Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It hit 70 degrees... it must be time for a picnic on our white trash back patio!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Sunday was a busy day for Eloise - a birthday party at the zoo and an outing to the American Girl store with a friend for dinner and movie and a bit of a shopping.

Jed was working all day, so Esther and Astrid and I did mundane things like laundry, dishes, vacuuming, driving Eloise to and fro, and basically doing what we usually do on busy Sundays - catching up from the week and preparing for another one.

And every 10 minutes, Esther would look up at me and say "I miss Eloise, is she coming home soon?"

I realized that planning a playdate for Esther would've been wise, as she was missing her big sister so much. So instead I told her that I would take her out for a very special dinner - just us - and she could choose ANYWHERE she wanted and eat ANYTHING she wanted - even if she chose to just eat at the ice cream parlor.

I held my breath, secretly hoping that the words McDonalds or Pizza didn't come out of her mouth. (McDonalds is a very special treat at our house on our 3 times per year journeys there and we have never been to a ChuckECheese and I pray nightly that we never will..)

"Sushi" she exclaimed - "and I want to sit at the bar and watch him make it for me!"
There were shouts of "woohoo" coming from me and hi-fives all around! I love a 5 year old who loves sushi!

So, we ate trays and trays of rolls and sashimi and pickled eggplant. And when you get a sushi chef that has a 3 year old - you get special cucumber rolls, all the sushi rice a baby can eat, and free green tea ice cream smothered in whip cream.
Next time she is insisting on a fancy drink with her own umbrella.

Monday, March 29, 2010

One Year...

Living with these kids, I don't notice the subtle changes in them or how they grow. Usually it is told to me through a grandparent that hasn't seen them in awhile when they say "oh my - look at how much you have changed and grown!"

It will make me pause and really look at my daughter and realize that she grew and changed while we were just so busy living. I had no idea.

Sometimes, it takes a photograph to tell that story.

Eloise has changed so much this year. I had no idea how big of a deal 1st grade was. She is fighting for her independence - and WE fight like cats and dogs, she is expressing her mostly superior opinion about EVERYTHING, and is trying like hell to make every choice for herself - from bedtime to clothing. She is trying to navigate friendships and is already coming home in tears, with mean notes in her backpack. le sigh.

I had no idea how exhausting it is to grow up.

Sometimes, I am difficult and still try to pretend she is little - even when she reminds she is not. I will buy and hang another dress in her closet and she will cross her arms in front of her, give me the "look", sigh heavily and tell me there is no way she is wearing a "baby dress" ever again. Seven year olds DO NOT wear dresses. My word.

So I walk away again defeated - wondering where my little girl went - because she still looks so little to me.

So I took a picture of her this weekend.
..and found one from exactly a year ago.
And promptly apologized to her for not realizing how much she has grown.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


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This week has been frustrating to me - with the passage of Health Care Reform - the debates have taken over Facebook, casual conversations and internet chat boards.

Frankly, I am over it. I am too old to debate and fight, or to prove that I am right and you are wrong. Most of you know my political leanings and probably how I feel about it - but who really cares to hear about it? Even though "I" seemingly won - maybe I am not happy with the watered down version that is what it is. Whatever.

Instead of debating with my fellow mom's, friends, husband, old high-school drinking buddies, or listening/reading the hate and anger and just general angst and energy going into things this week - I, today, choose to focus on Hope.

No matter the economy, the war, the government, the haters, the bitchy babies or the cost of milk - there are still babies being born..and that is hope. I cannot wait to see this movie.

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

"I got Music!!"

"I'm chipper all the day.
Happy with my lot.
How did I get that way?
Look at what I've got.
I got rhythm.
I got music.
I got my man -
Who could ask for anything more?
I got daisies
In green pastures.
I got my man -
Who could ask for anything more?"
(Thank you Jed, for the sweet surprise)
xoxo, t

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why I blog...

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I started blogging 2 years ago immediately after my last first as a way to just write and talk to someone(the blog) besides myself.

(I talk to myself - out loud! Did you know that about me. It annoys my children to no end).

I also started it to share pictures and stories with just family - as they are all far away and do not see the kids much.

Simple. Boring Mommy Blogger.

My blog has become so much more for me.

It is now a place where I can connect to girlfriends. I feel like every day I am talking with Kristi, Michelle and Ann, Melanie, Monika and Melanie, Heather, Izzy's Mom and Heather, Amanda , Stacey and Jill, Jess, Tracy , Tina and Rachelle, Tifani and Tricia, Tiernee , Jen, Amanda, Kari and Wendy....and many more friends who comment and blog (And I would love to include Mrs. G, Heather, Jenny and Ree on that list - but our relationship is a little one sided, as I am just an admirer/part-time stalker of their talents.) These women provide me insight, support, hugs and laughter on their blogs and through their comments - and sometimes just a bit of sanity and trust knowing that I have girlfriends and more experienced moms to lean on and learn from out there in the cyberworld - not just here in St. Paul. (and they are a forgiving bunch by overlooking my horrible run-on sentences as shown above...I was a math girl in school..)

So, imagine my surprise when a lovely and talented mom named Tina emailed me last month. Tina is from Utah(where some of the best "mommy bloggers" live - and where I think I must travel to soon to find out why every woman is so gorgeous...)..

Tina has an amazing blog called Little Tots/Big Ideas. She is doing a feature on her blog about State and International Moms - so she is finding ladies in each state and country - and giving them a spotlight story. Seriously, what a cool idea. A great way to learn about each State and Country and a great way to connect with more blogging Moms.

Tina is funny, sincere, patient(as I am not the best when it comes to return emails...)kind, talented, beautiful and has a lovely family. She is a great writer too.

She found me from the Pioneer Woman's blog back in November. Remember when I met her? Funny how the world works.

Here is our story:

Tracy in Minnesota by Tina...

These connections that I have made through my blog have helped me through my darkest days of loss to my happiest days of birth. Girlfriends really do lift you up in ways that are unimaginable. Thank you ladies!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Astrid 8 months..

Dear Astrid,

The last week has been fabulous - I mean how could it not when you go to bed by 7pm..and then are up at 8:30, 10, 11:15, 12, 2, 3:30, 5 and 6? How could it not. I mean who really needs sleep? Getting up 7 times per night just seems so normal now.

What I love the most about your getting up 5-7 times per night is that you don't just whimper and stir - you wake the neighborhood. I assume this means you will be in theatre someday for the drama you exude at 4 in the morning?

The whole family is starting to enjoy your nightly antics.

I am a strict mom when it comes to sleeping, too - and will let you cry it out. You are so amazing and determined that you can seemingly joyfully cry for 5 hours straight. Wow. My head just popped off.

Now, I know you are mad at me for using Elmer's to stick that bow on you this week - but you need to get over it. I couldn't find the Vaseline anywhere..and the Elmer's washed right out.

And I know you are probably thinking "well, I am her last baby - so she must want to spend 24/7 with me - so I will just figure out a way to make it so..." Which is true to an extent. Or maybe you are just spoiling me now, so when I finally do get sleep, in a year or so, - it is not such a rude awakening when you come home drunk with your friends when you are 16 and wake the whole house up again? Sadly, by then I will probably be too old to thank you for doing this to me while I am still relatively young.

In other news, your world revolves around your sisters. Your face lights up and you squeal when they come home from school. You just want to be near them. I can already picture you next Fall, standing outside waiting for the bus, when you are not in your bed screaming.

You are starting to feed yourself a bit. Not very successfully yet, so Donut is happy to eat the scraps left to the floor. Donut is a freak to eat mushy half-eaten baby food remains.

Esther has named your scowl your "icky face" - and now I get to hear the girls tell you 268 times per days to stop making your "icky face!" A simple smile goes a long way, girlfriend.

In closing, like Mrs Sullivan said this weekend "it is a good thing you are cute!"

Love you no matter what,

Monday, March 22, 2010


"Eloise get your teeth brushed, the bus is coming!"

"Esther, we don't have time to read now, ballet starts in 5 minutes - we are LATE!!"

"I will play that game with you later - the baby needs to eat now."

"I cannot help you with homework, dinner must be made - try to figure it out yourself."

"In a minute I will get you a snack, I need to take this customer phone call."

"I will sit with you and snuggle in just a second - let me put this last load of laundry in the dryer."

Did I just tell my daughter she had to wait for a snuggle, so I could finish laundry? Oh yes I did.


Mother's need more minutes in every day to do what needs to be done.

If we prioritize family, does that compromise our job, our home, our meals, our laundry?

The days I try to spend cuddling, playing, reading, laughing are met with piles to shovel out after the kids go to bed. My perfect day of doing nothing but touching my children - both physically and emotionally vanishes quickly when I see all that I had let go that day.

So, I spend my days putting my children off - making them wait for my time, my undivided attention. Life of laundry, cleaning, working, cooking, and perhaps even a 10 minute coffee break at 3pm take me away from them.

How can I be a stay at home mom and still have so little time with my kids.

I notice the tension and the sadness most as my selling season is here - I fight with Eloise as she feels the most slighted as she is at school the longest. Esther is brought to tears more often, and the baby - well she cries no matter what I do. They all express in different ways that they need their mom.

So I do what I can - and try to spend even a 1/2 an hour per day of one-on-one time with each of them - playing a game, reading a book, snuggling on the couch watching a movie, throwing a ball. Just a 1/2 hour.

To me - taking that extra 1 1/2 hour to focus 100% on my kids still gives me the time to do the mundane things in our home, gives me the time to still answer the emails and phone calls...and it stops the yelling, the fights, the tears as they know I am available to them.

They also know that it is important that the laundry gets done, that the meals are cooked, that we live in a safe and relatively clean house...and they get to help too. They bake with me, match socks, put away laundry, dust, vacuum and mop.

There are still many times that the 1/2 hour never came - and as I tuck them in each night, we make a plan for tomorrow.

Do you find your family happiness is compromised without your focused time with each child? Do you also balance working outside the home and your family? Do you have some solutions you would like to share?


Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Forward...

We experienced a taste of Spring this week. 60 degrees and sunshine. Our snow melted, our streets were cleared and the sounds of migrating geese filled the air.

Mainly though, the neighborhood came alive again. Kids out riding bikes and scooters down the sidewalks. Neighbors sitting on their front lawns with a book. A rush hour of babies in strollers going past all day long. Life.

We hibernate here in Minnesota from November to March. The snow arrives in November, followed by bitter cold, and the only glimpse of life you see in the neighborhood is that of neighbors rushing to and from their cars, careful not to slip on the ice.

The first nice day - we all emerge and congregate in the middle of the block. Hug and shake hands like long lost friends as kids play chase and pick up where they left off before the Winter. As I watch them play, I am always amazing by how quickly they change.

The girl who in October was a new kindergartner has lost her preschool baby fat and is a long lean girl now.

The little toddler, who was still tripping in October can ride a tricycle.

The 5th grader who began the Winter as a girl, has grown and blossomed into a pre-teen - both body and mind.

And the newborn on the block is now sitting up in her stroller - no longer a little baby - anxious to be a toddler and run and play.

The neighbor ladies flock to her - they want to again hold that sweet baby, who was just a small bundle in their arms last Fall. And as they all approach her, she scowls at them - raising her eyebrows in distaste and then screams at them all to keep their distance.

So they backed away laughing at this opinionated young child, and my favorite neighbor so eloquently said "well, there is a reason God made your child so beautiful - so we can tolerate her difficult personality."

Well said.

Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I am firmly against pacifiers. Firmly. Not because I don't believe in a babies inherent need to suckle, but because I can't see their gorgeous faces, because this piece of plastic and rubber is in my way. But I am not so big of a bitch that I cannot excuse the baby with the pacifier, but I do admit to passing ill will motherly judgement to the parent of the 4 year old talking with the pacifier in their mouth.

Really, I try so hard not to judge, as I haven't walked even a step in their shoes, nor do I know their kids...but the pacifier puts me over the edge for some reason.

When my Eloise was born, I was adamantly opposed to the pacifier. And she was a screamer. Screamer. But I chose instead to bounce her night and day and nurse her on demand to get her through that early infancy pacifier free. But then when she was 4 months old, I went back to work and my mom came to nanny for a few months and low and behold this screaming child ended up with a pacifier. After my anger subsided, we made a deal - pacifier was for bed only - nap or nighttime, but bed only - I never wanted to see that in my child's mouth out of the house.Ever.

It worked and she even gave it up for bedtime long before she was 2. I just threw it away one day and she got over it quickly. I am an incredibly mean mom that way.

Esther never cried, so it was a non issue.

Astrid screams. SCREAMS. So I have spent the past 8 months bouncing and rocking and holding and nursing and freaking out. But adamantly avoiding the pacifier. I just don't want to shove that in her mouth just because she is fussing. And she is fussy. FUSSY. Well, about 2 months ago - she started doing this when she is tired.

Yes, sucking her thumb. Funny thing is, she only does it for nap time or bedtime - or to give me a sign she is ready for a nap.

Thank goodness she is finding a way to sooth herself, because frankly, after 8 months I am exhausted.

I just hope she knows how to eventually give it up, because the alternative of me getting rid of it is not a happy thought.

Do you love the pacifier? Do you have a thumb sucker - do you still suck your thumb?(well, maybe I don't really want to know that). Am I a bitch to judge that 4 year old?(okay, don't answer that either..);)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy Family...

When I saw this picture of me and Kristi with the girls, the first thing I thought was "Hot Damn we make a cute couple!"

I sure need a sister wife.

..and if I cannot have a sister wife, then I am just glad that all of us ladies were able to go to see a Broadway show on Sunday. Mamma Mia was the bomb!


Small Things...

As you know, Astrid is not the easiest of babies. At all.

Bath time has been one of biggest issues. She hates her bath, hates the water - whether by sponge, sink, tub, toys, warm, cold, bubbles or sans. Hates it. And since she can scream like no other baby - her bath time screaming is loud enough for the neighbors to call 911 for fear of abuse.

This is not unfamiliar, when we moved into our home 5 years ago, I went to our neighbors - whose home is only separated by a small sidewalk from ours - introduced myself and explained to them to ignore our 2 year olds crying every night at 6:30pm - as that was only bath time. We were really loving parents, but like our children clean.

Eloise stopped complaining about her bath when she turned 5 and was old enough to just take a quick shower.

At 6 months, we signed Eloise up for swimming lessons - with the thought that being immersed in swimming at that young could only develop a good swimmer. She screamed and fought and freaked for 5 years of swimming lessons...and still has little interest to put her body in the water. She takes after my side of the family - mostly made up of non-swimmers.

So we did not offer lessons to Esther, after our first failings - and the girl can swim underwater with no training and can lay in the tub for 3 hours pretending to be a mermaid.

So it was Esther who suggested this week, that now Astrid is sitting, she would take a bath with her and play with her, scrub her and play games.

Within seconds, the screaming stopped and an actual smile emerged.

One less crying episode I have to listen to each day - only 10 more to go.

Monday, March 15, 2010

One Lonely Louse...

Oh yes, the lice are back.

Fun times.

Crazy fricking fun times.

Here we are a month later and the coats/animals/bedding/childhood livelihood are still in bags - but yes we still got lice back. I did everything to contain this little f(^*(&^()(%%^s. The checks, the treatments, the nit pickings, the hair cuts, bagging up every household good, the hot laundry, no one has sat on furniture for a month, continual checks.

I am angry...and tired.

Eloise, again. Apparently from her classroom. The 1st grade lice epidemic from her school is evidently not over. I am beyond pissed and feel the need to go in and shave everyone of their 23 heads today - and the teachers and principals for that matter for not continuing the lice checks that I hear they haven't done for 3 weeks.

I still check my kids hair every few days - so I know it wasn't from us.

I wrote a very nasty letter to the school yesterday, using swear words in all. It was glorious, even if I am the only one to ever read it.

They also went on a field trip this week - to a planetarium. Perhaps those lounge chairs are lice magnets? Based on this, I will never, ever put my head on an airplane seat again. Why don't more business people have lice? Maybe they do, but don't have a school nurse to check them?

And yes, we have lice again - at the start of the Matilda Jane line, my busiest weekend. I haven't slept again for 2 days straight with the new mountain of laundry I have, beds to strip, heads to treat and orders to take.

So, I had a great idea to write a children's book about lice - turns out there are no less than 98 of them already available on Way too many parents have been affected evidently, so we have to write books to get our frustrations out.

We also won't be hugging as a family anytime soon - no head to head contact.

The only way I survived this weekend as the launch of the Liberty of London line at Target.

I am coveting the bike.

Nothing like getting to the check-out with Liberty loveliness along with a new lice treatment system and robi comb. It was a bit of a buzz kill.

I love my life.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Second Fiddle...

I guess I just assumed the 3 of them would play together. I would go cook dinner and come out to find the 3 of them sitting in a circle playing dolls, and games, and building blocks.

But that doesn't happen. They break-off into pairs and one sits alone. I never knew that even with siblings, three is a crowd.

Esther is the lucky one as the only 2 pairings I see are Astrid/Esther or Eloise/Esther. Eloise will play with Astrid if I ask her to, but she asks me to put a time-frame on just exactly how long she has to sit and play with her. She has things to do that don't involve a drooly baby. Maybe she is already tired of always being the big sister. Mainly she just doesn't like playing silly baby games. She would rather read or write or play a game with Esther.

I feel kind of sad to see someone always alone watching the other 2 play. Is this typical? Is 3 really a crowd?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happiness is...

...snuggling together, watching Sunday morning cartoons in matching jammies without lice.


Monday, March 8, 2010

If I am dead before they marry...

....will you please let them know that I put on great 5 year old birthdays? And I will try my best for a sweet 16 and a proper graduation party.

Jed often asks me why we don't entertain more. Is it because I am painfully shy - yes..because I hate to clean my house - yes..but mainly because I am so anal retentive to every flipping detail, that I wear myself out before the party even starts, and when the guests arrive, I would rather hide in the bathroom.

Can you tell we eloped to get married?

As the party was starting on Saturday, Jed said that Kristi and I should start our own birthday party planning service - like a wedding consultant for the potty training sect. Sure, let me get right on that. Since I was falling asleep by 6pm that night from pure mental and physical exhaustion, evidently this isn't my gig. If I had a business like that I would either die from a heart attack, be committed to a mental institution or become a raging alcoholic. Seriously. I would have to be paid an obscene amount of money to do that every weekend to be able to afford really good wine for myself. So basically I think that this business would have to be named "Two Drunk and Heavily Medicated Ladies Children's Parties" perhaps we would not have much business after all...and then how would I buy my wine?

Now who SHOULD start their own 2nd business is Mike. If he ever retires from his 1st successful business, he should become a videographer. He is Kristi's other half, and he helped me learn how to turn on and focus my camera, and attempt to take good pictures. Mike quietly joined the party yesterday and silently taped here and there - and seriously I do not think the girls even noticed him - that is how good he is.

When he sent me this yesterday, I sobbed and sobbed. THIS is why I throw a party for my girls. THIS is the feeling I was trying to capture.

Now we have this to treasure forever. Thank you, Mike.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Party...

Esther's 5th Birthday

A Princess Tea Party
At Esther's Castle
Saturday, March 6th from 1-3 in the afternoon
Princess attire admired but not required

The Menu

Chai Tea Latte
Sparkling Pink Lemonade
Pink Fudge Hearts
Fresh Raspberries and tangerines
Magic Wand Cookies
Finger sandwiches - ham or cucumber
Cheese torts
Crown topped cupcakes

The Festivities

Tape the crown on the princess(made by Eloise)
Decorate your own tea set
Making flower bracelets
Decorating magic wands
..and of course, color the castle

Thank You For Coming

A balloon, a tissue flower and a festively filled handmade Tussie Mussie for each and every princess.


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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Party Today....

After a long wait, because of the lice, Esther's party is today. Thank God. I would've never been ready 2 weeks ago. I am still not ready.

I have to remember they are 5 year olds - I could put on a princess movie and give them Target cake and a plastic toy, and they would be happy. My house doesn't have to be perfectly clean.

I went to bed at 1 and am up at 4 and my house is a disaster. Jed stayed up past one assembling a castle for our living room.

I was up late trying to salvage some baking. I am a really decent baker - but spent 6 hours yesterday yelling at my kids to give me space so I could bake, and then I threw it all away. Nothing turned out. My kids were home from school create chaos while I futilely tried to clean and fold the pile of laundry on the couch. Then 2 party guests cancelled. I was in tears, and had a Matilda Jane show to do - and sat here in my pony tail, no make-up, no bra, covered in flour and wondered if the movie/Target cake thing was a great idea for tomorrow and if I could cancel my show.

In the heat of my despair, peace came in the form of a phone call. With a way too generous offer and a friendly voice. Her timing was perfect and was just what I needed to take a moment for myself and pull myself together and get to my show - giving me some separation from my home and family and my kitchen.

Today is a new day and I am ready for the perfect(or even not so perfect) Princess Tea Party for Queen Esther.

Come on over, Kristi is making the cake, so you know it will be good.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Attention Deficit

A friend of mine blogged a few weeks ago about possibly adding pictures of her kids to her blog. I totally understand what a big deal this is. It is scary. You are putting pictures of your kids out there on Al Gore's information superhighway. You are usually putting them out there for a totally benign and innocent reason - - perhaps for friends and family to see who live far away, to poke fun of your kids, for scrapbook/remembrance purposes, or purely to show the world how incredibly perfect they are.

We blog for many reasons - - but truthfully, if you have a public blog, you are doing it for some sort of attention - - whether it is the attention of your friend, neighbor, grandmother - or for a product endorsement - - or perhaps just for a friendly comments now and then - - just some sort of recognition for your writing, your pictures, your topics, your efforts, your humor, your heartache. We all do appreciate a bit of ego boosting attention.

Unfortunately, whether through blogging or posting pictures on a chat board or perhaps a social networking site - someone may use your pictures or content in a way that you do not want. People can be mean. People can be sick. It is attention we don't want or deserve. But it happens. Attention many times is not positive.

So we take our chances and continue to post pictures of our kids, or question whether we should. I know I have about 150 readers a day - and no, I don't know who they all are. But somehow I still feel relatively safe in my small, trivial blog bubble. Maybe crazy. Maybe not.

But what I do know is that I personally cannot have my cake and bitch about it too. If I am going to put my pictures out there - bad things may happen to those photos and that sucks. So if, as a hypothetical example, I would post my kids pictures on a large social networking site that has 400 million subscribers - and you don't even have to be a user of that site to see this picture of my child WITH their name on it, then perhaps I am taking a risk that something bad could happen to that photo, and frankly I should not have the right to bitch about it later.

We all take chances with our security on-line. And I totally get the moms who blog with an alias and sans pictures. It is hard for me to really get to know them, but I get it.

We all need to do what we need to do, and who am I to judge? No one really. Just another mommy blogger with perfect and gorgeous kids. ;)


P.S. Sorry to be in such a mood - off to drink another glass of wine now. ;)
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