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Thursday, June 28, 2007


Just a few pictures from our day.
H and our friend, Maddilyn in the van going to the Children's Museum.
H with Curious George.

Maddilyn checking it all out.
H having a grand old time.

Our friends Holly and Maddilyn.
Shopping with mom, enjoying a dum-dum.

No other grin quite like this one.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


M and H swimming at Breezy Point, May 2007.
Fourteen month old, H, seems to have joined the ranks of the terrible twos in the last forty-eight can our sweet, perfect, angelic cherub do this??!!!???

Hopefully this storm (or phase) goes by quickly.

For my sake, at least.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Wisdom Beyond Words.

From the time that we found out my mom's diagnosis, J and I have been very deliberate in how we talk about it in front of the kids. Obviously we are well aware that we can't keep things a secret forever. They know my mom (whom they switch between calling by her name, at times call her Grandma and other times Gammi) is sick. That she's been sick for awhile now, and that she'll probably be sick for a long time.

M has asked several times if my mom is contagious and we've reassured her countless times now that she's not, yet in her six year old mind this is the only way she can make sense of any sort of sickness.

As my mom gets ready to start her third round of chemo she's lost her hair now. Knowing that she'd be seeing the kids I mentioned it a couple days ago while they colored. Very casually I brought up that the medicine my mom is taking makes her hair fall out.

T, being a very quick and concrete thinker, asked why the doctor couldn't give her a medicine to make her hair grow back.

I think that's a fair question, don't you?

Sunday morning we went to the early service at church with my parents. Yes, the early service. My dad has always loved going to the early service first thing on a Sunday morning, and while our family typically is lucky to make it to the latest service I wanted to attend with my parents.

So we went to the very traditional, very early service where we were quite possibly the youngest attenders attending. That is all besides the point though.

My mom was wearing a very nice scarf over her head and neither T nor M said anything about it.

T and M did a great job during the service and I know that most of the time the sermons and even some of the songs fly right over their little heads.

Pastor Hawkinson was filling in for the pastors that were at the Annual Meeting in Portland, and it was actually my first time hearing him preach. He gave a great sermon, and even as people left church they were talking and exuding the words of the morning.

Driving home a little while later M asked me if my mom had any hair underneath her scarf.

"No, there's not any hair."

T jumped in the conversation, "When will it grow back?"

"It may never grow back."

And M, ever so sweetly and seriously replied,
"It will grow back in heaven. It will be even more beautiful then."

I could feel my eyes filling with tears as I nodded and smiled back at her.

"It's just like that man said at church; the past was great but the future will be even better."

A more wiser and appropriate thing could not have crossed her lips.
(That man, obviously being Pastor Hawkinson)

And again I am reminded, by a six year old, what this life is all about.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Tidbits Updated.

If I haven't said enough about Paris Hilton recently, read this. The Hilton family should be ashamed.
ABC and NBC should also be ashamed. There are so many better uses for that money that buying an interview with that 'girl'.
Makes me sick.
Dear American Press, We need to be interviewing some better role models.
Update: Today (Sunday) it was just announced that both ABC and NBC have backed off because of the publicity on the money and offers last week. Larry King will be doing the interview and is not receiving payment.
Dear Mr. King, Please question this girl on her morals and the life she is leading in front of our nations most impressionable. Don't just sit and let her play the famous victim and poor little rich girl. Please.
Regardless of where you stand on homosexuality, this letter to the editor will hopefully make all think about how they treat those who are different from them not just this Sunday at church but all Sundays. And while I do find many points in the gentleman's letter that are entirely debateable (Marriage/Becoming a Pastor) I think he makes a good general point. Our job is to love all.

If you've ever been interested in birth order studies you can take a wander over to this article which now says that the oldest children have the highest IQ's in the family. I think birth order studies are very relative to certain families and dynamics such as age gaps, gender, parental involvement. What do you think?

I know there are a few readers of this blog who read it for the "step-family" content and writings, I recently was invited to participate in a study for the University of Buffalo (NY) on being a stepmother. If you're a stepmother and interested in taking the survey you can go here. It takes about 40 minutes to complete but your experience and thoughts will be helpful to the research project.

Mayor Bloomberg's recent speech to college graduates is getting some slack. I have to agree, whatever happened to valuing family and time? His claim is in order to get ahead one must be the first to work, the last to leave, no vacations. He claims his daughters were raised 'thanks to their mother' and turned out fine. Umm, that really the message we want to send to our future?

A popular blogger wrote about her thoughts on being a stay-at-home mom not being that hard and it sent the mommy blogging world in a tizzy rather quickly. I didn't add my two cents to the topic but I did enjoy reading the comments and craziness that it stirred up. She wrote a follow up post here. I've got more to say on this topic sometime soon, but for now...what do you think?

Finally, here in our household the kids and I celebrated summer solstice yesterday by visiting our local Caribou Coffee for free coolers. It was the second annual cooler giveaway. The kids each had friends over so we dragged them along. Needless to say the only child who liked their cooler was Miss. M, so I was fairly caffeinatted. (I couldn't very well waste them, could I?)
We're looking forward to a weekend of sun which will hopefully provide a family beach day, but in the meantime H practices floating on his whale float inside.
M's been busy tending to her new pet caterpillars that she caught at baseball the other night. They are uniquely named; Jeff (her dad), Lori (her mom), Samara (me, her stepmom) and Gregg (her stepdad)....I've always hoped to have something named after me, and it's finally happened.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Faces These Days

As I came online to check email and things today I noticed that the pictures displayed near the computer are no longer "up-to-date".

T and M look so young in the photos. H looks so small.

Life changes like that, all too quickly.

Here's a peak at the faces these days.

Monday night at baseball T took a baseball to the nose and face. This picture was taken tonight, so two days after the incident. The swelling and bruising has gone down. Though he was initially nervous about playing in his game tonight, he did great, even scoring a home run.
This is Coco. No we did not get a dog, do you think I am nuts? This is one of the dogs at the kids' moms house, she joined us at baseball tonight and M begged me to put this picture (that she took) on the blog. Here it is! (Side note, Coco is a very sweet and calm dog! She was a great baseball spectator!)
M lost her first tooth two weeks ago, and her second tooth last week. Tomorrow we head to the dentist to get those teeth nice and sparkly.

H, growing, becoming more boy than baby each and every moment.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pointed Shoes and Pocket Squares

Imagine my surprise today to find out that one of my posts was chosen for Pointed Shoes and Pocket Squares.

The gist of the site (or at least what I gathered) is it's a discussion about TLC's What Not To Wear and other style stuff. No idea why or how the writers of the site found my blog or post but we'll just go with it for now.

Here's a link to their post and then my post that they chose, What Not To Wear.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Few Moments of Sanity

My mother in law was over this morning. T had a sleep over last night at her house and she came out to the house to bring T home which worked out perfect so I could go for a couple hours.

In the measly two hours I was gone this morning, the three children managed to literally trash the kitchen with dishes and painting projects. Painting projects they've been told need to be done outside or in paint clothes. There are toys sprawled out across my living room. The bedroom that belongs to M, is still a disaster though I do remember asking that it be picked up while I was gone. The steps have at least three blocks on each step, as H is at a stage where he likes to throw his things over or under the gate and watch them on the steps. Though it rained this morning there are toys and balls out in my garage and in my yard, including someones socks. The email I had started this morning to a friend has been deleted.

Don't get me wrong, I am so grateful that she helps when she can. I am.

Coming home to a house like this with high strung children besides can be a little insane.

My mother in law decided to take T and M out with her for a bit this afternoon, which I'm sure they will have a great time and try to get away with everything they can.

So while they are gone, instead of doing what I should be doing, such as switching laundry, putting the clean dishes away and possibly reading a book to H before his nap. I am updating this goofy thing.

Such is life, I suppose.

But do you want to know what I am most looking forward to right now?

No. Plans.

Yes, it's true and rare but this family has NO plans the rest of the week. (Well, besides the soccer and baseball activities tonight and on Wednesday night. Oh and the dentist Thursday morning.) But that's it. Until Saturday.

No school stuff for me. No playdates on the calendar. Just life, ready to be lived.

We can wake up and decide, let's walk to the park.

We can wake up and decide, let's go to the beach. Or let's stay home. Or let's nap.

Ok so the napping one is probably quite far-fetched but a girl can dream can't she.

Here's some Father's Day pictures from a BBQ at my parents house yesterday. I realized I haven't talked much about my dad lately. He's great. Really great.

Thankful this year for the man I call dad, the role model he's been to me, the love he's shown me and the memories we have together. And in case I haven't said enough, my absolutely favorite thing about my dad is his laugh. I love laughing with him.

My dad and I

My nephew, Michael (5) and T. You can see J in the background.

My niece, Brittany (11), my brother in law, Jim and my little sister.

My older sister, my younger sister and me. Have you ever seen three sisters look any more different than each other?

Having a little backyard fun at my parents.

My dad, H, M and T.

Fathers Day this year also marked fourteen months for little (or not so little anymore) H.

And the most common question we get is; "Is he walking?"

Nope. Crawling is still his transportation method of choice.

The weather in MN last week was 90's most of the week. Loved it. I filled H's pool one afternoon when the kids were at their moms and him and I spent a fair amount of time in the backyard just splashing around.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

True Hollywood Honesty.

With the Paris Hilton "scandal" of sorts unfolding at the end of last week, I wondered why it was made to be such a big deal in the news.

Because she's rich.


And, she's Paris.

I am so tired of reading and hearing about Paris. Tired of reading about Brittney and all the other dysfunctional Hollywood stars.

That's why when I read this essay by Jamie Lee Curtis, I wanted to applaud her.

I've taken the below essay from Huffington Post. I couldn't have said it better myself. May this be a reminder and a lesson to us all. I bolded the parts that I find the most affirming and important.

As the denouement of a really upsetting celebrity scandal came to its close, a tearful child pleaded to her mother... "Mom, it's not right."

It was a painful episode to watch. A young woman, begging her mother, the person who should have taught her right from wrong, to help her, to teach her the rules of life. It was a little too late. And so she wept as the Universe was bringing the teaching and settling the score.

I'm in no glass house. I understand only too well the pitfalls of maternal amnesia and denial. I am not throwing stones but merely a lifesaver, a buoy of sanity and understanding.

"My analyst told me, that I was right out of my head," Joni Mitchell sang in the song "Twisted." I was twisted. I am twisted. I am deluded that my attempts at being liked and loved by my children and friends with them -- all at the same time -- were going to result in "well raised children." We were the generation that would take the job of raising our children and turn it into... PARENTING. We were the generation who applauded every move they made. Every step they took. "Good climbing, Brandon" was our hue and cry. We were raised by people who didn't "understand" us and now we don't "understand" why our children are so messed up.

It is a national epidemic. Omnipotent children running amok or sitting amok as they watch TV and play electronic games and shop on eBay.

The sad paths of the three most popular young women -- privileged but from varying backgrounds, talented, beautiful and spectacular -- have ended in prison, rehab and mental illness. I hope their mothers are worried sick and wondering, "What could I have done differently?" And our culture should be asking the same question too.

What we need to do is look long and hard at our part in all this. Where did our children get the message that the rules don't apply to them? And where did we, the Mothers, get the message that if we abdicate our responsibilities as Mothers, the Universe will do our job for us? And it does, but without any of the love and tenderness and compassion that we could have given, along with the lessons.

Now it's just the cold hard facts of a jail cell or the emptiness of a rehab room.

I'm not pointing fingers. I'm asking questions.

Can we take the wrenching sight of Paris asking her mother, "why?" and ask it of ourselves?

My analyst told me this: "Children are paparazzi. They take your picture mentally when you don't want them to, when you don't look good, and show it back to you in their behavior."

Let's hope that we all learn what is RIGHT and what is so WRONG.

Wake up, Mothers and smell the denial.

Well said, Ms. Curtis.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Childcare 101

Ask any mother and they will say, one of the hardest parts about working outside of the home is the childcare piece.

I was more than ready last fall to start working and doing something after being home exclusively for almost five months. Don't get me wrong, I loved being home with my newborn. Loved having a summer break.

But I was ready to do something without a baby in my lap and experience some similar freedoms my husband had, such as going to the bathroom without little ones in tow.

Finding someone that you trust with your child can be hard. I feel I am pretty trusting and didn't have too hard of a time leaving H once it was time. A clear sign I was ready.

Shanna watched H this last school year and was a really good fit for us. She lived close enough that it wasn't too far from home or my work and H really enjoyed going and playing. His face always lit up when we got there and we always knew he was safe and well taken care of. (He even made projects once in awhile.)

As the school year closed we realized it was time for a change. I've got a few various commitments to the school district over the summer and much like during the school year it's not full time. It's not fair to someone who is trying to do childcare as a living to have random, part time hours.

Plus in the summer T and M are home too sometimes when I have these commitments.

J and I had some discussions on how we were going to handle things. We know of people who depend fully on family and that's great if that works for you, but for us it wouldn't work. J's mom is more than willing to help when she can, but keep in mind she's 68 years old.

Growing up there were different periods of time where my mom worked, and then different times that she was home all the time. When she worked we had a woman come to the house and take care of us and that was really nice.

I also spent a lot of time as a nanny. Both in Chicago and in Minnesota. And I absolutely loved it. I was with a family of three boys (now four!) in Minnesota for over four years and it was one of the best jobs I ever had.

So....that brought us to Babysitter Girl.

She just graduated from high school and took post secondary classes this last year. Used to work in a childcare center locally. Shares the same Christian beliefs. Has her own car. Her class schedule in the fall is three full days so she would be available to watch H two days so I could work.

Perfect, perfect, perfect...Right?

Well, we're off to a rocky start.

Yesterday she was late. Only ten minutes-late and totally ok, I still made it on time-late. Yet late.

Then when I got home three hours later, I found out that T and M had spent the morning watching Full House.

Today Babysitter Girl was twenty five minutes late.

Making me late.

Not calling to tell me she's late or what's going on.

Just late.

Late enough for T to whisper "S, don't get mad at her ok?"

No, I didn't get mad at her but I think she could tell that I wasn't pleased when I explained that T would fill her in on things and that I had to go.

She felt awful and I doubt she'll ever be late again...but I'm disappointed.

I had high hopes.

So obviously we'll stick it out and see how things keep truckin' but oh-man, did she miss something in Childcare 101 or what...don't be late, tends to make people crazy!

Monday, June 11, 2007

At Least Some Choose To Humor Me.

Thanks for those that played along with my fun of finding out Who's Reading on Thursday. It's always a little fun to do something different and on occasion someone new comments or says they're reading. I know there are many who read who choose not to comment and that's totally fine.

I had hoped to have the drawing all done and ready by lunchtime, but the beautiful weather called us outside and we just returned from a mile plus bike ride. We're borrowing a friends Burley so it's wonderful to hop on the bikes with H in tow and go wherever. This included a stop at our local library to sign up for the Go Bananas Reading Program.
We had a great time though we could all use a long nap now!

So on that note, here's the results of the contest courtesy of T and M. (And on a side note, because there are two of them and there was only one prize to be drawn for, we threw in a surprise prize so there are actually TWO winners! Believe me it's better this way for all involved. Oy!)

All the comments printed out ready to be cut.

All the comments getting cut up into slips!

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Anne is the winner of the surprise.

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

Natasha is the winner of the coffee gift card. She can email me your preference and your address and I'll drop it in the mail. If I don't hear from Natasha by Wednesday I'll re-draw.

And because the kids thought H would feel left out, here is H expressing himself verbally around home.

The first video he is reading "Barnyard Dance" by Sandra Boynton, the second one he's talking to J on the phone.

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Friday, June 8, 2007

Happy Friday.

T riding his bike, H riding his bike, and M being a ham. What else is new?
Gotta love it.
H sharing his lunch at McDonalds with Grandpa Bernie (J's dad)
And H talking to Grandma Judy (J's mom)
Soccer has kicked off for the summer. Here is M with a couple chums.
And T's baseball is still in full swing.
M again, trying to be a ham. H hanging out in his car.

Don't forget to leave a comment on Thursday's post to be entered in a drawing. It's fun times over here isn't it?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Who's Reading?

Sometime this month I will celebrate my 2 year blog anniversary. I no longer know exactly what day it is.

(In my quest for data privacy last month I deleted many older posts, I hate when I act so abrubt like that.)

I've given the blog history before, what I was thinking at the time, why I started in the first place, and what's it become for me.

Lately, I've been finding out more and more who's out "there" reading.

From people in my own community who have stumbled across, to people who have gone to Google.

People who have seen things I've published, to people who have known me for years.

People that I went to high school or college with, to people who have found me through mutual friends links.

I am curious, just for curious sake, who's there.

So I'm going to have a contest. Because I am silly like that.

Leave me a comment with your name (first name is just fine) and how long you've been reading, how you found the blog or how you know me.

You'll have until Sunday to leave your comment. I will print out the comments, cut them into slips and draw one. Whichever comment it is wins a $5 gift card for either Caribou Coffee or Starbucks. Your choice and I will even mail it.

The winner would need to email me with their choice and address that day so I can mail it.

How's that for fun, huh? (And cheesy, dorky, silly...I know!)

Don't be shy, now's your chance to come out of the closet, delurk, whatever you want to call it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Blog Book Club: Nineteen Minutes

I've never been in a book club but have always wanted to. Recently my friend, Anne was looking for some book suggestions and pretty soon a few of us were making mention of a "blog" book club seeing as many of us live in different places.

So our first book was Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.

To read some of the discussion and our thoughts on the book you can visit our book club site.
Overall I really liked the book. I actually read a majority of it in the airport and flying to San Francisco and flying home. It was very quick!

The premise is obviously about a school shooting and how nineteen minutes changes so many peoples roles and lives.

Jodi Picoult did a great job making each of the characters come alive, and also show us each of the characters flaws. There were no 'perfect' characters.

To read more of what I thought and others, you can click over to the book club site.

If you've read the book you can add comments/discussion to our discussion.

If you haven't read the book though and don't want anything ruined, you might not want to do that.

Email me if you're interested in joining for next month.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

What Not To Wear.

We don't have cable tv.


We only actually have two tv's in our home.

Gasp, again.

One in our bedroom, primarly used for watching the news or a movie from time to time.

And one in the basement, primarily used for movies for the kids and the occasional video games.
So as old fashioned as we may sound by saying this, when we are out of town at a hotel, cable tv is a treat.

On our trip to Breezy Point, one of the evenings J and T and M went to a bonfire while I stayed back with sleeping H. I was deeply engrossed in the book, The Kite Runner. (Which on a side note may just be the best book I've ever read. Really.)

It was too quiet, I flipped on the tv to TLC.

I've mentioned before I used to be a nanny. Jake and I used to watch TLC while we ate cheese sandwiches for lunch most days. His favorite was A Wedding Story. My favorite, A Baby Story.

TLC on a Friday night had the show, What Not to Wear.

And it was this show that told me, I've pretty much got it all wrong.

Now I'm no June Cleaver when it comes to dress, but I know that I wouldn't exactly fit on the set of Desperate Housewives either.

Here I am thinking I'm pretty hip in my Ann Taylor Loft gauchos and Rocket Dog flip flops. But, nope, TLC says I'm wearing it all wrong.

I should have pointy toed stilleto sandals that tie halfway up my leg with those gauchos and perhaps a strappy tank with a half cardigan instead of my plain Gap t-shirt.

And flip flops??!!?? I can almost imagine the host, Stacy laying into me about the flip flops.

I guess those are so 90's these days.

If only she knew that is my summer staple.

Where have I been.

After spending several moments of blinking my eyes as I watched the hosts Clinton and Stacy rip apart this womans work wardrobe, which was not completely up to date, but not nearly as awful as they made it out to be, I couldn't believe how people on the show seemed to respond to the hosts requests.

It was as if they were sheep, saying whatever you think will make me look cool.

Doesn't the word cool scream 8th grade to you?

That's why the newest Wisk commercial cracks me up so much.

Do you use Wisk laundry detergent?

Than you already are a cool mom.

But if you want to be an even cooler mom, go to

How to be a cool mom:

  • Do NOT wear 'what not to wear'.
  • Start using Wisk.
  • Visit

One word.


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Breezy Point.

After the last day of school we packed up the van and headed up north to Breezy Point Resort in Pequot Lakes, MN. J had been in Brainerd since Tuesday for work and was finishing up just as the kids and I arrived Thursday evening. It was truly perfect timing.
We spent the better part of the weekend there, exploring, swimming, playing and most of all relaxing. It was a great way to kick off the summer.
It was funny as I watched T and M swim (And swim, and swim some more.) that I had so many childhood memories of swimming in hotel pools. I've got the best memories of swimming with my sisters and cousins when we'd be on vacation or when cousins would be in town visiting.
It never mattered if we were only a few miles from home, it was fun to swim and play together.
The resort we stayed at had many pools, hot tubs and even one wading pool just H's size. There were a couple beaches for swimming, boating, and playing.

Ahh. Summer vacation.