A Fatherless Daughter: May 28th and 29th, 2019

My father, Roger Kramer passed away from lung cancer on June 2nd, 2019 after his 129 day battle. His cancer progressed quickly after his diagnosis on January 24th 2019. The cancer spread to his C2, eating away at the bone and fracturing his neck. After finishing chemotherapy and radiation, a PET scan t revealed the cancer had spread throughout his body. I was honored to care for him in his final days and he passed away 4 days later. We not only lost a father but Craig and I lost a dear friend and community member. A Fatherless Daughter is a blog series that highlights his last few weeks and the struggles we have had to overcome as a family as my dad’s cancer battle came to an end.

May 28th 2019

Dad had a PET scan today. The results suck. 

Cancer has spread just about everywhere it can go. His femur and hip, a couple spots in his colon, his lungs lit up, they keep calling it “bad acting” cancer. It’s very aggressive and unfortunately we don’t have much time left with him and Dad will be referred to hospice care. 

We’ve got lots of plans to make. We’re okay. Cancer sucks. That’s all we have to update tonight.

May 29th, 2019

Here’s the Kramer family update:

We are okay. We are working on planning out our next few weeks.

There’s an odd sense of calm in the midst of all this. We are getting family pictures taken on Sunday. We are planning a baptism for Gannon and Georgia so dad can be there. Karl is on his way home from Houston as we speak. Last night mom, dad, Carver and I went to see where the plot is in the cemetery. We are talking about funeral arrangements and wishes. Mom and dad are going to finalize things with the lawyer.

Is it morbid to be doing all of this? Maybe. It does not feel that way. We talk about it openly and often. Carver knows Papa Moo is going to be with Jesus soon. His response was, “Okay! Me pop tart?” 😂 He came with out to the cemetery last night. We need to keep talking about it for his sake and ours.

How are we doing? Sometimes we are sad and crying and can’t even explain why. Sometimes we are laughing so hard we can’t breathe. Sometimes it feels like we can’t breathe at all.

We are all fielding tons of phone calls and messages. If we don’t get back to you, don’t take it personally. Maybe we are busy or maybe it just takes too much emotional energy to open the message and respond and keep up a conversation and it’s easier to just say nothing.

Dad is doing actually really well. He’s on less pain medication every day – the radiation to his neck is really starting to work to keep him comfortable. He needs more oxygen than he used to. He gets tired out easily.

Lots of people ask if dad is well enough for visitors or phone calls. The answer is YES! Dad is still the same as he was – probably even clearer since we have half the amount of narcotics on board. Please call, please visit, please send a message on facebook. If you’d like to arrange a visit, please message me or mom. Drop ins are okay but we’d prefer a little notice in case mom and dad have a scheduled meeting or visitor.

Lots of people want to help. I am cautiously offering the opportunity to provide food. We have a ridiculous amount of family coming, mom is STILL doing childcare through all of this so nap time is between 1 and 3 pm. Please feel free to drop off a casserole, hot dish, sweets, meat and cheese, preferably in a freezable container that does not need to be returned to you.

I think that’s enough for today. I was going to elaborate more on the behind the scenes of this post but I’ll save that for a part two tomorrow. It’s a rough week. I just realize now how little time we actually had with him after his diagnosis of terminal cancer. We were hoping for two weeks and we got about three days.

A Fatherless Daughter: May 25th, 2019

My father, Roger Kramer passed away from lung cancer on June 2nd, 2019 after his 129 day battle. His cancer progressed quickly after his diagnosis on January 24th 2019. The cancer spread to his C2, eating away at the bone and fracturing his neck. After finishing chemotherapy and radiation, a PET scan t revealed the cancer had spread throughout his body. I was honored to care for him in his final days and he passed away 4 days later. We not only lost a father but Craig and I lost a dear friend and community member. A Fatherless Daughter is a blog series that highlights his last few weeks and the struggles we have had to overcome as a family as my dad’s cancer battle came to an end.

Here is the Kramer family update:

I know we’ve been a little quiet since dad is in the hospital. It’s all been up in the air.

Here’s the scoop:

1) Dad met with speech pathology. They assessed dad’s swallowing. They think dad might be aspirating which means part of his food/drink goes into his lung instead of his stomach thus the pneumonia won’t go away or “aspiration pneumonia.”

2) Speech pathology couldn’t quite tell what was going on so dad essentially swallowed a few video cameras to see if he was aspirating. He passed that test just fine and is NOT aspirating.

3) They did not end up doing a bronchoscope. If they do the bronchoscope, dad May need to keep the breathing tube in for a few days and be sedated. Hopefully this new antibiotic will take care of everything.

4) On paper, dad looks good. Dad feels much weaker and requires much more oxygen all of the time. He used to be able to wear it here and there and now he needs it all of the time until this pneumonia clears up.

5) Dad will get a PET scan on Tuesday (which was supposed to be today) and results on Wednesday.

That’s dad’s plan. Everyone has been sending and posting pictures wearing their #kramerstrong shirts! It has been so uplifting to see while dad is in the hospital. If you have a picture leave it in the comments!!

As for now, mom and dad are on their way HOME! If you’re the praying kind, please include mom and dad in your prayers. Please let us just have a weekend at home. Please no more ER trips and ambulance rides and hospital admissions. Please allow these antibiotics to work. We are strong but we are tired.

I have some more to update on how amazing our community has been and has supported us but for now we are scrambling to get the house ready for mom and dad to come home.

Are you still reading? That was a long post! Thanks for keeping up with us! ❤️


Sunday: Family Yard Work Day

I’m exhausted typing this – we’ve been working hard ALL DAY. Obviously we made a lot of progress, take a look for yourself!

But a lot happened between the first picture and the second picture. Here’s the run down:

We pulled out a bunch of old tree stumps. Here you can see the boys working on it early in the morning. We ended up getting Craig’s truck and hooking up the chains to the stump and pulling them out. The boys had a blast in the truck with me.

Craig has been meaning/wanting to pull these stumps out for over a year. They came out pretty easy. Obviously we didn’t drive anywhere with the boys in the front seat and stayed in our driveway so save your mommy shaming – the boys had a blast.

TA-DA! Craig has a big vision for this area in the yard so I’m letting him run with it! I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I know that it involves shrubs and a country fence! Here you can see them working on it!

I was surprised when Craig taught Carver how to stain boards. Carver handled the responsibility very seriously and I think the more involved Carver can be the better! He was SO excited and that was the favorite part of his day!

It’s hard to see in the picture but I’m soaking wet and COVERED in dirt from power washing the algae off the side of the house, gutters, and sidewalks. I also spent a great deal of time planting the impatience along the sidewalk with Gannon while Carver and Craig worked in the garage so that was a pretty messy project – especially after I powerwashed!

While Carver was tagging along with Daddy, Gannon was tagging along with me digging in the dirt, crawling up and down the front steps, playing in the rocks and the grass, and giving lots of snuggles like this one.

So while this isn’t done yet, we are so pleased with out progress! Check it out! I so hope I can keep everything alive, it was so fun planting and picking everything out. Mom has impatience along her sidewalk and they have always been so beautiful so I kind of copied her idea:

That’s all I have for today folks! I’m so appreciative of our boys who LOVE to be outside and were so helpful today. Carver is starting to become quite the assistant as along as he is well fed with cheetoes, berry cheerios, and hot dogs! Gannon does so well outside and throws a fit whenever we have to come inside.

Thanks for reading pals! See you all tomorrow! In the meantime, feel free to catch up on the latest here:

A Fatherless Daughter: May 21st and 22nd, 2019

My father, Roger Kramer passed away from lung cancer on June 2nd, 2019 after his 129 day battle. His cancer progressed quickly after his diagnosis on January 24th 2019. The cancer spread to his C2, eating away at the bone and fracturing his neck. After finishing chemotherapy and radiation, a PET scan t revealed the cancer had spread throughout his body. I was honored to care for him in his final days and he passed away 4 days later. We not only lost a father but Craig and I lost a dear friend and community member. A Fatherless Daughter is a blog series that highlights his last few weeks and the struggles we have had to overcome as a family as my dad’s cancer battle came to an end.

May 21st 2019

Our patients are doing very well this evening!

Dad is HOME! 🙌🏻 He was sent up to Lacrosse last Friday and came home today after becoming septic from pneumonia. Dad has a few more days of antibiotics at home. His PET scan is still scheduled for Friday! We will have a better plan of attack put into place then! Likely stronger chemo is in his future.

Remember to wear your Kramer strong shirts Friday and use the #kramerstrong! If you don’t have yours yet I’m sorry – my intention was to sort through those today but Carver needed my attention more. I will finish this up on THURSDAY this week.

It turns out that while they were putting tubes in Carver’s ears they decided to remove his adenoids as well. It appears based on what they saw that Carver had also been suffering from sinus infections that we didn’t know about 😞 he has complained several times in the past that his head hurts and has some behaviors that we’ve been concerned with. I so hope to see some improvement as he will now be able to sleep better and hopefully won’t be having sinus headaches/pain.

All that and regular ear infections, mild hearing loss, fluid behind his ear drum, and a runny nose and cough that doesn’t seem to go away. Well that all makes sense now. With the adenoids out and his third set of tubes in Carver should feel much better.

He has already been on 10 days of augmentin for the last double ear infection but now they will put him on two MORE weeks of antibiotics to help clear this all up.

Carver had a tough time waking up from surgery and was super upset which I’m pretty sure is normal after anesthesia but I’m really glad Kelli Jo Hanken was there to help out. He’s been doing better since we’ve been home.

So that’s the update from the Kramer/Friedman house! We will know more Friday – let’s hope we can avoid all doctors appointments until then!

In the meantime I think we are all a little too used to being ready to drop everything at a moments notice. Mom has always said God has a way of helping us grow – by giving us a chance to learn. We’ve always been very scheduled and had everything planned out. God has now provided us with the opportunity (haha) to grow and learn to go with the flow and remember who really is in control. Whether that means changing an entire weekend of plans because Dad is in the hospital or arranging who will cover childcare for mom. If there is one thing this experience has taught us – if you want to hear God laugh tell him your plans 🙂

Also – I needed a picture to go with the post and Carver just couldn’t put down his pop tart so this is the result 😂😂 I’d hate to discourage him from eating considering that’s been an issue since surgery. This is what “CHEESE!” With a mouth full of pop tart looks like 😂😂😂

Dad is on his way back up to Lacrosse after spending his morning with me at work in the emergency room.

He is possibly septic again with a fever, shaking, coughing, needing more oxygen, low blood pressure, high heart rate.

Still don’t know why he is so sick or why the antibiotics aren’t taking care of this pneumonia. We are all very frustrated and sad and tired. He spent a whole 12 hours at home. We just can’t catch a break.

These are getting harder and harder. Obviously Dad is getting closer to dying. I remember the look on his face when I opened the ER doors. You could tell he was not well. There was just something different. You could tell he was sick of it. You could tell he knew it was bad. He wasn’t cracking jokes or trying to make me laugh. He knew this was serious and I knew he was tired. We all were. It was all hands on deck at this point now that Kelli and I were back to work. No one really could explain dads symptoms or what was going on. We now know he was just dying. The doctors didn’t know that, he wasn’t on hospice, we were waiting to see how the PET scan would read to determine what is next. Not once during this hospital stay did someone suspect he was dying. The radiation was supposed to work. Chemo, the real big bad chemo, was supposed to start the week he died. No one had any idea how invasive this cancer really was. I think dad knew things weren’t well. We were given a prognosis of 11 months after he broke his neck but not a few weeks. On the day I took dad to radiation he asked the doctor “what are the chances I’m going to light up on this next PET scan. The doctor said that they aren’t expecting that and it would be unusual for that to happen. Well, how wrong that prediction would be.

In other news, we stopped out at the cemetery today, pretty bummed to find dad’s flowers are missing. I don’t think someone would steal them but I also don’t think they would have blown away. We checked the garbage too thinking maybe they fell off with no luck 😢

The Gannon Report

It’s late. It’s been a running day.

0430 Carver was up and ready to go for the day (ugh). He ended up waking up the whole house.

We had a hearing test/check with ENT for the boys. They told me to bring two adults to the appointment so we could switch out hearing tests with ear checks so my mom thankfully tagged along.

Here’s the scoop:

Gannon’s hearing loss completely resolved after tubes. After three sets of tubes and adenoids out, Carver has GRADUATED from the ENT clinic with no more scheduled follow ups! We ate lunch at Culver’s to celebrate. It was a good morning.

At 3 pm we had a zoom call with Gannon’s Keystone team. We’ve added a physical therapist to our team which gave some excellent insight! Here are some things we talked about:

Gannon’s walking has taken off. He’s doing better every day. He does a “walk walk plop” is how I would describe it, falling down every two steps or so his legs look like jello when he walks and I’ve presented some concerns with the way he walks/stand on his feet. He also does a W sit OFTEN which is a sign of low muscle tone/weakness. Nothing we didn’t already know.

So just assessing Gannon, she has confirmed what we suspected: low muscle tone. Which can be nothing or it could be something. He’s just got weaker muscles. When I go to sit Gannon up I feel like all of his joints are loose and stretchy, also a sign of low muscle tone. If you google “low muscle tone” it spits out a variety of genetic conditions and diseases but it could also be as simple as it sounds: low muscle tone.

Gannon squats down to pick up toys really well. He does have some great milestones he’s hitting with his gross motor development but there are some areas that need work.

Gannon might need some kind of brace/shoe inserts to help his knees/legs/feet stay aligned because of the low muscle tone. When we go to center for disability and development on June 17th we will learn more. They may possibly get some pediatric orthopedics involved as well depending on their concerns. We are concerned about the way he is knock kneed and walks on the inside of his ankles.

They are also happy we got in with peds neuro the same day. I told our new physical therapist “Welcome to Team Gannon!” We really do have a team with some excellent resources and I’m so thankful.

Gannon signs “thank you” which is just so sweet. He says “ba ba” for bottle and “da da” – really his only two words/sounds but hey! He has only been hearing for about 3 months now! That’s not bad! However, we still have a speech therapist eval next week to see if he would benefit from outpatient regular speech therapy.

That’s what I know! They had commencement tonight at the high school and had a parade of seniors through the local towns with the fire departments etc. it was GREAT! So nice to see the towns come together!

We That being said we are POOPED and it is past our bedtime so peace out friends! ✌🏻

Carver’s Dump Truck Planter

Similar to my mom’s attempt to get me interested in sewing, my mom also tried to get me on the gardening bandwagon as evidenced here:

Working in the garden with mom

While her attempts were futile, I have a black thumb and kill any plant that comes home with me, maybe the boys will be different!

So I suppose it is my motherly duty to educate my boys on how to properly plant things and Carver just loves watering my flowers so I had an awesome idea when we were at The House of Flowers in New Hampton: using a dump truck as a planter!

Carver has a billion dump trucks, I’ll bet he could spare one. Craig made a specifically cut piece of wood to fit in the back to make it a planter.

Carver did EVERYTHING. He put the dirt in the dump truck, Choose which flowers went where, I even let him pop the flowers out of their planter, dig the hole, and plant the flowers. I helped him cover them back up with dirt.

I told him it was important to water the flowers as soon as they are replanted. I think our biggest challenge with this experiment will be GANNON not de-planting Carver’s flowers.

I did end up getting some flowers this year – mostly pre planted because that’s how I roll and hopefully now that Carver has flowers to water, he can help me to remember to take care of mine! I’ll do a full “garden” tour later next week to show you my choices!

Here’s the finished project! He was so proud and wanted to show it off to Grandma Joey! The wheels still work so he is still tempted to “play” with the dump truck but I told him it is probably best for the flowers to stay in one place for now.

Catch up on posts from the past week!

A Fatherless Daughter: May 16th and 17th 2019

My father, Roger Kramer passed away from lung cancer on June 2nd, 2019 after his 129 day battle. His cancer progressed quickly after his diagnosis on January 24th 2019. The cancer spread to his C2, eating away at the bone and fracturing his neck. After finishing chemotherapy and radiation, a PET scan t revealed the cancer had spread throughout his body. I was honored to care for him in his final days and he passed away 4 days later. We not only lost a father but Craig and I lost a dear friend and community member. A Fatherless Daughter is a blog series that highlights his last few weeks and the struggles we have had to overcome as a family as my dad’s cancer battle came to an end.

Update on my Dad: May 16th, 2019

Dad has been getting better every day. He can sleep better, swallow better, his pain is better controlled, he seems to be getting his humor back too. As the effects of radiation wears off he should continue to get better 🙂

We are enjoying not having to get him to Lacrosse every day! The car rides were getting SO long for him towards the end! Long curves and turns are hard on his neck.

He did go up for a neuro surgery visit yesterday. He will still be in the brace for the foreseeable future. If the cancer had gone to any other bone in the spine it could have been fixed by filling the bone with cement but not the C2. So right now the bone was described as a “shell.” Yeah, let’s leave the brace on 😬

We have a BIG day May 24th. Dad will go through the “truth machine” (aka PET scan) to see if the cancer has spread anywhere else. He will get a new chemo schedule, a new plan of attack, and meet with just about every service the hospital has to offer 😂

If you would wear your Kramer strong shirts next Friday – May 24th that would be great! Post a picture and use the hashtag #kramerstrong 🙂

He got to get a REAL shower today and we replaced the pads on the neck brace. I imagine it’s going to be a long summer for him wearing the brace – it’s going to be HOT. Plus, he’s so warm in general. We asked the doctor and he said as cancer cells are dying and “released” it can make you really hot and sweaty. Fun fact.

Anyway, I go back to work full time starting tomorrow. I’m so glad I was on this maternity leave the past three months. I know that was what I call a “God thing.” He knew I’d need to be there for my family and he knew we would need Gannon and Georgia for some relief from the seriousness of it all.

We are all still so overwhelmed by the support from everyone. My coworkers pooled together got us a huge gas card, our neighbors have been mowing our lawn and their neighbors have been mowing their lawn, the cards continue to come in daily, I love people wearing their Kramer Strong shirts, it’s just AMAZING how people have come around us to support us ❤️❤️❤️

May 17th, 2019

Well I spoke too soon guys…

I found this picture on my time hop from my RN pinning ceremony 4 years ago. Dad has always been my reason to be a nurse – he inspired me to join the medical field as he is an EMT.

Well today I got to be DAD’s nurse in the ER – he woke up drenched in sweat, fever of 102, short of breath, shaky, and a bit confused. Mom brought him to the ER where I work and he’s been shipped to Lacrosse via ambulance.

He has an infection somewhere, we don’t know where probably pneumonia but we suspect he is septic which means the infection is in his blood stream now. He got IV antibiotics and fluids in the ER. His blood pressure was SUPER low. He’s stable – we just need to figure out for sure where this infection is.

Shout out to Sally Hensley for swooping in to help mom this morning on such short notice! And for the childcare parents for being so understanding.

We will keep you all posted!

These posts are getting harder to read. I remember I was out at the nurses station. Dads blood pressure took. It was 64/48. I remember making a joke like “come on Dad, you can do better than that!” I walked into the room and there dad was, standing, I looked at him DRENCHED in sweat and said “Dad, are you okay?” He perked up, “Yeah I feel fine.”

Despite his blood pressure hanging around the lowest possible reading while still reading, he claimed to be asymptomatic. This was later chalked up to the steroids he was on suppressing his adrenal glands.

But Dad was sick. Really sick, but not with pneumonia. A week from Memorial Day, that PET scan we are so desperate for will give us terrible news.

This won’t be dad’s last ambulance ride to Lacrosse this week, or his last visit to the ER while I was working. In fact he stabilized quite well once he got to Lacrosse, only to start the process all over again after he was discharged. The bottom out blood pressure, shortness of breath, dizziness, fever, Dad’s body was trying to die. Now is when we started to get suspicious.

It’s heart breaking reading these posts over again. These next two weeks will be hard. Yet, we are still #kramerstrong.

A Birthday Bike!

I had an AWESOME day. Like one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. One of my FAVORITE parts of today was that Craig was off work the whole day for the first time in a LONG time and well WE GOT BIKES!

Craig and I have been debating and back and forth on buying new bikes for literally years. We’ve gotten them priced out, rented them, found garage sale cheapo bikes and were gonna fix them up and yadda yadda. Well we’ve been putting enough miles on our cheapo bikes and Gannon is big enough to ride in the bike trailer this summer that we splurged.

We messaged the owner of the shop last night and because we were experienced (ha) bike shoppers (and not bike buyers) we knew how to speak bike. We told him that Craig needed a bike a little closer to a mountain bike than a cruiser and I needed a bike a little closer to a cruiser than a mountain bike. We were mostly interested in riding paved trails, streets, or sidewalks. Craig needed to be able to take his on a dirt trail if need be. We didn’t want to spend more than $1,000 total for both bikes (but I figured we would go over that) but still wanted quality bikes. I knew I needed a large frame and Craig needed an XL frame.

We hired a baby sitter (thanks Kara!), the store was about 20 minutes ish away, walked into the store (I had never been in) and he had two picked out for us already. BAM! We test drove them and fell in love. There really is a difference in buying/riding quality bikes after you’ve only ever ridden department store bikes. We didn’t even try out any other bikes – his guess was dead on. There was a little tune up and we were off!

He says he can’t keep enough bikes in the store right now. Across the country people are buying bikes like hot cakes because it is something people can do as a family without exposing themselves to the virus. He said bike sales are up 500% in the month of April and he won’t get more bikes to sell until June/July because of the high demand! He also accepts used bikes so we will be turning our old ones in to help keep up with the demand! We bought them at Pedal and Play Sports in New Hampton Iowa. He also respected our budget and came in well under the $1,000 which was appreciated.

Carver has gotten really good at riding his bike. Gannon rides in the bike trailer but the belts literally ripped off so Craig figured out how to replace the seat belts.

We took the bikes for a spin on the trails in Decorah today. Decorah is about 30 minutes from our house and has a 13 mile paved bike trail all around the town. The ride was great and not so great. First of all, we started on the part of the trail that literally goes straight up hill pulling two kids and Carver’s bike strapped on the back of the bike trailer: YIKES! Plus the trail was super busy.

Such a beautiful picture right? The boys wouldn’t look at me and the sun was “too bright.”

Here’s what we would have done differently:

#1 – We were the ONLY ones without helmets – DUH KALISSA! WE need to get bike helmets. Carver has one but Craig and I don’t.

#2 – Carver rode his bike for some of the way and rode in the bike trailer some of the way. We would have either decided for Carver to ride the entire time in the bike trailer and choose a harder path and not haul his bike OR decided for Carver to ride his bike all the way and choose a straighter easier path. It was a lot of on and off and strapping the bike and unstrapping the bike.

#3 – We need to get to know the trails better and find a better place to start than straight up hill literally the first time on the trail.

#4 – Always bring tools! We had to stop at another bike shop along the trail to buy a tool to adjust my seat which will now always stay in my bike pack.

Other than that it was an AWESOME part of my day and we are already scoping out what trail to hit up tomorrow! If you have Strava (a fitness tracking app) feel free to follow me @kalissageorgia to keep up on our biking adventures!

If you want to read about my SURPRISE birthday party, check out my mom’s blog: https://www.joscountryjunction.com/kalissas-birthday/#more-53900

Or check out some recent posts:

The Big 2-5

Yup, you read that right. I’m a whole quarter of a century old.

As we were sitting and reminiscing my brother Karl asked me if I had any words of wisdom that I had learned in my 24th year. That’s an easy one:

Losing a parent sucks.

My 24th year was plagued with the death of my father and as the anniversary of his death is approaching I can’t help but think of how much I was forced to grow up this past year.

That’s another blog post for another day. Today’s blog post was sparked from that conversatio with Karl: I’m going to answer a birthday interview! Yes, I’m pretty sure these are intended for children but I don’t really care, I’m going to answer it anyway!

What’s your name: Kalissa Georgia Friedman

How old are you: 25

What’s your favorite thing to do: Take naps and clean house and watch the boys play outside

What do you want to be when you grow up? A flight nurse or a graphic designer or a keynote speaker.

What is your favorite food? I love all food but if I HAD to pick, I love Mexican food and breakfast food.

What do you do really well? Fake it till you make it. If someone told me I had to give a 5 minute speech about iguanas in front of a crowd of 100 people in 2 minutes I could probably figure it out. Improv is my jam.

What makes you laugh: My boys

My First Birthday Party

What is the best time of day? Alone time

What are you afraid of? Snakes. Mice. Other people’s negative opinions of me.

Who is your best friend? I have several. Regan is my girlfriend. My mom is my best friend. My sisters are my sisters. Craig is my soulmate. My brother Karl is a good friend. I’ve got some pretty awesome coworkers who are my work friends.

What do you like to do with your family? Go to Wisconsin Dells and supper at my moms 🙂

What do you love to learn about? The mechanism of action of drugs/medications on the body. How they work, why they work, what action it takes to create the desired outcome.

Where do you like to go? Home. To bed.

What is your favorite book? Currently: Chasing Cupcakes by Elizabeth Benton. Of all time: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

If you had one wish what would it be? To have more wishes. It would be selfish to only use one wish on myself. There is so much this world needs right now. I need more wishes so I don’t feel guilty wasting that wish on myself. But let’s say the wishes have to be used on me, I wish for a healthy body weight, the ability to maintain it, and to be debt free.

What advice would you give your younger self: Don’t be afraid to wipe the slate clean and completely start from scratch.

My favorite thing about myself: I’m not afraid to try anything and my blue eyes from my dad.

That’s all I have for today! I’m spending the day with Craig, we are going BIKE SHOPPING! We are quickly outgrowing our garage sale bikes we got a few years ago and we just love riding around town! We have a ton of bike trails in NEIA and are excited that we can all ride bikes as a family!

A Belated Mother’s Day

While I was working on Mother’s day, now that I have a few days off, I’m getting caught up! Here is my ode to my mom, many of you know her as Jo from Jo’s Country Junction, a popular quilting/farm life/family blog.

A lot of people get me confused with my older sisters Kelli and Kayla. Kelli is into quilting, they even published a quilt book together and have been featured in many quilting magazines. Kayla is super crafty and has her own blog about crocheting and knitting and whatever crafty thing she is up to.

I am not crafty whatsoever but like the song goes, “Mama tried.” She really did but a zebra can’t change its stripes and sewing/quilting is NOT my jam. She loves me anyway. I’ve grown an appreciation of the time, effort, and talent that goes into making a quilt or project.

I’m the baby of five. The birth order is 2 girls, 2 boys, and then me. We would always joke “the girls, the boys, and then Kalissa.” I was always mom’s buddy and I still am.

I live just a few blocks from her. The boys and I ride our bikes over to her house and she’s a part of my daily routine. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t talk to her or visit her.

We’ve been through a lot together in the past year since my dad died last June. We’ve become very close as a family.

One of my favorite things about my mom is the role she plays in our lives as “grandma Joey” to my boys. They adore her and she’s always willing to help us out for midnight ER visits, doctors appointments, or letting Craig and I get a date night together. She’s always there with a pice of wisdom, a shoulder to cry on, or some tough love.

She is truly the strongest woman I know. Love you mom!