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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Water Balloon Therapy.

Some days I feel like this small village of ours is no big deal. I can do anything.

And then somedays I'm juggling and struggling and trying to balance everybody's wants and needs.

"Can I bike to the Dairy Queen?" T asks me and it's not even 9am.

"Can I play with friends today?" M asks and I am not quite sure I want to start the revolving door game for the day yet.

"Can we go to the pool again today?" H asks and I am daunted by the idea of packing up all four kids in swimsuits for the pool.

When E is ready for the day and ready to go, she gets antsy and starts climbing the walls. And I watch the clock hands move and wonder how I'll ever squeeze a shower in.

Lunchtime came early today. H, was up when the sun was today and no amount of bargaining was going to get him back to sleep so at 11:15 we were inside after a morning of being outside, with macaroni on the stove and munching.

My cousin called and heard the chaos filled house. I think I said I'm sorry and hold on fifteen times in our fifteen minute chat.

I was overwhelmed by the time lunch was over.
I told T about the Dairy Queen.
I told M about going across the street to a friends.

I laid E down in her crib and she was asleep before I even shut the door and then there was H, oh my H, standing there staring at me.

"Can you just sit on the couch and look at a book while I pick up from lunch? Then you and I can do some fun things?"

I just wanted 5 minutes to decompress.

I had heard children and chatter and questions, oh the questions, all morning long. And I just wanted some quiet.

It was quiet. Too quiet when the five minutes was up. And he was sound asleep on the couch.

I went back and forth. And back and forth in my mind about what to do. Wake him so that he'd go to bed tonight or let him sleep knowing he probably needs it.

I let him sleep.

I knew I had a gazillion things to do to get ready for our camping trip this week. I knew I had some overdue emails and a deadline that was coming tonight for a writing project I was doing.

And instead of doing them....

I sat outside.
By myself.
Filling water balloons.
I'm not sure what made me do it today. But there's something therapeautic about it.

I filled them and then I hid them inside the kids playhouse.

I surprised T when he returned from the Dairy Queen and H when he finally awoke {two hours later}. And oh, were they surprised.

It didn't bother me for one second that I didn't get anything done for camping or any of the writing I was committed to doing.

There was time for all of that tonight. The kids all went to bed early. {8:30!} The packing is done. The writing is done.

And now, we rest.

He Did It.

He walked up the steps to the top of the slide, looked over it, looked down the tube and turned around and walked down the steps.

He did it again.

And walked down again.

He got into the water, walked to the bottom of the slide, verifying what he already knew that he would be able to touch when the end of the slide came.

I said nothing. Just watched him carefully calculate his slide ride. Wondering if this would be the visit to the pool where he'd finally just do it.

Finally, without making a show of it or anything, he just walked up the steps, waved at the life guard and slid down.


Cool as a cucumber, as though he'd done it 100 times before, he did it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Simple Life Be Ours.

"Life tends to be complicated when having more than enough just isn't enough. Life tends to be simple when having enough is more than enough." -Amy Krouse Rosenthal (An amazing author who's children I used to babysit when I was a student in Chicago. She's the real deal!)









Evidence that while we might not always lead a simple life, we lead a happy and content one.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Handful.

I was at the edge of our group at the parade so to my left was an older couple that were strangers to me.

We exchanged a few chuckles and smiles about miscellaneous parade happenings but stuck to ourselves. The gentleman and his wife started leaving a few floats away from the end.

"You've sure got your hands full with that boy." He said to me.

I smiled and nodded in agreement because I know.

I wanted to tell this man who just told me my four year old is a handful all the great and wonderful things about him.

And I also wanted to tell him if only everyone were as blessed. Because to me, my hands may be full (and not just because of my 4 year old) but my heart is simply overflowing.



Henry dancing at parade.


More dancin.
My handful doing his thing at the parade Tuesday night.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Littles.

We went to the Northeast Parade tonight, working through our bucket list.

Just my littles, myself and some neighbor friends of ours. I am beginning to think the bigs are outgrowing parades as M jumped at the chance to go to a friends house and T offered to stay home. J had a work commitment come up, but even he wasn't too sad about missing it. Here's a little secret, my husband doesn't share my love for parades.

Thank goodness these two do.

My Littles.

More thoughts and adventures to share but for now will you just look at those two littles of mine?

I am so very blessed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Belated Fathers Day.


We are still cracking up at his answers. "Frankie??!"






I truly believe I got two of the best dads in the world. My dad and then the dad of my children. I couldn't ask for anyone better than those two.

J was a dad before I even met him and the way he loves and cares for his kids is incredible. He knows the important things to each kid and does his best to be able to spend quality time with them whether that is a trip to the humane society with M or playing catch with T. Doing puzzles and books with H or just laying on the floor and laughing with E. He is a great dad.

I am always proud to say that I am married to a man who in his profession is helping many dads (and moms) become better parents. I love J not only for being such a great husband to me but a great father to all four kids.

And then there is my dad. Anyone who knows me knows how much I just love my dad and how much he means to me. It is a special thing to watch him love his grandchildren. E has got her Boppa wrapped right around her finger and that Boppa, he's been around the block once or twice before because he knows all their tricks.


Happy Fathers Day to the two most important dads in my life!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


This week has been full of firsts and I have been wanting to soak it all up and capture it all. {I also think that all this excitement is having an affect on my heart rate. I get pretty excited! Just ask J or my dad!}


T had his very first babysitting job today. And I'm pretty sure I was more excited than he was. He babysat two neighbor boys for about 3 hours and he did great. He loved it. So did the boys. And he made $7 and hour!

I was shocked and amazed that T, at age 11, having never babysat before (besides H or E for an hour here or there) would be paid that well.


E had her very first trip to the zoo and she loved it.

E and friend Charlie at the zoo.
She now "ROARS" like a lion. And it is the most fun thing to watch her do right now.

The same day we went to the zoo we also had her 18 month check up where she weighed in at 22 pounds and 8 ounces (with a diaper). She's now officially in the 25th percentile. She is making major progress in the weight gain department and our pediatrician said he is no longer concerned at all about that.
The ears and adenoids are a big, fat question mark. But she is hearing and developing and she is not bothered. I have such a peace about where things are right now and I am feeling like that is a good thing. She is a healthy, happy girl even with her food allergies and ear history and that is a lot to be thankful for right there, isn't it?


H had his first day of Ball Activities through Community Education and he loved it. I was so very excited for him because I knew he'd love it. I watch him go into new situations with such ease and he's laughing and having fun with kids he's just met, I just wish I could live my adult life more like it.

The first day was some running, some catching and some throwing.

Next Tuesday and Thursday they start batting. He can't wait.

And Miss M. She had her very first day of tennis. And she loved it. So did I. Doesn't she just look like a tennis pro already?
She was nervous. Oh was she nervous. When I walked her into the courts I was having flashbacks to her preschool days wondering and worrying that this may not go over so well, but it did and she did just fine.
{It always helps when you know your biggest fans are there ready to jump out of our skin with excitement!}

She did not stop smiling the entire time she was out there. And while I'm biased and would love for her to love tennis because I played it and loved it I also am hopeful that this is a sport she'll really love as she gets better and learns more about it.

This is the stuff our days are made of. New firsts. Busy days. Can you believe the above firsts were just this week? But oh, do I love every, single second of it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chew On This.

Had dinner with some friends tonight and checked my phone and read a couple texts more times than I would like to admit. When did this become socially acceptable?

And friends that I was with please take this as my apology for being rude. Not only was I late (by an hour) but I also checked my phone a couple times. Oy!

Have been thinking about this topic of people and cell phones and social media and when is too much, too much.

Have been trying to not update every time we do something or go somewhere and instead enjoy the moment more.

Spent today at the Children's Museum. Just me. My littles. And the other few dozen folks who were there today.

And noticed so many parents texting and tweeting and updating throughout the day. Walking and talking and pushing strollers and standing in elevators.

One mom sat smack dab next to the door of the Wizard of Oz exhibit and her eyes never left the screen of her Iphone.

I caught myself texting a couple pictures of my kids to some friends and family that I knew would like a glimpse at our day. Justifying my own actions but not leaving room for others actions.

I want to be a present parent who enjoys and lives in the moment with my kids. Sometimes I love to snap a picture and text it off to J, or my dad, or my aunt in Virginia and say hey, look at this! We are having so much fun. And I have decided that I am ok with this.

But sometimes I know I cross the line. When I am saying, Wait, hold on, I want to take a picture. Or, Hold on I'm sending a quick text.

I like to think I've done a good job with this but always know that when I am being honest with myself there is room for improvement.

Over the last four years I've done a good job with establishing computer time boundaries and rules for myself because my job first and foremost is mom so my emails and blog things etc can all wait until naptime or bedtime most days. (With that said, I do check email and balance my checkbook every morning but besides that try to have computer free days unless my kids are napping/having rest time.)

But the cell phone thing. Not just talking. But texting and tweeting and facebooking...that's where there is grey.

This sort of thing and the affects on our children is hitting the news like mad these days.

The New York Times has a story on it here. The Star Tribune Cribsheet blog has a story (linking to a previous story I did on cell phones way back when) here. For one more Minnesota mom's take on this, go read her thoughts here.

What do you think? Is this something you struggle with? What are your boundaries when it comes to computer time and cell phone time and your kids?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Throwing Like A Girl.

In the case you were wondering how my first-pitch debut went on Friday, here's a photo recap.

My biggest fan and I out on the field.
Yes, I throw like a girl. And no, it didn't make it to the catcher. It bounced. Twice.

Another one of my fans with H. And this is my dad's trademark move, the ear pull. It works wonders on 4 year old boys who are getting a little too silly.

Oh yeah my other biggest fan, J and H.

I am not usually short on words when it comes to this boy and I. He is something else. He has pushed me to limits no one else ever has and oh, does he make some moments difficult. But this boy, he has my heart and I've got his. There is no better way to say it than that.

Thanks goes to Metro-Dentalcare for the tickets to the game, for including my little H and for honoring me by asking me to throw the first pitch on your behalf. It was a very fun night and one worth remembering.

Friday, June 11, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours.

It's Friday and the last two days have been soggy, wet disastorous days. Disastorous because I was trying to have a garage sale.

While I'd mostly call it a success, it would have been nice to sell a few more things.

I did however learn a lot about having a garage sale. Especially from a neighbor of mine who transformed her garage into what I could only best describe as a store.

No wonder she made triple what I did.

Life's all about learning things like this as you go though, isn't it?

In other events, there was a huge, loud storm last night and H came in to our bed in the middle of the night. Or what we thought was the middle of the night.

And this morning he had his library books in his arms asking me to read them. I promised that as soon as the clock struck 6am I would.

He noticed that next to my water bottle I had an Oreo cookie sitting uneaten from last night.

Thinking why bother to make it a deal I told him he could have it. Thinking that would make his day.

Oh man.

This is what he said; "No thank you. I already ate all the Oreos and my tummy isn't hungry anymore."

I didn't really register what he was meaning or saying until later.

The kitchen was immaculate and not a sign of Oreo anywhere. But sure enough when I opened the cupboard and grabbed the package, there sat two cookies where there used to be an untouched row.

You'd think that we never give him treats the way he sneaks around for gummy bears and Oreo cookies.

Only Henry.

Tonight's my big night. I am throwing the first pitch at the St. Paul Saints game. I've never even been to a Saints game and I've definitely never thrown the first pitch. Should be interesting, right?

Finally, the reason for the title. While, yes, it's been raining and pouring around here I also sometimes feel like when an opportunity comes up, lots of them do.

Just this week a couple emails have popped up about some different opportunities and then the Saints game opportunity came up and then I found out yesterday that BlogHer is giving away $100 on my behalf over here. All you have to do is leave a travel tip for our big road trip in the comments. So go, enter. Win that money!

Really, when it rains, it pours.

Happy Rainy Friday!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Take Me Out To The Ballgame.

For the last five years or so our summer evenings have gotten pretty busy with a certain guy's baseball schedule.

Baseball is that one thing that he really, truly loves and does with everything he's got.

This is his third summer as a starting pitcher and, he is so good.

Look at that hit!
We eat a quick dinner. Pack up some snacks, some waters, chairs, blankets. And we go and we cheer our guy on.

"Go Ty Go" she yells! See T standing at 3rd base?

We put all the other families to shame with our cheering and the fan club that grows as the season does. T is one lucky guy.

And while I do enjoy watching T play, some nights, when M and the littles want nothing to do with even looking the direction of the field, I am daunted by the task of watching them not watch him.

Sometimes I feel like our family creates as much entertainment as the game we're watching.

Do you know why I find this picture of M and the littles hilarious? Not one of them is even sitting the direction of the field.

The other night we brought two cars to T's game knowing that I would probably leave early with the other kids just because it gets late quick and attention spans get lost and sometimes we just overstay our welcome at the game.

Overstay we did. While E didn't run out onto the field while T was pitching this game (because that happened last time), H started climbing the fence. Yeah, that fence.

Every game has to have that one kid that climbs the fence, don't they?

And the kids that dump out their water bottles. After stomping on the grapes and blueberries I packed.

H and E also sometimes like to tag team it and each run a different direction. Usually in the middle of a really great play.

And then there's the sunscreen that I thought was harmless enough fun for E to dab on herself for the first 30 minutes of the game until someone (someone not in our family, mind you) pointed out that she was eating it.

Many (not all, but many) of the families there supporting their kids don't have little, little ones. Instead their youngest is out there playing. Or there youngest is old enough to sit and watch the game.

And sometimes I think these people forget what it's like to have small children and how it's a completely unrealistic expectation to have them sit and watch the game for two plus hours two nights a week. Especially when they've been going and doing all day long.

And sometimes, just sometimes, I leave early all huffy and frustrated. Feeling like my kids and my parenting are being judged.

When really, I'm thinking, these people are just trying to watch their kids play in the game and could care less what my (adorable, they like to tell me) kids are doing. Right?

Which is why we keep going. Even on the nights when it's a lot of work and we're all a little bit tired.

Creating havoc or not, we love to watch our guy, number 10.

**Speaking of baseball, this Friday night, I'll be throwing the first pitch at the Saint Paul Saints game. So if you're looking to make some weekend plans, go buy tickets to the game and come say hi! J, H and I can't wait to be there.**

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer Bucket List.

Now that summer is here, I have been mulling over all the things I want to make sure we're able to do before the kids go back to school and the weather turns cold again.

I've been mentioning aloud several things we want to do this year and with that T made his own list. It left both J and I in a fit of giggles.

His list includes:
Pulling an all nighter (not going to happen, this kid needs sleep!)
Having two sleepovers in a row (could happen)
Drinking a case of Mountain Dew in a weekend (considering we don't have Mountain Dew in our house this isn't likely over here)
Biking to DQ (and we have a winner!)

Oh to be an 11 year old boy!

In addition to all those days we love to spend at the pool or running through our sprinklers and weekends at the cabin, these are a few of the things I just can't miss out on this summer:

  • Drive In Movie. A couple summers ago we took the kids to a drive in movie and we've been wanting to do it again since. Hopefully we can find a night this summer to do it again.

  • Farmers Market. We love the Minneapolis Farmers Market and the littles and I have already had a chance to go once this year but I am hoping there are lots more visits this summer. Such a great place to pick up fresh produce, some flowers and even some cheese curds.

  • Strawberry/Blueberry Picking. We're already looking forward to our visit to the same berry farm we visited last year.

  • Campfires and smores. Need I say more?

  • Train for a 5K. This fall, we're planning on running the Lung Cancer 5K. That is, J, myself and the bigs. So we're doing some jogging/walking/bike riding (for H) a few mornings a week.

  • Spend time in Linden Hills. This is one of my favorite parts of Minneapolis with Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun within walking distance of each other. The streetcar/trolley rides. Sebastian Joe's ice cream and Wild Rumpus bookstore. {I'd really like to get tickets for the PJ Party in July or August.}

  • Camping. While J and I typically prefer camping of the hotel variety these days we have some plans in the works to take all four kids camping overnight for one night through the I Can Camp program.

  • Twins Game. T and M went to a game with their mom for Mother's Day but J, the littles and I have yet to see the new Target Field.

  • Drive In Restaurant. We visited this restaurant a couple weekends back and loved it so much we vowed that we would visit at least a dozen more times before the summer is through. If you are local, this is the perfect place to go for lunch on a nice summer day with kids.

  • Vacation. On our cross country road trip we have plans to see Chocolate World and our nations capitol. Soak of lots of family time in VA with my aunt/uncle. Visit Busch Gardens. Have a family picture taken at the ocean. And relax.

  • Of course we'd love to get to the zoo and the beach and find a few new parks, but we'd also love to spend some days at home where the pools are filled up all day and the sprinkler is going and the water balloons are ready and waiting. Bike rides and trips to the library can't be forgotten either.

So, what do you think of our list? What's on your summer bucket list? Or what do you think we need to add to ours?

I am also working on a list of free or inexpensive activities to do this summer in Minnesota so feel free to leave your suggestions on that in the comments as well.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Last Day of School.

It's officially, officially summer, now.

School's out! Woo-hoo!

And we plan on making this the most fun summer yet.

Just wait and see!

To see the four of them on the first day of school way back in September take a wander here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Eighteen Months.

The last eighteen months of this little ones life have gone way too quickly. It's so cliche and broken record to even type that but so very, very true.

When we were in the midst of potty training H a long, long time ago and went through a period of regression, it seemed as though the phase would never end. It was overwhelming to wonder when I wouldn't have to wonder or worry anymore about accidents and reminders and all that jazz. And now I look back and it was just a blip in the grand scheme of life. Nothing more than a notable mention. And I think that's the way most parenting things are.

When you arrive at home with new baby and you're overwhelmed by all of life's demands of new schedules and new cries and then the other children in the house it seems as though how will life ever be normal again?

But somehow you wake up one day and you do it and it gets easier and some phases and days are trickier and seem unending and then you turn the corner to the next thing.

All this to say that we're in a groove right now. I really like where we're at. I love the ages and stages of all our kids.

Don't get me wrong, the frustrating fours are very, very frustrating but I know, because of all this, that I'm just waiting the next turn of the corner, or turn of the page to the next phase or the next thing.

I really, really like where we're at.

I'd just also really, really, really like to slow things down just a smidge.

Eighteen months tomorrow. {Thursday}

Her smile lights up a room. Her busy little self keeps us on our toes and we love it. Oh do we ever love it.

She sings and she sings and she sings. And if she's not singing, she's humming. She is music to anyone's needy soul, our girl.

And she still has her struggles with diet and some new ear (possible adenoid) issues going on that we are working out and trying to make right.
But this smile right here, makes it worth it all, my friends, for it is the picture of living the dream.

Happy Eighteen Months, Evelyn.