YOU Count…No Really!,_2010,_2010

Show Up at the Polls Next Tuesday

Elections are like a different reality for people who don’t particularly care about politics or who don’t particularly care for politicians. Your phone, your email, your Facebook feeds, everywhere you look you’re barraged with men and women acting like bickering 6 year olds fighting over who has the better lunchbox. It’s nauseating.

It still means something.

For fear of joining the garbage mentioned above, let me provide you with a few facts.

The map above is the breakout of counties in the 2010 Illinois Governor’s election. You know the term “red state” and “blue state”? That state looks pretty darn red to me. Too bad those four counties that are blue are the ones that actually elected our governor. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Governor is elected by popular vote, not some small-form state electoral college. But to reiterate my point that YOU count in this election.

31,834 votes decided the 2010 governor’s election.

Illinois has 12,880,000 residents. That means that .24% of the population of the state determined the difference in who serves as our governor. (Read more here.)

That means .24% were the deciding factor in a “temporary” 67% tax hike for our state…which will almost certainly be made permanent right after the election whether or not Quinn is re-elected. My family cannot afford to bear the burden of a mis-managed state budget, and that tax hike moving from temporary to permanent is not my cross to bear.

Educate yourself in any way you deem appropriate, but VOTE!

You count. So go be counted!


Dear Cunninghams, Keep Singing

Dear Cunninghams, Keep Singing

John, Lauri, Claire, Calvin, Callie, and Carter –

We’re just singing, singing over you. Come and lay your troubles down. Cuz love is breaking through.

This broken world has left its pieces on your doorstep. Our hearts ache for your heartache. Words are hard to come by, but love and support are hard to contain. Your beautiful family is constantly present in our minds, in our hearts, and in our prayers.

I sat and watched the sunset during my bike ride this evening. I noticed how beautiful the earth was just before the sun went down. And how long after the sun disappeared, the beauty remained. As the earth grew backlit from its vanishing lightsource, it became an outline of itself, it was darkened in the shadows.

Without the light of the sun, darkness overcame.

I thought of Connor. And I thought of his Light.

And I know that tomorrow, the sun will rise in the east and all the earth will be lit once again and its beauty will be present as much as it ever was. One day stronger.

Without the light of the Son, darkness overcomes.

We know that we will see the Son again. While the night may seem long, we still have confidence. We have resolve. We will share Connor’s Light alongside of you. And we will hold you up.

Keep singing.

Sippin’ Ci-Yi-Yi-Der with Jensen

Sippin’ Ci-Yi-Yi-Der with Jensen


So much personality in such a little kiddo. I hope you always have this much spunk and equal smarts. Singing with you is one of my favorite things we do.

And for all of you Camp Friends and Family who may come across this…Keep Singing!

I Know How It Feels



Charlie, I know what it’s like to be caught in this position. A claim-to-Annie-fame is a photo that was snapped about 10 yards from this pond in mom and dad’s back yard, when I was maybe just a bit younger than you. I had one less article of clothing on and one more umbrella.

Naturally, mom and dad entered that photo in a photo contest. It won. And then it won again. And was featured on the front page of the newspaper. It won again. And then, it ended up on display. In Epcot Center.

True story. The photogenic tush lives on.

Dates with My Husband


It’s dating season again. That is, refereeing volleyball season. Generally, this is our “alone” time. Us and about 75 of our closest friends…that sometimes yell at us and tell us we are idiots. Strangely, those kinds of people don’t bother us at all. What they don’t realize is that sitting in the stands at your daughter’s volleyball match yelling insults at me, you’re saying a lot more about yourself than you are of me.

It’s rare that that happens and we certainly won’t have any of that nonsense tonight. It’s good to be back.

Never Too Many Kisses


At night, like your brother, you now demand snuggling with me as a prerequisite to going to your room to sleep. I am not complaining. Your dad rolls his eyes.

In the last week, you have developed a new habit. You snuggle up next to me, and as soon as I look at you with a smile you immediately reply, “I love you, too, mommy”. It warms my heart that my smile translates the indescribable love I have for you.

Then, you give me a kiss…on my shoulder, my cheek, my forehead, the top of my head…And you say, “Mommy, I kissed you right there!” and you point your little finger where you kissed me. You repeat this over and over until daddy comes to get you. Average night, 20 kisses.

I love them all.

Lifetime Friends


Every now and again, something – a song, movie, phrase – pops up in adult life that instantly pulls you back to a previous frame of time.

Tonight I came across a movie that came out around junior year of high school. Upon seeing the tall, dark, and handsome heartthrob that stole my adolescent heart on the big screen, I texted my three best childhood girlfriends.

We’ve known each other since we were three. On a group text, 27 years later, we find ourselves laughing at the same jokes that have made us laugh for decades. Hilarity that can only be truly appreciated within the confines of our own company. Made clear by our eye-rolling husbands.

We did not grow up in the age of social media, text messages, and digital communication. We spent hours tying up the household phone lines, passed countless notes in the hallways, and went for walks and bike rides that were filled with endless conversation.

I love these girls and I love who we are when we get together. In an instant, we are the same as we ever were. Now, almost all of us in our thirties, makeup-less, lying in bed in our own homes…and yet nothing has changed.


Jensen, My Comedienne


Jensen, you have been given the gift of gab. A family trait. And the gift of an appreciation of quality humor, another family trait. Your ancestors would be proud.

A conversation that took place in the car yesterday…

Jensen: Mommy, I hurt my leg. I fell today. I have an ow-ee.

Me: Oh man, Jensen, are you okay?

Jensen: Yea, I’m okay…

Me: What happened? Where were you when you fell?

Jensen: …on the ground.

HA-larious, my dear. Well done.

Pre-Kindergarten Begins


You began pre-k today at Trinity Lutheran School. Five days a week this year.  Growing so fast. You love your teacher and were excited to see some familiar faces from last year but also some new friends as well. You were ready to get to playing and quick to say goodbye. That made me proud and broke my heart at the very same time. This momma’s trying not to blink for fear of missing it.

The happy days are sometimes paralleled with sad days. I’m so happy for how you are growing. But I wish I could bottle up these moments and keep them for a lifetime.

Tonight you snuggled up with me and told me I’m the best snuggler you know. If I can do one thing right in my life, I’m okay with it being that.