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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Be Back Soon.

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J, our littles and I are on a short little getaway to a fun, little secret of a place in Eau Claire, WI. {Ok, maybe not so secret. They're on my sidebar. >>>>}

H and E had no idea until we were en route and they were ecstatic. I love surprises!

We are spending these days swimming and playing and staying up late, of course. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

{I am also hoping that by the time we return home, there is none of this snow they are predicting and my grass is starting to turn green.}

I'll be blogging again next week and I do have a couple really exciting giveaways to announce then too.

In other news, there's a Minnesota Bloggers event going on Saturday night open to any {and all!!} Minnesota bloggers. Here's the link to the info if you're interested in attending. I'll be there! {With a non-blogging friend I'm dragging along!} Let me know if you decide to come too!

Also, after a week long {plus} celebration of my and M's birthdays, this week I put together a list of birthday freebies over on the Patch. You can read {and add your own known freebies} to the list right here.

Time for me to say goodnight, I've got some water-sliding to do tomorrow.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011


“You don’t mind if I bring E?” I email my editor a couple days before a meeting and he responds, "Of course not." He tells me bring her and that we’ll be quick.

So I bring her to the coffee shop and she does pretty good, climbing up and down the chair, coloring, saying Hi! To each random passerby.

It’s not until we leave that I notice I never removed the noodle necklace H had made the day before that makes me realize this blending of mothering and writing is sometimes a collision.


A week later, I’ve got an interview I have to do. No childcare for E, I’m not sweating it, I’ll bring her along, what’s the worst that can happen.

And the worst that can happen happens, before my eyes. My daughter transforms to a Tazmanian devil and is running and spinning, slamming her hand on open laptops at the coffee shop while I conduct an interview.

“Your writing is so professional.” An acquaintance tells me. I thank him but inside I’m thinking if only you know how the process looked. It’s not always so professional.

This writing and mothering thing collide again.


We're juggling and figuring.
I tell J late Sunday night how I’m looking forward to a morning of working at the coffee shop. To cross some things off my list. Meet some deadlines on time. Just to write some things on my mind, my heart.

And then things go bump in the night.

And the morning shows up and we can’t do it. Sick baby wins every time.


Last week, I tell J that this is it. This is what I’ve been wanting, looking for, dreaming of. I am living, loving, being mom and taking a break, getting away, writing (here, for myself, book stuff, Patch) and this is it.

Even when it all collides. Noodle necklaces, 2 year old crashing interviews and sick baby work days, just to name a few. I’ll take it all, friends.

It’s called having your cake, watching your two year old smash it all up and eating it too.
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tales of an Ordinary Day.

Today was the first time that I can remember in our marriage of being early to church.

J got up with E this morning and then at 7:24am, the bedroom door flung open and he said that today was the start of something new. Called being on time.

Within 45 minutes,all of us were dressed and in the car on the way to church. Seriously, I don't know how many families can throw together four kids and themselves in that short time but somehow we did it.

As a result we were 30 minutes early for church. Even after picking up a coffee.

J was pleased with this. I was not.

There's something about the adrenaline rush I get when racing around, running in for just one more thing and riding to church knowing that by the time we get the kids to their classes and nursery we'll fly into service as the first song is finishing. I'm comfortable with it.

{In case you're wondering, this was my dad's church going style growing up. In the same way I love my dad's crazy driving, I also like this barely make it to church on time thing he modeled to me.}

Then there's this afternoon. M received some movie passes to use with a friend for her birthday. The original plan had been that I would take her and her friend to see the Justin Beiber movie this afternoon but then we had all sorts of craziness going on with church and a late afternoon birthday party, a case of the 12's and J needing to get something done. So it was decided that M would go to the theater next to Chuck E Cheese while I was with the littles at said kid casino.

No big deal, right? She's ten. Her friend's ten. Both of them had their brothers cell phones to reach me if needed. Should be a smooth thing, right?

I dropped the girls off at the theater 30 minutes before showtime. I got their tickets and brought them into the snack counter.

"The theater opens in 10 minutes, so hang out out here and then buy your snacks and head in."

Ten minutes later as I am corraling my littles into the kid casino, my phone is ringing and M is scared.

Scared of what? Don't ask, she can't even tell me.

I reassure her, talk her off the ledge, remind her she will be just fine and move along.

Until she again calls. Now crying. And her fearless friend is now crying too.

To say I'm a tad bit annoyed at this point is an understatement. The thought of packing of H and E, leaving Chuck E Cheese to get them at the theater and come back does not sound the least bit enticing.

I tell M to sit down in the theater with their snacks and if when the previews start they are still scared to let me know.

So a little bit later she calls and says very calmly and matter of factly, "We're not scared anymore."

Though what she leaves out and I find out later is that some very nice woman named, Nancy, saved the day.

She saw the two of them crying near the snack bar and felt badly and switched her ticket from a "grown up movie" to see The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules so she could SIT WITH THEM.

She tells the girls that her kids are grown and she was just thinking this afternoon was a great time to go see a movie by herself so she came to see a movie. But then she saw the girls so sad and so scared so she decided to ask the theater to switch her ticket.

And then she gave up two hours of her afternoon watching a movie, laughing with two ten year old strangers.

Nancy, wherever and whoever you are, thank you for having a heart.

Just some tales from an ordinary day, friends. If we didn't laugh, we'd cry.


Winner of the coffee gift card is #7: Gloria, who's favorite post is: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back. Gloria, shoot me an email here with your preference of Starbucks or Caribou and your address so I can get your prize to you!  Thanks to all of you who commented, send emails or FB messages or told me your favorites. It helped!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


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I turn twenty-nine today. I have lots of thoughts and ideas on how I want this year to be. What I want to do and say and be.

But it's the first time in the last several years I haven't sat down and put together my thoughts about another year gone by. It's not because I don't have thoughts on it, I do, of course. It's just, when I read and look back on what I've already said and already felt, I'm not sure there's much more to say.

Today, the sun is shining. Life is good. And I am thankful.

Related: Twenty-Eight

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Today, she's ten.
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I could go on and on about how crazy, weird that is, but I won't because it's pretty much the same old song; time flies.

She asked me yesterday what time she was born and I had no idea. Then she asked me if I saw her at the hospital when she was born and I realized that even at ten, her comprehension of our blended family and the fact that it would have been quite odd for me to be visiting her in the hospital the day she was born, is no big deal.

A couple weeks ago after school she asked if she could show me a music video on You Tube and I let her. She showed me a Bruno Mars song that has been in my mind since then.
When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change
Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile,
The whole world stops and stares for awhile
Cause girl you're amazing
Just the way you are

As she enters the world of double digits and middle school next year, there will be days she won't feel so amazing and it may feel as though the whole world's against her. So if there's anything we can teach her about her, I hope it's that she's amazing. Just the way she is.

Happy Birthday M!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rainy Tuesday.

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E. On a good nap day.
Today was one of those mornings it would have been nice to keep sleeping. The rain is falling, it's grey and gloomy, I'm getting a cold, I can feel it in my throat and I'm just not feeling up to par.

But T reminded me this morning that rain is a sure sign of spring and I'll take that.

Metro Dentalcare is giving away some Twins tickets over here. Go commit to brushing two minutes, twice a day for two weeks and you're in.

And I'm still waiting for some favorite posts over here.

Comments here are closed in the hopes you'll comment on the others today.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


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Friday night some of my friends helped me kick off my birthday week. They took me out for dinner at my favorite place where we talked and laughed and closed the place down.

This morning, I woke up with the sun shining, laughing, happy kids, my health, the health of my family and I was just overwhelmed thinking about how thankful I am. I've heard stories this week of heart ache and sadness and health scares and bad days and I am just so thankful.

And so reminded of life's fragility.

I wrote about parenting in times of crisis and the happenings in Japan over on the Patch. You can read my story here. Please pass it along or leave a comment over there.

Don't forget to tell me your favorite post {or posts!} over here for a chance to win a coffee giftcard.

Comments closed on this post.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I am a total list maker. Just about every night I make a list for the next day of everything we have going on or what I need to do before we go anywhere. Places to go, books to read, emails to send, phone calls to make, birthday presents to buy {and mail, late usually.}. Pack the diaper bag and shower are also embarrassingly typical entries on my list.

Here's a list of what's going on over here and what's been on my mind this week:

1. Hand-Me-Downs.


No joke this girls closet is blessed and stock full of hand-me-downs. Neighbors, friends, family have all given us bags here and there with miscellaneous girls clothes. A couple weeks back I decided I needed to dig through the closet and really see what she had for spring and summer and we found this costume. It's decided, she will be the clown of Halloween 2011. We're in love.

2. Our heart-breaker.


He's just modeling his outfit (minus the suit coat) for three, yes three, upcoming weddings he'll be ring bearer in.

3. Matchy Matchy {Haircuts}.
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4. Date nights.

We are totally in need of a date night right now. I wrote this week about why I love date night and some date night on a budget ideas. You can weigh in as well right over here. {We're trying out a potential new sitter/nanny on Sunday night!}

6. Icee Dates with my littles at Target.

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Red for her. Blue for him. Starbucks for Mama. Oh, life is good.
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7. Contests.

Better Homes and Gardens sent me some kitchen products recently to try out and invited me to be part of a contest and giveaway. Go here and if my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies get the most votes, Better Homes and Gardens will be doing some BIG giveaways here on my blog.

8. Japan.

I can't seem to tear myself away from the news of what is happening in that country. It is heart breaking, world changing and hard to know what to do or even, what to say about it. But this week Japan has been on my mind and heart and they will continue to be.

9. Finally, one {BIG} request. I'm working on a couple projects right now and am needing some crowd favorites. Have you been reading my blog for awhile? Is there a post lying in my archives that you love? Did you just start reading and get sucked in by something? Will you please tell me in the comments your favorite post {preferably with words, not just a photo of my kids or something} of mine to help with these projects? I would really, really appreciate your help and support so for those leaving a favorite post I will do a giveaway of a $10 Caribou Coffee {or Starbucks if you don't live in the land of Caribou} gift card. Winner to be chosen by on Friday, March 26. Thank you, friends.

Happy Friday to you!

{Disclosure: The coffee giftcard is a giveaway from me. That's it.}

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Happy St. Patty's Day!!

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From my little leprechauns. I'm pretty sure this picture captures exactly my days with both my littles. My on the move girl with her ever present grin and my smiling, laughing, full of joy boy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Where It Happens.

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The invitation arrives in the mail and there isn’t even a question. I’ll go, even if it means what it ended up meaning this time. An 8 hour bus trip each way. Yes, because that’s what friends do. This is where life happens.

I’ve made my share of fatal friendship mistakes. I’ve said the wrong thing that I’ve just had to get off my chest; I’ve had my feelings squashed. I am no perfect friend.

It seems the older I get though the more I realize what it takes and what friends really do.

We show up. With a coffee or a margarita, maybe even Junior Mints depending on the day.

Life happens while we gather in one anothers homes, or the McD's playland and our kids run amok and we start twelve seperate conversations that have to wait for a girls night out to finish.

We cheer each other on as we reach for goals and when it feels like the worlds up against us, we listen.

We remind each other of crazier days but admire where we’re at right now.

When the phone call comes in, they board planes from wherever they are around the country and stand with you as you say goodbye to your mother. Even if it’s the week before Christmas.

We take each other’s kids when we’ve exhausted every option and we’ve just got to do this and even though they’re busy with our own kids and our own things they’ve just got to do, they do it.

We see each other for everything we are, even when we ourselves don’t see it.

Friendships change and evolve, even when we say they won't. Distance and other relationships, family and jobs put a strain that adds a gap of years between the visits.

But somehow when it comes down to it, you know you’ve got friends simply because they’ve got your back and you’ve got theirs. And that is where it happens.
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While this is written for and about many of my friends, it's inspired by a weekend away with old friends and returning to new-er friends.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Come True.

There are some days when she's grabbing his things and stashing them under her bed. And there are some days when he's bugging her just to bug her and laughing the whole time.


But then....
There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.
- Salvador Dali


Wishes and prayers and dreams do come true.

{Both my wishes, prayers and dreams for my littles and for my life. Hearing the words "I believe in you and I believe in your story." from someone I value and respect today, who's helping me onto the next step, has my heart soaring.}

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Random Thoughts.

My mind is pretty jumbled this week with things going on and things to do and things to remember and such so until I really get into the swing of things, here's my random thoughts of today.

My old computer hard drive has been recovered by my soon-to-be newest advertiser. Randy of RJM Technology did what the in-store Geek Squad couldn't. (Or could only do in Kentucky, go figure.) I'm still not fully operational on my new netbook but am making the most. Soon we'll merge my stuff onto here so I can feel back to normal.

We haven't done our taxes yet and I'm pretty sure this is the latest ever for us. Typically I have done them myself as soon as all our paperwork comes in. Last year we came scary close to paying in and admittedly, that's my hold up this year.

I am heading to Chicago on Friday morning for the weekend for a friend's 30th birthday. I haven't been to Chicago since I was pregnant with E. Oh, also, I'm taking the megabus. Should be an adventure for sure.

Yesterday morning, T dropped one of our nice juice glasses by accident and it shattered. Usually I kind of freak out about stuff like that. But yesterday, I didn't. I actually surprised myself with calm when it happened and spent the rest of the morning proud of myself.

I'm stuggling with a decision for summer. H is old enough to play rec-soccer this year and it seems like most things I get all excited and can't wait for him to do it but this I'm just unsure. Do I really want (and need) to add another activity in our schedule? It would be two evenings a week for June and July, which is also the thick of baseball season for T. I need to decide by next Tuesday. What would you do?

We're in the midst of finding a nanny just for one day a week and some evenings and weekend stuff. {We love, love, love the girls we have now but the reality is they are getting real jobs, one is getting married and while they still love to help up when they can, it just doesn't always work.} I have realized in order to continue writing and doing the things I'm doing (Patch, blog, personal projects, business of the blog) I need time and I would rather that be time that I am away from my kids rather than cursing through a failed nap attempt or botched early bedtime. {Not that I would do that, ahem.} And seriously, I think I really need to write about the craziness that is bringing my two year old along to meetings with me.

What are some of YOUR random, hodge-podge thoughts today? Or what's your advice or input on anything I've shared above?

Happy Wednesday, friends and Thank You for bearing with me this week!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Where Was I?

It is never a good sign to wake up and see this on your computer:

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{J can't believe I took a picture, I think I just knew it was the end after 38 tries.?}

Hours later the Geek Squad declared my hard drive DEAD beyond repair and after trying on three different units they were unable to retrieve any data in-store.

Didn't I just say something about all the writing I've been working on? A book proposal, oodles of essays, contracts and contacts, pictures, just to name a few.

Four {plus} years of my life came home with me in a ziploc.
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The good news is that J's co-worker's husband, Randy of RJM Technology, took a look in his lab today and is able to retrieve data. Such a huge relief. We will know more tomorrow of what he's able to get and how much or how little but I am feeling very hopeful.

So tonight we went and got our external hard drive for him to transfer all my old data to and we did a little laptop shopping (which was something we were planning on doing before the crash of 2011, our timeline just got moved up a bit. The plan had been to turn my computer into the kids computer for playing/school stuff, which still will work once we replace the hard drive.)

We'll go and look around some more tomorrow and hopefully come home with something new. (Maybe even a MacBook if I can twist J's arm enough?!?) And you better believe that every single iota of information I put on the new computer will be backed up somehow, someway. (More on that to come.)

A very expensive and stressful lesson has been learned here, so be ye not so stupid, back up your stuff.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stories to Share.

He started asking me again a couple weeks ago when he could be in daycare.

We've had this conversation before. I stay home, you don't go to daycare.

He wants to know what my job is and usually, I tell him, my job is to be your mom. End the discussion with a kiss and move along.

But this day as he sat drawing pictures of smiley faced people and dreaming of fantastic playdates, I stopped my kitchen duties and looked at him and said; "I'm a writer."

"What's that?" He stopped and asked me.

At last, I had captured his attention.

I write things. I write stories about our life and share pictures of you. I go to meetings and write about those so people in the community can learn more about that. I've got a story to share, I'm writing a book.


I have alluded to it many times over, not wanting to step over the line and admit it for fear of the what if it doesn't happen.

But if I can't even admit what I want to do, how will I ever make it happen?

I am a writer.

I've wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember. Before I even had this story.

And now I've got stories upon stories of who I am and what's gone on and what has changed me these last years. (Not many become a stepmom, a mom and lose their mom in 3 years time, my friends.)

For awhile I was working on a proposal and lately I've just been writing. Somedays essays come flowing out like water about things that still feel like yesterday. Other days I'm swamped with the pressures of writing for the Patch and trying to stay afloat with blogging too.

And then somedays I can't stop worrying about finding an agent that likes me, likes my writing style, likes my story and wants to sell it to a publisher. Wishing for a connection that would help me grab a foothold.

{Can you see why naptime is so very important to me now? Hence, why we are looking for a helper or nanny one day a week. I think another post on how my children are fitting into these appointments and writing should come soon, it may make you laugh.}

All of this to say, I've got a story to share and I finally believe enough in it and myself to say I'm going to do it.

Will you help me share it? And how can I help you share yours?