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Friday, July 29, 2011

Perfect Day.

Perfect day. Full to the brim.

The word content has rung through my mind all day. They are content. I am content. We are content.

My parents always told us that they wanted their children to be content. It totally annoyed me when they'd say stuff like that at their birthdays or Mother's Day or whatever holiday it was. But I totally get it now. I am so thankful for contentment.


Used a gift card from a friend for some fun at an amusement park. {Even though we just bought the Groupon yesterday too. I guess that means we need to go back again soon!}

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The Frog Hopper was a favorite.

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And then we hit the splash pad. And we very well could have driven all the way from where we live to here just for the splash pad because they loved it so much. H's laugh and gigantic smile never left his face as he splashed and sprayed and pranced around.

{And I was a happy mama and felt so on top of it that I'd thrown their swim suits in the van just as we were leaving. Just. In. Case.}

I packed swimsuits but no lunch. Oops. Not sure how I forgot that these kids would probably get hungry at some point.

So I did what any mom in my position would do and let them have ice cream for lunch.
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H couldn't wait to tell J tonight that they had ice cream treats for lunch. {Non-dairy Sonic frozen treats to be exact!}

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I was craving time with just them, just my littles, this week. I've been feeling stretched thin and spread across too many people and things and feeling like they've been getting just the energy of mine that's left, instead of my best.

Some days, or weeks, or even hours, are better, but this week, I needed today.


Leaving the park this afternoon I expected to hear requests for more. More rides. More splashing. More treats.

And I didn't.

I was struck by how content and simply they were pleased. A couple rides. Some splashing. An ice cream treat.

In their eyes that all adds up to make a perfect day.
Happy weekend, friends.

{Those who won giveaways, your prizes will be coming soon. I put that on the backburner this morning...}

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How the Days Go By.

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Yesterday was one of those days where if I didn't laugh, I would have been crying.

From rushing out the door {between phone calls with my editor and the fix-it man coming to fix our water heater} to get to H's last t-ball, to finding out in the parking lot that he didn't have shoes on {New Rule: don't get in the vehicle without shoes on!} to rushing home to get said shoes to getting back to t-ball later than we started. To Miss E not being as successful as I hoped in her underwear and walking across the outfield pants-less.

To getting to H's eye appointment and hearing them say "We called you 15 minutes ago to tell you his appointment is cancelled!" {No worries, it all worked out. He had his appointment.}

To coordinating a sleepover for M and then coordinating T's plans with friends. Cancelling plans later this week because I'm feeling stretched too thin and realizing I need a day. Or even an hour.

And finally, after several days with no hot water, taking a hot shower.

{Consider the above the cliffs notes version of our day.}

Life is funny, isn't it?

An abridged update of our week, so far:

H's eye doctor is so happy with the way his vision and his weak eye has progressed. She believes that by his next appointment he will no longer need to patch his strong eye at all and that if all goes as well as it is now, he'll be completely out of glasses by age 7.

I'm enrolling E in a Montessori school tonight. She's going to go two afternoons a week while T and M and H! are all at school. This is a really good thing for her and for me. I hope?

Oh and in big events, today is J's birthday. #38! We're celebrating tonight.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


She is fearless.

Not many two (and a half) year olds decide to climb the steps to the water slide and actually just go down it.

She does.

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Only about 45 times yesterday. {And these are the best pictures I could get. Actually I have about 20 more almost identical.}

She's so little that she FLIES out the bottom and goes right under water. She doesn't really care, but I do. Which is why I had M catching her while I tried catching it on camera,

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She's our fearless fish!

She's also wearing underwear!! today. We shall see how this goes.

{Here's H last summer on the same slide at age 4.}

Finally, here's the winners from the latest round of giveaways. I had T choose random numbers for each one.

We're highly scientific over here.

MoonDough winners are: Stacy R and Carissa,

Toys R Us giveaway winner is #10: Kelly E.

Noodles giveaway winner is #4: Stacey.

Stonyfield Farm giveaway winner is #2: Susan.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lace Up Those Tennies!

Did you grow up calling them tennies, too?

Well whatever you call you good, tennis shoes, get ready to get them laced up.

It's that time again!

Time to beg, plead and will you all to join us on Saturday, September 10 for A Breath of Hope's 5th annual Lung Cancer 5K!

New this year:
A Fun 1/2 mile race for kids ages 5-12!
Chip timed 5K race for adult runners.

This is the 4th year that our team, Remember Nan's Battle, will be participating and we would love YOU to be a part of it.



Perhaps you love 5K's and want another one to add to your schedule or perhaps you've never done one but have been aspiring to (Hello Couch to 5K friends!) or perhaps you just believe in the cause and the way we choose to honor my mom's legacy, whatever you're reasons, you are welcome to join us for a fun Saturday morning at Lake Harriet!

You can register online right here.
Sign up as a TEAM member and the team name is: REMEMBERING NANS BATTLE

You can also print out a registration form and mail it in by going here.

Runners are $35.
Walkers are $30.
Kids ages 15 and under (whether they run in the 1/2 mile, the 5K or walk) are $15.

If you can't participate and would like to donate in honor of my mom and our team you can go here and do that. All monies donated go directly to A Breath of Hope.

We don't do the 5K to have the biggest team, the most money donated or to run/walk the fastest. We do it simply because we love and miss my mom*. Yes it's great to have a big team. It's great to bring donations in and it's great to finish with a great time, but it's really great to know that when we remember my mom, we are not alone, there are many who stand {and walk and run} through this life with us.

Thank you for considering joining us this year!

*My mom passed away from terminal carcinoma (lung cancer) in December 2007 after a 7 month battle. To read about her battle, go here and scroll down to More about My Mumsy.

Comments are closed today.

Giveaway winners will be announced soon.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

This Is Why.

It seems crazy that even with the temperature hovering around 101 degrees yesterday afternoon as we made the drive to the city, that we would still go through with the parade. But we did.

It cooled down a lot (80's) by the time the parade actually got going and we all had fun.

M is not a big fan of the heat. At all. And as we drove downtown to the parade she asked why I loved this parade so much.

I couldn't really give her a definite answer but on the drive home I knew better.

It's the staying up late and eating ice cream treats on Hennepin Avenue. It's seemingly breaking all the rules of life and bringing home filthy, exhausted kids and moving them to their beds with popsicle stains running down their arms and black speckled feet from the street.

It's letting the kids draw with sidewalk chalk on what's otherwise a street full of businesses while we await the start of the parade. Knowing that the next day as city dwellers await at their bus stop or walk to their office, they'll look down at the drawings a child made the night before.

It's watching the sun set over the city and dancing with the marching bands. Pushing the littles forward to gather as many treats and candies as they can in their little bags.

It's watching my littles excitement when the clowns come over and give high fives or the horses march by or even the gymnasts start doing their flips in front of them.

It's simple and it's fun and it's a welcome part of our summer. We wouldn't miss it.

Heat advisory or not, I'm glad we went.

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***On another note...

Sometimes I feel like when it rains, it pours, in Blogville. {Or in the words of Steph at Adventures in Babywearing, it's feast or famine!} It's true! This month has been the feast and next month will probably be the famine. 

I've got information on a Stonyfield Farms event this weekend in Minneapolis and giveaway {open to anyone in the US} over here. 

The Noodles giveaway goes through Sunday.

And I've got a Minnesota Zoo giveaway coming soon too!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Staying Cool on a Wednesday.

It's way hot here this week. Like hotter than the Amazon.

We've been finding new ways to stay cool though. One of which was a pedicure date with E while H was at Vacation Bible School.
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The best $5 I've spent in awhile.

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I also took my littles on a painting date on Tuesday. They loved it and it was a good exercise for me to let them be and paint how they wanted.

We're about to head out to pick up the bigs and then get ready for our favorite parade downtown tonight.

How are you staying cool this week?

Tell me in the comments and you are entered to WIN from Noodles and Company!

Did you know they now have salads? They just launched this month and they are offering one of my readers a Ten Degrees of Noodles t-shirt and a free salad bowl. You'll then be able to pass along the shirt to a friend who will also get a free salad bowl and so on, up to ten friends and ten free salads. {And the salads are good. I tried the Backyard BBQ Chicken Salad and can attest, it's yummy. They also have a Very Berry Spinach Salad which looks good.}

Winner will be chosen Sunday, July 24! What are you waiting for, how are you staying cool this week?

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I did receive free Noodles salad bowl coupons for myself and my family from Noodles and they are giving away the t-shirt and additional salads.

PS: I have a giveaway ending tonight right here. And this one ends tomorrow. Go enter those while you're at it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Making It Work. {On Food Allergies}

{I am about to share and write about our experience with food allergies. This is not a one size fits all sort of situation, this is our situation. We are not doctors. We just do what works for us and most of all, E.}

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At breakfast a last week I caught E's reaction on the camera to her very own Dora yogurt

Surprise, surprise, soy yogurt doesn't come in packages with characters like Dora or Scooby Doos all over the containers and Miss E has really been having a hard time about it. My dad suggested getting some stickers and decorating her yogurt. Obviously you see her reaction.

I've never seen her eat her soy peach yogurt faster.

Lately, she is becoming more aware of what she can and can't have and it's sad some days.

We took a special trip to Trader Joe's last weekend where we stocked up on some dairy-free soy ice cream sandwiches and some other treats that are for her only.

She calls them "Evie treats" and says "no sharing."

For those that don't know or missed this, E has what is considered a non-traditional dairy allergy. This means she does not eat or drink: milk, yogurt, cheese or ice cream. She can eat things like crackers that have milk in the baked ingredients, she can't however eat any cheese flavored crackers or chips. {Another form of this allergy eliminates even baked dairy/whey.}

We'd previously only had her on a dairy free margarine but lately, like last weekend at a movie, I let her have butter on her popcorn just to see what would happen. And the other night at H's soccer she snuck a Go-gurt.

Her allergist {one of the best pediatric allergists in the midwest, no joke. I am happy to pass his name along if interested, just email me.} had previously suggested that she would outgrow this by age 3 and the plan had been to not challenge her system or re-test until age 3 but I think we might try sooner.

E's reaction to dairy is not life threatening at all which is why we can challenge her system. She can, however, get sick if she still can't tolerate it. {She hasn't yet.} She also could possibly be more suscepitble to ear infections as her dairy allergy and ear infections seemed to closely correlate until she was dairy free.

I get asked almost weekly about food allergies and for advice. The best advice I can give is to first, ask your doctor's opinion. Start taking notes of symptoms, reactions, diet.
Second, trust your gut. I knew in February 2010 that things were not ok and after having E on antibiotics for so long with no respite I knew there were other things going on. Her growth rate plummeted (something we still struggle with), her symptoms became worse in days.

Third, see an allergist. They are trained experts on the subject. Every kid and allergy situation is different and they are the ones who can talk to you about what kind of possible allergy (or not) that you're dealing with.

Fourth, be consistent. If you decide to make a diet modification to see if certain behaviors or issues cease (ie excema, vomiting, hyperactivity, ear infections...) go cold turkey and stick to it to watch for results.

I'm not sure what the future holds for E and her dairy allergy. I'm beginning to feel ok with challenging her system a little bit and seeing how her body reacts and moving forward. Obviously if she starts reacting and getting sick, having excema or even ear infections, we'll know that we need to continue her diet the way it is. But maybe, just maybe, she'll be able to move past this, sooner than later.

When she does, I really can't wait to take her to the ice cream store and get her the biggest ice cream cone ever.

You can bet, I'll share the photo.

{For another bloggin' mama's food allergy experience, visit Marketing Mama, who's daughter has several food allergies that are much more severe than E's.}

Friday, July 15, 2011

Normal Day.

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return. -Mary Jean Iron
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I think I take for granted normal days. Days like today where it's raining and we have nothing on the calendar and nowhere we have to be. So we get up and go to the gym and since it's too early to go to Costco, we sit at the coffee shop having snack and making funny faces.

There was literally no where to sit when we walked in and I panicked for a second because if I had known there would be no where to sit I probably would have opted for the drive thru. But it wouldn't have been the same.

When we finally found our spot, the sillyness was quick to follow. So I watched my littles be silly and make faces and literally share their peanut butter crackers even though they each had their own package. H likes the peanut butter in the middle but could care less about the crackers, E likes the crackers. It works.

I like days like today where we aren't rushed to get anywhere, where we have no agenda and if we decide to waste an hour of our day at Starbucks, the only one who cares is the crabby business man in the corner. {I decided he needs more silly in his life, after all.}


My cousin lost one of her best friends this past week. Twenty-four years old, my friends. My heart is sick for her family, her friends, her loved ones. I didn't know her other than as a friend of my cousin but I've followed her battle with cancer through my cousins' eyes. This is no normal day for her or her friend Kate's family, and other friends as they gather around and remember a life gone all too soon.

I don't get it some days. You just can't find the sense in it. And frankly, it doesn't quite seem fair, either.

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Are you making the most of your normal days?

Be aware, because I do believe they are indeed treasures and tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Happy weekend!

{Don't miss the giveaways I have going on right now. Toy's R Us giftcard here and MoonDough here}

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Simple Little Things That Bring Me Joy.

It's been awhile since I wrote down happy little life things going on here. I assure you it's not because there's a shortage.

This summer life just seems to be busier than past years and I'm not sure why. I feel like we fall into our beds exhausted every night and wake up what seems like ten minutes later to run one kid here and another here and then to the pool or maybe home and one kid is biking to a friends and another one is babysitting! and another one is napping the kind of nap we pay for at 11pm. And those days we have no plans and we stay home and we play outside in the pool or on the playset and trace ourselves with chalk and maybe make a Culver's run for treats. It's a mixture of a lot of things, this summer.

It's good.

#1. Schedule.

We've been doing a different kind of big kid schedule these days now that T and M are getting older. It used to make sense to do a Saturday and Wednesday exchange but sometimes I think it's easier on them {and us?} for them to be in one place longer. So we've been trying one week here and one week at moms and one week here and one week at moms. I kind of like it. I think they do too.

#2: Twinsies.

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There is no denying that these two are sisters, is there? I love when I see little resemblances of them in each other.

#3. Facebook/Craigslist love.

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The other night I logged onto Facebook just at the same time a friend of mine from high school posted something about listing a jumper on Craigslist.

I jumped on it! {Haha, play on words!}

I've been looking for a jumper since I saw one at a random garage sale this past spring and didn't buy it. On our way to a meeting at Toys R Us the other day we stopped at her office and picked it up.

They love it!

This will be my winter lifesaver.

#4. Baseball.
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T's team went all the way to the final championship game. They ended up losing but his team was 2nd place. It was a strange and hard and sometimes 'long'season this year as the games are longer and our littles are not always the greatest spectators. But T played hard and well.

#5. Speaking of sports, H is playing rec soccer this summer.

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He is so his own person. He loves wearing his shin guards outside of his socks. His coach {who is also my Patch editor} says it's ok as long as it's not a game.

#6. His kindergarten backpack.
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My kids were given a mini-shopping spree the other day at Toys R Us and one of the items H picked out was his backpack for kindergarten. May it go down in the books as just another thing on my list of I'll never do that's.

He'll be taking a character backpack to kindergarten and I'm totally ok with it.

The fact that he's going to kindergarten, now that's the one I'm still needing a little adjusting to. I'm both excited as ever for my little lover of school and also in disbelief that it's time.

What little things are bringing you joy this week? this month? this summer?

Leave a comment and you're entered to win a $20 Toys R Us giftcard.

Winner to be chosen Thursday, July 21 at 9pm.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. My kids and I were invited to a marketing event/meeting at Toys R Us and they were given a mini-shopping spree and I was given the gift card to giveaway in exchange for some opinions.

I've also got a MoonDough giveaway going on over here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Lovin'

Just a video from an afternoon last week of some fun in the sun.

Is it too repetitive to say that life is busy and I am behind? It is and I am.

Soaking up as much summer as we can right now.

More {including some fun giveaways} soon...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Room Re-Do.

We took the crib down just about two weeks ago now. For the longest time E was going between the crib and her bed back to her crib when bedtime in her bed wasn't going well and finally I decided it was time.

The last time we took the crib down when H moved into his bed, I found out I was pregnant a week later.

{No, this is not an announcement.}

So, after close to 5 years {minus a few months it was down between H and E} of having a crib up we decided to make a few little changes to our yellow room. 

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E's new bookshelf.

This was a plate rack my sister in law handed down to me last winter. I couldn't really find the right place {or the right plates} for it so it's been sitting in a basement closet. After spending months picking E's books up as they fall out of her overflowing book basket, this is perfectly meeting the need right now.

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The green egg shaped music box was a gift to H before he was born and when he slept in this room he listened to it each and every night. E did too until last week when we came home from Boppa's with the musical girl. Now she requests the "girl" instead of "special", which is what we called the egg.

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E's bedding is toddler sized bedding by the Target brand Circo. She mostly sleeps on top of her bedding though tucked in with her fleece owl blanket, made with love by our friend, Holly!

And she has Dora on her wall. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would have character anything on any of my walls. I'm here to tell you, never say never, my friends.

My daughter now not only has Dora sandals but a lifesize Dora and Boots decal on her bedroom wall. {It is however removable.}

We meshed the original ABC theme with owls and even Dora but somehow, it works.

What do you think?

*Just a little affilliate sale announcement: Shabby Apple has their annual summer sale going on right now. 20% off of everything. You can check that out here. Use code: Summer20. *

Friday, July 8, 2011

More Than Stuff.

We are pulling out of dad's driveway, the back of our van stuffed full.

"Was that hard for you?" J asks and I don't even hesitate.

"No. Not hard."

My dad's moving soon. He's bought a new place actually closer to our end of town and more suburban. He's keeping the other house and he's got family renters moving in once he's out.

He started really going through things weeks, maybe months, ago now. Paperwork and files and closets and cupboards and you don't really know how much stuff you have after 20 plus years in one place.

And he's been on me to get over there and look at things and go through things and I admit that a few weeks back I got a little snappy with him.

"Not on my calendar." I'm pretty sure those were the words I said. {In my defense, my dad's doesn't really plan things like this in advance.}

I'd stopped by one day back in May and dug out some more hostas to add to our yard and my younger sister and I were instructed to look through mom's hutch.

Some water goblets and wine glasses and her blue bird of happiness.

Some things I'll take for practicallity. A barely used futon. Of course. A twin bed. Why not?

Others because they mean something.

The stuffed Cabbage Patch dolls and their clothes shoved in a ziploc bag that smell of the chest they've been stored in. The red You are Special Today plate I've always loved with an etching on the back to my mom from a good friend. The gifts I've brought back for from Russia and Sweden and England and Greece.

As we go from room to room, "look at this," my dad will say, I wonder what my mom would say standing in the doorway watching us. Here we are determining just what it is we'll keep and what things we want or need maybe for no other purpose than to have a piece of her with us.

I spent yesterday afternoon paging through the family tree book my mom spent hours and hours and hours filling in for our family. Tracing roots all the way to Norway on her side. It's stuffed and overflowing with wedding invitations and obituaries and birth announcements. And I think, did I ever think to thank my mom for keeping track of all of this?

Files are next. Who was invited to my grad party and my credit report from 2000. Medical records from Green Bay from 1983-1988. Letters I'd written her I don't ever remember writing and postcards from Florida or Chicago or wherever else I was.

Through the cleaning out and packing up, we find a video recording of our wedding. Our wedding was video-taped? We had no idea.

My mom's vow renewal dress is cleaned and boxed with markings on the box written by my mom. J looks at me strangely as I carry the awkward box upstairs, down the hall to my already overstuffed closet. I tell him the box fits perfectly.

It's not something we think about while we're busy living life. What will they value when we are gone? Will they laugh as they look at the disorganized bins of school paperwork and t-ball t-shirts and first pairs of shoes?

Will they wonder why we kept so many keepsakes or will they, like me, be thankful for these opportunities to touch and feel and look at things that remind me of my mom?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Best of Intentions.

I've had the best intentions the last few days to sit down and write something about our fun, holiday weekend. But intentions only get you so far.

Yesterday after running most of the day, I thought I'd finally get caught up last night and then I ran from Zumba to a meeting to Target and came home to a weepy E who was having a hard time going down for J. {She's got a summer cold but is otherwise fine, just dramatic.}

So I'm taking the easy way out this morning, we're heading to the splash pad before we pick up the bigs later.

Hope your 4th was happy and bright and full of sunshine. Ours was.

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My littles.

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Is there anything cuter than a little all tuckered out?

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This wasn't even posed. It's just the way little girls roll.
More soon...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Long {Not So Lazy} Weekend.

We're having the kind of long, holiday weekend where we do whatever it is we feel like doing. I kind of like that.

It's just J and I and our littles.

We did outside chores today and re-arranged some yard things. The kids swam and played in the water at home, we took a field trip to the pool and came back and did more of the same again at home.

Before we knew it, it was 7:30pm. Filthy, tired, hungry kids and us. We threw our littles in the tub and got dinner going.

Our dinner was a series of hodge podge items in the fridge and the cupboard. We were too tired to do much else.

H had been asking and hoping to have a slumber party with E in her room so I figured why not tonight.

They were out in moments.

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I love this.

This is what long, holiday weekends are all about, aren't they?

I've kind of been dis-connected from the computer and writing and internet for the last couple days. Not for any other reason that it just is kind of a nice little break. Hope you're enjoying the long weekend! I'll re-connect a little more fully soon!