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Friday, August 29, 2008

Conversations With My Two Year Old.

"H, should we go get donuts* before daddy and T and M wake up?" I whispered this morning.

"Yeah!" He giggled and smiled and then just had to add, "Mama, you're my friend."

If donuts are all it takes, I'm in good shape. For whatever reason I don't think it will stay that easy forever.

*Yes I am fully aware that I spend a lot of time talking about donuts these days. I have no excuse, I just really like donuts lately.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

In The Last 24 Hours...

  • Found out our contractor was going to have trouble meeting his already a week overdue deadline of finishing the basement.
  • I fired him.
  • He did an absolutely excellent job, however he had some personal issues and didn't like being on a timeline.
  • The timeline (being done before school starts for T and M) was one of the most important factors when we hired him.
  • All he had left was the trim and the doors.
  • I hired our previous contractor (the one who built our deck) to finish the unfinished job.
  • M had an abscessed tooth pulled.
  • The tooth fairy forgot to come. Oops.
  • M forgave the tooth fairy.
  • The city inspector was here and gone. The basement passed with flying colors. (The inspectors words, not mine. Proof that the work done was indeed quality. Praise the Lord.)
  • Registered all three kids for swimming lessons after sitting on hold for way too long.
  • The carpet installers arrived and are pounding away as I type this.
  • Their music of choice: old time Country Western.
  • And yes, much like the drywall installers, they are singing along.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Gone Good.

Last month on a nice, sunny day I took my necklace off, placed it on the counter (I thought?!?) and went about the day outside running around and playing. The next morning I panicked when I couldn't find the necklace anywhere. And I mean anywhere.

This is a necklace I wear most every day, it has a charm with each of the kids names on it. I got it for Christmas from all three kids. (Even though I'd picked it out myself.)

I literally turned our house upside down. Couch cushions, cupboards, mattresses. Sink drains, toy boxes, I even had our contractor check the duct work thinking maybe it got dropped down the vent.

No such luck.

Finally, I asked H.

"Where's mama's necklace?"

"In the toilet." He answered matter of factly.

That can't be, I thought. He's just really in to the toilet with potty training.

"Show me." I asked him and he walked me to the bathroom, pointed at the toilet and then flushed.

I am not sure I have ever been more angry with my two year old as I was in that instant. So rather than getting mad at him I continued to turn my house inside out and upside down. I called J in tears and he brought me to reality and told me it was probably gone.

I called the city and asked how one could go about getting something that was flushed down the toilet. They informed me that it could get picked up in the filter but even then it'd be about a year before they'd find it and that's only if it doesn't get caught up along the way. I don't even want to think about what kind of condition my necklace would be in.

After talking to J some more he encouraged me to email the maker of the necklace, Dillon Rogers.

"Tell them your story. Tell them about your blog. Maybe they'll give you a discount." He suggested.

So I did.

And Mr. Geoffrey Dillon absolutely made my day when he emailed me back the same day saying that he was not only sorry but that he would love to replace my necklace. For free.

Before they sent me my new necklace, they photographed it, because I'm sure they knew I wouldn't have given it justice with my camera...

Why is this necklace so special?

Because it shares with the world my three very special little people. It goes with anything whether I'm wearing a t-shirt and jeans or am dressing up.

It sparkles. What girl doesn't like a little sparkle?

The customer service I received, impeccable. While I was still not happy with H for losing my necklace, receiving a replacement and the kind, witty responses from Mr. Dillon, made me feel better.

I'm just some mama in Minnesota, but Dillon Rogers made me feel as though me and my necklace deserve Hollywood attention.

If you haven't already, check out their site. They do not only these beautiful personalized charm necklaces but they do leather engraved bracelets and other fun jewelry. Even dog collars.

In case you're wondering, this necklace will not be taking the same journey as the last one. I'm already being more intentional and careful. Though H has yet to throw anything else down the toilet, I would hate to risk losing it again.

I can't thank Dillon Rogers (especially Mr. Dillon) enough for the gift they gave me in replacing my necklace. They truly did turn my horrible, no good, very bad day to good.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Flawed Photo.

M and H relaxing at the pool. July 2008.
This picture is far from perfect. There's a big shadow across H's face, it's not quite centered and there's a slight blur.

Yet, I love it. I love that they love each other and I love the little smiles they are sharing as if they know something we don't.

While a two year old brother can be a big pain in the rear end sometimes, (like when he's emptying your school supplies out of your school desk at Open House) I know when I look at this picture that there is a love and a bond there that won't easily be broken.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Better Together.

I cannot remember the last time I laughed so hard with J. Or with anyone for that matter.

There are lots of reasons I love J, one of those reasons is that he really knows how to make me laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

I highly recommend taking a few days away with your spouse. Away from the daily grind of normal at home life, the projects that creep in, the errands that take over. Just to be.

While we were never very far from home (we stayed at Le Bourget Hotel on the edge of Minneapolis/Bloomington/Edina) it was just nice to be away and be together.

Shopping along Grand Avenue. My only picture from our days away.

"Yeah, we'll look at the stars when we're together
Well, it's always better when we're together
Yeah, it's always better when we're together ...
But there is not enough time,
And there is no, no song I could sing
And there is no combination of words I could say
But I will still tell you one thing,
We're better together"
-Jack Johnson

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Blame It On The Olympics.

Am I the only one losing sleep because of the Olympics?

I love watching the different events and especially love when the kids get excited and interested and they even have tried acting out different events. My favorite was preventing H from diving off the living room couch last night when he told me was just "swimming."

That would have been a trip to the ER for sure.

This week got away from me. Between the Olympics, finalizing final basement details, miscellaneous appointments, a dinner event for J's work and now our little last hurrah of summer I have been exhausted. In fact, the last two nights I've fallen asleep on the couch.

J and I are away and M.I.A for a few days, relaxing, reconnecting and catching up on our major sleep deficit. Though the baby won't be here for another three months, (we hope!) we know that between the start of the new school year, new activities for T and M, a busy 2 year old and the nesting preparations for baby beep beep, time will fly by. So this is our 'babymoon' of sorts.

Next week I have fun pictures to share, a story about my horrible, no good, very bad day gone good and possibly even basement pictures!!!

Until then, get off the internet and go watch the remainder of the Olympics.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hopefully They're Not Thinking I'm Running a Side Business.

In case you didn't know, we're having our basement finished. This involves many different men coming into our home on a near daily basis. Yesterday, one of their work trucks was actually in the driveway when we got home from running a few errands.

"Do you think people think we have a lot of dads because of the men that come here?" M asked.

"Umm, no, I don't think so." I answered.

But T quickly jumped in, "I bet they just think that Samara has a lot of boyfriends."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Noggin' Time.

It's been awhile, but I'm over at Cribsheet again today talking about a boy, his bike and his bike helmet.

Head on over and let me know what you think. Do kids ever grow out of wearing a bike helmet? Read what I think here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Parenting Lesson #572

Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity of my high vocation, and its many responsibilities. Never permit me to disgrace it by giving way to coldness, unkindness, or impatience. ~ Mother Teresa

While I don't know that Mother Teresa was speaking of the "high vocation" of being a mother, today this quote was exactly what my soul needed to hear.

After battling H for nearly three hours, he finally fell asleep for his nap.

During those three hours, my frustrations were high. My patience was short. And quite frankly, I just wanted to scream.

Yet somehow, he'll awake with the same loving smile and sparkly eyes ready to take on the world once again. Isn't it amazing how much more Christ-like children are than adults? They awake each morning (and each nap) with a fresh start and a new outlook on life. There are no grudges or overdue frustrations. No pent up old feelings.

The page is again blank. The mercies are new. And their grace is unabashedly unconditional.

Days like today are always going to happen. Actually I'm sure there will be worse. But may I be reminded of this important job I have and pray for patience, wisdom and grace when I need them the most.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Donuts.

I woke up this morning with a plan, it was the first day of just H and I in awhile so I thought we'd walk to the grocery store and have donuts together for breakfast.

When H woke up he apparently wasn't in the mood for donuts and I spent an hour wrangling him into clothes, shoes and getting him strapped into the jogger so we could go.

And then we began what was probably one of the more crazy adventures I've gone on in awhile. I completely underestimated how far away this grocery store is. I was thinking it might take me 15-20 minutes to get there. More like an hour and ten minutes.

I realized later that it was 3 miles away and that it was 88 degrees out during our walk that included me pushing the jogger with my almost 30 pound child up and down hills in full sunlight for an hour and ten minutes.

Can I also remind you that I am six months pregnant?

Thankfully, just as we were arriving at the store I heard a voice call my name. It was an acquaintance who's daughter was in M's class this last year. She couldn't believe I'd walked all that way and could tell I was just a tad bit exhausted and offered to come back and pick H and I up after our donuts.

She made my day. But what made my day even more was watching H run in to the bakery, point to the gigantic chocolate with sprinkle donut and then devour it without a care in the world.

Photos taken by my cell phone.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Mr. Gehrke's wife, H and Mr. Gehrke. July 2008

I have talked about the man in the picture above lots before. He was my most favorite teacher. Oh yes I had lots of other favorites that made me love to read and excel at math, but he was my most favorite.

It was the way that he would laugh and smile and joke. But then he'd get serious and speak softly.

There was never any denying that his two daughters were his absolute pride and joy. Pictures of marathon races and ski trips peppered his office amidst the pots and clay. He taught pottery and his hands were so skilled at throwing the pots on the wheel. On my kitchen counter sits a beautiful bowl he gave to me upon his retirement and another he gave to me with a wedding gift.

He coached football and his hands were so skilled at tossing the ball down the field. He had the respect and admiration from all of the students.

Mr. Gehrke retired the year I graduated from high school. Early. He battles Parkinson's disease making some of his favorite things, nearly impossible.

Yesterday, he was supposed to undergo an operation at the University of Minnesota that will hopefully help him. When he called two weeks ago to tell me about the surgery in his brain, I could hear the shake in his voice and his hands as he held the phone and the next day when I spoke to his wife, I knew that this was a big deal.

But last week, the phone rang and as his number flashed on my caller id, I gasped. It was his wife. In tears. There will be no surgery, he has some infections he needs to recover from first.

The disappointment, frustration and sadness in her voice was clear. This surgery, while risky and anxiety ridden, gave them hope. Hope that perhaps things will get better. His hands won't shake as much, his body won't suffer as much. And while there is still hope that they can do the surgery in the weeks to come, postponing it is a blow.

Mr. Gehrke is a wonderful man who loves the Lord. And I know that I am not the only one who has been touched by the person that he is over the many years he taught.

Regardless of whether you know Mr. Gehrke or not, we all have our special, favorite teachers so today I am asking you to pause and hope.

Take a moment and say a little prayer for him. And his wife. And his daughters. For healing. For the strength to endure and the faith to keep going.

And for that flicker of hope to not go out.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Needing a Vacation After Our Vacation.

We spent several days this last week up at the cabin. Which was wonderful. Exhausting. Fun. And did I mention exhausting?

Three busy children running every which way, constantly on to swimming or boating or fishing or games, for FOUR. WHOLE. DAYS.

This has been the first year that we haven't taken a big, get on an airplane trip, with the kids. For several reasons. We, for the first time in three years, had no out of state weddings. We're finishing the basement. (And spending more than a few dimes in the process.) And we're adding one more mouth to feed to this family very soon.

So we decided that we'd pack up the van and head up to the lake and while we did indeed have a great time, J and I are t.i.r.e.d. One of us was always on duty chasing H, here or there or everywhere. The other was typically busy with the other two whether it was fishing or mini golfing or preparing breakfast, lunch or dinner.
We all did have a great time. H loves going to the cabin and loves running and playing and the fresh air totally wears him out. T and M had a great time doing all the usual cabin actitivies, but their favorite still remains: family game nights. They love playing poker or dominos or other fun games that we can sit up late at night playing while we're there. And we all laugh.
I love that the kids still have fun wherever we go, whether it's Florida or Chicago or the cabin or a wedding in North Carolina. They take it all in, they go with the flow, they have fun.

Now the laundry is going, the kids are already immersed in friends and life back in the neighborhood and J and I are ready to head to bed. Thankfully, we have a little getaway planned for just the two of us before summer ends. After this last week, we need it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


This week J is off to enjoy a few days at home and then a few days at the cabin. Last night, I joked with J that every day this week is J's morning to get up with H, our eternal early riser.

At 7:10am the pitter patter of feet ran across H's room and then "MOM!!!!" "MAMA!!!!"

"Why is he yelling?" J said in a half asleep voice.

"He wants to get up, and he wants to make sure I hear him." I said back.

J went and got H, who was bursting to go for the day. Miss M was up moments later with donuts on her mind.

Sometimes on the mornings when J is off of work, M and I will sneak to the store and get donuts for the family. So today, J took H and M to get the donuts while I slowly woke for the day and T slept soundly. When they got home, M handed out the giant rolls.

"Dad even let H pick out his own donut today." M proudly told me as she handed him a chocolate and sprinkled donut the size of his head.

I'm not sure I've ever seen someone enjoy a donut as much as he did. Not an ounce was wasted.
That's what I call, delicious.

Monday, August 4, 2008

My Speed Racer Uncle.

On Sunday we traipsed over to Rock Falls, WI to watch my uncle Richard race his racecar, Charlotte. (But don't tell H that, he likes to think that any red racing car is named Lightning McQueen.) It was so fun to see the different cars and watch the races and learn more about how the whole thing works. And it was especially fun to see uncle Richards car and watch him race.

Uncle Richard with Charlotte.
Of course, each of the kids took a turn sitting inside the car. H was not so sure he liked it at the beginning. How come the cars in the Cars movie aren't this loud?

Richard even took J for a little spin around.
While H definitely warmed up to the races and the race cars, he still kept his distance from them when they went by. He didn't like how loud they were.
Getting ready to head over to the race.
130 MPH! WOW!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Quality Friday: Out of My Comfort Zone.

It's no secret that I am a very picky eater. My husband would call this is an understatement.

I hesitate to try new foods and new restaurants and try to stick with what I know, what I like and what I'm comfortable with.

Sometimes this is rather hard for J, as he has a much larger eating horizon than myself and also some of the foods and restaurants he does like are just not my thing.

One of the restaurants J (and T and M) really like is Benihana.

You've had to have heard of Benihana, the Japanese restaurant where your food is cooked in front of you.

Last weekend, for J's birthday, I decided we'd surprise J and go to Benihana for his birthday. The kids were ecstatic and promised me that I'd love it. And J, was more than surprised. (Hence the blindfolded J a few days back.)

While I'm glad we tried it and it was better than expected, it probably won't be one of my top favorite restaurants anytime soon. But seeing J and the kids (including H) fully enjoy it and trying something new was worth going out of my comfort zone for one night.

H was mesmerized by the cook.

The pictures were taken by T and M.

Today I challenge you to find something out of your comfort zone (whether it's as silly as mine, or whether it's even more challenging) and do it, proving to yourself that you can. Happy Quality Friday!