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Sunday, May 31, 2009

My New Favorite.

If we weren't six months away from Christmas I might even say this would be our Christmas card picture.

I love it.

Don't you?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Beachin' It.

Our days are usually booked solid lately. And I have no idea how that happened.

Between our daytime activities of ECFE for H and E, H's soccer, playdates, errands, and then our evening activities of T and M's piano lessons, baseball, gymnastics it seems it's been awhile since we had a day where the calendar page is blank.

So this week, after a little schedule fenangling with T and M's schedule (considering they are still in school), the littles and I jumped in the car with J and accompanied him to a Brainerd resort for a work conference.

While J has been busy attending trainings and meetings and social gatherings, we've been enjoying our free, unscheduled days.

Today was our best day yet. With temps near 80, the sun shining and a nice cool breeze blowing our way and having the resort almost to ourselves, it was pretty darn close to perfect.

Tomorrow we'll take a road trip home and pick up T and M and come back and enjoy a couple more days of relaxation and bliss as a family.

After our first trip to the beach and a long walk this morning, they both looked like this.

Pool time.
Back to the beach....
I have the hardest time getting good pics of him these days. When I ask him to smile he almost immediately looks away or acts goofy, so I was pretty happy with this one.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

An Open Letter to Jon and Kate Gosselin.

Dear Jon and Kate,

Because having cable television and TLC is a somewhat new luxury for our family, I only recently came to know the Gosselin family.

And quickly fell in love.

What's not to like about watching six adorable little ones, their older siblings and a very real mom and dad.

Don't get me wrong, there have been many a time that I have watched and winced at the sharp tones in the voices between the two of you, however I realize that sometimes we all get inpatient, short and just plain rude to the ones closest to us. Especially our spouse.

I am late to the Jon and Kate bandwagon, but because of this I've only seen re-runs. Old episodes where the family was living paycheck to paycheck, with Jon working all week only to come home and send Kate out the door to do her weekend nursing job. I've seen the episodes where you two seem humbled by generosity and are trying to live as normal lives as possible. And now I've seen the episodes where it seems everything that ever mattered to you both is long gone.

I am very sad.

One of the things that really sucked me into your show was some of their earlier episodes where you've talked about your faith and I can so clearly see that you have your priorities straight.

Praying together before surgeries, Bible verses throughout the house, and even at times, religious apparel.

Monday's season premiere was heartwrenching. The both of you claim to be doing everything for the kids and your reason for even doing the show is to document things for your kids. You do realize that your kids will watch Monday night's show ten years from now and not be impressed, right?

You do realize that it seems awkward, selfish and just plain childish to air a show like that?

I realize that I am not you. I am some viewer seeing only what TLC has aired and what I'm hearing from the outside media. (Or like you call them Kate, the paparazzi) But I am so disheartened by what it seems that tv, fame and fortune seems to have done to your family.

Yes, you have a beautiful home. A beautiful family. (The two of you are looking fabulous yourselves.)

Opportunities to do every thing you could ever want. But anyone can see that what the two of you have together, is crumbling.


If I were your friend and able to sit face to face with you I would ask you about your seemingly diminishing faith. I'd tell you to slow down, sit down and get on the same page again.

If you truly, truly want what is best for those amazing miracles of yours, then you will stop playing immature games and work on figuring things out.

Maybe that means cancelling the show.
Maybe that means life won't be so luxurious.
Maybe that means in the end, your marriage will survive.

Or maybe it doesn't.

Regardless, the draw of your show is that you are a family that is different than the other soap opera tabloid television out there. The two of you still have that opportunity to be different.

Because you were different. But somewhere along the line, between the tapings, the interviews, the book signings and everything else you call your "work", it seems to have gotten lost.

Stop airing your dirty laundry.
Get back to the basics.
Remember where you came from.

And I can almost guarantee in the long run, you'll be happier, healthier and your kids will thank you.

Just some random viewer who cares and likes to think it's about more than just the ratings,

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Week Her Hair Went Flat.

It's very rare that we are outside and E doesn't have a hat on. Who knew that I would fall in love with so many different baby girl hats and bonnets. (Believe me when I tell you we are now plenty stocked in this department.)

With high temps and lots of humidity a couple days this past week I wasn't shocked when after her bath one evening her hair was flat. I thought it'd slowly go pack to pointy and spiky, but no such luck.


It's looking pretty flat these days. And she looks like a whole new girl.
I have to confess that I will certainly miss her crazy, spikey hair-do, but am also excited to be able to try hair clips, ponytails and headbands too.

Lucky for her, we have lots and lots of pictures documenting her and her everchanging hair-do the last five and a half months. And while I will miss that wild hair, I just think she gets cuter by the day, spiky hair or not.

I mean really, have you ever seen anything cuter than this smiley faced blue eyed babe with a headband?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mama's Boy.

Not just anyone's Mama's boy.


Thursday, May 21, 2009


There are only about 1,001 topics and ideas floating around in my head. Yet the weather has been gorgeous, the days have been long and my house, oh my house, really needs a good cleaning.

You can just say I've been a little bit sidetracked this week. Figuring out the balance of inside and outside and naptime and how that's all going to work this summer. (Cause when you've got a babe who likes a four hour afternoon nap, we've got to make some adjustments. But I am most certainly not complaining.)

We've been outside, soaking up the warmth and sunshine every day the past week. Each night all the kids have needed baths and showers to scrub off the day's play and be fresh for the morning. A sure sign that fun had been had.

We've been to the park and back just a couple hundred times.

But it doesn't really matter if we're home or at the park or anywhere else right now because just being outside on these beautiful days is enough.

T and his friends get sweaty shooting hoops or riding bikes or making skateboard jumps. M works on mastering the monkey bars, cartwheeling about and picking dandelions. (Hypothetically of course because my husband insists we have none.)H runs and jumps and plays and sleeps harder than he's ever slept before at night.
And little E supervises whether strapped in her stroller or strapped in the Baby Bjorn watching the craziness take place.
We are just loving our outside days these days.

And the way we really know that summer is here to stay? Once the popsicles start becoming a part of our daily life. True confession, on hot summer days we have a popsicle at least once a day sometimes twice or even three times. We love us some good popsicles.
There is something about the smell of sunscreen, the dirt caked finger nails and sweaty heads eating popsicles that makes me smile.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The End of An Era.

For the last two plus years (minus the summers) H and I have spent one morning a week at our local community education center taking ECFE class together. (For those without children or outside Minnesota, ECFE stands for Early Childhood Family Education. Basically parent/child classes, the first half is parent/child playtime and songs, then the parents go have discussion and the kids stay with the teacher.)

This morning was his last one. Because next year he'll be in preschool. (And it looks like he'll be going two days/week after all now.)

At the risk of sounding like quite the sap, in all honesty, the morning, and especially the goodbye song we sing each week, was bittersweet.

Though the song says goodbye to our friends and I know we'll see our friends I felt as though today's goodbye was to the class and building, this era and experience instead.

When H was just short of one and we signed up for our first class, I was miserable. I didn't know anyone, I felt like an outsider and the only thing that kept me going was knowing that H loved it. (That, and sometimes I didn't have anything else to do. Oh how I'd love a day like that now.)

I realize now looking back that my expectations were all goofy. I didn't put myself out there for fear of judgment and my insecurities very much got in the way of making the relationships with other moms that I longed for. I've written about my experience with Mom's Club and MOPS and even ECFE before and if you haven't read them, you have to. It makes, even me, laugh.

Because I am not a quitter we signed up again that fall and it got better and I started feeling like it fit us. We were connecting. Engaging.

And loving it.

As a matter of fact, I like to believe we thrived and now, every single day H asks about his 'friends'.

Amazingly, here we are today, seven sessions of class since that first one where I felt like a fish out of water and now that we're floating along, it's over.

Some kids in class have come and gone. Some parents have gone back to work or changed their schedules. But one constant has been, Miss Jackie, his teacher. She has been there since day one. And I couldn't have handpicked a better first teacher for H.

She has been patient and loving and kind. She has taught them social skills and manners and how to be a friend. She is honest, and makes sure to tell us when our kids have disobeyed and there is something refreshing about that.

The point of all this rambling and reminiscing is that I am happy, yet I am sad. I have loved these mornings together and have even started a baby class with E on Wednesdays. I have loved the friends we have made and that we will continue to see and live life with. And I love where H and I are at as mother and child right now.

But I am sad because H is ready to move on to what's next. Bigger and better and much more exciting things await him. (As I'm writing this I do realize I make it sound like he's moving away to boarding school, he's not.)

I oscillate between the point of excitement over H growing up and each new thing he gets to do and between wishing he could stay small forever.

As we sang our final goodbye song at school today, and as H hugged his teachers and his friends (that he'll be seeing again tomorrow) I couldn't help but think, once again, it is going too fast.

If only I could hit pause and stay here a little while longer.

Time is just going by much too fast and it's these moments where I realize it just keeps on going even when I'm not sure I'm ready to turn the page or in this case, say goodbye.

"It is time to say goodbye to all our friends. It is time to say goodbye to all our friends. It is time to say goodbye, give a smile and wink your eye. It is time to say goodbye to all our friends."-The Goodbye Song

Monday, May 18, 2009


There are just not enough words on this planet for me to describe how this smiling little face makes me feel.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

He Must Have Thought I Was Running Out of Blog Material.

T has been talking about having an "End of the School Year" party for weeks. In all honesty, I've kind of let it go in one ear and out the other because the last day of school is on a Thursday and he'll be at his moms.

I was selfishly thinking that it wouldn't be affecting me.

Oh but was I ever wrong.

Friday night I happened to see a message from a (girl) friend of T's from school and while this was really no big deal and I typically wouldn't have paid any attention, a few words happened to catch my attention.

Talk of a party.
Saturday night.
Pizza is involved.
My dad will pick you up.

My dad will pick you up? Meaning J? Meaning this party is at our house?

So Friday night I brought it up to J thinking perhaps I've been out of it and missed this conversation and party plan.

Oh no, I certainly didn't because J didn't know anything about it either.

Come to find out he had friends waiting in the wings for his "End of the School Year" party and so did M.

And not just a friend or two, eleven friends.

(I'd like you to know it could have been many more, because I do believe that M called every single person she knows with a phone number.)

While me and my black and white tendencies wanted to say no and shut the whole darn operation down, J calmly and coolly took over and decided we should just see how it all pans out.

We kind of balance each other out like that.

The evening was interesting. Mostly because I totally stepped back and let J run the show and deal with all the craziness that was happening.

And when I say I totally stepped back I mean I left. The littles and I went and ran errands.

Something about eleven plus kids eating greasy pizza and drinking soda in my clean house makes me freak out wince.

But it was fine. The littles and I got home just in time to snag a piece of pizza and it was almost time for everyone else to go. The kids that were over were very polite and kind and though the kitchen needs a sweep through the house doesn't look so bad.

(Might have just a little something with Jeff trying to keep most of them outside.)

After J dropped off the last of the partiers, he sat down with both T and M and gave them have a clear cut expectation that any future parties need to be run by us before anyone is invited.


Friday, May 15, 2009

First Twins Game.

One of my most favorite parts of being a parent is getting to see new things through a child's perspective. I love the excitement that H gets over special things that we do. We took H and E to their first Twin's game yesterday at the Metrodome. (And most likely their last one there too since next year the Twin's will be playing in a brand, spankin' new stadium.)

As evidenced by the pictures, we had a blast.

I loved watching H's expression as we waved down the cotton candy man, bought a bag of blue fluffy delight and handed it to him. That's four dollars worth spending.

4th inning snooze...

...for both of them.

The width of the cup opening was bigger than her head.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The 14th Of May.

Late last night I found out a friend's mother in law was diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday.

...Wasn't what we thought we'd hear today...She wrote.

I'm sure, it wasn't.

Instantly my mind and heart were full for her, for her husband, their family and especially her mother in law.

They are now on the journey of cancer that I wouldn't wish upon anyone.

They have entered the world of treatment options and medical terminology and many, many tears.

Her cancer is in the "very, very early stages". So that fills them each with hope for now.

I offer my prayers, support, I'll do anything they need, but I know, from my own experience, that besides prayers, there is not much more I can do right now.

The timing of her email and her mother in laws diagnosis hit me. You see, two years ago today, we found out my mom's official diagnosis. And it came attached to the word, terminal.
We knew, that short of a miracle, her cancer would kill her. And just seven months later, it did.

My dad has often joked that I have a memory of an elephant. (Apparently elephants have good memories?) Dates, times, places stick in my mind. And for weeks I have noted that May 14th was the day we found out just how sick she was. We'd known she had cancer for less than two weeks before that but were waiting to hear where it was at, how far along it was. I hoped that the 14th of May could now be marked with H and E's first Twin's game, not replacing the sad memory but giving me something positive to recall as well.

Isn't it amazing how much one's life can change in just two short, yet at times, long years?

When my mom was diagnosed, friends and family, near and far, repeatedly asked what they could do, how they could help and my one request continued from the start, until the very end of her battle. Pray for her. Write her a note, whether you've met her or not and tell her you're praying her through. Encouragement can take someone very far.

I like to think it helped.

Today, I am remembering my mom, the woman she was to not only me, but everyone around her. I'm remembering and honoring the battle she fought for seven long months.

And I am holding, Marlene, of whom, I've never even met, close in my prayers. Will you please do the same?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Still Going Strong.

For those who have asked if H is still my little Lightning McQueen wannabe, you be the judge...

Lightning McQueen bike helmet, t-shirt and rainboots on a trip over to Boppa's recently.

Lightning McQueen is still his main squeeze but he's also become very interested in superheroes recently as well. Only time will tell how long each of these fascinations remain.

He loves being able to pick out his own clothes each day and sometimes does this two or three times. For Mother's Day, I told him that since I'm the mom, I get to pick out his shirt. He was very sad that it was not a "cool" shirt. (Cool shirts are defined as Lightning McQueen or a retro looking (Junkfood type) superhero shirt.)

So just in case you've been wondering, he's still going strong.

This little boy still loves him some Lightning McQueen

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


So, every once in awhile I get a wild hair that I should try to take a really good picture of the four kids. (Might also have a little something to do with the emails and comments I get about my header missing one of the children. Don't worry, I know. I haven't forgotten.)

The winter, with a changing infant and a new sense of normalcy, wasn't a great time to go and get new family photos taken. And while it has been awhile since our last ones were taken, I think we'll wait until this next summer or fall. When E isn't changing on a near daily basis, can sit up on her own and when we get this whole, four children looking at the camera smiling at the same time, thing down.

Could be awhile.

But this morning, thinking it was sunny with a warm breeze going by (Which it wasn't. It was overcast and cold. Looks can be deceiving.) I thought why not go out and try to get a picture.

I make it sound so effortless, don't I? Let me tell you that there was bribing involved. It involved chocolate chip cookies before school. I am that mom. But it got the job done, didn't it?

They did the seating arrangement all on their own. E and H are in chairs instead of laps because I was too tired to listen to the arguing of who would hold who. (I'm sure you're all aware of who was being fought over.)

And while none of these pictures are perfect, I love them, because even though these would be the outtakes, quite simply they show our kids, just as they are.

H: CHEESE!!!!!
T: Is she really making us do this?
E: Whoa.
M: Can we take some pictures of just me?
H: Can I have my cookie now?
T: How many more are you going to take?
E: So this is what they call wind.
M: Did you take a good one of me and E?

T: Are we done yet?
H: Cheese!
M: Why can't I just hold her?

E: Hey Mama!! Do I get a cookie too?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I am flabbergasted by the realization that I am a mom. A real live mom. With children. Who depend on me. And love me.

Before you get too alarmed, allow me to explain. When I married J, I was thrown (to the wolves, some might say) into instant motherhood. I didn't necessarily always feel like a mom.

How does one feel like a mom?

I'd like to think seeing your firstborn actually sign a card for you on Mothers Day has a little something to do with it.

Just H's for now. But he's well on his way to writing his name. And the amount of pride I feel about that fact alone makes me feel like a mom.
Me, and my littles at the Minneapolis Farmers Market this morning.
(The bigs were celebrating their mom today.)

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Dadio.

Dad and me. September 2008.
J often gives me a hard time about how much I look up to my dad. He often jokes that I will love him more (J, that is) if he behaves, dresses and seems like my dad. While I wouldn't go that far, I do indeed look up to and admire my dad. And I think that I am one of the lucky ones in that regard. I can only hope that our kids grow up with the same respect and admiration for their father that I have for mine. (And considering how great of a dad J is, I pretty much think they all will.)

I grew up with a dad who worked hard, loved his wife, loved his kids and was present, not just physically but in every way. I've said before and I'll say it again but I love my dad's laugh. I don't think I could live without hearing that big, belly laugh about the silly things in life. It is the best.

I love the relationship we share and have loved watching the relationship develop between him and H. (Who in case you've missed, adores his boppa.) I know that T and M also love being around my dad too (especially when he has fun treats and things planned.) And I look forward to watching his littlest granddaughter, E, wrap herself around his little finger. (It might have already happened.)

Today's my dad's special day, his birthday. And while he could live without the fanfare and the proclamations, I just wanted him to know that he is very loved and that we are so thankful for him.

Happy Birthday Dadio!
Ok, so this was his birthday last year, but it will have to do today.
Boppa and H. Summer 2008.

Boppa and E. December 2008.

Dad at him and mom's vow renewal. October 2007.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Big Hair. And Being Right.

This morning we visited some friends of ours who just had their second baby. I lifted H to take a peak at baby Emma and said; "Do you remember when E looked like that?"

He looked at me confused. Looked back at baby Emma, and as calm as can be informed me that; "She doesn't look like baby Evelyn. E has big hair."


Monday after school T and I had an interesting conversation.

"S, Fitness Frenzy wasn't today, it's next Monday."

"Oh really, T? I must have written down the wrong date."

"Yeah, I asked them to check and double check because you're never wrong about stuff, but Mrs. H said it's the 11th, not the 4th. Do you think they switched the date?"

"No T, I think I was probably wrong."

Hard to believe, I know. My favorite part, him asking them to 'check and double check' since his stepmom is never wrong.


In other events this week, Miss E finally rolled over this morning. Twice.


Haven't had much time for writing and updating this week but hopefully tonight can sit down and share some thoughts and happenings. Thanks for continuing to check in.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Five Months.

There is this invisible line that all babies cross. It is the line seperating them from newborn infanthood to full fledged baby. No longer that itty, bitty, teeny, tiny, helpless baby, but instead an almost mobile, personality filled babe who you continue to fall more in love with every single day.

Do you have any idea what I'm talking about?

That line that they cross when all of a sudden you realize they've got rolls. And cheeks. And they are not as fragile or breakable but instead a miniature person that you are responsible for.

Miss E has now crossed that line. And while I can't pinpoint the day or the moment that she crossed it, it has happened.

She is no longer that petite, tiny, newborn infant who only sleeps and eats and lounges around making a noise here and there. She is growing and changing and becoming more present and active and moving and shaking to give us warning of what is up ahead.

And while she's always been engaging and oh so alert, there is more and more of this that we see as time goes on.

Five months is no longer "I just had a baby" mode. There is a rhythm and method to all the madness. Schedules and routines are full fledged even when they aren't exactly by the book.

E's hair remains. Spiky and crazy as ever. I can see spots of it beginning to lay flat that once were pointed straight towards heaven and I have to admit, I'm a little bit sad. I knew she'd eventually have hair that didn't arise around her head like a Chia Pet, but it sure has been fun. The color is lightening more and more each day.

This past week two bottom teeth popped through. And it's another step forward.

For the most part, she is still a twelve hour night kind of girl. (Which is exactly my kind of girl!)

I've probably said it before but I'll say it again; we are cherishing the baby in her. So in the above picture she's still bathing in the sink.

While she's started on rice cereal and now oatmeal too, we are not in a rush. And just in case you're curious, she is still not a fan of the bottle. We have tried everything. Different bottles. Sippy cups. You name it, we've done it.

This means that her and I are just about always together. (Thank goodness for an early bedtime that allows J and I to still get out kid-free.)

But I do know this is all just a chapter, a season, a quick blip on the screen of life. I need to enjoy each day of nursing and the time I get to hold her close. I'll blink and she'll be walking.

Miss E, you have changed all of our lives for the better.

Not just mine and your daddy's. But T, who becomes a big softie when he lays his eyes on you. And M, who's practicing all of her little mother hen tricks and tactics on you. And of course, H, who loves you with a reckless abandonment and doesn't realize his own strength much of the time.

Your sunny smile that seriously could light up a room. Your giggles. Your coos and your caas. We are savoring every moment with you.
They will say that I am biased, I know that much, but I have yet to meet a happier baby than you.
Oh yes you can cry. When you're hungry. Or tired. Or things aren't just so. (You are, after all, a girl.) But you are so happy.

You exude a heavenly joy that many spend their entire lives searching for.

Your eyes, oh your eyes. They are so big. So distinct. And so telling.

You have no idea how much you are wanted. Or how much you are loved.

Five months, such a small amount of time in the grand scheme of life isn't it? But long enough to wonder what we ever did without you, sweet girl.
Happy Five Months, Evelyn Nanette!