expectations … and lack there of

Love is the ability and willingness to allow those you care for, to be what they choose for themselves, without the insistence that they satisfy you.

(W. Dyer) – who is a self-help author … ha ha

She comes home with a behavior chart every day after school.

Starting the day at green – and moving up to blue and pink – or down to yellow, etc.

Her color is the first thing out of her mouth when she runs to me at pick up.

“I got yellow. No idea why…except I got in trouble for talking.”

“Yellow. I wasn’t following the rules. I colored in blue on accident on my chart.” – I rewarded her honesty.

“Green. But I WAS yellow this morning – I moved up!”

“Blue!” – which we celebrated heavily!



On our yellow days, we talked about expectations and personal space and staying on task and NOT talking to Riley every second of the day.

Riley is her friend that she plays with on the playground. They make silly sounds and walk around.

And her choice of play toy at home revolve around squishy lizards.

And I wish I was the mom who laughed it all off and applied the mantra of “kids will be kids – or, that’s just claire for you!”

I’m the mom who emails her teacher, talks about her late into the night at home, who texts mom and dad to ask for advice.

Worried that perhaps I should have held her back due to maturity (lack there of), and worried her attention span needs a bit of fine tuning before 1st grade.

Why does she have trouble playing in groups?

Why are her friends always boys?

Why lizards and not dolls??

Her teacher says that Claire is sweet and doesn’t mean to be naughty. Tried to talk me down a bit as I am sure she could tell I was anxious and worried and wanting to FIX Claire.

Rylan tells me nothing would have changed had we held her back. She would talk too much no matter what grade she was in. Academically she shines.

This is what Mom and Dad (and Mimi) all think, too.

She is who she is, and why do I struggle with that?

It’s exactly like Cade – not wanting to play sports anymore, and me pressing him to do so, and worried he is going to be lost as an adolescent if he doesn’t get into the mix now.

(I still firmly believe this. We live in a small community and trouble finds those who aren’t involved … especially boys.)

I want him to shine! Be busy! Find pride and self esteem in belonging and in enjoying something active. Understand what teamwork feels like. WANT to thrive at something sports-oriented.

I. Worry. Constantly.

(Maybe because I was dating his father when we were in High School and I know what Caeden will be capable of in his adolescent years. haha)


I’m hard on the kids. Pressing them and trying to guide them to be … more in the image I have for them.

I don’t want them to miss out or fall behind. I worry that if I am not like this, it is my fault because I know better for them.

Is this my role as a parent or isn’t it?

I saw the quote (listed above the picture) and it made me stop in my tracks.

What I am expecting from them is … to please me.

I want Claire to be studious. More Serious. Belong to a circle of girlfriends.

I want Cade to be athletic.

If they aren’t these things, then something is wrong.

Or. Maybe I am the one who is wrong.

What a bitter pill it is to swallow when I realize how way off base I am.

Just love them. Accept them for who they are.

Not a novel concept by any means, but one I need to practice.

I need to be better.


Humbled (but still worried – this never goes away, does it?) Mom


a world that exists in septembers

a good routine

no technology during the week means we have time for things like this:

peach cobbler (with oatmeal cookie crumble) and vanilla ice cream

Fresh corn and potato chowder (all from mom and dad’s garden)

spelling words


sitting around talking

playing outside

just BEING

showers and teeth brushing and story time

bedtime that doesn’t get negotiated

i love a good routine and honestly, so do they.



Matilda Jane

Did you know Claire still wears some of her size 4 MJ clothing? Lots of it, in fact.

I love how forgiving and generous the sizes are.

And it looks as if she rarely wears it all.

What am I going to do when she outgrows loving MJ?

I’ll have to have another girl, apparently. (I can say this only because Avery is sleeping after “crying it out” for an HOUR and I after I cried from his crying, I took a shower and did my make up and I feel human. So. A joke.)

(I am always telling you way too much about something that isn’t relevant, aren’t I?)

My sister is now the Wyoming MJ rep! So all you friends of mine in Gillette, Lindsay is your girl!

However, in case you don’t have access to a show,I thought hosting a virtual Matilda Jane party to anyone (wherever you live!), so that you can get your hot lil’ hands on some, would be a great idea (it’s hard to find someone!).


This is how it works.

Click on the Matilda Jane link and it will take you to the latest collection.

Stuff whatever you want into your wishlist and then send it to lindsaykalinowski@matildajane.com OR me at valkoop@mac.com, and I will send it on to her.

The must haves for women are quite extensive, but the #1 seems to be the Rider Pants. Rider ANYTHING is the look this fall (as is Moto! i’m finally finding motorcycle boots that are stylish!:).

Rider pants are thick. Super flattering. Meant to be worn with a long top and cardi, and then paired with boots (or flats, but I love these with boots).

This outfit is sooo Bear.

I love the modesty, the layers, the fun striped tights.

Click here to see my favorite outfit that’s more funky than sweet. Converse shoes with it. Seriously.

I have been told by my very fashion forward girlfriend Shelby, that the cardigans are a MUST and look freaking adorable in person.


Now you are in the know, too.;)







Best Part of your First Day at School:

Claire: I don’t know, but I was THIS close to getting into trouble for talking too much.

Cade: Seeing Claire walking out to the playground so I could stop worrying if she had a friend to play with or not.

Grace: Recess

(Cade, of course, is not interested in pictures, but rest assured, is alive and well.)