Yeah, she really said that.

To the woman at the title company while I signed paperwork: "Wanna see my boogers?"

Faith: "Knock Knock."
Mom and Dad: "Who's there?"
Faith: "Faithy."
Us: "Faithy Who?"
Faith: "I'm heeeeere."

Me: (after singly an annoying Bert and Ernie song very poorly)
"Ugh. That song is stuck in my head."
Faith: "That song is stuck in my arm."

Faith: (anytime she doesn't get her way)
"You're makin' me cry."
"You hurt my feelins."

Faith: (playing pretend) "Mom, would you like some ice cream?"
Me: "Yes! I'd love some ice cream."
Faith: "OK, maybe tomorrow."
(Guessing we've said this to her too many times...)

Me: Faith, can I have one of your special hugs?
Faith: "No, I don't have any hugs. I have kisses though."

"Then I went to the pink and purple bum bum (dum dum) store. And there were pink and purple bum bums (go figure). And I didn't make a mess."

Rob: "My birthday is coming up. What are you gonna get me?"
Faith: (pause) A BIG, FLUFFY BUNNY!

To the cashier at Target wearing a headscarf: "Whachu got on your head?"

Me: (telling Faith the story of me getting pulled over by the po-po for speeding)
"Then I pulled over like this. I was going 15 over."
Faith: "I got pulled over too!"
Me: "How much were you going over the speed limit?"
Faith: (makes a triangle with her fingers)

Kids. Sometimes they make no sense.

Dear 16-year-old Faith

Most "Dear 16-year-old" letters are supposed to be from the older person to the younger person. I don't really have much to say to my 16-year-old self as I made the choices I did without the wisdom of a 30-year-old so it's hard to have regrets. The one thing I would tell myself is not to let someone else and their feelings/lack thereof for you determine your self-worth. But on to a letter to 16-year-old Faith.

Before I start, I just want to give a little background on why I chose to write this post. I've been pretty quiet on social media for the last week and it's mainly because of the Boston marathon bombings. After the initial posts from folks about their sadness and sorrow, most people went right back to posting pictures of their dinners and random life events. It seemed all too soon. Even the other stories in the newspaper the day after I felt should have just been left with white space instead. As we watched way too much news coverage, it made me think of my favorite 2-year-old and how innocent she is. She had and still has no idea what's going on outside of her little world. She still believes all people are inherently good and the only evil doer in this world is Captain Pete from Mickey Mouse. Oh Faith, how I long for your outlook on life some days. Years from now it won't be that way, and I just wanted to capture for both her sake and mine, what life was like for us in 2013.

 Dear Faith,

Now that you're 16 you're probably driving to and from school and maybe (if your parents are under the influence of tranquilizer darts) to the movies for a date. Just know that when you were two, your dream vehicle was a princess car from Toys R Us and your idea of a date was watching a Barbie movie with your mom and dad while eating microwaved popcorn.

Know that you loved holding my hand and I loved holding yours. You're way too grown up for parental hand holding now, so that's why I treasured it each and every time you reached for me as a kid.

You probably sleep in now, rising sometime after 9, 10, (God forbid) 11 a.m. Just remember, when you were two, you often rose before 7 a.m. and if you did wake up grouchy, the promise of cheerios and "cartoonies" was all it took to get you to bounce out of bed. I so hope you're still a morning person.

Your mom and dad are probably the last people you want to hang out with in your spare time. But, when you were little (and we would be trying to get dinner ready, clean, REST) playing with us was all you wanted to do. You had 1.1 million toys and playing hide and seek or "tickle me, dad" or Mr. Handy (sock puppets) was always your No. 1 choice.

I hope we get along well now that you're a teenager. It can be tough at 16 when you think your parents are lame, but remember, letting go of a child after being needed so much for so long is hard on us. You were the center of our lives at age 2 and needed us for everything from going to the bathroom to brushing your teeth. You also considered me your best friend and when that time ends and I'm replaced, just remember the breakup will not have been mutual.

As you venture into romantic relationships, I hope your dad and I have set a good example for you of what to look for in one. We may not always show/tell each other how much we love the other person, but know that I respect your dad and value his love for me and who he is as a man as much as I possibly can. I feel lucky to have found someone so willing to share an equal partnership that I pray the same for you. I would write something about the chances of finding that person in high school being very slim, but wouldn't have listened if someone told me that at 16 so I'll just let you figure it out on your own.

Makeup. Hopefully you are better at it than I was at your age, and hopefully you don't abuse it, but I just want you to know that at age 2 you didn't need makeup to be beautiful and you don't at age 16 either.

Your 1st attempt at makeup. You were so proud of yourself!
 Your fashion sense has probably changed a bit from when you were a toddler, but I will always remember the days when you would ONLY wear a tutu/skirt and a t-shirt. You didn't care if it was freezing outside, you were not putting on pants, dammit! I used to fight to get you to dress warmer, but realized it was not a battle worth my while. As long as you're comfortable and confident, I don't ever want to get in the way of what you wear. Hold me to that.

Unfortunately, you weren't very excited for your baby sister to be born. While you mentioned her as part of the family, when someone asked you about her you didn't want to talk about it. However, regardless of how you feel now, I hope that you two love each other deep down and come to each other when you need something. A sibling relationship is a blessing and I want nothing more for my daughters to have each other after their mom and dad are long gone. It's OK to fight and disagree, but your sister  will always be a part of your life, so treat each other well and with love.

I wanted to write you this letter so that you would have a better idea of what exactly you were like when you were little. And maybe you'd know a little bit about what your mom was like. Sometimes it's hard to know a mom other than as your mom, but I am still just a person. I get frustrated with you sometimes, annoyed when you won't listen to me, tired after chasing you around all day, but I never ever stop loving you. So when you think I'm a dork for dressing a certain way or just don't "get" what you're going through, remember I was there with you once too (seriously, a tutu/skirt EVERY DAY). I hope you will do what I tried to do back then and take a breath and remember, it won't be like this forever. We are lucky to have each other, even if we will think so at different times in our lives. You were a privilege to have as a daughter at age 2 and I know you will be when you read this letter down the road.


p.s. For everyone reading this, I apologize if the tenses of this post were confusing. It's harder than you think to write a letter to someone in the future!

p.p.s. For everyone wanting to hear about the move and see some new pictures, patience my people! We're still settling in, but soon! I do want to thank our amazing family and friends for all their help in the process. We are so grateful to you!

From Home to House

"Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home."

-Phillip Phillips, HOME

One week until we move from our first home into our new house. I'm so happy we found a place to live before the babe is born and will hopefully have some time to get settled before she makes her appearance. While I LOVE the new place, I can't help but feel sad about leaving this house behind. Change is not something I'm particularly good at. It signifies the passage of time and memories gone by which only remind me how short life truly is. 

Sidenote: Does anyone remember the final episode of Growing Pains when the Seavers moved out of their home? I remember watching that and seeing Kirk/Mike go back in the house one last time to remove a family picture and behind it, it said "Mike Seaver was here." That was the first time I ever cried watching a TV show. I was 9-years-old (go figure) and it has stuck with me ever since.

Anyway, we moved into this house in May of 2008 when Howie was just a puppy. He's been through about 3 lives here, one of which was getting attacked by the neighbor dog just a couple months after we moved in. Rob and I have been through a lot here too. Bringing Faith home for the first time comes to mind. Hosting her first birthday. Watching her take her first steps. (Bring on the tears!) Planting a tree, planting a garden. Laying laminate flooring. Decorating for Christmas, Halloween, Easter. Dancing in the living room. Bringing in the New Year with friends. Laughing at family meals around the kitchen table. Potty training in the bathroom (thank God for that laminate flooring). Baking muffins on Saturday mornings. Sleeping in on Sunday mornings (at least before Faith was born -- what was that like again?) Coloring with sidewalk chalk out front. Blowing bubbles in the yard out back. We've done it all.

I feel like we've really left our mark on this house and even though I'm excited for what's to come, I will probably be looking in the review mirror on our way out of the driveway. To help me with the transition, I thought I'd make a list of things I will and won't miss about the 3rd house on the left side of 18th Street.

Things I won't miss:
the TRAINS. We knew we'd be close to the tracks when we moved here, and we've gotten used to it so that we don't hear them at night, but dammit if the conductor's timing hasn't been awful these last five years. 

the lack of SPACE. We just need more room to spread out Faith's toys, Rob's guitar equipment and my Target purchases.

the BUSY STREET. It's nice and flat for running on, but there are always a ton of cars driving by on our walks/bike rides. It's like the hockey game in Wayne's World. Caaaaarrrr!

the ONE FULL BATHROOM. Sharing a bathroom with a toddler has its advantages, mainly that she never wants in there to brush her hair or her teeth, but I'm looking forward to not stepping on bath toys all the time.

Things I will miss:

the YARD. It's so big! And flat. I envisioned our kids playing kickball here and even imagined the tree we planted as second base. (This was before I realized how much space kids actually take up inside the house). Our new yard is not as flat or as big, which is disappointing, yet I'm sure where there's a will to play kickball, there's a way. I just hope the  new yard is big/flat enough for a princess bouncy castle come June 24!

the DOOR. I know this is silly, but our door is probably my favorite purchase from this house. If it wasn't considered tacky to request to take a door with you when you move, I may have done it. 

the COMMUTE to work. Who wants to spend more time in the car when there are baby cheeks to be squeezed and a two-year-old's solo acts to take in? On a good day, I could reach Faith's daycare in 13 minutes. Now it will be more like 23, though it will be much less when she starts preschool in a year or so. I'll miss the time we're losing by moving further away from our jobs, but I know it's the right, long-term decision for our family.

the RUNNING TRAIL. So many miles of thinking on this narrow path. I trained for my 2009 half marathon and last year's Dam to Dam. It was so nice to run down the street and then be on the trail. The trail by our new house is short, and worse, hilly!

The truth is, a house is just a bunch of walls but a home is what you create inside. I'm excited to make new memories in our second home, but I will never forget this one and all that happened in it. 

And because I started with a song, I'll end with one. It's the Growing Pains theme song and quite fitting for how I'm feeling. (See below for pics of the new place and our new address!)

Show me that smile again 
Oh, show me that smile 
Don't waste another minute on your cryin' 
We're nowhere near the end 
We're nowhere near 
The best is ready to begin 

As long as we got each other 
We got the world spinnin' right in our hands 
Baby, you and me 
We gotta be 
The luckiest dreamers who never quit dreamin' 

As long as we keep on givin' 
We can take anything that comes our way 
Baby, rain or shine 
All the time 
We got each other 
Sharin' the laughter and love 

Enjoy the pictures of the new place we will call home as of this Friday.

New address:
4821 Cedarbrook Drive
Council Bluffs, IA 51503