This Page

has been moved to new address

Simplicity in the Suburbs

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
body { background:#fff; margin:0; padding:40px 20px; font:x-small Georgia,Serif; text-align:center; color:#333; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } a:link { color:#58a; text-decoration:none; } a:visited { color:#969; text-decoration:none; } a:hover { color:#c60; text-decoration:underline; } a img { border-width:0; } /* Header ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #header { width:660px; margin:0 auto 10px; border:1px solid #ccc; } } @media handheld { #header { width:90%; } } #blog-title { margin:5px 5px 0; padding:20px 20px .25em; border:1px solid #eee; border-width:1px 1px 0; font-size:200%; line-height:1.2em; font-weight:normal; color:#666; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; } #blog-title a { color:#666; text-decoration:none; } #blog-title a:hover { color:#c60; } #description { margin:0 5px 5px; padding:0 20px 20px; border:1px solid #eee; border-width:0 1px 1px; max-width:700px; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } /* Content ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #content { width:660px; margin:0 auto; padding:0; text-align:left; } #main { width:410px; float:left; } #sidebar { width:220px; float:right; } } @media handheld { #content { width:90%; } #main { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } /* Headings ----------------------------------------------- */ h2 { margin:1.5em 0 .75em; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { .date-header { margin:1.5em 0 .5em; } .post { margin:.5em 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; padding-bottom:1.5em; } } @media handheld { .date-header { padding:0 1.5em 0 1.5em; } .post { padding:0 1.5em 0 1.5em; } } .post-title { margin:.25em 0 0; padding:0 0 4px; font-size:140%; font-weight:normal; line-height:1.4em; color:#c60; } .post-title a, .post-title a:visited, .post-title strong { display:block; text-decoration:none; color:#c60; font-weight:normal; } .post-title strong, .post-title a:hover { color:#333; } .post div { margin:0 0 .75em; line-height:1.6em; } { margin:-.25em 0 0; color:#ccc; } .post-footer em, .comment-link { font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .post-footer em { font-style:normal; color:#999; margin-right:.6em; } .comment-link { margin-left:.6em; } .post img { padding:4px; border:1px solid #ddd; } .post blockquote { margin:1em 20px; } .post blockquote p { margin:.75em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments h4 { margin:1em 0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } #comments h4 strong { font-size:130%; } #comments-block { margin:1em 0 1.5em; line-height:1.6em; } #comments-block dt { margin:.5em 0; } #comments-block dd { margin:.25em 0 0; } #comments-block dd.comment-timestamp { margin:-.25em 0 2em; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } #comments-block dd p { margin:0 0 .75em; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } /* Sidebar Content ----------------------------------------------- */ #sidebar ul { margin:0 0 1.5em; padding:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; list-style:none; } #sidebar li { margin:0; padding:0 0 .25em 15px; text-indent:-15px; line-height:1.5em; } #sidebar p { color:#666; line-height:1.5em; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ #profile-container { margin:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; padding-bottom:1.5em; } .profile-datablock { margin:.5em 0 .5em; } .profile-img { display:inline; } .profile-img img { float:left; padding:4px; border:1px solid #ddd; margin:0 8px 3px 0; } .profile-data { margin:0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .profile-data strong { display:none; } .profile-textblock { margin:0 0 .5em; } .profile-link { margin:0; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { width:660px; clear:both; margin:0 auto; } #footer hr { display:none; } #footer p { margin:0; padding-top:15px; font:78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { }

Monday, May 31, 2010

That's All.

I could make a big, huge list of all the things we did and accomplished this weekend. Or where we went and who we saw and what we did.

I couldn't really show any pictures because besides a couple quick ones this morning I didn't take any.

But it doesn't matter.

It was bliss. The sun was shining and our hearts have been smiling all weekend over here.

And tonight, in the midst of my typical end of the weekend blues, I am sitting here so thankful. So very thankful for the wonderfully perfect weekend I just enjoyed with my husband and my littles.

And when I think that tomorrow is June 1 and school's already out for H and school's getting out for T and M later this week, I am so very excited.

I've been working on a running list in my head of all the things I need to make sure we get to do this summer before the calendar pages turn like they quickly do. My summer bucket list.

But tonight, all I'm thinking about is, how very happy and full my heart is. And how I want to live every day like this.

That's all.

Happy summer to you, and you and even, you!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This Is The Life.

I am pretty sure that my littles and I are "living the life". We've been up north {Brainerd} this week relaxing and playing while J is at a conference. The weather has been perfect and more like July, than May.

We'll take it!

Since Tuesday morning we've swam inside, outside, played at the beach, played at the park and fallen into bed at night exhausted and ready for another full day the next day.

The very first time we came to this conference with J, H was only 6 weeks old so there are many people here who remember him when he was teeny, tiny and we celebrated his very first swim. Each year has been more and more fun as he has gotten older and been able to do more things. Some years we have had T and M come along, other years where it is too close to the end of school (like this year) we don't.

Just a glimpse of the fun we've been having this week kicking off our summer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Motherhood sometimes means that when you're taking a shower your one year old will figure out how to get her pants and diaper off and climb in with you.

{I did help her with her shirt once she came in.}

The things we do for the little ones we love.

{And no I don't usually have my camera in the shower but I did ask someone to bring it to me so I could capture this.}

**Don't forget to enter to win some Twins tickets here.**

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Night Ramblings.

Was your weekend everything you hoped it'd be and more?

Here we are again, Sunday night.

Just a few things to update on and then I'm changing into my pajamas and relaxing the night away. Because the 92 odd degrees of humidity around here, as much as I love summer, totally wear me out.

If you participated last year you should have received a Save the Date postcard in the mail from A Breath of Hope this past week reminding you that this years 5K will be on Saturday, September 11.

So...mark your calendars and plan on joining us this year as we walk/run to remember my mom.
This year is once again at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis and I promise that it will be much more organized meeting up with our group than it was this past year. I already have a plan in my head on how that's going to work.

So please invite your friends, spouse, kids, family. Everyone is welcome and everyone can do it!

{Those of you training for the Liz Logelin 5K the following weekend, this might be a good warm up for you!?!?!}

Registration is OPEN!

Please register and JOIN our team "Remembering Nan's Battle". {If you have trouble, just sign up as an individual and say you are participating in memory of Nanette Tilkens. However I have been assured that the team feature DOES work now!}

Last year, we had over 60 friends and family with us so of course my goal this year is 100!

Please, please, please consider joining us! Email me with questions or for more information!


Lots going on over at my Review/Giveaway site this weekend.

MetroDentalcare is giving away two sets of four Twins tickets in June and YOU can win them if you're a parent willing to take the 2 minutes, 2 times a day for 2 weeks challenge.

Read about the true confession I finally caught on video and also about a new, non evasive product for people with ear issues and my take on it.


A blogger friend of mine I met in January has a great post up on vaccinations and doing your own research. This has been something I've never really questioned until this past winter when we started having lots of testing and blood work on E and many things not answered that we have currently stopped her immunizations with the intent to eventually start back up and delay them.

But I think that it is important for every parent to do their research on what is best for them and their children. Check out her post and the link on different states requirements.

In no way am I saying that vaccinations are bad or that you shouldn't do it or that we shouldn't have vaccinated the rest of our kids. It has just been something that I have really taken an interest in learning more about and I'd encourage anyone else who has ever had that little inkling of question on it to do the same.


One more thing, don't ever let a school district try to convince you that certain things are required like shots, kindergarten screening etc without looking into it. You would be surprised the verbiage that is sometimes used that implies certain things are mandatory when really, it's a parental choice.

And that's all I'm going to say about that!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Inside Her Head.

M never ceases to amaze me with her words, her pictures, her outlook on life.

Earlier this week she interviewed me as part of a project for school about my job as a mom. Who do I work with? What do I enjoy? What do I not enjoy? What do I really do? She says they are making the interviews into commercials or something like that. I can't wait to see where she takes my answers.

I love when she comes home with things like the below papers that give me a look inside her pretty little head.

I especially love that Miss E is crawling at the top of her family picture on the left.
And my favorite part here...'my brother from another mother'. Where did our kids learn to talk like this?

May both our bigs and our littles always be proud of where they come from and the people in their families.
This post (even though it's not a conversation) is linked up to Conversations with my Kid over at

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Name That Photo.

Today was a perfectly gorgeous day for H's preschool trip to the zoo. Not a cloud in the sky.

We had so much fun, even if the picture below says otherwise.

Really, I just had to include that photo because somedays I feel like that photo adequately describes the challenge that is parenting.

If you were to write a caption for the picture, what would you say?

And just because it's important to me, here's a better picture of the two of us. It was more than a better day, it was the best.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

I'm pretty sure that age four is the new two.

Today, my lovely, lovely, smiley, happy four year old really gave me a run. Literally.

This morning at a friends he took off on a battery operated motorbike. (Think: four wheelerish.)

By took off I mean went the equivalent of three blocks and only stopped because I had caught up to him.
I ran and I yelled out to stop. To come back. And he looked at me and laughed. Oh I wish it weren't true but it is.

When I silently drove home after catching him and expressing my serious disbelief and dissatisfaction with him he asked "Mama, are you mad?"

To which I asked him what he thought.

"Umm, no." He said in his sing song voice.

It was a school day today so the two of us had a little afternoon break from each other. Which was good.

I needed time to cool down. Literally.

Because it was hot and sunny out there and I don't remember the last time I ran that far, that fast.

But later this afternoon he decided to run my foot over with another ride-on toy. My toe is still throbbing six hours later.

"You're done!" I told him eight times over as my insides crumbled.

But really, what I want to do is scream: "Who are you? And what have you done with my sweet boy?"

I don't of course.

Because I still get to have the bad days. And if it had been raining today, I've have called it ugly but the sun was shining. That redeemed us all today.

I am silent because my brain is in overdrive after I tell him he's done. I have talked so much my voice is just a background noise at this point. My words will not make it through so I am silent.

Thinking and listing all the good in the day.

Miss E in her sundress and sunhat helping water all the plants.
And Miss M interviewing me for a career school project she's doing.
A clean house that I didn't clean.
And my favorite shows on tv tonight.

I can't let the frazzling fours break me down because though it was a doozy of a day, I still get to have these sorts of days.

The good. The bad. The ugly.

Along with those great days like yesterday where everything goes along swimmingly and my smile never leaves my face.

And then those days like today where I want to hold him and look at him and make him understand and tell him that I love him even when he's pushed every last button I've got.

Because oh how I do.

Days like today are the truest example of unconditional love.

Monday, May 17, 2010


The sun was shining from the moment I awoke.

My littles and I went to the market in town to get some fresh fruits since we were running low at home.

We came home and watered all of our plants and flowers outside.

Some friends came over and we all walked to the park together. The kids played and the moms followed the kids around the park.

We ate lunch at the picnic table in the shade.

We walked home.

We ate popsicles.

Miss E took nearly a four hour nap.

There were neighbor kids over and a few extras we were watching this afternoon.

So we of course ate more popsicles.

I decided on a whim to buzz both T and H's hair. They both were over due hair cuts and a neighbor had a clippers I could borrow.

I think they both look great.

I didn't think about the dishes in the sink or the crumbs on the counter one time this afternoon.

J had an appreciation dinner at work tonight and I had a dinner out with two old friends planned so I dropped my small village off with some friends for a few hours.

Where they played and ate and bathed and had fun with friends. While I ate and talked and had fun with other friends.

I picked them up and they were all happy and ready for bed.

And I thought about how lucky I am to have friends that both will take my kids like that and know just what to do, what to feed them, etc, etc. And friends that I can go out and have a good time with.

On the way to dinner I got stuck is some pretty icky traffic but I got to catch up with my cousin on the phone so it wasn't so bad.

I made a pitstop at Trader Joe's after dinner to pick up this yummy Pomegranate Limeade drink that we've been drinking like fish around here. It is so delicious and special that I let the kids drink it out of wine glasses.

All four kids are sound asleep now and J is home too. He's been home for awhile and we've both been picking up and straightening things.

He didn't even bring his laptop home tonight.

That never happens.

Today....was a really great day.

And I have not a picture to show.

How was your today?

Here's to hoping for another great day tomorrow.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


May 2009.

May 2009.

May 2010.

May 2010.

It seems as though we blinked and Miss E went from baby to girl, doesn't it?

Sometimes I think that when you're with your kids each and every day you don't always notice how much they are growing and changing and while yes, I know that they grow and change everyday, sometimes it takes a good long look and trip down memory lane to realize, wow! My kids are growing on me!

Sometimes I don't like it all that much. If only we could pick and choose the days and places and stages we want to stay at longer. And skip over the ones we're not so fond of.

The last two days we've finally been back outside enjoying the sunshine and you can tell that it is just what this family needed. After nearly a week of rain and being stuck indoors, some of us, were going a little crazy.
Mostly me.

Today we played outside at home and then went to my dad's and then came home and played outside some more. We grilled out for dinner and the windows are open and ah, I just love this time of year. This is the time of year that I'd like to last a little bit longer and just hit pause on the days.

At my dad's we "helped" plant flowers. I use the term "help" loosely because as evidenced below by Miss E, our small village isn't always the most help when it comes to things like that.
May 2010.

Don't worry, M and H were a little bit more helpful than E. (T was at home with other things going on today.)

If this past year is any indication, before we know it, we'll have blinked and E will be getting her hands dirty and planting flowers too.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Food Allergy Awareness Week Giveaway!

Updated 12pm 5/13/10: The winner has been chosen by Comment #2.
Thanks for the comments and suggestions and even the question!
Original Post:

Another week long celebration I didn't know existed until it applied to me.

Happy Food Allergy Awareness Week!

We are a family that lives with food allergies now. One of many.

Recent numbers say that between 6-8& of all children (3 and under) have food allergies. And of that 2.5% of children (3 and under) are allergic to milk.

E is dairy allergic and possibly peanut allergic. (We have not tried peanuts yet and are waiting until she turns 2 to do anymore testing.)

She can't have any cheese, butter, milk, yogurt or ice cream.

This means Cheez-It's and cheddar flavored crackers and chips are out. Along with milkshakes and smoothies. And string cheese. I'm pretty sure she misses that the most.

If E gets even just a swig of milk, she will typically throw it up within an hour, if not sooner. We have had a few instances with butter that she ends up very uncomfortable and seems to have an upset tummy.

We are very thankful that her reaction is not more severe. And we are also very hopeful that she will outgrow it as most kids with this type of allergy can and do.

Around the time of M's 5th birthday party, there was a boy that was invited to the party who was allergic to peanuts and I remember the mom asking me several times about the food and making sure it was all peanut free and I checked and double checked and yet the day of the party she sent her own cupcake for her son. I was so annoyed but now I completely understand!

While E's reaction to milk and dairy is not life threatening, I still want to be extra careful and cautious that she is not eating anything that could make her sick. I can only imagine how that mom would feel and worry when her son could have an anaphylaxic reaction which can be fatal.

I thought I would share some of the resources I have used and found the last couple of months since we found out that Miss E has some allergies because until all this came up I had no idea about the options available.

Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Almond Milk. The list goes on.

Goat's Milk is not an alternative because there are some resources that say it is not a safe alternative to cow's milk.

E is on a soy milk diet that includes soy milk, soy yogurt and soy cheese.

Soy milk is available most major grocery stores now but the other items can be harder to find.

Our local Target carries Stonyfield Farms O'Soy yogurt that she eats.

We buy our soy cheese at our local Trader Joe's.

And we also now buy individual chocolate soy milk boxes there too. Those are a fun treat for E. Sunday night she drank the entire 8 ounce box without even stopping to breathe.

I do find myself reading labels a lot more than I used to to make sure there are no actual milk proteins in certain foods. We avoid all cheddar based foods but if something like Vanilla Wafers that the box says "may contain milk", we do allow her to eat it and haven't had any reactions.

The reason E hasn't had peanuts yet is because many times when kids already have a diagnosed food allergy they are more likely to have another allergy and many times that is peanuts. (One of the most common food allergies.)

I was thrilled when I heard of SunButter. It's a sunflower seed spread that has a peanut butter like texture.

It is high fat and high protein (which in our case with E is very good!) and very tasty.

All four of our kids love it on crackers and sandwiches.

It is peanut, dairy and gluten free.

This is available at Target and other grocery stores. There is also a generic version I've seen at Trader Joe's but I haven't read the label yet to make sure that it is safe.

While there are some things that have been harder with E's allergies, we have adapted pretty well. I do sometimes struggle with the fact that with H it was so easy to have a babysitter or go to a friends and he could eat and drink anything and now I need to plan more for E. And also communicate more about what she can and can not have. I am already a little anxious about the idea of future playdates and preschool and all of those things that I won't necessarily be there to speak up about. However, I think we'll wait and cross that bridge when it comes.

There are tons more resources out there that I haven't even uncovered yet. One of the websites I have turned to for information is FAAN. But I am always interested in more info.

**Another local Minnesota resource is Missy of the Marketing Mama. She has an entire series on her blog devoted to food allergies.**

Do you have any experience with food allergies or any further advice to give someone?

Please leave a comment of your own experience in the comments or further suggestions you have or if you have no experience on this topic, a question you have. All comments will be entered in a random drawing for two tickets to this Friday nights (May 14, 2010) St. Paul Saints Game. Comments will be closed and the winner will be chosen by at 12pm Thursday.

Disclosure: I was not paid or compensated in any way to write any of this post by any of the above companies or products listed. However, SunButter did send me samples of their product to try with no obligation. Metro Dentalcare has offered me the St. Paul Saints tickets to give away. I am not a patient at Metro Dentalcare and did not receive anything from them for hosting the giveaway.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Evening Musings.

J and I got to go out on a date tonight. Completely unplanned and last minute. Some friends of ours offered to share their sitter and we went out and enjoyed a nice, child free dinner and we laughed. Oh we laughed. And I love the way my cheeks burn and turn bright red after laughing so much.

This afternoon on a quest to recover several of T's missing hoodies, all four kids and I traipsed to the middle school to do a little locker clean out.

And we laughed. T was so nervous walking up the stairs to his hallway trying to prepare me for the disaster I was about to see. And yes, it was pretty bad but it was surprisingly fun.

M and E and H ran around in the empty after school hallway (with a newly found soccer ball) while T and I went through each and every nook and cranny of his locker.

While we only found one hoodie, we did find one swimsuit, one moldy towel, two lunchboxes, two and a half pair of gloves, a hat, a football, a soccer ball, a stack of reading books, an invitation to a party that happened in March (and he missed, obviously).

Now I'm sitting here thinking about my day and all of a sudden I'm realizing that it was a really good day over here.

Despite what could be, of looking at my to-do list that grows instead of shrinks and focusing on the days that have seemed all out of sorts, we made it a good day.

How was your day?

“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to
bed with satisfaction.”―
George Lorimer

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Long Essay on Mother's Day.

If I were to use a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the worst and rate my day with my littles yesterday, it would have been a negative 5.

And I wish that were an exaggeration. J had been out of town since Monday, we were at the cabin with my dad and my aunt and planning to pick J up late in the evening.

But I felt like all day long it was one thing after another.

"Don't do that."

"Oh no, get off the kitchen table."

"I told you no jumping on the furniture."

"Please don't talk to me like that."

All. Day. Long.

I joked that this is how parents find themselves at the brink. That my exhaustion from a week of single parenting coupled with E's monkey tactics and H's newfound ability to defy any adult in a 10 mile radius could be it for me.

And then, just like that, hours later they are sound asleep in the car strapped in their five point harness seats next to each other and I look at them and love oozes out. I forget about the days battles and horrible moments because now they are still. J gets in the car at the airport and the hours of stories I have to tell him fade to small sentences. It was a long, rough day. And I am tired.

This morning, the sun is shining in and J lets me sleep in and takes the littles to the coffee shop to pick up coffee and donuts to surprise me with.

T and M call from their moms wishing me a Happy Mother's Day and I sit in bed reading, enjoying the quiet I didn't know I needed.

I started getting hungry and wandered into the kitchen and just then I see the van in the driveway. So I run back to bed, knowing H will want to surprise me.

I hear pitter patter feet rush down the hall and everything from yesterday is forgiven. Forgotten. It's a new day as they kiss me and hug me and wish me a happy day with my favorite coffee and a chocolate donut and drawings and pictures that mean the world to me.

Because I just want to cherish them right where they are right now.

Even if that's at the stage of climbing monkeys and the freak-out fours. (And yes, I will be the first to tell you that so far, age four, is the hardest stage yet.)

Once again, I've been served a big, huge overflowing glass of perspective that I surely didn't order but obviously needed. Especially this week.

Because when I wrote about our visit to the mausoleum, I left out a really big part. A part that has been heavy on my heart and mind and something that has overwhelmed me to tears more than once.

I did not expect what happened next.

As we climbed back into the car after visiting my mom, I was short and frustrated with H. He was poking around and I wanted to buckle his seatbelt and get going before the rain came in.

My words were sharp.

We had not pulled more than 100 feet away when he saw across the cemetary a Lightning McQueen balloon at a grave.

He pointed and asked and I knew it had to be a child's grave.

Yet, I said yes when he asked if we could park and get out.

So we got out of the car and walked across the cemetary to find the grave of a little boy. Who would be the same age as H right now.

Who passed away when he was 2 1/2. In the thick of a love affair with Lightning McQueen.

A love affair just like H's not so long ago.

There were balloons and Lightning McQueen cars around his grave, including an engraved one on his tombstone.

H didn't touch a thing but asked me more than once to read the tombstone.

And I read to him the words that a mama, just like me, had to write, not so long ago about her little boy that left this earth much, much too soon.

Her words are exactly the things I would write and say about H.

About a full of joy boy who was so precious and loved. By all.

A car pulled up behind ours so we scurried to the van. Afraid that this was someone visiting the boy's grave.

Because it was.

And as I climbed back into the van after buckling my kids in, tears came rushing forth as I watched this mama wipe away the dirt and grass that had crept onto her son's tombstone since her last visit. Most likely just the previous day.

As we drove away and I tried to gain composure, H asked about the boy by name.

And I lost it. Completely.

For now, he wasn't just a nameless, same aged boy, but a boy with a name that my son now knew and remembered.

It has put everything into perspective this past week for me.

And I mean everything.

My complaints about the sassy talk and the climbing and the overwhelming crazy days seem to have no validity anymore because I can't get that mother standing at her childs grave out of my head.

I am not a perfect mother. I am quicker to anger than I'd like to be. I often times choose the wrong battles. I could go on and on of where I'm surely failing. But the one thing I think I'm getting right is to love and cherish my kids where they're at.

They are silly and sassy and say the wrong thing at the wrong time way too often. They wake up too early most mornings and stay up too late some nights. They forget their manners and sometimes fall off their chairs when we're eating dinner. They are poky and sometimes, on the days where I have reached my limit, my tongue and my words are rude and harsh and not the way I want to parent.

They can be whiny and I get exhausted. And they don't always listen the first, or the eighth time.

I spend hours traipsing to appointments and conferences and reading information for them and about them. And most days I end up just having to trust my gut and on those days I usually end up stuck in traffic and lost on my way to a doctors appointment no one knew my littlest little needed, except me.

They are expensive and spill things on new clothes and leave marks on walls and furniture. Toys get left out and bikes left outside. The day after the house gets cleaned, inevitably one of them spills a glass of milk, or better yet, juice.

But, at the end of all this, at the end of the day, and especially today, Mother's Day, I have them. I get to love them.

I've got my littles. Whose features I have memorized and whose sleeping faces I admire late at night.

And I've got my bigs. A bonus I never knew I had coming.

So it is today that I am remembering my own mom and also thinking of a mama I know only through her son's grave, who I'm certain is missing her little Lightning McQueen who filled her days with joy.

I am counting my blessings, appreciating them, even on the days where my complaint list could be long.

At the end of the day, power struggle through power struggle, I have them and I will be the one that loves them the most.

That's all I could ask for.

{For the record, H was invited to be in this picture too and told me very kindly; "No, thank you." This is putting my words into action. Letting him be and letting it go. It's not worth fighting about, is it?}

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Road Trip 2010.

So this little family of ours will be embarking on our first ever cross country road trip this summer.

We may be a little bit crazy, but I am super excited!

We've driven up north and as far as Chicago with the kids but never this far.

We're going to Virginia Beach, Virginia!

Our plan is to drive from Minnesota to South Bend, Indiana.

South Bend, Indiana to Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Hershey, Pennsylvania to Washington DC.

And after a couple days in DC, Virginia Beach.

We have some tentative plans to see Chocolate World in Hershey and are planning on hitting up a few of the Smithsonians at our nation's capitol but besides that on the trip out east we don't have any plans.

We want to stay in hotels that have indoor pools and free breakfast along the way, but other than that we have no criteria.

We're staying with family in Virginia and are planning on spending some time relaxing at the ocean and visiting Busch Gardens and possibly even the Virginia Aquarium.

{My aunt is also planning a big 'ol barbeque so we can meet some of her friends, co-workers, neighbors and blog readers.}

We're going to be gone for at least two weeks. All six of us!

And it's going to be fun. It is...

What advice do you have for us as we embark the longest road trip of our lives? Are you a road trip extraordinare who knows all the best things to keep kids content on the road?

Or do you have any advice about where to stay or what to do along the way? What should we skip and what should we not miss?

Please share!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Seventeen Months.

Why yes, this is Miss E atop the piano eating M&M's straight from the candy dish. She is a lover of all things sweet. And especially chocolate.

I do believe she gets that from my side of the family.

She is seventeen months as of yesterday and a bundle of fun.

Keeping us on our toes much like H did at this age. She is a climber and a runner and loves all things that she's told No to.

She has learned the fine art of pushing buttons and enjoyed her first {four} time outs this past weekend.

But amidst all the challenges of being on the way to two, she is the sweetest thing.

She never stops singing or humming. "Twinkle, Twinkle" or "I Love You" or "You Are My Sunshine" and even, yes, even "We Will Rock You."

Such is the life of a youngest of four.

Her mega watt million dollar smile remains with eyes the size of planets.

That hair just grows and lightens as it does. She may be a little Cindy Lou, we've heard.

She is a gift. Full of love. Full of joy. And loved more than we could have ever imagined. On the fun, sunshiney days and on those days where she has tested every, last boundary.

Oh that girl, she has captured all of our hearts. Maybe, just maybe even yours.

Happy seventeen months, sweet girl.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Bird Went To Heaven Last Week.


"Mama, mama. Hurry! I found a bird that's sleeping."

"Oh Henry, I think that bird is dead."


"Yes, he's in heaven now."

"With Grandma Nan*?"

"Yes, with Grandma Nan."

Later on that evening...

"Mama, is Grandma Nan going to take care of the bird in heaven?"

"Oh I'm sure she will."

"Can I write her a letter and tell her to take care of the bird?"


The next day...

"Can we bring my picture to Grandma Nan?"

"Well she's in heaven, but we can bring her picture somewhere where we remember her and I bet she'll see it."

Friday afternoon...

"Is this heaven?" He asked upon walking into the mausoleum, where we remember my mom.

"Oh no, this is where many people come and remember their loved ones. We can come and remember Grandma Nan here. Some people are outside in the cemetery here and some are inside here."

His picture. With some dandelions.
Do you see Grandma Nan and the upside down dead bird?

And his letter, as told to me:

Dear Grandma Nan,
Can you please take care of the bird? We miss you and we don't know if you sleep in heaven, do you? Do you have a house? Love, Henry and Evie

*In the case that you are unaware, my mom "Grandma Nan" passed away in December 2007 from terminal carcinoma {lung cancer}. H was 20 months old the day of her funeral.