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Friday, February 27, 2009

Oh, Sunny, Snowy Friday.

Two days ago there was not an ounce of snow on our driveway and the yard was even showing yet again.

But now it is white. A blanket of white. A thick, deep, cold blanket of white.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Love Lost: The Caribou Coffee Story.

Imagine a mom and an infant. (That'd be me and E, if you're having trouble imagining...)

Out to coffee. With a friend from college.

At Caribou Coffee.

Which one you ask?

1808 Plymouth Road. Minnetonka, MN.
Directly across from Ridgedale Mall.

Said mom needs to change infant's diaper.

Goes to the restroom to find there is NO changing table.

Leaves the womens restroom and checks the mens.

Nope. Nada.

Said infant is fussing because she only has the most messy, dirty diaper of her life going on. Like onesie change and all. You moms know what I'm talking about.

Mom is irritated.

Mom emails said Caribou Coffee.

Caribou Coffee passes the blame off to Brueggers Bagels. (Which is connected to Caribou.)

Mom is more irritated.

Here's our correspondence thus far:

Me: ...I met a friend for coffee at this Caribou on Saturday and was so disappointed to find out that neither of the restrooms had a changing table to change my 10 week old infant. Caribou's have typically been so family and child friendly. What a disappointment! Is there a reason for no changing table facilities here or is Caribou working on updating this facility?...

Them: ...Thank you very much for your email. I did ask the district manager of this location about the restrooms. The restrooms are actually Bruegger's restrooms, we do not have restrooms at this location. Was it perhaps a different Caribou?...

Thanks for getting back to me. This particular Caribou is connected to Brueggers and there is one set of bathrooms between the two of them. I guess that almost makes it worse that Caribou passes the blame off to Brueggers and doesn't even have facilities available besides Brueggers??...Did you get a chance to look into this further?

Them: ...Due to the type of lease we have in that location the restroom facilities are operated and leased by Brueggers. We do not have separate facilities in this location.
Please let me know if you have additional questions...

And then, again: ...I apologize if you find my response lacking. Unfortunately I do not have a way to rectify the lack of a changing table in the restroom for the reasons I stated previously. Please let me know how else I can assist you...

I wrote back and informed Customer Relations I'd be sharing my experience and issue with a broader audience. That'd be YOU.

Here's what I think and then I want to know what YOU think. Really.

#1. Where does Caribou Coffee expect their customers to use the restroom at this particular location?

#2a. Is it important to Caribou Coffee that parents with small children are able to come and visit their store?

#2b. If so, where do they suggest small children in diapers are changed?

#3. Regardless of whose restroom facility it is (Brueggers, Caribou's, the landlord of the building...) Caribou Coffee generally expects customers to use these facilities. A diaper changing station can be purchased starting at $180. One hundred and eighty dollars. When people are coming in and spending $3-5 on a beverage, is it really too much to ask Caribou to make the investment for this?

#4. I was disgusted that I had to lay my changing pad on a tile floor to change my infant. But now what disgusts me is the lack of concern, the lack of apology and the lack of genuine interest in my complaint. What gives?

And as for Brueggers, they have been contacted and I've received no response as of this posting. Which is another disappointment in and of itself.

So now it's your turn, what do YOU think?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


It's been said a dozen times over that he does everything with great intention.

His legs are made for running.
The couch is made for jumping.

And his voice, oh his voice, is made for shouting and yelling and squealing and everything else that is loud and reckless.
After a trying time at ECFE (and beyond) where his voice was too loud saying (more like demanding) NO! and other attempts on his own way, him and I had a chat.

"We do not yell anymore." I said calmly and seriously. "We talk nicely, in a nice, friendly voice...we use manners.
Do you understand what I'm saying? No more yelling or shouting or using such a loud voice. I think it's kind of scary."

I asked him only once or twice if I had his commitment and understanding, and of course, in the simple matter of fact way that only he can muster he said;
"Should I ROAR instead?"

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mothers and Daughters and Weddings.

Last week I had the privilege of helping a friend of mine do some wedding related errands for her wedding this next summer. We ran to a few places looking at ideas for invitations, bouncing ideas off designers and each other and getting a mock-up made to show her fiance.

We chatted about the wedding, the weather, my cute kids! and the toll planning a wedding tends to take on a mother-daughter relationship.

Her mom has ideas.
She has ideas.

I told her, "Your mom just wants to be included. She just wants to be a part of the planning and things. She wants to feel useful and valued and just be your mom.

But most of all remember; There is nothing like a wedding that literally shakes that mother-daughter relationship like this. You'll see."

I remember all too well the conversations, the disagreements, the nods and the smiles between my mom and I while planning my wedding.

My mom had ideas.
I had ideas.

I admit now five years later that I was at times a bratty bride. With my mother at least.

I was the spoiled tantrum throwing bride who said it is my party and it will be my way.

If you don't believe me, ask my dad. And my husband.

I do look back thankfully that we (J and I) did include my mom in just about all the decisions. She went with me to florist after florist. Reception site visit after site visit. Even humoring me by visiting one site that was far beyond our budget. We tasted dinners and talked wine options. We took a creative class together looking at invites and programs and placecards. Looked at photographer packages and she read every single piece of fine print for every contract we signed.

I, of course, went between being annoyed and being incredibly grateful that she didn't mind my slow indecisiveness at times.

I like to think that we had a lot of fun together. Because oh we did. We sat laughing in the car after one meeting with a florist who was way overpriced for the floral arrangements I had in mind.

While some girls take their bridesmaids wedding dress shopping with them, I took my mom. And once I had decided, we brought my dad. And afterwards we sat at the nearby Eddingtons laughing and talking and soaking up the bond we were sharing.

While we had fun and laughed a lot, there were also a few moments of tension. Where my brattiness flew into high gear. Different expectations. Different ideas.

My mother, if you knew her even for a second, you knew she was a classy woman. And I admit that sometimes my ideas were not so classy and traditional.

She was patient. And gracious. But yet we did have a few heart-to-hearts discussions over how things were going to go down.

Especially on her dime.

And then there was me.

Me, wanting to prove that I could do it all.

And of course, my mom came to the rescue when I really couldn't. When just nights before the wedding the 300-some placecards were still blank, she handwrote them all. For me. Even though it was something I said I would do, because it was after all, my wedding, but ran out of time.

Has there ever been another time where the relationship between us was so tested?

Not that I recall.

But do you know what moment between her and I that I remember most. After all the wedding preparations. The laughing and those weak moments of frustration. After all the festivities and celebrating. The joyous hugs. The clinking of glasses and dancing of dances.

I remember returning from our honeymoon, walking in her door and seeing her standing in her kitchen. Tears in her eyes. Hugging me hello. But yet goodbye all at the same time.

Welcoming me back from our trip but letting me go be a wife all in the same instant. Seeing the results, the fruits of years and years of hard work and dedication; an adult she'd raised and now given away.

I can only imagine that's one of the harder, bittersweet parts of being a mother with a daughter and a wedding.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Our Own Academy Award Winner.

Miss M. Drama queen. Actress in training.
Our beautiful girl.

All dolled up from a Hollywood birthday party at Snip-It's today.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Morning Cocoa.

I've been trying to get myself up out of bed and ready for the day earlier than before. I used to wait until the last possible moment. Days with T and M, I'd wait until I knew their alarms were going off. Days with just H and E, I'd wait until one awoke.

This made for crazy busy mornings, especially when we'd have to get out the door for activities or playdates or errands. Usually making me feel stressed and half dressed trying to get out the door.

This morning J was going in even earlier for a very long workday and I got up and started getting ready and enjoyed my morning cocoa. I know I absolutely exceed the daily recommended portions of this hot and sweet drink, but I can't help it. These days I am hooked.

Moments later Miss E awoke and her and I spent some quiet time enjoying cocoa (well, I did at least) and watching the sunrise before the morning got away from us.

There's just something about starting the morning like this.

So much calmer.
So much slower.
So much better.

Monday, February 16, 2009


It is no secret that I have long struggled with what I am doing with my life and that whole messy topic of what is success.

Currently, being home is wonderful.

I am content. My life is full.

I feel blessed and so appreciative that I can do this right now, especially in light of the economy.

However I do have hopes and aspirations for my future; I'd like to do more writing.

Publishing a book is at the top of my list.

Perhaps getting back into communications and/or the corporate world again. But for now, home is where I need (and want) to be.

I am the least likely to point a finger or question someones career or lack of career as a parent. I think that every family is doing what is best for their family in that moment.

Because it always changes, what works and is best right now, could very well change six months down the road. Or maybe it won't. But I do believe that most parents just do what works for them whether that is working full time, or working part time, or staying home, or working different shifts.

We all do what we have to do.

It definitely drives me crazy when someone asks me what I do all day. Somehow implying that my day looks like an episode of that old Nickolodeon cartoon; Rugrats.

That's why when I saw this column this weekend I felt so validated and knew that I would have to save it and remember it's words the next time I need some validation.

Whatever kind of mom you are, stay at home, working, grandma, every mom, and perhaps even those without a small village yet, will appreciate this excerpt from an old Carolyn Hax column. (Full column can be seen here.)

"When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head.

It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.

It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.

It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.

It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.

It's also a choice, yes.
And a joy."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Heart Day Thinking.

I know a lot of people have many hopes, dreams, aspirations and prayers for their children. I am one of them.

But lately, I find myself constantly praying and requesting that these two, H and E, that they will please always be friends.

That will probably give more than a few a chuckle and I know that all siblings have their things, but my prayer continues.

Lord, please let them always be friends.

One more thought to ponder before the big Heart Day holiday tomorrow; Love is patient, the most popular love verses begin. Is that perhaps because patience is the most important and the hardest on top of that?
As for me, I find I have the least patience with the ones closest to me, but I am working on that and working on showing my love by being patient, even when I don't want to be.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's Been Awhile...

...Since a book has captured me like this one.

It is different, but different in a good way. It is much more imaginative and out there than books I am used too but it really has pulled me in, so far.

I'm wondering if any of you have read it or are reading it or have even heard of it?

I'm just over halfway through and it's making me think...what about you?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Let It Go.

My days are not my own. And of course this is nothing new, just something new I'm learning and taking to heart again.

I am not sure where my time is going. I seem to have a deficit.

Yesterday flew by with crazy busy mornings and potty accidents and getting out the door.
Returning for a no-nap afternoon, kids home from school with late assignments and a valentine box needing to be made.
M's Valentine box.
Our Book-It pizza dinner is a blur and then it's different directions for J and I as he carts one to gymnastics and I cart others home to bed.

Today, I look at the clock and it's already 1. Much to do in the next 90 minutes before two school-agers with homework walk in the door looking for a snack.

Praying that E keeps sleeping and that H will finally fall asleep. Lord knows he needs a good nap.

Four days and counting, no nap for him and after a busy morning of ECFE Valentine's party and candy galore and he's wiped. And so am I.
H addressing his Valentines for friends.
Looking around at the books left on the living room floor. The toy cars lined up on the steps. The dishwasher light is flashing that the dishes are clean and need to be put away and the garbage can is being blown over by the wind at the end of the driveway.

It is not hard to get overwhelmed.

The one thing I've got going is that the house is clean, top to bottom. Just pick up tasks remain.

I turn off my cell phone that is beeping with new voicemail, ignore the pile of papers and notes on my desk that I promised myself yesterday I would go through today.

Today, my friends, I have decided to let it go.

Maybe this is your reminder to let it go as well...

Thursday, February 5, 2009


On Tuesday, we got H's preschool letter.

He's in.

One morning a week starting next fall.

I am so glad. Though initially when we registered my thought was if he gets in, he gets in and if he doesn't, he doesn't; over time I began realizing just how much I hoped he'd get in.

To the point of worry when checking the mail box.


Miss E had a great two month check up yesterday. She weighed in at 11 pounds 7.5 ounces and is 23 inches long.

And she had her first set of shots. She did great, no big deal. She slept the rest of the day away like this.
I didn't realize just how tricky managing both H and E at the doctor would be.

Let's just say that H was sprawled on the floor of the exam room waiting for the doctor. Can there possibly be any more germs anywhere?!?

The doctor tried to help me feel better about it by telling me that lots of kids do that. For whatever reason that made me feel worse.


I know I've already said it but I love having my dad back in the same time zone. And I love answering the phone and hearing his voice say; "What's for supper?" (He has to decide if he liked what's on the menu before committing to dinner, you know.)


Finally, last week H was flipping through some sort of parenting magazine and came upon a page with a boy wearing Lightning McQueen rainboots. He asked me if we could buy them, to which I told him that that boy probably didn't wear pull-ups and maybe when he wears underwear all the time we could buy them.

Little did I know that this would send H over the edge of potty training that he's been teetering on, oh, for about a year now.

H threw his pull-ups in the trash (don't worry I saved them!) and has been wearing underwear since.

He had one accident last Wednesday.

All day, naptime and even bedtime now.

So last night we took a trip to Target where H flew over the moon and back getting his Lightning McQueen rainboots.

Though I have always said there will no character shoes in this house, I'm trying to pretend rainboots are different. Right?

It took a little adjusting to get used to walking around in rubber rain boots and running didn't go over so well.
Today we are Lightning McQueen to a T.
We have Lightning McQueen socks, underwear, undershirt and sweatshirt on. Along with the boots, of course.
He is prepared for a flood.

He is so happy.

And we are so proud.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Two Months Old.

They say, time flies, when you're having fun.

And we are really having fun.
E is growing and changing every day.
And the hair remains unchanged. Still spiky as ever and dark as night. If anything, it's getting longer.
Her calm demeanor continues.
But she just kills us with all these smiles, all the time.
Really, is there anything better?
We just love, love, love this little girl.
She will weigh in tomorrow at her two month check up, any guesses on length and weight?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

He Knows Our Names.


H yells from his bedroom.

There is a pause and then...


It is bedtime. Or beyond bedtime. He's had his book, his prayer, his song. But can't let the night go without just one more request. We try to ignore the voice trying to grab our attention. J is in the living room with T and M, and I am putting E to bed.

"Samara..." H finally yells loud enough for everyone in a three block radius to hear.

That inevitable moment where your child figures out that you actually have a name and they decide to use it has happened.

I hear J walk down the hall to H's doorway.

"Your mom is putting E to bed. But it's Mama to you. You don't call Mama, Samara. You call her mom, do you understand?"

There is a moment of silence.

And then...

"Ok, Jeff."