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My mom: A forever student whose forgiveness and vivacity are a wonderful example

Dear Mom:

I am not sure how to begin a letter to someone who is responsible for my existence here.

We have so many memories and I learn more from you in my adulthood than ever (having more than something to do with my maturity).  Some of my favorite memories from childhood involve parties, food and always something creative.

One of my first memories with you, was of the smell of clay as you were throwing pots in the garage of our house.  I loved the smell and I was captivated by the graceful movement of your hands, molding the clay.  You would squeeze the sponge and I would stare, trying not to blink, as a big lump of mud would magically form into a beautiful bowl or a vase or be pulled into a plate.  I was amazed at how your thumb would create a groove around the outside of the plate.  It was an amazing partnership between your fingers and the Earth.  I also loved to see you working in the garden.   You loved flowers, plants, trees.  You were (are) amazing at designing the shape of the garden itself and, every season, I couldn’t wait to see how the blooms exploded.

A memory that will always seem like yesterday is that of my 6th grade birthday party.  I was nervous about it, because some of the more “popular” girls were coming.  It was a smashing success… You had arranged a delicious dinner,  beautifully coordinated table decor, fun activities/games that my friends thought thought were so “cool.”  That was HUGE!

The lessons I’ve learned from you over time are many and cover all kinds of topics.  The divorce and other life events presented seemingly insurmountable obstacles, however, you have taken so much responsibility for healing over the years.  Forgiving.  Renewing.  Watching you learn how to value yourself through your faith has been incredibly encouraging.  Over the years, as I have grown into a woman, a mom, a wife, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the freedom that grace has to offer.

You are forever a student of everything around you.  Your curiosity and vivacity come together to exhume a celebration of life and God’s creation that is so inspiring!!!!  I am desperate to imitate that.  Lastly, your art is contagious and your love for children and teaching encourages my love for my children and teaching.  You embrace/support my family and all of your grandchildren with abandon.

Mom.  Noni.  Barbara Lee Sparks.

I love you.



AnneMarie Anderson is a 41-year-old wife, Real Estate broker, mother of two (8 & 6).  She grew up here in Colorado, went to CSU and moved to NYC for 9 years, then returned to the Mile High City.

Mom Memories: Soothing a Daughter’s Pain

I pulled her 47 pounds onto my lap and rocked. Beatrix had strep throat with a fever and terrible headache. Because she couldn’t keep medicine, food, or water down, the doctor felt she needed an antibiotic injection. Unfortunately, it needed to be given in a large muscle.

She was cheery, despite, until the moment the silly-long needle was plunged into her hip. She screamed, then wept. “It really, really hurt!” I told her how brave she was and that it was over. She’d feel better soon now because the medicine was already working. And then I shut up and held her. She was heavy. When was the last time I pulled her up into my overstuffed chair of a body? I sit by her on the couch. I hug her and cup her face near mine. She is my baby girl. But I haven’t cradled her since…? I couldn’t remember, which made me sad, especially when I considered our first few days together in the hospital.

She was born at 36w6d, 2 1/2 hours shy of being full term. She weighed six pounds and was born via emergency c-section because her umbilical cord prolapsed during labor. She had a sudden, bumpy start. While she breathed and ate well, she couldn’t maintain her body temperature. The nurses would stuff her inside my hospital nightgown for skin-to-skin contact. It kept her warm and safe. It kept her away from warming lights suspended over a bassinet.

Avoiding “Data Loss Nightmares” While Avoiding Hassles

Computers always crash when it’s least convenient. It’s basically a law of nature. When you’re a parent, this law doubles because little fingers often find their way to our technology and innocently cause destruction. I have learned this the hard way. Too many times. I’ve lost photos we will never get back because I didn’t take the time to keep my backups up-to-date.

Backing up data is something I know I should do just about every week, but getting the ginormous back up drive, hooking if up to the computer and figuring out which files I’ve added to my computer and need backing up is a time-consuming task that almost never gets done. Good thing there are tools that make the process hassle-free and run in the background.

Must-Have Photo and Video Apps for Parents

If there is one thing we don’t want to leave undocumented, it is memories with our children. While I have a wonderful DSLR camera, I rarely have it with me when a funny or memorable moment occurs. But I almost always have my iPhone with me. I have captured literally thousands of megabytes worth of sweet memories with our three adventurous little ones on my iPhone and always find myself wanting to add some fun flare to the photos and videos.

Just the other day on the playground my four year old made up a little game involving a slide and a bouncy ball. She soon began running in circles, joyfully shouting, “I won! I won!” I whipped out my iPhone to record the event. She proceeded to walk right up to me and ask, “Mom, where’s my trophy?…I like a big trophy.” It’s the ability to be able to capture funny little moments like this that make me so thankful for technology.