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Monday, February 28, 2011

Simple Little Things That Bring Me Joy.

Today was a hard Monday after a fantastic weekend. You know what I'm talking about? Where it seems the weekend is just enough of all the things and the people that you love and then Monday comes crashing down and you realize: the party's over.

So you have to find those little things that make you smile, that make you keep going, that make you say, it may not be the weekend but I'm gonna love it anyway.

1. 48 days and counting. 'Til his birthday.

I love birthdays (especially mine and my kids) and so does he and since he has been asking for the last 115 days how many days until his birthday we made a countdown paper-chain.


We sat down in the living room and cut jagged edged strips of paper and put all forty-eight pieces together.
Every night he'll rip one piece of the chain off and continue the countdown to his most favorite day of the year.


2. First haircut.
Just days short of twenty-seven months old and we went in for a trim. Her hair was getting so whispy and uneven in the back that it was time. She loved it of course and though her hair is less wild, it didn't age her too much.

3. The return of the bigs.

T and M returned home Friday night and it was great. M and H made brownies and played Barbies and started right back where they left off. Both kids had a great time at Disney and had lots of fun stories and adventures to share.

The break with just two kids was nice but it was refreshingly and a tad bit surprisingly nice to get back in the swing of life with all four kids.

4. Hide and Seek.

They love to play it and pretty much hide in one of three places. Under E's crib, in one of the showers or in this closet. The towels thrown all over the floor unfolded don't give their place away at all.
What's bringing YOU joy this week?
Big or small, it doesn't matter. Something's got to be making you smile.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.

~Anna Quindlen

I've got a lot of words, about a lot of things {mostly about this collision of mothering and writing and trying to balance it while my two year old wreaks havoc on a coffee shop amongst other embarrassing moments of my day} but tonight all I've got in me is this quote my dad shared on Facebook yesterday.

I gave up on perfect long ago and since then, I've really enjoyed myself. (Even the chaotic, embarassing, want to scream moments.) This is me, us, ourselves, being us and it is so much work and so hard somedays but also, amazing.

{We'll call this one the calm before the storm.}

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Child Won't Nap and other tales of the afternoon.

I'm currently listening to E not nap in her bed. She is so very tired and was pretty much asleep when we got home from bringing H to school but has decided napping is not her deal today. All morning long I did the same things over and over and over again. I'd put the crayons away to switch the laundry and come out and see the crayons all over again. I'd leave one clean room and enter a disaster zone. This girl is making up for her easy-peasy baby-hood in toddler-hood, that's for sure.

I've been busy, busy, busy this week with lots of writing for Patch and even a little bit of personal (book) writing. {More on that someday soon. I hope.}

A few months back some friends and I did a meal swap and I wrote about that in today's Patch, you can read the story here. We're doing it again next week and I have to say, I can't wait. I've got all of my ingredients ready to make chili this time around to swap and it sounds like I'll be bringing home some fun dishes too.

As always, if you're interested in seeing what I'm writing over there you can go here and see a list of my stories.

On another note, I never do crazy stuff like this, but somehow the email invite a few weeks back got me. Will you go here and vote for me to be a Marriot vacation blogger? I promise I'll bring you with me (via the blog) if I win!

With all that said, I'm off to relax this afternoon while H is at school and E is supposed to be napping. I usually fill up this time with writing and phone calls and busy-ness of life and today I decided I'm taking a break.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lazy, Snowy Day.


It's been snowing here since yesterday afternoon. That's what happens in Minnesota in the winter. It snows and it snows and it snows and just when you think spring is on the way, it snows some more.

J tried to venture to work and after seeing cars in the ditch and sitting on the side of the road with a man whose car had just rolled over, he came home. With a coffee in hand for me, of course.

So we've had a lazy, snowy day at home. J's worked on emails and files at home and I got some writing done. We've taken turns playing games with H and making cereal necklaces with E. Some of us are still in our pajamas.


E's on hour two of her nap this afternoon. In her big girl bed. She's officially (and adamantly) making the switch it seems. I'm starting to get used to the idea.

What are you doing today?

Happy Snowy Day to you!
Here's hoping you are staying warm and cozy and enjoying the day like we are.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Making It To Friday.

I was driving home this afternoon from a fun, full day. Stuck in traffic. Tired, so tired, from the day and the week and sometimes just life, you know.

It's not quite nice enough outside for trips to the park or swings on the wooden swing sets or even a bike ride, but soon, right? That's what we keep saying, soon it will be spring.

Until then, some of the weeks get long and today I was reminded of something I wrote two years back, so I'm re-posting it tonight.

Perhaps if my nice friends {hint, hint} pass along some pictures from our day at the Childrens's Museum, I'll share those later this weekend. My camera battery was dead and my phone memory was FULL so I managed one picture, that's it.


Happy weekend, friends.

Making It To Friday. March 20, 2009

It is Friday.

I love Fridays. I look forward to them. They go by so quickly.

In my world Friday means, I have survived another week. The weekend has come and that usually brings on at least a little bit of relaxation. A husband home to help. Take out dinner and a movie at home make the end of the work week a cozy night in. Fun plans with family or friends and regular chores and errands the rest of the weekend days, make it pass all too quickly.

Oh, we have survived.

A week of busyness.

School mornings and homework and quick dinners and evening activities.

And cleaning up all this. The dishes. The laundry. The bedrooms. The playroom.

Child spats of who did what to who.

And who left what where.
Loudness, excruciating loudness at times.

Surviving those days with no naps that slowly pass by.

And the days where the nap is too short or too late or just not enough time.

The sassy talk and the testing of limits. The pushing, oh the pushing of the buttons, they know so well.

And of course, the kisses on the hurts. The hugs so tightly. The new tricks learned that have made life just a tad easier.

We have survived the snack times and lunch times and outside times and play times.

And bedtimes.

When moments passed that we didn't think we'd make it one more hour without losing our cool (and our mind), we did.

You mothers know exactly what I'm talking about, don't you?

Another week behind us, we have survived.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our Normal.

We said goodbye to T and M yesterday until the 25th. This morning the two of them along with their mom, stepdad, cousins and an aunt and uncle boarded a plane Florida-bound for a Disney World extravaganza.

We're excited for them and the two of them have been inching out of their skin with excitement for days now. I know they'll have a fun time and have lots of great stories to share with us when they return.

Lots of people, including T, have been asking how this is on H and if he's bummed he's not Disney-bound this week. To which I tell them, this is H's normal. He doesn't ask why he's not going, he doesn't ask if he can go, he doesn't even balk that they are going, he just gets it because it's always been that way.

T and M come and go and do different things with their mom and then they're back and he just takes it in stride. We've never had to explain and never offered to either. It's just what it is for him.

I sometimes waffle with what to explain and what to leave to his own mind of invention.

The other day, him and M, my middles and many times biggest allies of each other, were arguing over something. I can't even remember what now but M was annoyed and H was annoyed and all of a sudden H said;

"You don't even live here all the time."

I literally froze. M went silent. I didn't even know what to say or do. I stood in the kitchen for a second and then walked in and told H to apologize.

He started crying and saying; "But she doesn't. I live here ALL the time, she doesn't."

What chapter of which book can I look that answer up in?

I had to explain, right then, right there, that we are a family, regardless of who lives here all the time and who doesn't and that this house is all of ours.

We were at M's first pre-school open house when she was 3 and she was shy-er than shy. {This is not an exaggeration.} J and I were there with her and T and their mom, we all tried making small talk but we were new at this thing and not so good at it yet. M was standing at the sand table and while J and the kids mom figured out paperwork, I knelt next to M when she asked the girl next to her, "Where's your Samara?"

This is her normal, I remember thinking and J and I would say to each other when we'd talk about it. She thinks every other kid around here has a mom, a dad and a Samara. I remember wondering if we were doing her a disservice by not telling her that she was not the norm at age 3.

Naturally, like all kids, the world has evolved around her and she has figured out and seen first hand the differences in families and still to this day accepts any family situation she's run into.


This is his normal. And hers too. And as they see the world around them and the world sees them, they adapt and they question and they figure out and we adults, we just pray that we give the right answers and we say the right words and most importantly that they all know that they are loved regardless of place in this family.

Related: Blended.Family.
For other links and thoughts I've written on our blended family, check my About Me page for links.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blended. Family.

We sit, four adults, four kids, around a corner booth at Applebees. We see people we know who say hi and walk to their own tables, wondering.

We don't have it all together, not by any estimation. We stumble and we fumble and we get back up again with bruises and tattered hearts and sometimes headaches, the bad kind.

There will always be back-burner issues with scheduling conflicts and parenting differences but then there will be times when we forget any of that exists and we laugh over birthday cake and make others wonder.

Oh, do we make them wonder.
This is what our blended family looks like.
More thoughts to come on this and us, and especially them, tomorrow.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Heart Day!


They tear through the cards and the candies after school. Suckers, Fun Dip and chocolate, on my. H, begs and pleads M to trade him cards, he'll give her his princess, Dora, girly-looking pretties for her Transformer ones. They take tastes of this and that and even after I say no more, I notice they both shove just one more in their mouths. And then Miss E clamors in for a piece of the action (and candy, if she's lucky.)

This is Valentine's Day around here.

Happy heart day, friends.

No matter what you did, I hope you felt loved.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


My father-in-law turned 80 today and we celebrated by taking him out to brunch. As we were leaving, we stopped to quick take a picture of grandma and grandpa with the kids because the last picture we have of them and all the kids was right after E was born.

Yes, three of the kids eyes are closed and it's bright and not quite perfect. But Bernie and Judy {my in-laws} look great and it's more about the moment than the picture, don't you think?

I take for granted that they will always be here and a part of the kids lives but today especially, I noticed Bernie's age was showing.

We are fortunate that, for the most part, he is healthy. Would you believe he still owns and runs a bakery? He tells us he wouldn't know what to do without it.

He's right but more than that, I think he'd miss the customers he sees and interacts with each and every day. {They'd miss him too.}

Bernie, like most 80 year old men, doesn't always have the right words to say and he can be pretty stubborn but he has a good heart and he really loves his grandchildren.

The pictures strewn about the walls of his bakery tell that story and so does he.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Education on the Brain.


Specifically, his education.

I signed him up for kindergarten tonight. Seriously, he was a baby when M was in kindergarten and I remember thinking we had light years ahead of us.

I have been thinking about education big time lately. Not just academics, but what kind of students I hope my kids become. What kind of things they learn, what kind of people I want them to be.

I want them to be smart, but not just book smart. I want them to be creative and silly smart. I want them to think deep thoughts that are hard to articulate and paint pictures with stories.

I just want more than the basics, but then again, don't we all?

I'm going to see the Race to Nowhere next Thursday night.

Here's a glimpse:

This movie is screening nationwide FOR FREE throughout communities. Find out if it's playing in your community and reserve your tickets. {And if you're local and going to next Thursday's showing, let me know and we can compare notes. Or sit together or something.}

I have many, many thoughts on this subject, along with standardized testing and education in general. I'm sure you do too. Tell me what do you think of this trailer (or if you've seen the whole film already, what did you think?) or what you think of education today? How do you see things in America shifting?

Related: Filling In The Bubbles.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Forever Young.


I bought Miss E an Elmo shirt yesterday. It's gigantic on her even after washing it in hot water and trying to shrink it but she's in love.

I used to be adamantly against anything character. Until H's great love affair with Lightning McQueen began and pretty soon I was the crazed mama washing the same Cars shirt over and over and over again because he wanted to wear it just about every single day.

Funny the rules we make for ourselves before we are in the trenches, isn't it?

Miss E went potty twice this morning. Did I tell you we're not even really working on the potty training thing? She just kind of does this on her own. {Not tooting my horn on this one, just saying, amazingly this child just wants to do it on her own}

We were celebrating E's success this morning with some candy hearts and H said;

"Mom, can't you just put a brick on her head? I don't want her to grow up."

If only it worked like that.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Happiness Is...

Happiness is....

1. Saving your own money and buying your very first laptop.

He paid for all $349 (plus tax) of that baby and he is so proud and excited about it.

2. We finally let H start playing the Wii the other day. He loves to play MarioCart and as he sits on the couch steering his car he tells us how he wins every single race.
As you can see on the bottom left corner of the screen, he's in 12th place. Every single time. But no matter, to him, he's winning.

3. This scene. Totally unprompted. E was nervous to go down the tube slide at playland, H sat down behind her and held on to her and she ended up loving it.

We sign that little boy up for kindergarten on Thursday night. Where have the last five years gone?

Whoever said that old saying; The days are long but the years are short, was speaking the truth.


What's bringing you joy this week?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Crazy Day-ze.

I have had the craziest day I've had in awhile today and believe me when I say there is typically a lot of crazy.

I think I put 100 miles on my van with the running here and there and everywhere we had going. J was out of town until tonight and I had to enlist the help of friends with both the bigs and the littles for various things.

At one point, E got lost at the community center. She is the quickest of the quick, my friends. She snuck out of the play area under the watch of friends and found her way via elevator and locker room to me, on the pool deck watching H's swim lesson.

She's also pretty smart.

My friends feel awful and may never offer to watch her for five minutes again.

Thankfully all was well, though some elevated heart rates and panicked moments for them, I didn't even know she was missing until she walked out and came to me. {Something about that kind of told me something was off though, I admit.}

I am pretty much behind on everything I need to get done this week and instead of forcing myself to stay up late and work on things, I am making the choice to get some rest tonight, thanks in advance for understanding why I'm slacking around here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Notes From The Week.

E's nap in her big girl bed was, so far, a one time deal. I'm kind of glad.


I seriously loved the marriage advice everyone left over here.

Winner of the Project: Happily Ever After book is #13: darcie.

If you haven't yet, make sure you go and read all the great suggestions left of marriage advice. There were some really creative ideas shared.


Friday is Free Flavor Friday at Coffee-mate. For more info, go here.


Do you love high quality, unique, stylish kids clothes at great prices? Check this out.


I'm still writing locally and if you're curious what I've been writing and working on you can go here for a link to all the stories I've been doing lately.

Happy weekend, friends!

Comments are closed today.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wasn't Ready.

After dropping H at school, we did what we usually do. We came home, did books, one song and I tucked E into her crib.

She talked and she sang. She was quiet for awhile. And then she started calling for me.

Most of the time I ignore this because she wants me to come in and tuck her in one more time or wind up her music one more time and it doesn't seem to ever get old for her. So I kept doing my thing until I heard her say;

"I poop."

Yesterday Miss E went potty on the potty THREE times but I know that we are far from being in the throws of potty training.

I walked into her room and sure enough there stood E. Naked. Dirty diaper in her crib and mess not to be mentioned on her blanket, her baby and of course her.

{I am considering using duct tape on her diapers at naptime and bedtime because this is not the first incident.}

Got her cleaned up, stripped her bed, threw her blanket, dirty clothes in the washer, remade her bed and she climbs into her big girl bed that has been set up in her room for over a month. {We decided when we set it up that until we really needed to move her we were going to keep her in the crib.}

I thought this wouldn't last but fine. Tucked her into her bed and told her if she got out she'd have to go in her crib. Cleaned her baby and got a couple things done and realized it was awfully quiet.


Sure enough, she's sound asleep.

I just wasn't really ready for this yet.