Happy Birthday, Dad!

Well… I had a different topic planned for today but the pictures for the post are MIA so we’re changing it up.

Since today is my dad’s birthday and we’re remarkably similar, I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite traits that I got from him which I hope to pass down to my kid.

I’m not kidding when I say my dad and I are similar. His name is Kenny and he shares that name with his father so K calls my dad KJ or Kenny Jr. (usually just to me). When I act like my dad, K calls me KJJ. Before we knew if this baby was a boy or girl, K gave it the nickname KJJJ. I kid you not, that’s what she’s called in our pregnancy app. Lol

My dad and I think similarly, learn similarly, argue discuss politics with each other similarly. We carry our own burdens and the burdens of others similarly. We mostly have the same humor & sometimes we say the same thing at the same time. We often spill food on our shirts in the same place. Lol.

You get the point. It’s no wonder I adopted these ideals and characteristics from him.

Pets are our family.
When I was born we had a family dog. Since then my parents have welcomed two more dogs (plus Ly when I lived at home), two rabbits, and five cats. Bristol & Enzo are always welcome at their house. Dad’s also rescued a baby owl, squirrel, and rabbit. Additionally, unless the animal is dangerous or threatening our pets, he traps and releases pests because he knows I value that. My dad felt Lylee’s loss so deeply- damn near as badly as K and I.

Girls can do anything.
I have a little brother. I could have easily been dismissed when he was born. Instead, my dad bought us both four wheelers. He gave us both shooting lessons. He took me camping and trucking. He took me fishing and he’d have taken me hunting if I hadn’t turned him down, lol. I’d give him credit for teaching me to drive stick but that was actually my mom 😉

Forming your own opinions is important & changing your mind isn’t a weakness.
Years ago a friend told me about how her dad’s word was law in their house and she wasn’t allowed to disagree or argue about anything. Another person in the conversation nodded her head in agreement and shared similar stories. Even as adults, they were expected to curb their thoughts and opinions. I can’t relate to that. My parents have never told me how to feel about anything. And if you’ve spent a decent amount of time with my dad and I, you’ve probably heard us discuss/argue politics. I know he takes pride in the brain in my head- even when it believes differently than his. And I’m really proud of my dad because I think he’s changed some of his opinions and beliefs because of things we’ve discussed.

Working hard and breaking your back doesn’t entitle you to a damn thing.
I think my dad might be the least entitled person I know. He went to college, graduated, and jumped into the family business as a truck driver. When the family retired the business, my dad continued to drive independently. His industry is dying and his week-to-week looks different but he doesn’t quit and he doesn’t complain about the unknown. Don’t get me wrong, he does complain about other things but I have never heard my dad complain about being owed anything.
*I actually don’t have this characteristic. Hopefully my kid does.

I can credit my love of history and learning to my dad, too. On top of these things, I hope my daughter enjoys watching old westerns with him and riding along in his semi truck just like I did. My dad is one of my favorite people- and I’m sure it has nothing to do with how similar we are 😉

Happy Birthday, Dad!

(C)Ryan Armbrust Sniper Photo LLC

Thankful Fridays

In case you missed it on Monday I went a little off script and listed the things that I believe are important for our next president to address/believe. This is a blog for everyone and I’m not asking anyone to agree with me, but sometimes I just need to throw that stuff out. I hope we’re all still friends 🙂

Today I am thankful for two parents that encouraged me- and continue to encourage me- to think for myself and make well-educated decisions based on research and personal convictions. If we started throwing around labels I would say that my parents lean a little republican and I might be a smidge liberal . I mean, my dad actually threatened me one Christmas with an NRA membership. (For the record, I am not a member.) There are many things we agree about but there are also a TON of topics we end up debating at the dinner table.

I’m so thankful to have parents that not only allow me to speak my mind and disagree, but also ask me what I think about certain topics and enjoy debating the rights and wrongs of issues. Has it ever gotten heated? Yes. Does it usually stay fairly civil? Usually, yes. I was once talking with a friend who said that her dad got mad if she expressed any opinions that challenged his own. I just couldn’t wrap my head around that…

So today I’m thankful that my mom and dad allow me have a big mouth. It’s gotten me in trouble and I’ve had to eat my own foot in the past, but I feel good about forming my own opinions and having that confidence. (Thanks, Mom & Dad.)


Also, Happy Birthday tomorrow to the best dad a girl could ask for! You keep hauling coal and I’ll keep fighting for the polar bears 😉



Thankful Thursday on From Bisons to Buckeyes


Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey


The Dog Park Chronicles

As I mentioned on Monday, Enzo and I took a trip to Columbus, Ohio to visit our friends Kayla & Ernie. Enzo loves going to Columbus because we always spend some time at the dog park! My hometown doesn’t have a dog park (hopefully I can change that some day) and the closest parks are usually missing one key element- DOGS. In a city like Columbus, though, the parks are packed and the puppies are playful.

Dog Park

If I haven’t made it clear in prior posts, Enzo and Lylee are our children. I know there’s a silly debate about calling dogs “kids”, but they rely on K and me for food, love, health, etc. so in my eyes, they are my babes. That being said, I will be referring to Enzo (and the other park dogs) as “kids” from here on out. I hope you’ll stick with me and get past that… 😉

So without further ado, here are my dog park observations from this past week.

| 1 | I want my kid to hang with the “good” kids.
Columbus is a major city with many people and, therefore, many dogs. This weekend I saw some beautiful Huskies, German Shepherds, Labs, and even a Catahoula Leopard Dog. Unfortunately, some of the dogs weren’t getting alone. Some of the dogs were accosting (…humping) other dogs. Some of the dogs were completely ignoring their owners. Long story short, not everyone was behaving. Enzo is a fairly well-mannered dog and my heart just bursted with pride every time he ran with the well-behaved kids. He didn’t pick any fight or react to aggressive dogs- he stuck with the happy-go-lucky boxers and hounds. He made some good decisions!


| 2 | Everyone thinks their kid is special… and they are.
More than once I heard someone say, “Isn’t Spot/Lucy/Rosie just the smartest, most cutest, bestest doggie ever??” Of course I feel this way about Enzo, but he’s just another happy dog in a dog park, being a dog. In our small town people gush over how soft he is and how beautiful his eyes are, but in a sea of city purebreds my little mutt tends to get lost… But I still think he’s the bees knees and smarter than all the rest 😉

He loved these two dogs- perfect size and temperament!
He loved these two dogs- perfect size and temperament!

| 3 | I am a helicopter mom and I’m not ashamed about this.
A helicopter parent is one who hovers. (Get it? Hovers like a helicopter?) I always imagined myself as a laid back, easy-going mom, but when I set Enzo loose in the park I never took my eyes off him. (I am 100% sure this will mirror my future parenting behavior with human-children.) Some of the other pet owners stayed in one place (verses following their pup from area to area) or were so engrossed in a conversation until they’d sudden stop and say, “Wait, where’s my dog?” Not this bear mom. I always had my sights set on my little dog-cub.

** I’m not for or against helicopter parenting- I just noticed that I am, in fact, a hovering “mom.”

| 4 | Playing with others truly brings out Enzo’s personality.
When my little munchkin got tired he would stop and sit in the shade. He shared his water with whomever needed a sip and wasn’t shy about nosing into other bowls. If two dogs were growling or establishing their dominance near him he didn’t shy away, but rather tried to get between them and calm everyone down. (I know that sounds crazy, but it’s the exact same thing he does with Lylee when she’s panicking about a storm or foreign dog- he nips at her ears, bumps against her, and nips at her neck to distract her.) Watching Enzo engage in dog packs is so fascinating. I could study his behavior all day!

See little Ernie (the wiener dog) in the foreground??
See little Ernie (the wiener dog) in the foreground??

| 5 | I have a great kid.
Ok, ok. I have a great dog. But honestly, I’m just so proud of his personality. When he runs with other dogs he constantly checks in with me. He isn’t afraid to snuggled up to other dogs or humans. He isn’t aggressive and he isn’t timid. And he’s the smartest, most cutest, bestest doggie ever 😉 Hehehe.

Have you ever taken your dog to a dog park? Animal behavior is so fascinating! What have you observed in your time with dogs/cats/at the zoo? This dog park has trees and logs and tunnels- what’s the coolest park (human or dog) that you’ve been to?


A Letter to My Children

This week I’ve been inspired by Rebecca’s post as well as The Letter Link-Up with mr. thomas & me.

I’ll start by admitting that I have some irrational or silly fears. These include horses, my dogs being sprayed by skunks, dinosaurs (yes, I know they’re extinct but what if they WEREN’T?), and someone living in our attic. The last one I have checked multiple times with a knife in hand; our house is old and it creaks.

One of my not-so-irrational fears is how my children will see themselves someday. When I was younger I had self-doubt. I doubted my intelligence, my personality, my weight, my looks, etc. I was very mean to myself (which sometimes led to me being mean to others) and very uncomfortable in my own skin. Terms related to anxiety and depression were tossed around and at one point I thought about running away.

I hate that I once felt that way. I know it pains my parents to now known all the issues I was going through. I love my life now and it makes me sad that at one point I hated it.

That being said, I have this fear that my children might feel this way one day. I will literally do everything in my power to help them avoid those feelings.

Dear Future Kiddo,

You aren’t a thought yet, so I don’t know if you will be a girl or a boy, but it doesn’t matter- we will love you regardless. I hope that you are healthy. Honestly, that’s the only thing I will hope and pray and plead for… You can be bald, tiny, big, whatever. I just hope you’re healthy. And if you’re not, we will figure it out and manage all the same.

Let’s move on.

You are coming into a very turbulent world. This world has a lot of good in it, but it also has bad. The world is filled with money problems, violence, hate, and more. There are babies having babies and children without food or homes or role models. I won’t shield you from these facts- we will talk about them and try to understand them and thank God that we are fortunate enough to be comfortable. I hope that you will learn to extend a helping hand to those that have less than you.

You will have friends and even family members that let you down. It’s your job to forgive, because you will also let people down. No matter what you do, though, your dad and I will always have your back. You will make mistakes and you will have to pay for those mistakes, and you will be in the wrong and we will have to discipline you, but we will always love you and stand by you.

Your dad is going to instill in you the importance of hard work, honesty, and practice. Boy or girl, your dad is going to stick you behind the drumset and coach you. If you hate it then we’ll find something else to work at. You don’t have to be the best, but you should strive to be better than you were yesterday. Not everyone gets a trophy and sometimes you will lose. That’s life. Losing makes winning that much sweeter. That said, winning isn’t everything. Sometimes you won’t be appreciate or recognized for something awesome that you’ve done. Your worth isn’t defined by others- you are always good enough.

Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t compare others to you. Everyone is different and we all have strengths and weaknesses. Spend your time lifting others up, not putting them down. You are a human. A creature. A creation of God. This puts you on the same playing field as a king and a homeless man. You share the same air as a dog and a lion. Everyone deserves mercy and compassion. Respect your neighbors and your pets and the environment- you can’t live without these things.

This next part is very important.

You can tell us anything. Anything. You don’t have to tell us everything, but you can tell us anything. If you are feeling sad for no reason please tell us. If you are attracted to the same sex please tell us. If you are struggling in math please tell us. If you are drunk at a party and all your friends are drunk please call your father. (DO NOT get in a car with other drunk people.) If you are in jail, please call us. If you are addicted to heroin, please tell us. Your problems, fears, struggles, joys, triumphs are ours, too.

I will apologize now because your dad and I will mess up. Probably a lot. But we will love you and we want you to love you, too.

– Future Mom

Maybe someday when we’re ready for kids I will revisit this letter (and probably cry).  Right now it was just something on my mind.

What do you tell your children as far as self-esteem goes? What do you want your future children to know?


The Letter Link-up | Mr. Thomas & Me