#33 Never Get Sick

I know…that’s impossible advice. Still after the last few days of you having a fever–and crying every time I set you down–and only eating the bare minimum–I’m telling you to PLEASE never get sick again. I haven’t even been able to write you any advice between the holidays and your bad mood. How can you avoid getting sick?

1. Wash your hands. Our hands touch things–LOTS of things and then we touch our face and our mouths. This puts all of the germs directly into our mouths. Not so good. Wash your hands.

2. Drink plenty of water. Water cleans our system, it keeps it running correctly.

3. Get your sleep.

4. Eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. They get a bad rep–especially the veggies–but you really can’t go wrong with them. Broccoli is honestly del

icious in my own opinion.

5. Never leave the house…

Ok I’m starting to get over board. Truth is, you’re going to get sick. I’m going to get stuck cleaning up puke and crying because I wish I could make you feel better. The truth is also that I still wish you would never get sick. I don’t like your cheeks flushed with fever and I hate when you don’t eat because your throat hurts so bad.

For my sake, perform a miracle, and never ever get sick.

photo credit


#32 Be On Time

You arrived 5 days after your due date. That is about the only time running late will ever be truly acceptable in your life.

In sports growing up I heard more than one coach use the phrase – “If you’re early, you’re on time — If you’re on time, you’re late — and if you’re late, you run!” That was some pretty good motivation to be at all practices not simply on time, but even a few minutes early. To be honest, I actually managed to get a lot done in those few early minutes. When I showed up early to practice I had time to warm up on my own, stretch, focus, or maybe ask the coach a question or two before it was time to get started with the day’s practice plans. I quickly learned that being punctual was important.

If my coaches weren’t able to get it through my head then my dad (Your Ba-Pa) definitely tried his hardest to get the point across. With him we were always at places approximately 5-10 minutes early. I have to admit there were times I didn’t understand the point. Other times, however, it brought some neat rewards. Being just 10 minutes early to Grant’s Farm in St. Louis, Missouri allowed my dad and I to get a close-up and rather behind-the-scenes look at their collection of Clydesdale foals. For a horse girl like your momma, that was a big deal! The workers weren’t busy with other guests and we weren’t being intrusive just patiently waiting for our early morning tour so they were more than willing to talk with us and show us around in places they couldn’t always take big groups of people.

Being on time is a great skill. It isn’t likely that your future boss will make you go running if you are late to a meeting or that your college professors will you give you a sneak peek at a test if you are early. However I can assure you that being late to a job interview significantly decreases your chances of employment. Turning in assignments late at work decreases your value to your boss and soon your value to a company. Not being on time to a test in college will often mean you don’t even get the opportunity to take it. Be on time–better yet be early.

Arriving early (we are talking 5-10 minutes here, not two hours which would just be creepy) to places benefits you almost every time. Try not arriving a bit early to an airport like Chicago O’Hare and I assure you that you won’t make that mistake again. When you arrive early to a job interview you have time to take a look around a potential place of future employment. You also have a chance to double check your appearance, glance over your resume, say a prayer, and collect your thoughts. Arriving early to a test means that you can take some deep breaths, make sure you have all your supplies, stare at your notes, and smile at those panicked flustered faces of your peers who are sneaking in the door at the last minute.

C’mon girl–set that alarm clock and please be on time!

Photo Credit

#31 Go Ahead and Get Angry–But Don’t Hit!

Anger is a STRONG emotion. Like many emotions it does not have only an emotional affect on us but also a physical one. When you are mad your heart may pump a little harder and faster, your blood pressure may rise, your muscles can get tense, your face can get hot, and your adrenaline can get flowing. Trust me, I’ve been mad a time or two in my life.

It is OK to be angry. As a matter of fact it is even OK to be angry with me. Anger is normal and even can be healthy. How you express your anger is very important.

I understand that as a child you will most likely, naturally, go through a phase where hitting is how you express anger and frustration. Therefore, we will probably have a lot of simple and eventually more complex discussions of this issue. I still find it important to write down why I, on a personal level, think hitting is unacceptable.

1. As previously mentioned hitting is an immature child’s reaction to anger. When you are in your teens and twenties (barring medical condition) it will not be socially acceptable for you to suck your thumb, sleep in a crib, wear a diaper, or hit people. Hitting says that you have the mind of a child and not the adult you have grown into.

2. Hitting out of anger is a mark of unintelligence. To me, hitting says “I have not learned the words or gained enough understanding to express my anger without physically victimizing someone.” It says that you have the physical capability to express your anger but not the mental one. Sad.

3. Hitting out of anger shows that you have lost control. Hitting says that you have let your emotions win the control of your body. That you would rather hurt someone else physically than take the time to control your own mind and body.

Anger is a STRONG emotion. It takes time and practice (and lots of slip-ups) to learn how to control, channel, and express it. There are a lot of inappropriate ways to express your anger. Hitting is one of them. It makes you look foolish, it physically harms other people or objects, it (99.9% of the time) does NOT solve the issue that caused you to be mad in the first place. Over the years we will have lots of talks about anger. I want you to be angry–angry at injustice, angry at cruelty, angry at yourself from time to time–but I want to help you gain the tools and ability to turn your anger into action, into peace making, into something better than a physical uncontrolled outburst.

Class dismissed.

Photo Credit

#30 Take Care Of Your Feet

Yeah I know that sounds weird. This may also be advice that I am passing on to you from your Ba-Pa. He always reminds people how important our feet are, and when you stop to think about it–he is right!

Your feet walk you around, allow you to drive, allow you to stand and balance, allow you to horseback ride, snowboard, skip, stomp in muddy rain puddles and many other great things. They also tend to be very taken for-granted.

How do you take care of your feet? Well there are a lot of ways..

– Wear sturdy shoes (when you aren’t wearing the heels I previously mentioned). You need to wear shoes that are appropriate for the activity you are involved in. When I horseback ride I wear boots, if I go running I wear supportive tennis shoes, when I snow board I even have special boots to protect my feet and ankles! Shoes are important so its OK to spend a little extra money in that area to keep your feet well prepped!

-See a chiropractor. In my personal opinion Chiropractors are great. They keep my skeletal and nervous system lined up and ready to go. They can check to make sure that all the bones in my feet and ankles are in their proper places and function at their best.

– If you hurt your foot or ankle seek medical care and follow doctor’s orders. If the doctor says rest–REST. Don’t over do it.

– Get pedicures. The massage that many pedicurists give will support proper circulation to the legs and feet and who doesn’t love pretty toe nails?

Please realize that your feet are an important and over worked part of your body. Take care of them!

#29 Appreciate, Appreciate, Appreciate

Some day long from now it will hit you how truly lucky you are. You have food when you need it, clothes on your back, a roof over your head. Realize, oh young one, that this is not a luxury that all people have. I watched a video today that while at first made me laugh, on second thought it made me a bit sad. In the video you have children who have all of their needs being met who are a bit more than upset about not getting some of their wants. I understand that a large part of this is their natural child nature. It is the only way they know how to act. I also understand you may throw a similar fit some day. However, I hope to teach you to appreciate the things you have and make you realize that every gift–no matter big or small–should be appreciated.

Please have a laugh…and never let me record you getting this upset…

Jimmy Kimmel — Terrible Present

I guess part of me laughs at this because my grandma (your great grandma) gave me a porcelain teapot for easter when I was seven–and told me not to break it. She also gave me a pack of batteries for Christmas one year. On another occasion she gave me a 4 pack roll of film which would have been thoughtful considering I love photography. However, after wrapping the gift she realized she had no film and proceeded to unwrap the gift, take out one roll of film, and then repackage and wrap the whole box. I got 3 rolls out of a 4 pack for Christmas. All in all I think I handled it pretty well because truth is, no matter what she gave me as gifts, she was my grandma and I loved her.

Maybe I should just get you Christmas lights for for your gift this year…



#28 Know You Always Have A Home With Me

After you take advice #27 please know that you can always, always, always return home. Home might not always be the same physical place, and should we ever move out of our current tiny abode it might be awkward for the next owners if you showed up requesting to sleep in your old nursery. I believe though that home is anywhere filled with the love of those you consider family. No matter where life takes either of us, you will be able to call wherever I am home. You are always welcome by my side.

It doesn’t matter the circumstances under which you left home–good, bad, or somewhere in between. I can tell you RIGHT now that we won’t always get along, I won’t always like your choices or attitude, my rules may infuriate you, I WILL embarrass you more than once..but I will always love you and as a mother want to care for you.

Do I want you to grow up, spread your own wings, and create your own nest? You Bet! Especially since by that time your dad and I will hopefully be thinking of our own kid free adventures. I just want you to always live in the security that no matter how far you go, how bumpy the road, how high you climb, you can always return to me to find open arms and a place to call home.


#27 Take Opportunities To Travel

Your generation has the world at its finger tips. Literally.

I know that you can get online and with the click of a button talk to someone in China, see pictures of Africa, or send electronic mail to Russia. You can order Swiss chocolate and listen to traditional Irish jigs all with the click of the button. This is not the same as traveling.

There is something irreplaceable about ACTUALLY going somewhere and talking to locals, seeing in person the Matterhorn or the sparkling lights of Eiffel Tower. You will never forget the first time you taste fresh German or Swiss chocolate made right before your very eyes. Way different than the boxed and shipped experience, let me tell ya. Traveling doesn’t mean you have to go very far. There are great places to explore right in the United States. This is something I didn’t realize until I spent time in Europe and many locals asked me if I had seen Niagra Falls — nope, The Statue of Liberty — nope, The Golden Gate Bridge — nope, and most them assumed I was from Texas, California, Florida, or Chicago (Why Chicago I’m not entirely sure) when really I have only ever visited those places. Whatever you do, if in Europe, do not try to explain where Iowa is to someone who hasn’t been to the United States. Now I’m off on a tangent.

Simply traveling a few hours north to our friends in Minnesota you can hear an accent different than what you experience in Iowa. Head West and you can see majestic mountains. Go to our nation’s capitol and you will see great monuments and pieces of history coming to life before your eyes. Washington, D.C. is one of the most interesting places I have ever been. Head south and you can try grits and great home-made cajun delights. Take every opportunity you can to get in your car and drive, get on a plane and fly, step out the door and walk.

Open your eyes, your ears, your taste buds to the world. Don’t let clicks on a computer screen convince you that you have experienced the greatness of places outside your home.

I will do my best to present you with opportunities to see our world. To see places that will make you appreciate what our nation has given us and places that inspire in you the belief that we have a bright future on this planet. Other opportunities you will need to seek out yourself and I will support you every step, turn, and mile of the way.

Here are some pictures of your  mom enjoying her travels.

#26 Learn A Lesson From Santa

I have no intention of you reading this before your innocence regarding the magic that is Christmas morning has dwindled some. However I truly hope you believe in Santa Claus way beyond your childhood. Santa has something to teach us.

Santa gives without any regard to what he will receive in return. He does it because he is a happy merry man who wants to reward goodness and happens to have a surplus of elves to do his work. When you give to others please do it as Santa does. Give with a merry heart, give without concern for what someone will hand you in return, give your best. I truly believe that if you give to others in this fashion you will be given something in return. In the case of Santa everyone gives back by telling their children about him, by not minding his intrusion through their chimneys and reindeer poop on the lawn. People smile at Santa, they want to leave him cookies and treats, they want their photo with him…because who wouldn’t love someone who when he gives to others (even if it is just one day of the year) does do without any thought of himself and only thoughts of the needs to those he gives.

Give lovingly, give thoughtfully, give with a merry heart. The return will take care of itself.

Oh and as a side note: We took you to meet Santa Claus today and you weren’t a huge fan of the man in red yet. You weren’t screaming for the picture but your lip was definitely quivering!