The Perfect Perspective of a 12 Year Old.

I’ve debated writing about this for more than a month, because my son is private and it’s not my story to tell. But, I think his perspective can help SO MANY people in their daily struggles that with his permission, I decided to dive in.

Kasen is my first born and the one who taught me what the unconditional love of a Mom felt like. (His pregnancy also taught me the love of Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes by the box…) When he was born, he was literally perfect. I had always thought babies ALL looked like old men, but he was beautiful. I didn’t let anyone touch him. I was so protective of this miracle (to the point of completely annoying everyone who desperately wanted to hold him!)

Over the last 12 years, I haven’t lightened up much on being protective. He’s very tolerant of my “momma bear” ways and knows that me trying to keep him packed away tightly in bubble wrap is only bc he holds half of my heart. He is funny, kind, filled with faith and is honestly one of the most amazing people to hang out with. I’m super proud of the kiddo he is.

A few years ago, he failed his school vision test and was recommended that he see the optometrist. We took him in and were told he had lazy eyes. He was given a prescription and that was it. A normal, every day appointment with a normal, every day outcome. The glasses were only to fix the lazy eyes because his vision didn’t actually improve with any prescription. We were told it was normal and trusted the doctor.

Over a year into glasses, we noticed him taking them off A LOT and didn’t want to wear them. So we asked for a referral to Wolfe so they could fix the lazy eyes rather than putting a “band aid” on the issue. It was there that we were given the news no parent wants to hear. Our son will, at some point, be blind due to a rare genetic disease.

We instantly hit Google and read everything we could find about this awful disease. I couldn’t help but retreat into my negative thoughts of his future. What could he do (as a job) blind? If he is blind prior to college, how does he take classes? How will he get around if he can’t drive? He will never get to be a carefree, independent adult. He wont get to choose his career solely by his interests like his peers. What a heavy burden for a child to carry, and it killed me not to be able to “fix” my son. (It still does)

The quote “When life gives you more than you can stand, Kneel” was my first thought. And that’s what we did. Our Catholic faith was the arms that caught us, held us, and gave us peace in a situation we had no choice but to give to God. “Let Go and Let God” became the phrase I said over and over and my rosary was no longer a beautiful decoration that adorned my server.

We were incredibly blessed to be accepted by the leading doctor in this particular disease at the University of Iowa children’s hospital. Our “google expertise” told us there was no cure and no treatment, but we were still so thankful to have the opportunity to go to the best hospital and best doctor for his disease.

Our first appointment was October 11 and I can’t say enough about the AMAZING staff at the U of I. We were already massive Iowa fans, but we left with a whole new appreciation of our beloved Hawkeyes. (The “wave” has always made me tear up. NOW, it makes me full on cry. It’s a really special place.)

The testing took half of the day. He went from one room to the next getting scans and tests. He handled it all like a champ, but the moment where him being 12 came to light in the most hilarious way during the test where he and I sat in the dark for 45 minutes.

They needed him in complete dark; no phones, watches or light of any kind. Because he’s so small, people tend to assume he’s younger than he is. The nurse hooked him up to numerous electrodes and then asked him if he would like to play with play doh while he sat in the dark. Him saying “yes” surprised me, but I assumed desperation had kicked in as he had already been tested many hours by this time.

I took my rosary and quietly prayed between Kasen’s random comments and giggles. When the nurse finally came in, she took his tray and set it on the floor in front of me while she conducted a series of tests. When the lights were flipped on, I wanted to melt into the chair. My son, giggling and pointing, had made 3 play doh penis’ and they stood proudly on his tray. He mouthed “penis” at me, snickering, as the nurse bent down to fetch his “masterpieces”. She grabbed one and said “and what’s this?” With zero hesitation, he said “wizard towers!!”

She seemed to buy into it…. as I died a little inside trying to contain my laughter. I have no idea how he came up with the quick cover up, but it made a tough day a lot more interesting! Kids have a way of seeing fun in unexpected moments, and I was super thankful for it!

Because he has very large cysts in his eyes, he has prescription eye drops to help shrink them. I have to put these in three times a day. They literally drop him to his knees EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. They hurt. Terribly. Not only was it my genes that gave him this horrible disease, but I also have to hurt him over and over to try to help him. The Mom guilt is real… and breaks me daily.

In the midst of the diagnoses that will leave my son blind, a lifetime of eye drops that are extremely painful, the risk of a devastating injury every time he plays around like a normal 12 year old, and the fear associated with all of it… Kasen said to me that he has a gift. I had no idea what he could be referring to, so I told him he has lots of gifts. He said “Mom, I have a gift bc I get to walk into the U of I children’s hospital where a lot of kids are fighting to LIVE. I’m only fighting to SEE.”

My chin hit the floor and I cried. For a child with a very heavy burden to carry to have that amazing perspective blew me away. It was a moment I will never forget; a moment that made my life feel so full. I couldn’t help but feel incredibly grateful in that moment (and in the moments since!)

After 9 pair of sport goggles, 2 sets of headgear, hours of research and long talks with God, our son is ready to start the wrestling season at Winterset Junior High. He made the decision that regardless of the risk, he wants to be 12. He wants to have the same experiences and opportunities to do what he loves. There’s nothing in this world that he loves more than wrestling, and we are incredibly thankful for our wrestling family for supporting us.

So….. as we start the week of Thanksgiving, I hope you are able to be TRULY thankful because we ALL have a gift. When you find moments of annoyance or anger in the preparation and execution of your holiday gatherings, find Kasen’s perspective. Find the things that surround you that you are so blessed to have. Find a fire for life and do the things you love. And if you have a few extra prayers, please remember my brave kiddo 🙂 (And if you’re a Winterset parent, he wants to keep it quiet from his classmates so he’s not “different”)

A few people I want to thank:

HS Winterset Wrestling coach Ryan Jensen: Thank you for your research on goggles and for being there with hope while our hearts broke.

JH Winterset Wrestling Coach, Ryan Breeding, for making sure he is as safe in the wrestling room as possible.

His partner, Abe (and his dad) for helping us test out numerous goggles.

Alex Sovel, Michigan State Wrestling Champion for sharing with us the goggles and headgear that worked best for you! Alex and Kasen have the same disease. Read Alex’s story here: http://highschoolsports.mlive.com/news/article/5434288919092644359/alex-sovel-risks-the-chance-of-blindness-when-he-wrestles-becomes-state-champion-anyway/

Indiana State running back, Titus McCoy, for telling Kasen never to give up what he loves and for letting him know he can do anything he puts his heart into. (Titus and his brother both play division 1 ball with the same disease.) Their mom, Amber, for the beautiful texts about the mom guilt that only she would understand.

Our family and friends are the best. We are thankful to you all for the love and support 💜

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For the Love of Purple 💜

I’m hard to miss when I drive through town with my Wrangler in “Xtreme Purple”.  My business cards are purple. My headshots, purple. Realtor coozies? Also purple. I mean, it’s a great color, but my love of purple isn’t about the color at all.

When I was little, I remember every Sunday, sitting in the pew at church with my grandma. She kept a baggie of life savers and candy in her purse (that were there without fail) and I would write her notes on the offering envelopes that she would keep as bookmarks in her bible. Her kitchen floor was checkered and I spent hours hopping across to her while she made candies and treats (peanut butter fudge was my ultimate favorite). Soda crackers filled her canisters, and washing dishes was made fun by pretending to cook as I filled up each dish with water.

In the fourth grade, I took my first plane ride as my Grandma and I went to explore Arizona, and She started sentences with “bless her heart” when it was going to be something juicy 😉 She let me wear her shoes, dresses and jewelry and I always felt like a princess with my grandma.

As I got older, she never missed a musical, a concert, a cheerleading event. She passed to me her love of great shoes, her sweet tooth and love of Holidays! (And nails that are always on point!)

She was my safe space, my “loved me unconditionally”…. my person. 💜

When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it broke my heart. My kids were very young at the time and seeing her light up when she saw them was a feeling I will never forget. I cherished EVERY SINGLE moment that she said their names and wrapped them in those familiar arms.

It didn’t happen overnight, but she was eventually moved into an assisted living community that allowed her to feel independent while keeping her safe. She had her own apartment and her familiar furniture that she had owned for much of my life. It looked and felt as much “home” as we could make it for her. For awhile, she really enjoyed the activities and music (my grandpa was an amazing pianist) and kept really busy with her new “friends”. I visited almost daily to catch up on what her day was like, hold her hand, and let the kids spend time with their “GG”.

It was too soon that she started to become “glazed over”. She asked about her mom and my grandpa who had passed. She forgot who most people were. I was extremely blessed that she remembered my dad and I almost to the end. I spent countless hours looking through photo albums with her, pointing out amazing memories that shattered me to the core that she had forgotten. Memories that made her HER and made US the incredible duo that we were.

There was always, though, a spark of recognition (even if she couldn’t place my kids or husband) that she knew she loved them. Seeing that love is ultimately so much deeper than memories made this awful disease a little less crushing at moments. She could recite her prayers until the end and after her being my Sunday school teacher for my entire childhood, I had deep comfort in her faith and that God was never anything less than first. She told me one day in a moment of complete recognition that she wished she could stay with me, but it was time to go home.

Her last days were hard. They were also filled with love and hope and faith and, at times, laughter. She wasn’t able to speak, but I laid in her bed (wrapped in her Packers blanket, of course) and held her for days just soaking up every second I could with “my person”.

My dad and I knew that I needed to tell her it was ok to go, but in that moment, I felt selfish and didn’t know how I could wake up each day after knowing I wouldn’t see her face or hear her voice. I would never again get to hold her hand, paint her nails, or see her face light up when she saw me. I eventually told her I would be ok and that she would be able to guide me and be my person in a different way. When she finally passed, my parents and I were all there holding her. Reliving it all is hard, but living without her is harder.

Purple is, of course, the color for Alzheimer’s. The first month of awareness after she passed, I colored the underside of my hair purple which has remained that way to this day. (My son has followed in that during wrestling season as well!) Purple represents a disease that forces you to grieve over and over, to say goodbye to the person you once knew, and then to their body much later. It’s a disease that is crippling to the loved ones left in its devastating wake.

To me, though, purple represents the love that couldn’t be erased. The love so embedded in our souls that no sickness could destroy it. It proves that she won. A disease may have taken her memories and her life… but it couldn’t take that love. And that’s what she was… pure and Unending love.

Surrounding myself with purple in my business and in my life, reminds me to treat people as she would. To be kind and put God and Family first (which I fail at too often, but I know she is there cheering me on to continue trying every day 💜) I remember that life is short, but it is also beautiful. It’s not fair. It forces us to endure disappointment and heart break, but it also allows us to feel a love I never knew existed. I see my kids and know now the love she has always had for me and it’s the most selfless, beautiful, amazing love I could have ever dreamed. And it wins. Always.

Please don’t Bleed (or Vomit)

If you’re on my Facebook, you know I’ve had so many moments in the last few months where I wished there was someone “more adult” than me when faced with moments of sheer panic (and realizing I AM, in fact, the adult being looked to for help). God bless the nurses in my life who got my panicked texts when Kasen got a fishing lure (with the barb buried) in his hand and then again when the same kiddo had yet another trauma biting through his lip. (Let’s also mention he made an ER trip last winter when he sliced his hand open… the kid clearly gets his gracefulness from his mom!)

My expertise is NOT nursing. I completed my first year of nursing school before I realized I do NOT have that gift. I get nauseous at the sight of blood. I vomit when my kids vomit. There are people incredibly blessed with the ability to take care of others, to act quickly and efficiently in times of chaos and trauma while being able to handle bodily functions. (Do you see where I’m going with this?? :))

In reading some posts in the real Estate world recently regarding FSBO’s (for sale by owner) and it occurred to me that people don’t always realize that some jobs are better left to those with the education, experience and/or license to do that particular job. Do you know that statistics show that most sellers who try to sell FSBO end up hiring a realtor? And by then, how many thousands of dollars do you have in mortgage payments that could have gone towards a professional? Statistics also prove a realtor can get more money for your home!

A recent nightmare (I mean transaction) reminded ME the absolute importance of an amazing lender. Not all lenders are created equal! Some lenders can offer more programs, more options, lower rates, faster turnaround times… it pays to get referrals from those of us in the industry who have worked with these individuals and have seen their expertise (or sometimes lack of) in action. They are your first step in obtaining your next dream home (and can really make a transaction awful or amazing!)

After you find your home, all realtors will advise getting a home inspection. I have a go to inspector who my clients (and I) can call with questions at any time. He is thorough and his services are priceless in giving peace of mind. I could never give my clients the reassurance or provide the expertise on the home systems and structure that he can. He is the professional.

In addition to the lender, realtor and inspector, you also have a realtor representing the other party, appraiser, title companies, abstracting companies, termite inspectors, domino closings… the list goes on. There are so many hands involved in each transaction, that you will have the best sale possible by leaving each job to the professional in that particular area. Closings can be messy, chaotic and stressful. Like a nurse, I am also really good at taking care of my clients, acting quickly and efficiently in times of chaos and stress (but in real estate transactions only!! just don’t vomit or bleed!) So call me 🙂

Since I’ve completely slacked in the blog department for, like, 2 years…. I promise I’m about to do better! If you have real estate (or life) topics you want to hear about, let me know!! Coming soon is all things purple, my new weight lifting/ HIIT program (aka the death of me) and hopefully good news from the University of Iowa Hospitals this week! Until then, Happy Selling!

Running Comps is my Cardio

I figure blogging today, a bright Spring day with the sun dazzling and reflecting off the SNOW was a great way to spend my morning. Curled up under a blanket dreaming of warm weather! We go from 70* to thunderstorms, blizzard warnings and more than 10″ of snow in some places through the state in ONE DAY. Welcome to Iowa! Mother Nature apparently hasn’t gotten the memo that it’s BASEBALL SEASON!! (Which, by the way, is the best time of the year!! Go, Dawgs and Cards!) Despite the bipolar weather, Iowa was recently named the BEST state in the country in recent real estate publications! Way to go, Hawkeye State!! 🖤💛🖤💛

Even though the snow makes it hard to remember, it is SPRING!! We took advantage of the great weather Thursday and rented a skid-loader to get some of this “construction yard” looking better! We filled in the trenches and flattened the mountains of dirt to reveal what almost resembles an actual yard!! I put in all of the screens for some fresh air and was overwhelmed with the desire for BBQ’s, patio fire nights and outdoor exploring! (Now for some grass, retaining walls and landscaping! The joys of home ownership!)

This long winter (and long rental period while building) has left me doing full blown lunge and squat routines to get into my pants, so I decided I would finally commit to what I lovingly call “fat class”. Every Monday, I jump on that scale, say a prayer, and hope the number reflects my dream of having less “hail damage” for summer. Girls!! It’s so hard when I just want to eat cake 😂 It makes it easier to have a super amazing, singing, hilarious friend to share in the misery, though! If you see me on a Monday night and I don’t look up… I’m headed to cheat night with a mission!! But honestly, with autoimmune diseases, healthy eating makes such a huge difference!! I admire the people who have such an awesome dedication to their health whether it be fitness, diet, or both! I have a hard time with it, but I’m (very) slowly going to get there! (I blame Little Debbie and her delicious snack cakes 😂)

Last weekend, we were able to spend a very quick 36 hours of sunshine in Vegas for my sister’s wedding!! We learned a few very important things:

1. I need more than 3 hours of sleep per night to properly function

2. If you lose the key to your hotel room, just take a little snooze in the hallway and security will be happy to assist (Right, Robby?? 🤣)

3. There is NOTHING you can’t find on Freemont Street

4. Family is the most important thing in life! (After losing 2 amazing men in my family the week prior, getting to sit back and see the smiles, the tears, the hugs and the laughter was priceless. Life is so short.)

So… congrats to the most beautiful bride ever, Lindsay, and her “hunka hunka burning love”, Mike 🙂

My anniversary with RE/MAX Precision was this week! This year is my 6th in Real Estate and I’m so blessed to live the life I love!! Because of the house shortage, we have Buyers waiting for that perfect home! Call me for some of the only cardio I do, which is Running comps and providing clients with market analysis to see what their home is worth in the current market! I would LOVE to help you or a friend/family member find their next dream home!

A little Building expertise :)

Long time no blog!! I thought I would play catch up today and fill you all in on what’s been going on!

First of all, the house is DONE! Or… I should say done except for the mud hole we call a yard! With Typical Iowa weather requiring rain boots one day, Parka the next, we haven’t gotten a chance to start on any landscaping or final grade. (I’m so grateful we chose a huge sink bc our dogs are in it to wash their feet after every time they go outside!) I also am grateful for the floors we chose. Not only are they scratch and waterproof… they don’t show dirt!! Low maintenance flooring during this high maintenance season has been amazing. I highly recommend Lifeproof flooring!

I’ve talked to a few clients who are currently building and each has asked for my best advice on the process. For me, this home is for ME. I made every detail a choice that I love. I did not consider resale or what is trendy in ANY of my decisions. For some, their build is a stepping stone or an investment so this isn’t the way to go. But for those of you who are building your forever home, THAT is my best advice. Make choices based on what YOU LOVE. It is, Afterall, your sanctuary. After painstakingly perfecting EVERY detail I got a lot of opinions. “You have no COLOR!” “You have nothing on your walls!” “You have so much sparkle!” Although it’s deflating at times to have this perfect product of your hard earned money, your time and months of stress picked apart, it’s not for ‭them. If everyone’s home looked the same, how boring would that be?? My style is probably different than yours… and if so, that’s awesome! Let me help you build your own just how YOU like it 🙂 Point is, Be YOU. Don’t let others’ style and opinions dictate your choices. It’s YOU who has to live there and love it for years to come.

Some other choices that I recommend to others in the process is great carpet. I had always heard that as long as you have excellent pad, you can go cheaper on the carpet. Our last house, we started replacing carpets after 3 years, so we must be harder on flooring Than the average! Lol We decided this time around to invest in great flooring up front. We chose the PetProof line of LifeProof carpet. The PetProof line is all waterproof so even if you have just kids and no pets, anything spilled sits ON the carpet and doesn’t get absorbed into it. And it’s oh so soft 🙂 The warranty is great and It comes in a LOT of different colors, piles, and patterns.

The next choice I recommend is using a designer for your kitchen! I designed our last kitchen and it was nice, BUT, we also had to make some adjustments when the measurements weren’t exact. The space also wasn’t utilized as well as it could have been. (I also picked a finish I didn’t love…. see above 🙂 ) This time, I called the best. Her name is Melissa Nelson and she is a design wizard! It was SO FUN sitting down with her telling her what we wanted in our kitchen and watching her make it come to life. She didn’t let me compromise on ANYTHING I wanted. I got it all and I got it in perfect layout, finish and style. It is my absolute favorite space!! I would LOVE to get you in touch with her for your next new construction or remodeling project! Seriously, don’t settle. She rocks!

My last piece of advice is CHECK CONTRACTOR REFERENCES. We got REALLY LUCKY with all of our contractors with only a few exceptions. We have amazing vaults that make the space look so big (Thanks, Shaymus Smith) and had our roofing buttoned up before we ever got snow (Nick Winters! He also does siding, and snow removal!) Our salesman at Gilcrest (Guy at the Clive location) was excellent. We had Ford Plumbing and Kohles and Bach who are both perfectionists and did great. Our foundation and flat work is perfect (Cambron and Thacker out of Indianola) and again, our cabinetry was all done through Kitchen and Bath Ideas. The Stone Shop did our countertops and were amazing to work with. Having said that, we have a front sidewalk that fell into the shape of a “V” one month after being poured and a contractor who doesn’t feel the need to stand behind his work and fix it. So, do your homework and ask for references and do some checking! After putting your whole heart, your time and your entire bank account into a home… you don’t want to be in a situation like that!

Thank you to our families for all of your muscles in getting us moved! If you’re thinking of building, please call me any time!! Having been the realtor numerous times AND the buyer many times…. I’m definitely an expert on the process and can help get you pointed to the right lender and builder and help you make the process run smoothly!

It’s Spring so beat the rush of listings and call me today for your free CMA! We have a shortage of homes available and I would love to help you find your next dream home! I service ALL areas!

Until next time, Happy Selling!!

The love in Defeat

I decided to make my blog a bit more personal and share with you one of my family’s loves.  By family, I mean both biological and “adopted” 🙂

My son decided only last year that he would go out for wrestling.  I had told my husband, Brad, for years that he was NOT going to push him into it, that I wanted it to be Kasen’s decision whether or not to participate.  It’s an incredibly intense sport and with Brad’s passion for it, I didn’t want it to be too much for him and make him hate it.

We found a local private club his first season which was an amazing foundation for him.  It was a great program for beginning wrestlers that taught a LOT of technique and defense moves and Kasen moved from the intermediate class to the elite class in just 6 short weeks.  He really gravitated to the coaching techniques and the intensity of it all.  Being only 65# in the 5th grade, he had a lot of bigger, more experienced wrestlers to challenge him and he had a great season.  On track wrestling, his record was 7-0 finishing out the first season at beginner tournaments.  (His season was cut early when he got pneumonia in December and struggled with a left lung that held on to fluid for over 6 weeks.)

With our move this year, Kasen did pre season training with Grandview University and has a coach named Dallas Houchins who he adores.  Kasen is a pretty laid back kid, so we struggle to get him fired up for his matches, but he absorbs technique well and is able to implement it fairly well for a beginner.  Brad has tried very hard this year to step back a bit and be his dad first and coach second. Seems simple, but for a man passionate for the sport with a talented kid he desperately wants to see hit his full potential, its a struggle sometimes.

This leads me to this past Sunday.  It was Kasen’s first pre season tournament and we hoped all of his hard work would pay off.  It was Brad with the nerves as we pulled in and saw the crowds of experienced wrestlers warming up.  Kasen (or Kman as I always call him) weighed in at 71# and looked ready to roll.

Dilemma number one popped up when we saw Reid.  Reid is an amazing wrestler.  Skilled, experienced, tough…and Kasen’s cousin.  They are in the same grade and the same size, of course.  Kasen knew Reid could out wrestle him, but we told him just to give it his all.  Do you know how hard it is for these boys (and their parents) to be opponents in a sport that is one on one?  Where its intense and brutal at times. Where there are lots of injuries, tears and blood.  To look across the mat at family whom we adore and watch our boys have to duke it out?  Hard, but part of the sport.

Second dilemma was that the weight spread was 9 pounds!! That is a LOT in wrestling and makes executing moves more difficult.  But again, part of the sport.

Kasen is athletic. We joke that there isn’t anything he cant do well which was proven the first time we took the kids bowling.  Kya has grace like her mom so struggles just to walk the lane without tripping while Kasen threw strike after strike.  Its really quite annoying 🙂  But wrestling is a whole other ballgame.  As I said, in beginner tournaments, he had an excellent record.  This tourney was not a beginners and we knew he would be challenged. We hoped it would teach him while not breaking him down.  Talk about a tough line to walk.

His first match, he gave up penalty points two different times tying up the score 7-7 sending the boys into OT.  His opponent shot and got the take down giving him the win. Kasen was devastated.  Not just because he lost, but because he beat himself with mistakes which tied up the score to begin with.  My big tough dad, who looks like Mr. Clean with his huge muscles and bald head, even teared up watching Kman’s defeat.  We told him that he will remember next match not to make the same mistakes and it was all part of the process of getting better.  Learning and growing.

Second match was Reid and it was over in the first round by pin with a move that Kasen knew the defense to and simply didn’t do it. Another lesson, another defeat.  This time there weren’t any tears, it hit deeper and he looked as though he was questioning everything.  His decision to wrestle. His abilities, his talent… We gave him space.  We told him to put it behind him and focus on the next match.

His third match was with an opponent 8 pounds heavier than him.  He has beat this particular kiddo numerous times and went in lazy.  His opponent had been working extremely hard and surprised him.  He quickly learned that he needed to step up his game before the 3rd period (like he did) when he started the last period behind in points.  The very end of the match was Kasen on top with his opponent in a headlock for the pin.  BUT…because he didn’t get aggressive until the end, the timer went off right before he was able to finish it out and he lost by one point.  That was another tough pill to swallow.

I have always had a love for photography, so thanks to a new “Cadillac of cameras” birthday gift, I was behind the lens all day trying to get some good shots of all of the boys we were there with. ( One of our best friends, Ryan (Kya’s “uncle”) had his two boys there as well.)   The entire day, I hoped that Kasen was learning, but I didn’t realize how much I had to learn until I got to step back and watch the real moments through my camera.  They were the moments where no one was cheering, no one was watching.  They were moments more raw, more of a victory than any I saw by any ref raising a hand for the win. It was the dads.  Simply being dads.

The first picture was of Ryan and his amazing 4th grader, Jax, who is one of my favorite kids on the planet.  He always has hugs and snuggles for me no matter where he is.  He is my texting buddy and Kasen’s “little bro”.  He won two great matches, but a third, he lost to pin very quickly in the first quarter.  His tears made my chest burn and I desperately wanted to make him stop hurting.  Watching Ryan wrap him up in his arms and tell him how great he was, gave me a small glimpse of why wrestling is the ultimate sport.

The second picture was of the boys.  (Kasen, Jax, Jax’s twin, Jayse, and their big brother Keegan) sitting with their dads smiling.  Keegan dominated all day, but Jax and Kasen had both had tough losses and there they were.  Laughing, smiling, supporting each other.  There was not one match where win or lose ALL of the boys didn’t sit mat side ready to congratulate or give their “brother” a high 5 and a hug.

The last picture was of Brad and Kasen.  Kman was bent over, nauseous, pale and completely heart broken.  And his dad, his coach, his best friend with his arms wrapped around him, kissing his head. It was that moment where it all made sense to me.

These boys (children) are one on one with another, and in 3 short minutes they have to lay it all on the line. Every single moment is not only exhausting physically, but mentally as well.  A million moves going through their heads while trying to defend their opponents moves.  They have no one to blame or thank at the end of a match but themselves.  No teammates on the field to hide behind, to blame, to help shoulder the defeat.  It is them and them alone.  That is an immense amount of pressure for a child.  And they want so badly to prove themselves that losses in all age groups end in tears, frustration and heartache.  Its not something they simply grow out of. If anything, the pressure is more intense and the defeat is more debilitating the older they get.

In wrestling, family comes first.  During the match with Reid, I watched my uncle, aunt and cousins cheer silently because they didn’t want to “coach” against Kasen.  I watched Kasen, Jax, Keegan and Jayse love each other in every sense of the word and BE a family for each other.  I watched the sadness in Ryan’s eyes as he watched our sons feel defeat and I watched my husband’s pride in Kman after 3 losses.  There are very high highs and very low lows and these boys have the courage to step on that mat because of the FAMILY that stands behind them.  Its seriously the most amazing thing to watch and I would have never “seen” it had I not been behind my camera lens.

Although I know Kasen learned not to lock his hands, to get aggressive early in the match, and to not underestimate ANY of his opponents…I’m mostly glad he learned that win or lose, he has a family there to support him.  To stand behind him while he finds the courage to step out there and do his best and to stand behind others and be their support as well.  Wrestling is, to us, the ultimate sport in teaching not only technique but life lessons as well. I learned so much this weekend about love and I am so thankful for a sport where the best moments happen off the mat 🙂

Home Sweet Home

So much has been happening the past few months, and I’ve been slacking on my blog updates so here it goes!!

Our new RE/MAX Precision office is up and running in Winterset!  The historic building on our town square used to be a bank (and a city hall) and they did an amazing job of giving it great updates while maintaining the charm and character.  My office has a vault which was the deciding factor in choosing it.  Super cool 🙂  If you’re ever in town, give me a call and come check it out!

We moved into our rental home and it’s very cozy (which is realtor talk for TINY).  The one car attached garage is now my closet, storage and home office.  It has wall to wall tile and no AC (which was a challenge on those 90 degree days!) There is no dishwasher and ONE bathroom (not to mention baseboard heat.) It makes me extra thankful for the amenities we take for granted and will have again very soon in the new house!

The new house.  EEEEEEEK!  First of all, Iowa had zero rain for MONTHS until it was time for us to get a foundation in and then BAM! Rained every day.  I will say that as much as I want the process to move along quickly, I am much more relaxed and patient the third time around.  I know that I can be irritated about delays, or smile through them knowing the delays will happen regardless.  Makes me a better agent, though, experiencing the delays, the overages, the upsets.  I can definitely sympathize with my buyers!

We have really lucked out this time with some AMAZING contractors.  Cambron and Thacker Construction out of Indianola did our foundation and flatwork and WOW.  They did such a great job.  Jeremy with Badger Excavating started the process and got a lot of compliments on his work from the other contractors.  Shaymus Smith Construction is doing all of the framing and we should have a roof on next week.  He is also doing our siding/roofing and we are extremely happy with them so far.  Steve Ford Plumbing, Trunnel Digging, Kohles and Bach, The Stone Shop, Kitchen and Bath ideas and Gilcrest Jewett are just a few of the other contractors/companies/friends that we feel so lucky to be working with.  We stopped out to the house today and I cant help but just smile.

Winterset has been our family’s best decision.  We miss being just minutes from our parents and siblings, but instantly made amazing friends who definitely help fill that void.  We explained to our kids one day that our group here is our “Winterset family”.  It wasn’t long before Kya started “good morning” and “good night” texts to them and asked our friend Ryan if he would be her uncle.  He let her paint his toenails and took her for ice cream and slushies… melts my heart.  It proves that sometimes the bold, scary moves are the moves that complete you.  The ones that show you that you are truly HOME in every sense (even while between actual homes.)

There are still lots of homes on the market ready for new owners, so if you’re thinking of making your own move, call me!