horrible mistake.) A Vet Tech talked me through what was going to happen (and handed me a $1500 bill) before I was instructed to go home for the evening. My dog was to stay in the Doggy ICU. Then she asked me, “Do you have a DNR for your pet?” OH MY GAWD!!! I had NEVER thought of this. Never due to the fact I thought my dog would live forever and ever, but I seriously thought by dog would live another 4-6 years and die of natural causes.

The Veterinarian called at 11:15pm with results of her X-rays and blood panel; my dog was diagnosed with Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE). No signs of bone or anything else inside of her. Her glucose and liver levels weren’t normal.  I was instructed to pick up my dog at 7:00am and she would need to be transported to her regular vet for continued monitoring. She was showing signs of improvement, but she wasn’t out of the woods yet. They would recheck before I was to transport her in my makeshift mini-van ambulance. I showed up at 6:45am. I was given puppy pee pads to cover my vehicle in the chance she had bloody diarrhea again (thank goodness she didn’t for many reasons), and I brought my dog with her little IV in her leg and bag of fluids to the next vet. My dog spent the entire day at her vet. She continued to get better, and showed signs of improvement. Her glucose was improving, but now her kidneys were showing concern. I was to wait out the afternoon to see if she would get to come home or we would go back to the doggy ICU. After our 5:20pm appointment, we learned our dog would get to come home; although, she was still very weak.

Our dog couldn’t move without us moving her. We placed doggy diapers on her for leakage, and we were helping her to drink small amounts out of a cup. We have no idea what caused for our dog to contract Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis. It may have been the garbage she got into while camping, or maybe something unrelated after we got home. I am so glad we decided not to wait for our initial appointment at our regular veterinarian and decided to go into the Emergency Veterinarian because if we would’ve waited, she wouldn’t have made it.


Next month will be 8 years since we adopted our dog. She was 5 months old when we got her; she had, sacredly, come to Minnesota from a shelter in Oklahoma. We have been lucky and only have had her regular check-ups and grooming appointments, so far. She’s been the best dog with our kids, and I am so thankful we have more time with her; I know others aren’t as lucky. Needless to say, we’ll be a little more strict and aware of what our dog is getting into.


**I am so happy and thankful to report our dog is doing amazing, and she has quickly made a full recovery (and out of diapers).***



Postpartum Depression: Speak Up!

My husband got a text from his sister saying something along the lines of, “I had a dream Kelcie is pregnant, so if she’s not already pregnant she’s going to be soon.” We had both decided it was a good idea to wait to have another child, if ever, and definitely after we both were finished with school. My husband, Nick, and I took on a lot, as students, as it was. While in school, we had already [both] worked full-time, planned a wedding, gotten married, moved states twice, had a baby, and became homeowners. It just wasn’t in the cards. We had just purchased our first home, a home big enough for the 3 of us, and we wanted to be in something bigger before we expanded our family.  It was November of 2012, 7 months after we closed on our house. Nick was working on homework as he showed me the text. He disregarded what his sister said, but I did not.

I immediately looked at the calendar and thought to myself, “there is NO way, is there?” BUT I, also, KNEW she would be right. I knew because I wasn’t the first person she had dreams about. I didn’t tell Nick I was heading to Walgreens, but I loaded up our toddler and set out to buy a pregnancy test. I bought 3. When I got home, I took a test. Negative! My husband was relieved. Not at all the sense of excitement he expressed when I found out I was pregnant with our first. He disregarded his sister’s text, but I didn’t. A few days later, I took another test. Negative. No matter what, it would’ve been too early for me to tell and I knew this, but I just KNEW my sister-in-law was right; even if the tests were not telling me. A week after the dream, I took another test. POSITIVE!!! My husband and I called his sister immediately to tell her she was right, and I joked she got me pregnant.



A few weeks later, the nausea started. Unbearable nausea. It lasted for almost my entire pregnancy. I wasn’t able to cook because the smell of food made me absolutely sick. I also experienced horrible pregnancy insomnia. I was prescribed Unisom and B6 by my midwife; it helped eliminate some of the nausea, but the insomnia was constant. Because of the differences of my pregnancies, I knew deep down, I was either going to have a girl or I was going to have twins. There was NO WAY I was having a boy. At my 20 week ultrasound, I decided I would find out what I was having…. Only to tell my husband I was right. I was. We changed my son’s room so he would have a roommate. I negotiated with my son, who could understand what I was saying, but was very delayed with expressive speech, “If you want a sibling, you need to go to the bathroom in the toilet.” I kid you not, it worked. My son, who never wanted to be wet, was potty-trained before he turned 2.


As I reached my due date, my 39th week of pregnancy, my mother-in-law came to Minneapolis to help with my son in case I went into labor. I tried walking, acupuncture, pedicure, you name it. I was ready to be done. I was really hot, every day, and I needed my daughter to come out while I had help to watch my son. Since nothing was working, my mother-in-law booked her train ticket to go home the next evening. My mom would be arriving in 2 days, so I would have someone around; it was going to be the weekend so my husband would also be home. The next morning, at 39 weeks, 6 days, I woke up at 6:00am. I knew what it was like to have my water break to start labor, but I was going to wait it out before I told anyone…I needed to be certain. My husband laced up his running shoes, unaware of what I am feeling, and says, “I’m going to go for a longer run than usual today since my mom is still here.” This was a perfect time for me to clean the bathroom and get things organized before we would need to head to the hospital. Contractions started to get about 4 minutes apart; I texted my husband, “I think you should probably run home, I think we need to go to the hospital.” I then told my mother-in-law I would be having a baby that day. She told me she’d cancel her train ticket.

With my water breaking I knew I would need to go into the hospital and not wait it out at home. I called the nurse to see how soon I needed to go in. I was very terrified of having a baby in the car. I had mentioned this to my sister and brother-in-law about 7 months prior. My brother-in-law’s response was, “people don’t really have babies in cars.” He thought this, until his very pregnant wife had a baby in a car, roughly 5 months before I was going into labor. The nurse told me to head to the hospital. We got there, got checked into a room, met with the midwife who was on call to discuss any birth plan. The only thing I said was I would like to do it naturally if possible.

The midwife at the hospital checked on me frequently. One time, she walked in the room and said, “You’re still smiling, I’ll come back later.” Pitocin was given to me, and upped a few times because I honestly wasn’t even feeling the contractions. Then the contractions came with a vengeance. The midwife checked on me and said I finally looked like I was going to have a baby. I had been at the hospital for 14 hours, at that point, and in labor for over 16 hours. I asked for an epidural. She told me there wasn’t time, and I had to be checked; I was dilated to a 7. 30 seconds later, I told my midwife I needed to push. She asked if I was going to have a BM. I told her I was absolutely having a baby. In 1 contraction I had gone from 7cm to 10cm, and sure enough they got ready really fast for me to have a baby. Nick blasted Social Distortion. He was told to turn it down. I think the midwife expected me to want something more soothing. I did not. I felt like I was running a marathon. Meanwhile, I told everyone I really didn’t want to do this and would like to go home. After 4 pushes and less than 10 minutes, while holding my daughter, I exclaimed, “She looks just like Caleb,” her brother.


I was infatuated with my daughter. She was the sweetest baby. My mom drove in from North Dakota, and father-in-law came from Nebraska. Everyone was so excited to meet our daughter, the completion to our family. My mom stayed the first week following my daughter’s birth, and my husband was given 2 weeks paternity leave by his employer, so I had help with the day to day stuff. However, I started experiencing extreme sadness. When I had my son, I asked the midwife about Postpartum Depression, but since my son was born in an evacuated hospital, she attributed my sadness and anxiety to having a baby in a natural disaster. I knew I was experiencing something serious, but I was afraid to speak up. The questionnaire I filled out, 2 weeks after having my daughter, mostly asked if I wanted to harm my child; I absolutely did not. I wanted my daughter to have the best life ever. But I was so lost in my own head, I didn’t know if I could dig myself out of the misery I was feeling. I experienced depression, Postpartum Depression, for almost a year. Once my hormones started balancing themselves out again, I felt back to normal. I was really reluctant to even tell those who are close to me because I didn’t want people to judge me. You know what, when I did finally tell them, they felt really awful that I had felt so alone and wished I had spoken up sooner. So now, I speak up, because I am in a really good head-space and I don’t want anyone to feel the way I did. I’ve been taking extra measures to take care of me; I even went back on birth control (to help regulate the hormonal imbalance). My daughter turns 5 tomorrow, she is the sweetest little girl, and I am so happy I took the necessary steps to take care of me so I am still around here for her and my son.



**According to the website Postpartum Support International, 1 in 7 moms and 1 in 10 dads experience Postpartum Depression. If you are a mom seeking help: 800-944-4773. If you are a dad seeking help: 800-944-4773.**

3 Suggestions to Have the Best Birthday

I feel as though I am still on vacation, writing this, but I haven’t gone anywhere. This birthday, my 33rd birthday, I was so fortunate to have so many people I love in the same place. If you want to celebrate a birthday, or any random day, in the best way possible, here are some suggestions:

I. Have a long-time friend (my sister’s college roommate) fly in from England, who you haven’t seen in 15 years, with her child.

In November, 2017, my older sister’s college roommate, Salome, booked tickets to visit Minnesota for the first time in 15 years. I met Salome when I was 14. She never made me feel like a friend’s little sister; she always treated me as a friend. The last time I had seen her was when she came to Minneapolis, when my older sister and I moved to Minneapolis, in 2003. Since Facebook allows for me to know what it is going on in her life, it didn’t feel like it had been 15 years since I had seen her. During this time, my sister, myself, and Salome all had children of our own. Salome’s son, Freddie, and my son Caleb are 1 month apart.

After an 8 hour flight, Salome and Freddie landed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport; 3:45pm Central time, 10:45pm London time. Ignoring jet-leg, they came to a get together at my Uncle Matt’s. As Caleb and Freddie both shyly hid behind both of their mom’s, listening intently to each other’s accents and differing words, Freddie smiled and starting flossing. They were instant friends after that. My mom was curious how Freddie knew how to floss dance; I exclaimed that they have the internet in England, too. 😉

II. Offer to host a party, in your backyard, and have it rain

Salome visiting over my birthday also happened to coincide with the 1 year anniversary of learning of my mom’s younger sister. After 33 years, I celebrated my birthday with my new aunt (who my dad dreamed looked exactly like my grandfather only with really long hair; luckily for her, she is much prettier than that mental image).  We had many people travel near and far; it’s not every day you celebrate a birthday in which people travel to get there by Airplane, Car, and Bicycle.

I offered to host a build your own hot dog bar. The ease of being able to prep ahead of time was super helpful. I chopped up all the toppings and purchased side dishes from Costco. The hotdogs, we placed in a crock pot and finished them off on the grill.

We were excited to host in our newly almost completed backyard. We haven’t had much space to host a bigger group, so it was nice that we would be able to. A family walk was taken around to show off the changes happening in our neighborhood. Then, it started to downpour. For a while, roughly 20 of us crammed into our small living room and kitchen; however, the kids found it far more exciting to run around in the rain. A family dance party broke out, in my living room. My mom and I completed our eyebrow challenge which we agreed to the week before, and many of us ended the night with a competitive game of Catch Phrase.

III. Try New Things: Foods and Experiences

I was super fortunate to have breakfast with my mom and step-dad the morning after they arrived in Minneapolis. My kids had their last day of camp, so I had very rare, much needed adult time. I suggested the Hen House Eatery because they are known for their gluten friendly options, and I cannot consume gluten or dairy. It didn’t disappoint!


The day of my actual birthday, a group of us went to Fort Snelling for the first time. I wasn’t aware of the full history surrounding this place, and couldn’t believe it took me 15 years to check it out. (Earlier in the summer, my family upgraded to a Minnesota History Membership after visiting Split Rock Lighthouse – we plan to get to as many History locations in our state as possible.) After Fort Snelling, we ventured to Fort Snelling beach…another place I hadn’t been to in the Twin Cities. We had a picnic and let the kids swim, until the sunny skies released another downpour.


The evening of my birthday, we had a lovely birthday dinner at Hai Hai. This restaurant opened in NE Minneapolis, the end of 2017, and was named one of the best new restaurants in America according to Definitely put this on your list to check out. I told my son a good birthday present for me would be for him to start trying new foods.

The morning after my birthday, I had previously scheduled to try Reiki for the first time, as my birthday present from my husband, needing to get my chakras aligned. After originally knocking on the wrong person’s door, I made my way to the home of the massage therapist/Reiki practitioner. As I lay on a massage table with alchemy bowls playing, I could feel the sound waves moving through my body. The therapist placed her hands gently on or above different areas of my body; I could feel the energy moving through me. She then placed her hands on my head, I could feel where my varicose veins were removed and it almost felt like the energy escaped out of my feet. When she placed her hands on my feet, I seriously felt air leave my ears. And as she stood with her hands above my stomach, my intestines started to move and my stomach started to growl. Most people may think I was only hungry, but I had recently eaten AND I have suffered from IBS almost my entire life. My experience with Reiki was incredible. I will go back. I offer you a suggestion if you ever want to try it: don’t have any expectations because everyone has different experiences; you get out of something what you put into it.

We ended the weekend with swimming and dinner, hosted by my always aunt and uncle before they flew back to Denver. The long weekend was amazing, but wore this old gal out. This year, I plan to live as my best self. I do not have expectations of what may lie ahead, but I can tell you I have a LOT of fun planned for the coming year.

8 Words to Describe My Forthcoming Birthday

There are 365 days; 8,760 hours; 525,600 minutes; 3,153,600 seconds in a year. As I look back on my last trip around the sun, I can’t help but think of how many emotionally challenging things have happened. I will turn 33 this weekend. I always look forward to my birthday for a few reasons; 1) the alternative is death 2) each year I see personal growth within myself.

My 32nd year was hard. It started out by realizing my maternal grandfather had kept a VERY big secret. Ancestry DNA exposed his secret; an affair which resulted in a daughter. My grandfather passed away over a decade ago, so we have had to piece everything together…. Bit by bit…story by story. Luckily, I ended up with a super rad new aunt [and two 1st cousins], and my kids think it’s completely normal to get LOTS of new relatives later in life BECAUSE it turns out… I ended up getting ANOTHER 1st cousin in October, this one an adult (and from another member of my family). I swear, now that I’ve done Ancestry DNA, I’m a little nervous every time I get an email that says I have a new match. So far, I’ve matched both my mom and dad…. and I didn’t match my husband. All a win! My older sister just sent her Ancestry DNA test in the mail …. I guess we’ll see if she really is related to me.

After the discovery of my new aunt, I became the family historian and dug up all the missing ancestors who were hiding under Plymouth Rock. (Actually it turns out one of my ancestors traveled on the Concord Ship, often referred to as the German Mayflower, and settled Germantown, PA.) My new relatives included a Germantown founder, a well-known abolitionist, and Teddy Roosevelt, to name a few. Imagine how many Ancestry hints you get once Teddy Roosevelt is in your family tree!!!

In addition to the significant additions to my family tree, I had 3 surgeries this year, all postpartum related surgeries (my youngest is almost 5); I wasn’t able to address many of the health issues earlier because I spent a few years recovering from a car accident (more on this in a later post). 2 of these surgeries were removing MANY painful varicose veins from my legs. My vascular surgeon actually referred to them as impressive. So I spent a better part of my 32 year in compression socks. If you are curious, veins outside of the body sort of look like unfried calamari, and my recovery took a lot longer than I truly expected. Aside from a lot of incision marks, I do not feel the pain in my legs that was becoming unbearable when I ran.

Furthermore, my allergies have gotten significantly worse since having kids, so this year I began allergy shots. Unfortunately, the allergy shots were causing me the inability to breathe. I ultimately was diagnosed with asthma; apparently, decades of breathing problems weren’t just me being out of shape. Moreover, I was  instructed to cut gluten and dairy from my diet; I struggled for over 15 years with abdominal pain, and eliminating these two things out has made a significant difference with my IBS. Speak up! It’s your body and your life.

I was fortunate to have the ability to volunteer in both of my kids’ classrooms, weekly, this year. My oldest finished 1st grade and my youngest graduated from preschool. I was asked to join a board at my church. My volunteer experiences have given me a different perspective in the classroom and at my church. I, also, took time for me and traveled. My family and I spent a week in northern MN, just the four of us. We used airline miles and went to Phoenix for Christmas, where my younger sister lives. My older sister and I went to lunch in Baltimore, and enjoyed time just the two of us (which is a rarity). And I drove many times, in 45 below weather, to and from North Dakota to spend the last weeks of life with my father-in-law.

In January, my father-in-law passed away. He was one of the kindest, most optimistic, hardest working people I have ever met. The loss that our family has felt has been significant. Nothing can prepare you for the death of someone you love, whether it is expected or unexpected. Adjusting to our loss was hard, and all the stages of grief were present. I’m so thankful my kids had the years they did with their grandfather, but one of the hardest conversations I ever had to have was when my youngest, who is four, asked me, “Mama, what if I can’t remember Poppa?”  

After his dad passed, my husband got busy building many storage shelves in our basement. Woodworking is very therapeutic. He has a ton of saws, most were either his dad’s or given to him by his dad. Then, this spring, we decided it was time to redo our backyard. We had a quote for $20k and we decided to forgo that route and utilize the many saws my husband has. It was a big job, but our marriage survived. My husband and I celebrated our 10th year together, in different states; we also celebrated our 8th year of being married, camping with the kids since our son requested to do so for his birthday (it coincides with our anniversary).

All in all, this year was challenging, yet rewarding. I am very much looking forward to what 33 has in store for me. I’ll leave you with the words I’ve cogitated to describe how I truly feel about my forthcoming birthday.

Happy B.I.R.T.H.D.A.Y to me.


Believe in yourself! Too often we are caught up in what we think we cannot do or are afraid of what others may think. Oftentimes, people get in their own way. Think positively. Set goals for yourself. There may be setbacks, but look at it as a hurdle, not a roadblock.


Intuition is real. Listen to your inner voice. You may not ever know why you KNOW something, but go with it.


Reflect on your experiences. Be grateful. Learn from your mistakes.


Travel as much as you can. Traveling gives you experiences. Experiences help you grow as a person.


Healing takes time. Give yourself a lot of time when grieving. Everyone is different and everyone acts different when someone they love dies.


Dare to try new things. Whether it be a new food, a new adventure, a new job. Take risks. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be hard, but it can also be one of the most rewarding things.


Adapt to new situations. Life isn’t always what happens to you, but in how you respond to what happens.


Yes…. SAY YES! Saying yes will get you a lot more out of life than saying no.


“Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out… just take another shot.” -unknown


X Games MPLS 2018: 5 of My Favorite Things

When I was in elementary school, growing up in North Dakota, I spent a lot of time sledding. I would go off of jumps, and eventually I started standing on my sled. One year, I asked my mom for a snowboard for Christmas. I wanted one so bad, but I also knew it was unlikely that I would actually get one. When Christmas came around, we were opening presents, and my mom had indeed gotten me a snowboard. A fingerboard, I was crushed. I was enamored with extreme sports: snowboarding, skateboarding, BMX, motor cross, skiing, snowmobiling. My family didn’t have the money for me to do these sports, but I loved watching them. Not very common for a girl in the 90s. I loved the skill that came with landing tricks. I can even remember watching the  X Games on TV, by myself. When the X Games started, I was 10.

Imagine my excitement when hearing the X Games were to be in my town, as an adult. For FOUR years! The first year I missed it because I was out of state, but my husband went. So, when the X Games was to host their 2nd year of summer games in Minneapolis, I KNEW I had to go. My kids were thrilled as well. We chose to go Friday, the 2nd day of X Games. These are my 5 favorite things of the X Games (click here for YouTube video):

5. Affordable

Tickets to the X Games start off at $20 for General Admission. General Admission tickets include access to the competition, located inside US Bank Stadium, and X-fest, located outside of US Bank Stadium. In addition, taking public transportation keeps costs down. We took the Metro Blue Line light rail to US Bank Stadium, saving on the cost and chaos of parking.

4. X Fest


X-fest provided so many activities to keep everyone engaged. The kids won prizes, playing games at the booths. My husband and son got free underwear from Fruit of the Loom, and my daughter was given a hat from ESPN. My kids were so excited to try everything. We signed a few liability waivers, and they were able to try almost everything (a few activities they were two short or too young to do). The kids tried the American Ninja Warrior challenges and they biked on the ramps. ALL the people working were so helpful with the kids, I was impressed.

 3. Competition

I think my jaw was hanging on the floor for most of the stuff we saw. The tricks were AMAZING! My favorites were watching 11 year old Gavin Bottger in the Next X Skateboard Park Final, Dave Mira’s BMX Best Trick final, Moto X Quarter Pipe High Air Final, and The Real Cost BMX Big Air Final.


4. Shred Hate

The X Games is serious of ending childhood bullying. The X Games teamed up with No Bully, a nonprofit to recognize the signs of bullying and put an end to it, forming Shred Hate in 2017. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to this booth because we were rushed inside when a storm was rolling in, but I 100% support this cause and am so thankful for the compassion of these organizations to work towards ending something so serious.

1. Role Models


While my kids were waiting their turn to ride bikes on the ramps, professional athletes were sitting down at the table next to them to sign autographs. Everyone was wondering where the line of people to get autographs were, but then it was quickly realized the whole crowd of people were surrounding the water-skiing squirrel. My kids rode the bikes then wanted to get autographs. Every single athlete talked to my daughter. They asked about her skateboard shirt, if she skateboarded, found out she wanted a skateboard for her birthday, and she would be 5 on August 2.IMG_0910


During the time we were waiting in line for the wall climb, we were able to watch the filming of X Games hosts, former professional snowboarder, Jack Mitranti and professional snowboarder, Craig McMorris, attempt to climb the wall. They both made it! After filming, I asked Jack Mitranti if he’d take a photo with my son. Not only did he immediately agree, but he says, “Do you want a picture with both of us? Craig will be right back.” I told him it was up to him if he wanted to wait. He did. He sat and chatted with my 7 year old about the X Games, ensuring he was having a fun time, and what his favorite things at X Games were. As a mom, I was through the roof with admiration for this man. Craig McMorris returned and the three of them got a photo. Later, I tweeted a photo of my son to Jack Mitranti telling me how much respect I had for him. AND HE RETWEETED IT!!!



                **We will definitely be returning to the X Games next year!**

Psychic Revelations: My first Trip to Baltimore OR WAS IT?? (Part 2 of 2)

I have always had very vivid dreams. I was 10 when I started having dreams of my deceased family members. In the dreams, I felt like my loved ones were visiting me, long after they had died. I truly felt they were with me. It wasn’t until I met my sister-in-law,  I really opened up about my dreams because I learned from her to watch for signs. I had one free tarot reading done, 7 years ago, in which everything came true. I was gifted a  medium reading on the phone, about 4 years ago. However, my Baltimore experience had been vastly different, and I felt the need for answers. I decided I would pay for a reading. So I walked into a shop, a shop which was actually the store front of this woman’s home. I weirdly felt more comfortable seeing her kidsIMG_0058 because before my father-in-law passed, we talked to him and to my kids… to watch for signs.

After chatting with the Psychic for a few minutes, and her offering us a cheaper deal; I love deals. My sister and I agreed we would both do a tarot card reading. I wanted to go first. I am a pretty timid person, so when I decide to do something I jump right in so I don’t back out.  I sat down with Mrs. Kay and the following unfolded. Mrs. Kay asked me if I had recently lost someone close to me. I had. My father-in-law passed away a few months before this reading. She asked how long I’d lived in Baltimore. I told her I was only visiting and it was my first time there. She proceeded to tell me she didn’t believe this was my first time there and asked if anything seemed familiar. I answered yes, but I used my poker face because I didn’t want to let on what had happened to me only a few hours earlier. She then told me I had an old soul. That she could see I had lived 7 lives since the 1700s. “No wonder I’m so tired all the time, I thought to myself. My soul has been busy.”

Mrs. Kay had me shuffle cards and chose some, then she laid out half of the deck (this is what I agreed to in what I was paying for). She told me I was a really good person. Which is true, I think I am too. She told me she saw moving boxes in my house; my husband was seriously emptying out our storage unit at that very moment…into our house. Mrs. Kay told me my husband loved me a lot, like more than I probably realize. I responded that wasn’t a surprise to me. She told me I was going to live a long life, but I needed to get my chakras aligned. She told me my heart chakra and crown chakras were off. She explained to me my ability to love out was full, but my ability to love myself was troublesome. She saw deep depression, and I needed to take care of myself. She was right, but again I didn’t want to let her know too much. HOW DID THIS LADY KNOW THIS? She told me my crown chakra was off and I needed to balance my spiritual connection. Mrs. Kay saw things there is NO way of her knowing. It was wild. She told me dates and colors that were lucky for me; I’m still waiting to see what those do for me. She also told me there was a spirit with me. She asked if I knew who it would be. I said one person it could be would be my father-in-law. The spirit isn’t a male, she said. The only other person, I truly felt it could be, the person I felt like had been with me the entire trip so far….”My grandmother, I said.”

After we finished up, my sister went in for her reading. Her reading was much different than mine. My sister wasn’t told her chakras were off. They weren’t. She instead was told she had a purple aura. Mrs. Kay asked my sister if she had recently had a Spiritual Awakening. She had. My sister had spent 10 days in Guatemala on a yoga trip, just a few months before, and had attended a Mayan Fire Ceremony. Nothing about past lives or anything of the sort to what I experienced. However, my sister also had been blown IMG_7069away by her experience. My sister and I finished up our evening shopping the local stores and having dinner at 13.5% Wine Bar (our mom bought us dinner since she wasn’t able to join us on our trip). We then walked back to our Airbnb, to spend the night on the property owned by our 6th great-grandfather, in the early 1800s.

The next morning, my sister and I headed to Ellicott City, MD. Ellicott City was started by our 7th great-grandfather, Andrew Ellicott, and his brothers; these three brothers built Ellicott Mills, and were responsible for getting farmers to plant wheat instead of tobacco. As we neared Ellicott City, my sister says to me, “Well, I’m just going to turn off the GPS because you probably used to live here.” I was able to navigate to the Historic Downtown, but I believe with help of street signs over past memories. As we got to Downtown, we saw signs for the Ellicott City Spring Fest. They were having a huge art festival and we had no idea. I joked how they were throwing us a welcome home celebration.

We drove around a bit to find parking, and we ended up parking in the Court House lot. We walked past an Underground Railroad site, and I wondered how many of my ancestors helped with the Underground Railroad, aside from my 6th great-grandfather, Elisha Tyson. Timing couldn’t have been more perfect because we walked up to one of the shops a minute before it opened. We IMG_7073shopped in local stores, one of which had 3 levels of knick-knacks, it was as if Christmas and the Renaissance Festival had a baby. We checked out the tents and music, for the art festival, and had lunch at the Ellicott City Brewery.

The last thing I had wanted to check out before we left Ellicott City was a house called Mount Ida. Mount Ida was initially built for William Ellicott, my 6th great-uncle; unfortunately, he died young, and the house was eventually acquired by Judge John Shoemaker Tyson, my 1st cousin 7x removed. After Judge Tyson and his wife passed away, their three daughters inherited the house. It is said the ghost of the last daughter to pass away, Ida, is still heard in the house today. We gps’d directions to Mount IMG_7078Ida, from where we were walking, and it took us some really weird way, hiking up back streets with no sidewalks. When we finally reached the house, I realized we could see our car. We had almost parked directly in front of the house, which members of our family on two different sides had once owned.

We walked the roughly 300 feet to our car, and we headed back to the Airbnb for meditation and relaxation before heading to meet up with my husband’s cousin, Nikki, that evening. We walked back to the area we had been the previous day and met Nikki at Café Hon for drinks and dinner. My sister asked if we would be interested in going to an Improv Show across the street, in which she had seen an advertisement for the previous day. We agreed. We had to walk through a busy bar, then up the stairs, to where the Improv Show was to happen. We were the ONLY people there aside from the people performing. In one skit, they asked the audience for a weird phrase, and a kid sitting next to me yelled out, “JOHN!” John is not a phrase. The entire skit, they just said John, over and over. I felt in that moment, my father-in-law, John, had come to make his spiritual presence known as I was sitting with his niece.





After the Improv Show, Nikki headed home and my sister and I stopped for a night cap at Rocket to Venus. An Irish gentleman, probably my mom’s age, approached me and asked if I was interested in cowboys. I looked down the bar to see a young man, in a cowboy hat, had just bellied up to the bar. I laughed and had to tell him, I was married, and I really didn’t think my husband would appreciate me being interested in cowboys. The man that approached me and his friend sat next to us, they were regulars of the establishment. We told them why we were in Baltimore, the historical discoveries of how we had gotten there. Then the first man tells me I have to hear his friend’s story about being contacted about his ancestors. The man was very hesitant, but finally decided to share with us ….

His family discoveries were not as uplifting. Apparently, his grandmother and some German Nazi had conspired to kill his grandfather. They succeeded. His grandmother was wanted for murder and disappeared. This gentleman’s dad was raised in an orphanage. A few months before meeting us, someone in Germany had contacted this man as he was writing a book of these events. He found out what happened to the grandma. Grandma had moved to Arizona and started a different family. Yikes!! I now IMG_7102knew why he was reluctant to share his story, especially to strangers. My new Irish friend gave me a print of his art, told me to hang it on my fridge, and it would bring me good luck. It’s still there. I’m always looking for extra good luck!! We said our good-nights and retired to our Airbnb for the evening.

Our last morning in Baltimore, we locked up and headed for one last fun breakfast before heading to the airport. I sure hit the jackpot of experiences when I chose the Paper Moon. The service and food was incredible, and the décor definitely made for a lasting impression. As we made it to the airport, my sister and I see the man who sat next to us on the flight to Baltimore. He says me, “how was lunch in Baltimore?” IMG_7094


**Update** After our trip, I have some sad news. On May 27, 2018, I was contacted by both Julie and Nikki, and Ellicott City was flooding. I couldn’t believe I had only been there the month before, and now this beautiful city was destroyed. Then in June, I was contacted by Julie, the Flour Mill which was located below the summer home of Elisha Tyson (below the Airbnb where we stayed at) was going to be destroyed for High Rises. I do not believe in coincidences. I believe you are where you are supposed to be or the forces of nature work against you. My sister and I not only had the opportunity to get lunch together, which is a rarity in itself, but we have the most amazing memories from simply agreeing to go to lunch in Baltimore. Someday, we’d like to do dinner in Germantown, PA and visit our ancestors before Elisha Tyson. Lastly, I finally made an appointment to get my chakras aligned.

“Life is short. Take the trip. Buy the shoes. Eat the cake.”