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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Glimpses 2011.

We toasted 2011 away with our littles and tucked them into bed hours ago now. We clinked our glasses together with sparkling pear juice where E may have drank hers in one giant gulp.

"We'll see you next year," we said and now T and M sit eagerly awaiting the midnight drop of the ball. There are advantages to being the older ones you know. Like staying up on New Years Eve.

When we ate dinner hours ago M asked everyone what their resolution would be and while I'm pretty sure H didn't really comprehend what that meant or what she was asking, he cracked all of us up with his response, "I'm going to work on my skills. My ninja skills."

Really, can anyone top that one?

So I couldn't end 2011 without looking back through the year and remembering just what a good year it was. Here's just a glimpse at this past year before we wake up anew in 2012.

January: J & I went on a cruise. T turned 12.

February: My father in law turned 80. I shared a picture of our blended family and wrote about what our normal is. Oh and I wrote about the balance struggle.

March: I finally said aloud {or wrote, in this case} my true dream and shortly after my computer crashed. I wrote about friendship. Twice. M turned 10 and had a hilarious outing to the movies unattended. I turned 29 and I wrote about the balance thing again.
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April: H turned FIVE! J & I celebrated 7 years. I introduced you to a couple in love and also wrote about being the tiger in the family.
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May: Osama binLaden was killed and I wrote my thoughts on that. H & E were in their first wedding. I donated 10 inches of hair and H graduated from preschool.
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June: E turned 2 1/2 and I celebrated 6 years of blogging.

July: We went through my dad's house and took the crib down. We went to the Aquatennial parade on the hottest night yet.
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August: E officially potty trained herself. and we spent a week in Brainerd.
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September: H started kindergarten.T started 7th and M started 5th and E started preschool. We walked and ran to remember my mom. Oh and my new blog design went up!
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October: My dad got engaged! And H & E were in not just one, but two weddings.
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November: I overheard J talking to a colleague about me and I wrote about expecting great things as a stepmom. And also, E outgrew her dairy allergy!
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December: E turned three. I decided that I wanted a full Christmas season versus a busy one and we remembered my mom after four years.

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Happy New Year, friends! I hope that you can look back at your 2011 with fondness and good memories and look forward to 2012 with excitement, joy and full of possibility.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Coffeeshop Memories.

My editor over at Patch is "on vacation" this week and I decided I was up for the challenge of filling in for him while he has some time off. It's been a week, my friends. It's all come together and it's all getting done but it's been a little crazy at times.

Knowing we had a full, fun day planned today, I decided late last night that I needed to get up early and just get my work done. The internet at home wasn't working at 5:30am this morning so I got ready for the day, packed up my stuff and came to Starbucks, where in a little while J will bring my littles. They'll be dressed and ready for the day, complete with their lunch packed for the Children's Museum. {He's good, isn't he?}

This morning though, in the wee, dark, cold hours, I was brought back 10 years or so to when I worked the early morning shift at a coffee shop in Chicago.

Go! Coffee at the Francisco stop off of the Brown Line of the CTA feels like forever ago. My alarm would go off in what felt like the middle of the night those mornings and somehow, someway, I'd get myself up and ready, walk the couple blocks to the train station and ride the bustling train of city workers to the shop. I can't remember now if it opened at 5 or 6.

I'd always tell myself I could take a nap or sleep later on in the day but I didn't. I've never been much of a napper.

I really loved that job. There's something about the coffee shop in the early morning hours. Where the regulars come in and before they've even said a word their drink was already being steamed and perfected. The crabby ones. The funny ones. The odd ones. The young ones and the old ones.

When I got to Starbucks this morning there were two others here. A man bent over his Franklin Covey planner as though if he stared hard enough the pages would turn themselves and a woman typing away on her laptop. Since then the shop has filled and emptied, some have sat down with colleagues and had in depth conversations, others sit and read the paper. Some are dressed in suit and tie, ready to conquer the world, still others, like a mom and her little boy, they're not yet dressed.

Isn't it funny the things we don't remember and don't forget? Something strikes us right and the flood gates open. I hadn't thought about Go! Coffee or my early morning train rides in years and this morning it seemed like the freshest memory I could think of as I tied my scarf around my neck, laced up my shoes and came to Starbucks.

The memory will last as long as the coffee aroma stays burnt in my hair and clothes and then as the day closes it'll make room for other fresh, old memories to come to the surface. It's fleeting.

Working on an end of the year recap post, like always. Here's hoping you're filling the end of your 2011 with good things.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reviewing Christmas.

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We'll pretend that as I type this the tree is still up, decorated and glowing. That the nativities are still all set up and that no one has stolen Baby Jesus quite yet. But really, it's all taken down, wrapped in bubble wrap and tissue and boxed up ready for the rafters and next year.

Some years it stays up longer than others but this year it was just that time. I couldn't look at tinsel or Christmas tree needles anymore.

We had a great Christmas, celebrating all month long. We celebrated with my family and J's side of the family two seperate Sundays prior to Christmas weekend so the weekend was our oyster. And while we have our own Christmas Eve traditions when the bigs are with their mom and I usually stand firm, there was just something about hearing my 79 year old grandma on speaker phone last week asking if I'd stop by my aunts house on Saturday.

So we did. It's an hour one way in the smack dab middle of the woods and we missed church but we did. And I'm so glad.

She's my only grandparent left and the way she makes you feel is out of a storybook, really.

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Four generations.

There was a time where I could plug my camera in to the computer and 439 pictures would need to be uploaded but lately it seems I take a few pictures here in there. Christmas was no different, just a handful were on the memory card last night because really, how many pictures of kids ripping open presents does one need?
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Our four. Christmas morning. There's a story about the Barbie Jeep recovered from the good ol' local goodwill gifted to E from her siblings, but I'll save it for another day.

I like to think that the lack of pictures mean that we were more present, that we were more aware of moments instead of creating them and most of all, that we were too busy having fun most of the time to be bothered by the camera.

We had a lot of fun. Christmas with four kids pretty much is the definition of fun. We spent the entire day pajama clad, assembling games and toys and playing and only left the house to grab coffee. We started the day early and ended it late. Ever since we made the decision to stay home on Christmas we have fully lived that up.

Oh, just one more picture left.

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I didn't forget, I couldn't. Christmas Eve, my littles and I. Two of the{many} best gifts I've ever been given.

Hope your Christmas was Merry and Bright. And Fun.

Previous Christmas Eve photos can be seen here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I didn't intend to go dark on the blog for most of the week but it was one of those weeks where I had to make choices because I couldn't keep up on everything. Last weekend, {after our Christmas party that was once again a success and full of fun!} Miss E ended up at Children's Hospital with a nasty case of croup that was swiftly kicked out of her system and our house with some steroids. Then H was sick Monday and Tuesday with a mysterious sore throat, fever and then let's just add in a little throw up for good measure.

Wednesday I hosted my co-workers from Patch for a little Christmas luncheon and am just so grateful for the community connections and the opportunity I am given to share others' stories.

Yesterday, well, you know how that went.

We're heading into the brown, yet sunny Christmas weekend healthy and happy. And grateful, always grateful.

We hope the same to you!

Postuma Christmas card

Merry Christmas dear friends, both near and far, both known and unknown. Thanks for taking the time to visit my little corner of the internet whether that's via email, facebook, twitter, Google Reader or even the old fashioned way! It's always appreciated. Planning on getting back on with regular posting next week.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

On The First Day of Break.

It was his first day of Christmas break and it was nothing short of disastorous. I wish I was kidding or exaggerating or something but I'm not.

The van was in for service first thing and despite running behind we were having a fine, old day. The car in front of ours even paid for our Starbucks order including kids cocoas and cake pops.

But at the dealership, it was this and it was that and it was please sit down which quickly turned into frustrated glares from me. I think I asked H to turn the volume down on his game 6 times before I finally just took it from his hand and shoved it in my purse.

"I had a difficult one too," an older man tells me and I tell him right back, "I prefer spirited." And he harumphed and I sat embarrassed.

We left and I stewed and we talked and then believe it or not, Trader Joe's was even worse.

That was hours ago.

We're at piano lessons right now and he's in his lesson playing cute little Christmas songs and totally listening to his teacher but E is laying on the floor next to me kicking the soda machine. I'm not kidding.

We're the only ones here so I don't mind, there's no one to apologize to or for.

It's been one of those days and I know that we're three days shy of Christmas and I know that I'm lucky to have more good days than this, I am, but if I am really honest, today is one of those days I want to cry, "I'm just the nanny!" Moms everywhere relate to this, right?

{I don't. And I won't. I love them too much to not claim them as mine.}

P.S. H just came out of his lesson and his teacher informed me of H's plans to have a garage sale when we get home. Oh to be the one to deliver the disappointing news that there will be no garage sale today.

Please may tomorrow be new and fresh and maybe even shiny.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Just a Quick Photo Dump.

I'm giving myself 15 minutes on this one today. It's Christmas party night and a friend is coming over to iron my tablecloth soon. {Umm yeah, don't ask. Not a skill I've acquired quite yet.} There's much to be done before a night of twinkling lights, chocolate fountain and laughter ensue.

We're fully living the Christmas season up over here with recitals and programs and concerts and plays, there really has been something every single night.

H's very first piano recital was last Saturday afternoon and proud mama was I as he played from memory Jolly Old St. Nicholas.
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{Most of the pics from the recital H is glowing as he is wearing a white shirt and no flash allowed so we re-enacted at home. J has a video I may upload at some point.}

We had family Christmas with my side of the family of Sunday. My dad {along with some other fun gifts} gets the kids savings bonds. We call this "money for college". On Monday morning, H was trying to do a little negotiating with me since he claims he won't be going to college, can't he just spend that money on Lego Ninjago stuff?
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And E, wore her new Dora helmet all morning long.
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Tuesday night was E's very first Christmas program and I had high hopes. She's the youngest in her class and cried going on stage and then did not sing a single word.
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But afterwards she told us it was so fun.
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Thursday night we had M's play, America's Next Top Model Student. It was really cute and so fun to see her in her element of theatrics.
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J got pulled onto stage too.

It has been full, hasn't it?

Oh and we can't forget T's twice weekly basketball games we've been trekking to.

Here's hoping your weekend is full and happy.

My editor wrote an article on LICE this week and I'm still itchy just thinking about it.

I wrote an update on the story about the man who donated his kidney to his dad and while it wasn't the ending everyone hoped for, it's a touching story.

I also wrote about trichotillomania and learned a lot about this disorder in the process.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mostly Wordless Wednesday.

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She picked her outfit out today {do you see the multicolored stripey tights?} and a couple years ago it probably would have driven me crazy but I've learned it's really not that big of a deal.

We're having a little rainy coffee date this afternoon since we're out and about for an eye appointment and a Costco shopping trip.

We didn't have any vision concerns but because of H's amblyopia it was important to have her eyes checked as soon as she was three. She passed and did a great job even if she said, "that horse looks like a zebra."

Her eye doctor even told me that she was super impressed with E's speech and vocabulary for someone who just turned 3.

Oh she impresses us every day, friends.
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Like just now when she asked me if I love rainbows as much as she does.

Of course, I do. Don't you?

Pictures and update from her program and all the other activities we've had going to come soon.

Tonight is my Bead for Life party at the Maple Grove Starbucks. 7pm until probably 9pm, I'll be there with necklaces, bracelets and earrings all made by Ugandan women supporting their families. I had a party at my home last Tuesday night and friends loved the unique jewelry for Christmas gifts. If you're out and about in Maple Grove or are looking for some extra gifts, stop by and say hello. Email me if you need more info.

Happy Wednesday! How are you spending the dreary, rainy day?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Just Write: 4 Years Later.

My littlest little is still up and the clock just went past 10. She says, "I not tired, mama, I not tired." and so she sits with books spread across the couch reading and talking and looking while J & I exchange glances that we totally should do something about this, but we're not.

It struck me just this afternoon what tomorrow is. I knew, I always know, but the memory had been below the surface and then this afternoon it just hit.

It is bitter and sweet all wrapped in one, I wrote a year ago and still find it to be true.

Four years ago tonight, after days of the hospital, exhaustion and uncertainty I climbed into my bed and tossed and turned and prayed until the phone rang in the wee hours of tomorrow and my dad's quite, somber voice told me my mom had passed away.

We knew. We were preparing. While we prayed for a miracle, we also knew the cancer would take her life. In the words of M, we wanted her to be kept safe on her way to heaven.

There are things we remember and then there are memories we keep.

I keep those days and moments in my heart. Where everything else seems a fog, I remember in great detail.

My mom has been gone four years now and friends, you've no idea what I would give, what I would do, for just another day.

I could write pages and pages and share stories and stories but tonight I don't. Instead I stare at the little face now finally asleep born 355 days after my mom's passing and think, Thank you God for what I had and thank you for what I have.
Tomorrow night, the anniversary of a sad day, my littlest little will wear her Christmas dress and she'll sing her little heart out at her preschool program and there's nothing else I'd rather do.

And while I wish my mom could be there with me, I know that she would be proud of the very proud mama I get to be.

Linking up early to Just Write.
Written Monday December 12.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Stories.

I watched this video yesterday {thanks to both Steph and Heather sharing it} and fell in love. Even the kids love it. M, ever our dramatic one, would like to make her own version of course.

Take the 3 minutes and watch it please?

H also really likes this LEGO nativity story too.

So we don't do Santa and every single Christmas this comes up with friends and family.  I wrote about that a decision a couple years back and if you're interested you can read that right here. I should explain that we do celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6 with little stocking gifts. However, our kids know the gifts come from us and also, it's a seperate celebration than Christmas, where we just choose to focus on Jesus.

I did write about the Christmas budget over on Patch this week. Do you have a set number of gifts or dollar amount when you shop?

Finally, I would love to challenge you to make your own December/Christmas bucket list. What would be on yours and how are you making sure to live an intentional Holiday season? {We did number 1 last night! Sooo fun!}

Happy weekend! We are about to live a very full weekend, I hope yours is too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December Bucket List.

I've got all these thoughts and ideas and feelings swirling about this idea of having a full holiday season versus a busy one. And some would argue they're the same.

I'm trying to live a very full holiday season but rather than it being busy and hurried, I'm trying to fill our days and nights with intentional and meaningful things. And sometimes that means saying no to good stuff. Fun, exciting, really cool stuff. That's hard.

Starting last Friday until December 22, our schedule is full. Each of our kids has activities this month from basketball games to a choir concert to a play, piano recital and a preschool program.

But the other days and nights, I want them full of life giving things instead of tasks. I don't want to simply check things off as much as I want it to be a joy-filled, love-filled and meaningful season.

I've got a lot more to say about it but I've also got six baskets of laundry staring at me. {The laundry around here just never. stops.}

My friend, Melissa, asked about and suggested making a winter bucket list the other day and I thought that sounded like a really neat and really intentional way to live this month. I may even do another one post-Christmas.

So without much more explanation, here's our December Bucket List. Some we've already gotten started on and some we haven't. These aren't things we just want to check off but things that make our December and our Christmas more full. Of life.

1. Get all six of us in our pajamas, in the car, pick up cocoas and drive around and look at lights.

2. Celebrate Christmas with my side of the family, J's side of the family AND just the 6 of us.

3. Read the nativity story. The REAL story of Christmas.

4. Host an annual Christmas party with friends we do life with.

5. Choose adopt-a-family kids around the same ages of our kids and let our kids pick out the gifts.

6. Make things. Write notes. And give out homemade treats.

7. Buy meaningful. While it's super easy to swing through Caribou Coffee or Starbucks to grab a gift card, actually put some time and thought into what will mean something to them and what could also mean something outside of us.

8. As we receive Christmas cards from friends and family around the country, as we open each one, let's really read their note, look at their faces and thank God for them not just throw it in the pile with the rest.

What's on your list this Christmas? How are you being intentional with your time, your money and your relationships?

**Winner of the Sesame Street Live tickets is #13 KT. KT please contact me with your address.**

Sunday, December 4, 2011


If I close my eyes real tight and sit in quiet for just a minute it really and truly feels like she was just born yesterday.

Turning one, no big deal, I was still nursing, she wasn't even walking.

Turning two. Still so much my babe.
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{Last night of being two. Had to turn on the light to get this picture.}

But three?

She is on her way, world.
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First words out of her mouth Saturday morning.

"I am three."

No joke.

She had the cutest way of saying "two and a half" for the last six month up until Thursday.

Then she pretty much decided she was turning 5. And if I'm not careful she will, tomorrow.
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She's three now.

We celebrated her up all weekend, my friends.

And some people probably think we're crazy and that we're spoiling her and we do too much. But here's my deal. We've got four kids.

And we get to do a lot of fun and great things {many times due to this here blog!} but we also do a lot of shuffling and running from basketball to a choir concert to piano lessons to school pick up and drop off and let's face it, it's somedays a juggling act.

So if there is ever, ever, ever a day or time in my kids lives where it can be all about them, just them, I want it to be celebrating their birthday.

This weekend was her weekend.

We did it up big.

Picnik collage

Picnik collage
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Saturday: Mall of America. Rides. Rainforest Cafe. Surprise Dora cake from Boppa & Teresa.
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Picnik collage

Picnik collage
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Sunday: Party at McD's with 6 little friends. Cake pops. More cake with Grandma & Grandpa.
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Picnik collage

This girl with her big blue eyes, her smile that sparkles and her exuberance for life that just never wavers.

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Happy #3, Miss E. You are so loved and you love in such a big, beautiful way. You bring us more joy and love than you can even understand. Happy Birthday!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Photo Dump.

Happy weekend! We have a full weekend of birthday celebrating {someone is turning 3!} but first I had to "dump" some of these pictures I've been holding on to and wanting to share.


Every November since M was 2, I've taken her to the Macy's display downtown. Once H was born, he joined us and now E too. {For the record, T could come too but it's just not his thing.} We wander through the display, oohing and aahing, grab a giant cookie and choose a new Macy's ornament for our tree. This year we added to our tradition with lunch in the Sky Room. I think we'll keep that part of it.

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Christmas Tree Day!
1. Picking just the right tree. 2. Jeff cutting it down. 3. E & I. 4. Our boys.
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Sunday I was in the baking mood so even though I know this batch will never last the holidays, we got started. M's two neighbor friends came over and helped with the decorating too. {We've already gone through two bricks of fudge.}


I've now been writing over on Patch for a whole year. Wow!

This week I wrote about what not to say to adoptive families, some tips on Christmas trees, holiday traditions anyone can do and kids gift giving.  Oh, and also, now I want to go to Haiti with this group.

I started a new freelance gig last week and am now a contributor on Last week I wrote about the Minneapolis launch.

Don't miss the two Minnesota ticket giveaways I've got going. Disney on Ice tickets ends on Monday and Sesame Street Live ends on Wednesday. GO ENTER!!

If you're still needing a Christmas tree, consider B & J Evergreen and you can get your coupon right here.

And finally, most of our Christmas cards went in yesterdays mail. Don't you just love this time of year? I look forward to the mail every day! If you haven't ordered cards yet and need to check out Tiny Prints. Use code: HOLSAVE20 for 15% off and Free Shipping on orders of $75 or more, expires 12/3. Starting tomorrow use code: DECFS20 for 15% off and free shipping on orders of $50 or more.