Tate Turns Ten!

Last night we drove home from a rare dinner outing as an entire family and Jada turns to Tate and very innocently asks, “Tate, how do you like your new blue bike?”  

The whole family out for dinner

 Ryan and I looked at one another in horror.  We had taken Josh and Jada out that morning to pick out Tate’s birthday present.  Problem was, we hadn’t given it to him yet!  He was getting it the morning of his birthday.  Ryan tried to brush it off as something that she was saying in complete ignorance, and I flat out lied, with a whole elaborate story, down to the minuscule details…
“Oh…. She must be talking about when I took her to Walmart the other day and we looked at princess bikes” I explained, not batting an eye. My husband looked on mortified at my ability to achieve such a statement with utter sincerity. I justified it later with the example of a wife asking if she looks fat in a dress and the husband says no even though she really does look fat. EXACT same sort of scenario – in my opinion.   
Tate just smirked at my fib and replied, “Yeah, probably.”
This morning, bright and early, he was given his “surprise” birthday gift. He loved it. 
 Over the past few days there has been quite a bit of deliberation over what the birthday boy wanted for his birthday dinner. He finally decided that it would be crepes with strawberries and whipped cream along with scrambled eggs and bacon.  His wish was his mother’s command, voila’! 
brown sugar bacon (aka “crack” bacon) doesn’t last long in our house
 The feast was completely consumed by all. 
And mom even had a little bit of time and energy left over to make some chocolate banana bread for tomorrow morning. 
  Just Keep Livin!!

Gettin’ Outa Dodge!

Word is getting out. I’m pretty sure the sign in our front yard has something to do with this occurring. Yes, we have put our house on the market, and we are moving; more specifically, we are moving to Tennessee. It’s crazy how it all came about but then again our life is some kind of crazy so what’s one more insane thing the Ronnes do? Right?


For years one of my favorite movies has been the Johnny Cash story portrayed beautifully in the movie Walk the Line. In the film, Mr. Cash resides at a sprawling ranch in the hills of Tennessee overlooking a wide river below. In one scene he serenely sits on his front porch and breathes in the view all around, content and peaceful. Every time I watched this movie I would think, “That would be my dream setting” but it always seemed a bit out of the realm of reality.

Last summer, one warm night while Ryan and I watched this movie together, I mentioned this very thought to him, and I was surprised to discover that he too had always dreamt of living in Tennessee; something he had also considered his “dream life,” with hunting, fishing, and other manly activities that could be accomplished in a state like this. As the conversation continued it quickly turned from an unrealistic idea that we could never pursue and progressed into a “Why not?” thought. That very night we got out the laptop and began searching for what we considered to be our perfect home. Incidentally, we landed upon it immediately.

Throughout the years I would scan this particular website that offered hundreds of remote homes around the country with lots of land. I always wanted to live out in the middle of nowhere with beauty and tranquility surrounding my every turn. I’m not much of a city girl, and I luckily married a man who is a bit of a hermit as well. Upon reaching the site we were after, we plugged in our search options; Tennessee, 20 + acres, five + bedrooms, and a wood burning fireplace. About three homes popped up. One we were both drawn to immediately, even remarking in that moment, “If that house is as good as it looks on paper, that’s the dream,” up in the hills of Tennessee, overlooking a river, sprawling, beautiful home with lots of land. We committed ourselves to praying about it over the next year, and we also continued to check on its progress often, watching it come down considerably in price over the next 365 days.

As people have heard of what seems to be our rash decision, they have openly asked, why would you want to move? First, we never felt like we were going to stay in Michigan forever. This was a good starting point, Luke was very established in the medical community and in his school here, and it was a bigger town so everyone didn’t necessarily know my story or our story and Ryan could remain somewhat incognito. We had an element of privacy in Michigan that we appreciated. That being said, there have been small issues that have been hard on him while living in my homeland. For instance, everywhere I go with him, I generally have a memory of that place with another man, my late husband. Ryan has been yearning for us to be able to explore and discover something completely new that only we as a couple will be a part of, and I completely understand and respect this issue. I am also ready to spread my wings a bit, get out of the familiar I’ve always known, meet new people, explore unknown lands, and just be a big girl and step out in faith to something I really feel excited about. Finally, I believe this will be a great adventure for us to accomplish together as a family. Until now, we’ve accomplished everything separately. I moved into the house with my four kids, Ryan moved to Michigan with his three kids, now we, the Ronne family, will be tackling this big, grand, scary, new adventure all together as one family unit. We will be forced to rely on each other and have each others backs like never before, and I believe it will only strengthen our bond and resolve as a family.

Back to how it came about….This January, we said to each other, if we can find a sitter to watch the kids over spring break and if the house is still on the market, we are going to drive down and check it out. We reached out to a few people about watching the kids but no one was able to commit. We viewed this as a closed door for the moment and decided to let it go until….

I received a text message from a dear friend about two weeks before spring break, “Hey Jess, do you still want a sitter?”

We accepted her up on the offer and made the 9 hour drive to what we hoped would be our forever home. We took about 2 steps onto the property and both gasped. It was stunningly beautiful, exactly what we had envisioned it would look like. The house was also everything I ever wanted, old, full of character and life, such peaceful tranquility as if we were the only souls around for miles. After a few phone calls that confirmed Luke’s options for care and school, we decided to put an offer on it and it was accepted. Our house went on the market yesterday. Now it’s in God’s good timing. Our kids are excited. There was one child that needed some time to wrap her mind around the idea of moving again but now she can’t wait. If you think of it, pray us through this summer, it’s going to be crazy. We don’t have a date in mind yet and we’d really like our house to sell before we officially move and that task in and of itself is going to be an adventure with 7 kids!


Just Keep Livin!!

My New Mother’s Day

Ahhhh, it’s Monday, glorious, wondrous Monday, day of sweet bliss, generally my favorite day of the week, but I’m especially thankful for this Monday after the blessing of having an entire day of recognition as a mother yesterday. Today I can actually relax. The spotlight is off, the pressure gone, and I can sink back into unknown obscurity.


A disclaimer, I absolutely feel like a blessed woman and on Mother’s Day, I know this is my truth, but the stress can occasionally override the truth on certain days – such as Mother’s Day. First, who put Mother’s Day on a Sunday? This makes zero sense. If Mother’s Day is about relaxation and bliss, it should not be celebrated on a weekend when all the children are present and bored. I’m thinking it must have been a man who came up with that idea. Admittedly, yesterday was an exception to how this holiday generally occurs, but it didn’t make it any easier. Ryan was sick and nursing a broken thumb so he was unable to help with much of anything, seven kids acted like crazed hyenas when they realized that a soldier had fallen – aka wounded parent – and used this weakness to their advantage to pounce upon the healthy parent – and me, frantically pawing at them like a proud lioness as they hammered away with back talk, fighting, tattling, inappropriate words, disobedience, and boredom. It was not our best day as a family; nor for me as a mom.


I try to not feel let down on this holiday, but it can be so darn difficult at times. It’s my own fault because I, like all of the other mothers in the world, get hyped up with all of the anticipation presented by Hallmark and our lavish American culture, and I buy into it all – hook, line, and sinker. The world declares, “It’s Mother’s Day, breakfast in bed, don’t lift a finger, massages and relaxation, maybe even a chocolate diamond from Jared…. what? He went to Jared?? You don’t say…. Well, you don’t have to say because he didn’t go to Jared; not that I was yearning for a chocolate diamond anyway.


Yesterday unraveled like this; I woke up, noticed my husband sleeping soundly, a pain induced medicated coma partially to blame, and I knew there wasn’t a big breakfast surprise I was in danger of ruining. No big deal, I don’t eat much in the morning anyway. I quietly opened our bedroom door, making sure as to not awaken my sleeping husband, and in the process almost tripped over a small brown bag and card right at the foot of the door. I gingerly picked it up and smiled when I read the card on the outside of the contents – “Happy Mother’s Day, I love you! Enjoy breakfast in bed, love Mya” Oh my sweet girl, the one who would never forget a holiday.


I picked it up and tip toed down the stairs, hoping to remain unnoticed for at least 5 minutes, just enough time to make a cup of coffee before the chaos ensued. This did not happen.


I was immediately loudly greeted as soon as my weary presence entered the kitchen. Through blurred vision and a blurred brain I vaguely remember hearing, “What’s for breakfast? Mom, can I have juice? Mom, Luke’s screaming, Mom, are we having breakfast burritos again? Mom, it’s Mother’s Day, Mom, I have to get your present, I’ll be right back.”


Coffee in hand, I made about 20 scrambled eggs, fried up some sausage, heated a dozen or so tortillas, put cheese on the table, and then planted myself firmly in a chair to feed Luke and opened the plethora of gifts thrown at me. Cards declaring love and adoration, one saying how pretty I look on church days and Easter, how I’m loved because I make chicken and buy video games, (huh?) and how I’m super nice along with some prized possessions every mother desires: chore coupons, two homemade flower pens, and a “breakfast in bed” bag holding a box of frosted flakes, a juice box, and a granola bar.

The day continued with a grocery store run, making lunch, making oatmeal raisin cookies, doing four loads of laundry, making beef tips and mashed potatoes, reprimanding four filthy kids, covered in mud from head to toe, for swaggering in on my semi clean home, taking a walk, thanking my husband for the surprise gift card that showed up in my email, reading the paper, receiving a sweet mother’s day letter from my husband, watching a movie while half asleep, having a glass of wine, eating some goat cheese and crackers, and falling exhausted into bed, with a happy smile upon my face, eagerly anticipating my real Mother’s Day which would begin promptly the following morning at 8:15 – as soon as the kids boarded the school bus.


And it’s here, my blissful Monday. Today is my beautiful, glorious day. I began by going to the gym where daycare watched Josh and Jada, ate subway for lunch, came home to a sparkling clean house courtesy of the new house cleaner, kids arrived home at 4 to be welcomed with piano and Spanish lessons until 6, and BONUS, I didn’t have to cook because it’s half off night at our favorite pizza joint. What a perfectly perfect day this was. Happy Mother’s Day to me. In fact, until my kids are grown and leave the house, I’m going to rename the official Mother’s Day as sacrifice day and the following Monday will from this day forward, be my Mother’s Day.

Just keep livin!!