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Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday, I'm In Love.

It appears as though the clouds are moving in for what they're saying is going to be a rainy, icky weekend now but today has been one of those spring days that I'd really like a dozen of. {Maybe more.}

1. We woke up to sunshine streaming through our house. It's as though we forgot what it looks like because when I awoke to a quiet, sunshin-y house I swore it was at least 9. It was only 7 and my littles didn't get up until close to 8.

2. My coffee was paid for by the car in front of me in the Starbucks drive-thru. {Minnesotans: think 'drive-thru difference!} While we've paid for cars behind us before I've never had someone else pay for my coffee. It totally made my morning!

3. My littles and I surprised J at his office and our timing couldn't have been better. He had been wrapping up to head out to lunch and then some afternoon meetings offsite. I'd already packed lunch for my littles not knowing how our day would end up so J and I quick picked up a sandwich for ourselves and hit a new {to us} park in Minnetonka.
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4. Did I mention the sun was shining and it was close to 70 degrees, yet?

5. Picked up H's glasses.

He's not as excited about the glasses as I hoped he would be and it's going to be an adjustment but hopefully he'll start seeing things much better soon!

6. We stopped at one more park on the way home. A two park day!
7. The Royal Wedding. Need I say more? While I was not up to watch it live, {see #1} we did record it and much to J's surprise we have six hours of Royal Wedding coverage to watch tonight. Did you do anything to celebrate the nuptials of Will and Kate? I wrote asking about that on the Patch today, add what you did this morning or what you plan to do tonight over there.

Seriously, Friday. It's been a good one.

*The giveaway for The Night Night Book ends tonight, please enter. It'd make a great baby shower gift if you don't have little ones or a great book for any little one you know.

*A new sponsor is going live May 1 here and since a couple other ads expire then if you have a business or service you'd like to advertise here, please contact me.

Happy weekend, friends!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Tiger In The Family.

If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing. -MARGARET THATCHER

I've posted this quote before.

Whether you're a lover or a hater of the term, tiger mother {or stepmother} before you throw stones, let me explain.

I liked Amy Chua's book, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Why yes, the first chunk of it drove me crazy and I questioned the authenticity of some of the situations and also wondered how someone could be so crazy obsessed, I think she makes valid points about parenting today. And that is that a lot of our society has stopped parenting altogether in order to build up their children's self esteem, become their children's friends and create monstrosities.

And who doesn't love that Chua ends up put in her place as she seemingly comes around to realize that her intense, obsessive, no room for grace parenting module is not working.

That said. I parent much like I was parent-ed, which was not extreme Chua style but nor was it the style she criticizes. It was middle ground.

Expectations were made clear and high. Respect was not optional. And freedoms and privileges were not a given or a right.

I admit one of my biggest downfalls is the inability to see grey. I see black and white. This is the line, the end, the limit. {I wonder if I should blame this on my parents or take responsibility for my own shortcoming? Yes, that is sarcasm.}

All this to say, this week, I'm feeling a little bit like the Tiger Stepmom.

And as one on my facebook posting suggested, maybe that's a role best played by stepmom. And another reminded me that somedays we're the tigers and other days we're the supers.

But then my dad's advice was to hit the ground in prayer. And so we do.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


It was cold and rainy today and it was one of those days where I could write you a book about the down sides. The glass half empty part of the day. The longest winter and rainies {snowiest} April ever. The testing of boundaries. Being homework police. Just to name a few.

But, I'm going to stop right there, cause as I'm a glass half full kind of girl. I just heated up some hot cocoa, lit my favorite candle and we're remembering tomorrow is a fresh start and these are the happy, half full things I'd like to focus on tonight.

1. Birthday Cards.
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H is obsessed with every. single. birthday card he received for his birthday. He loves them and he sits on his bedroom floor sorting them and reading them and making up what they say inside. Most of them say something about how fantastic of a kid he is and how much he is loved.

We call that self-confidence, baby.

{Also, he's wondering where all of his 4th birthday cards are. I haven't the heart to tell him they were recycled 11 months ago and we'll never see them again. Who would have thought he'd want them?}

2. Tuesday is garbage day around here and every single Tuesday afternoon when M comes home at 2:30 and T comes home at 3:30 they both walk right up the driveway right past the garbage and recycling cans. Every Tuesday night at dinner we laugh and give them a hard time about it.

Today, M brought both up to the garage.

We call that one progress, baby.

3. Hello, gorgeous.
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We do swimsuits and swim stuff in Easter baskets each year. It's something they always need anyway and they're pretty excited about their new stuff.
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Miss E's been so excited about her new swimwear, she just wears hers around the house.

4. I chaperoned H's preschool field trip to the bowling alley and the DQ last Thursday, even against his wishes. {School is his thing, you know.}
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I loved it. Seeing him bumper-bowl with his friends. Laugh at silly things and then make his own swirly cone.
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Joy. There's no better word to describe it than that.

5. We've got a Student of the Month in our house.

Tomorrow morning we'll head to a celebration breakfast at T's school to celebrate T being Student of the Month.

Middle school has had it's challenges and adjustments for T the last two years. Remembering a class schedule and a locker combination. Homework. Responsibility. But he's kicking it into gear.

They're in their last trimester and he's showing us that he's working hard.

6. A fun little giveaway.
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Marianne Richmond has written another children's book. {You may remember I gave away another one of her books a few months back; If I Could Keep You Little.}

She sent me a copy of The Night Night Book and it's darling.

I've said before, I love reading and we read a lot but sometimes, there's a bedtime like tonight's where I've barely got an ounce left in me and a quick little read like The Night Night Book is just what I need.

This book would be great for any child and would make a great gift as well.

{I'm especially a fan of her illustrations in this one. They are precious!}

To enter, leave a comment of some of YOUR glass-full sort of happenings this week. You can leave up to THREE comments with THREE different glass-full comments.

Winner will be chosen by on Friday, April 29 at 8pm.

Find something half-full today!

{Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Night Night Book. The author is also giving one away to a reader. This is not a sponsored post and I am not receiving any compensation for hosting the giveaway.}

Monday, April 25, 2011

Young Love.

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The plastic eggs have been emptied and put away, the china has been washed and replaced in the cabinet, the house has a floral aroma of tulips and lillies. Our Easter was a wonderful one.

I love having our home full of people and food and loud, full, laughter.

I divvied up a few dishes ahead of time and then just let it happen. Saturday night I made spice cake and apple pie and deviled the eggs. Sunday morning we did our last few things and then after church around the time I thought the ham needed to go in, J realized I'd made a mistake.

Our ham wasn't pre-cooked.

Meaning putting a 12 pound ham in at 12pm would not be ready by a 3pm dinner.

And all of a sudden, the stress I hadn't felt at all and the pride I'd had about being so laid back hit me with tears.

And J, kissed me on my forehead, told me this one was no biggee and took off for the only open grocery store around us, returning with a 10 pound pre-cooked ham that even after all 19 ate, still afforded us leftovers.

That's love.

And speaking of love, I've been hiding a little secret, holding out, if you will.

There's a new young love in our family.
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Meet Teresa.

She's captured my dad's affections and I couldn't be happier.

I have always hoped my dad would find love again and I know my mom would have wanted that too.

They've been seeing each other since around Christmas-time. She lost her husband to cancer several years back and while she's originally from Colombia, Minnesota has been home for a long time.

We're all excited and thankful for the blessing that Teresa is in my dad's life and ours.

The cat's out of the bag and it's love. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday.

"Turn your ear to heaven and hear the noise inside. The sound of the angels awe. The sound of angels song. All this for a king. We could join and sing; All for Christ the King. Oh Praise Him." -David Crowder Band
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We're in the midst of the in between time on Easter. We've gone to church, most of the food is prepped and now we wait.

Yesterday when I said something about going to church, H {who by the way loves Sunday School each Sunday} complained and asked how we'd have time to go to church when we'd be busy celebrating Easter. {You know finding plastic eggs and eating candy.}

Obviously, we have some work to do, I told J.

So last night after the dying of the eggs, while I listened from the kitchen, J read our bigs and littles the story of Easter from the Jesus Storybook Bible. They've all heard it before, several times and T and M could probably recite it on their own, but I'm pretty sure this is the first year H comprehends what we're talking about and what Easter really is.
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There's something so amazing about a story I've heard and known my entire life.

I hope you've had a chance to hear the story or read the story someplace today. And if you've got little ones and you're looking for a children's Bible, I can't recommend the Jesus Storybook Bible enough. Ours is only 2 years old but is worn in from reading and re-reading some of our favorite stories.
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{H has re-read the story to himself with his own words several times today.}

No matter your plans today I hope that you and yours know the great story. He is Risen, today, and that is why we celebrate.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday.

I had planned on doing some super big catch up post with pictures and stories and thoughts from the week today but I just haven't been able to tear myself away from our nothing day.

We left only to get coffee this morning and since then we've played and boiled eggs and remembered what relaxing feels like.
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Relaxing looks like this. My littles reading together on my nook. Love the read aloud books.

H really cracked me up this morning because he was really excited to show me a new idea he had only he kept saying; "Mom, come and see my new identity."

I loved it so much I couldn't even correct him.

We're hosting 19 here on Sunday for Easter. I love pretty much everything about that. In the words of my friend R last night, I really wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm going to get back on track with regular posting next week because I know I've been terribly inconsistent and have a couple giveaways that need to get moving along with a new sponsor. Until then, I'm going to continue enjoying our nothing day and our Easter weekend.

May you and yours remember the reason we celebrate Sunday morning. It's about so much more than colored eggs, candy and pretty little dresses, my friends.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More Than Meets The Eye.

It's been one of those weeks where I feel as though I am barely skimming by. I haven't had really had a moment to re-group at all and tonight when someone asked me if I had a minute, and I really didn't, I should have said no, instead of yes. {We'll file that one away in the section titled; life lessons #461.}

Because 45 minutes later, I am too tired to do anything I wanted to get done tonight.

Tomorrow is another busy one where I'll be gone from morning until night doing ECFE, a preschool field trip and then dinner with friends. While all those things are fun and we'll enjoy them I'm especially thankful for a day of rest and a blank calendar page on Friday.

H received a belated birthday present in the mail Tuesday afternoon from some new friends of mine at Costume Supercenter.They specialize in more than just kids Halloween costumes and I am especially impressed with the selection of boys costumes.

The timing of the package couldn't have been better. It'd been a day and coming home to seeing a surprise box made his day completely.

He loves the costume and has worn it in quite a bit already. The fact that it's not falling apart and he's put it on and taken it off 30,000 times in the last two days is good because we're in high Transformers phase now, my friends.

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Life is good even when the list didn't get checked off and the 13 pending emails didn't get sent. Because just looking at this picture seeing his smiling eyes behind the mask make all the things I didn't get done tonight ok after all.


Tonight on the Patch, I'm asking other parents about allowance. What do you think about allowance? Did you get one, give one, receive one?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Seven And Five.

The weekend has been a full whirlwind of celebration.

And I loved it, every single second.

J and I celebrated 7 years which seems impossible to me. I oscillate between the idea of 7 already?!? and then only 7?!?

And H, the baby boy who made me mama, turned 5. Five?!?
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Sharing our anniversary with one of our kids never crossed our minds until H arrived a few weeks early five years ago. The rest is history.
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Each April we cram all the birthday celebrating that I dream of and love and our anniversary date night into one gigantic weekend of celebration that stretches over several days and includes cake and presents and friends and family and parties. And like I said, I love it.
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Our waiter last night at Pittsburgh Blue said something about it being both terribly convenient and terribly inconvenient to share our anniversary with one of our kids. But to tell you the truth, I can't imagine a better anniversary gift than the one I got five years ago.
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Happy 7 years, J! Here's to 70 more!

And H, Happy Birthday #5! I've got this feeling that you're going to totally love being five.
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Thursday, April 14, 2011


"When I grow up I want to be a Target shopper/worker." He tells me.

"Hmm. Why's that?" I ask.

"Because then I'll be know how to open the emergency door."

Seriously, wouldn't we all like to know?


I've learned a lot about myself this week, especially in regards to change and H's birthday party. I'm sure I'll write more about this but for now, let's just say that weather has created a gigantic headache in the party plans this weekend. {And after all the scrambling I've done I will not be a happy camper if Saturday turns out to be nice.}

Interested in extreme couponing? I just wrote a story on a local couponer on the Patch, you can check it out here. Be sure and check out her tips and this weeks good "finds" as well.


Happy Weekend. What are you up to?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I'm pretty sure I've mentioned I love the show, Parenthood. I save all of my laundry folding for Tuesday nights and I sit and I watch and I fold and I watch and I fold and I really enjoy it. I feel like every week there are different scenes or quotes or things that happen that hit me in different ways and last night was no different.

Lauren Graham's character, Sara, was talking with her brother Adam about teenagers and parenting and it's still sitting with me today.

"I should have fought more... Just when they tell you they don't need you is when they need you the most. You have to fight it. You have to show up. It's when they're pushing you away and telling you they know better. That's when you have to show up."

Sometimes I get caught up on all the wrong battles, making mountains out of molehills and stuck on principle. And sometimes, I think giving up and giving in makes more sense.

Awhile back I read somewhere that whenever your child does something that disgusts or appalls you that is your cue to draw closer to them. I have seen this work in my own parenting experience. Usually when I am most annoyed at whatever they've {whether this is H or E, or even T or M} done, pulling them close and actually touching them {whether through a hug or a touch on the arm or back} breaks down that frustration

Teenage-hood is on the horizon in our household and we're well aware of the struggles we've got comin'. And I admit, sometimes I, as stepmom, just want to sit back and stay out of it, but as a stepmom who's been around more of their lives than not, I can't.

I hope I'll keep on, keeping on.

Keep fighting.

And most importantly, keep on showing up.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Park Season.

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Picnic at the park. Today.

It's funny how the calendar page turns and the sun all of a sudden is warmer and brighter. Park season has begun and we're hoping it stays around through October, like last year.

It's the first request when they awake and the last when they go down.

Will we go to the park?

So we do, in between grocery trips and school afternoons, between bill paying and homework, we find, or maybe we make, the time we didn't have before, to go to the park.

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Baths have become a nightly ritual again and we've already eaten through our first box of popsicles.

H has already been begging, pleading, hoping that one of these days it's warm enough for water balloons and the slip 'n slide and of course his pool. He doesn't quite understand that even though there's no snow, the sun is shining, the temperature hasn't quite hit what it needs to hit to make it all happen.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to love this summer.

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Winner of the Metropolis giveaway is: #17 J.L. & winner of The Vintage Pearl giveaway is: #11 Janet. Send me an email with contact info and your prizes will be on their way!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Time I Thought I Had.

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It's crazy to think that he's just a week away from turning five. When he was born, I remember thinking I had a lifetime until kindergarten and now it feels as though it's right around that next corner up there.

Him and I are such a good place, a good groove these days. That's not to say it's perfect. Somedays he's off, or I'm off, or we're both off.

But mostly we're good.

Earlier I had a headache and I just wanted to lay down for a few minutes and he came over and kissed me and then covered me up and then laid on me. And I get that to some, all that would have just made a headache worse, but it totally healed mine.

He's real sweet on me these days, making sweet little comments I jot down on random pieces of paper every day.

"Mom, I don't ever want to share you with my friends." He tells me one day.

Another day he's in tears telling J that he's scared to grow up because then "my mom will look different. I don't want it to be different. I want it to be the same."

We're practically living outside these days and I love every single minute of it. {Except the coming in part. It's pretty brutal.} And the other day there was a pick-up game of baseball going on in the cul-de-sac and he stood there wanting to be part.

My neighbor-friend yelled out to her 3rd grader, "Put H on a team!"

And he did, he put him on his team. And I sat their half listening and half talking to my neighbor-friend because I didn't want to take my eyes off of him.

Watching him out there with the "big" kids, even though some of the big kids are just a year older, made me realize just how big, how old he's getting.

It goes fast, friends. One day I was holding him with tears in my eyes overwhelmed wondering when I'd ever learn how to balance and figure out the nursing, the changing, the sleeping and now I sit with tears in my eyes overwhelmed about where all the time I thought I had has gone.

*Winner of the Buitoni dinner giveaway is: #10 LIZ. Liz, shoot me an email with your address!

It's not too late to enter The Vintage Pearl or Metropolis giveaways!*

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lots To Say.

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She's two, going on twelve, these days. And she has a lot to say.

Just popping in for a quick, quick minute (because my house is in major disarray and my to-do list is too big) to share a couple fun giveaways happening.

I'm giving away a one night stay with four waterpark passes and a $10 pizza gift card at Metropolis Resort right over here.

Also, giving away free dinner from Buitoni right over here.

Don't forget about The Vintage Pearl giveaway here.

Also winners from the Metro Dentalcare giveaway Twins tickets giveaway have been chosen and contacted by Metro Dentalcare. Not too late to request free toothbrushes and timers for your kids though. Go here for details.

Comments are closed. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Simple Little Things That Bring Me Joy.

I spent the morning at the coffee shop working {writing} and it was great. And yesterday J and I had a date day and finally got our taxes done and went over our constantly crazy schedules and it just feels good to start the week on the same page and also have this free time and space to get things done.

Spring is trying to break through, the grass is showing now, the air is crisp and the sun is trying so very hard to beat through the clouds.

Here's some of the things bringing me joy this week:

1. This book.
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Written by one of my favorite children's authors (and yes, I'm biased, as I used to babysit her kids). We checked it out at the library and H practically begged for a Yes Day of our own. We had our own version of Yes Day and it was fun. You never realize how much you say no until you're forced to make it a little more fun.

2. This.
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Found the ticket stubs and the photo booth pics hanging on the kitchen bulletin board. I love that she won't ever forget her first time at a movie alone. I won't either.

3. These girls.
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M has real glasses now and she looks so old with E on her hip. Like a tween.

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I also love that E does this cheesy, squinty, eyes closed smile sort of thing lately.
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4. My Nook.
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Reading after a day of slidin', arcadin' and fun at Metropolis. More on that to come.

J and the kids surprised me with a Nook for my birthday and I love it so, so much. More than I ever thought I would. I love that I can download new books in the touch of the screen whether it's from the library or the book store. I've been reading Junie B. Jones aloud and while H loves them {we're on book 3}, I've decided after this one we're moving on to the Beverly Cleary series of Henry Huggins.

I love that my littles love reading.

5. Fun things to giveaway.
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I love The Vintage Pearl and I especially love this MamaBird necklace I received a few months back. I'm super excited that they are giving away a $25 gift certificate to their shop. 

Tell me what's bringing you JOY this week and you're entered.

For an additional entry, share on Facebook or Twitter and leave a seperate comment here telling me you shared the contest!

{Winner to be chosen by Contest ends Sunday, April 10 8pm. Prize provided by The Vintage Pearl.}