Monday, February 23, 2015



After the fourth month of my pregnancy with you, I started sleeping in our guest room- and I use the term sleeping loosely. Very loosely. For hours on end, I laid awake in our old, lumpy, and uncomfortable bed. As I tossed and turned, random contractions caused by tiny elbow jabs and what I can only imagine were little dance steps kept me wide awake. It always amazed me that someone so small could make their presence so known.

When I held you for the first time, I couldn't speak. I was shaking-from labor, from excitement, from love. I studied your hands (long and dainty) and your hair (brown and curly).  I double checked to confirm that you were really a girl, then I triple checked. My first words finally fell out of my mouth long after you were placed in my arms-" You're beautiful," I whispered in your ear. I was in awe that someone so tiny could be so captivating.

When you were a baby, I spent hours quietly nursing you in the dark while Daddy snored next to us and Tyson slept soundly down the hall. I had so much time to think as we sat there-it wasn't often quiet with a newborn and toddler running around. I thought about the way you already had Daddy wrapped around your little finger and the way Tyson loved to make you laugh as you bounced in your excersaucer and how I just couldn't believe that someone so small could make our family feel so complete.

When you were just shy of a year old, we took you out to eat with your Auntie Katie and Uncle Ryan. You wore a jean skirt and striped leggings with a matching headband that was way too big for your tiny head and some bedazzled tennis shoes that totally made the outfit. You stood on your highchair, tight grip on my hands, and made some sort of dinosaur noise while smiling and waving to the other diners. I watched as people waved back, as waitresses stopped to "talk" with you, as strangers turned and smiled. I didn't realize someone so small was capable of lighting up an entire room.

When you first learned to talk, you named your lovie "GetThat", which couldn't have been more appropriate. "GETTHAT!" you yelled constantly, and, of course, we happily obliged. When you were eighteen months old, you discovered you could delay running errands with me if you needed a diaper change. "I'm STILL pooping!" you would yell when you didn't want to leave the house. When you moved into a big girl bed, you repeatedly asked me for "another tisss and hug" as I tucked you in knowing full well it was a request I just couldn't refuse. I'm still shaking my head and trying to figure out how someone so young is outsmarting me nearly every day. As an aside. I'm also trying to figure out how to curb this behavior by the time you reach your teens.

When you wake up tomorrow morning you will be 3. You will no longer be small or tiny or even young in the eyes of the world, but I can guarantee you'll still make your presence known. When you tiptoe into our room, bright and early with a huge smile on your face, I will still think you're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. At your birthday lunch, waitresses will still stop to talk with you-other diners will wish you a happy birthday-you'll still light up the room. I was planning on treating you to cupcakes OR ice cream for dessert, but you'll probably outsmart me and wind up getting both. And when I tuck you into bed tomorrow night, I will still marvel at how perfectly you complete our family.

Happy Birthday, my sweet, crazy, little Mimi.

I love you more than words.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Yesterday Mila and I dropped Tyson off at a local art studio for a day camp. The studio had two tiny birds chirping away in a cage near the back of the room that both kids were quickly drawn to. So quickly, in fact, that I'm beginning to wonder if they're actually mine. I mean, what part of dangerous, dirty and pecking your eyes out do they not understand?

But. I digress..

One of the teachers came over to my kids and told them the "cute little birdies" (her words, not mine) were named Arty and Crafty. Clever. She then asked my kids if they have any pets. Tyson smiled and told her about Lola.

Then I left and Tyson made an odd looking dog out of tissue paper.

When I returned to pick Tyson up the first words out of his mouth in the car were, "MOM! We forgot to tell her about Dory. I told her about Lola, but I forgot about DORY!"

Turns out we all kinda forget about Dory.  Myself included. I forgot to document that, on a whim, I let the kids bring home a beta fish one random Tuesday morning. I blame all my stupid ideas on the lack of things to do in MN during the winter-random beta fish included.

Meet Dory:

She's (he?) been a quiet addition to our house. So quiet that we usually forget she's here. She currently resides in the kid's bathroom which, I'm sure, is wonderful existence. We haven't forgotten to feed her (at least not yet) and have managed to keep her bowl mostly clean (thanks to Daddy).

I'm fairly certain that if I find her belly up one morning it will take the kids at least a week before they'd notice she's gone. It should also be documented this is a once in a lifetime experience.

Welcome to the family, Dory.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Skipping Nap Time is NEVER a Good Idea

Last week I had the brilliant idea to surprise the kids, skip nap time and visit the Eden Prairie ice castle. This week I understand that any brilliant idea that involves skipping nap time will not end well.


In hindsight, the 45 minute drive to the ice castle accompanied by constant bickering, intermittent crying and random screams from the backseat should have been my fair warning that this might not be my best laid plan. Still, I trucked on.

Again, touché.

We arrived, shelled out $24 to get "inside", and spent exactly 8 minutes there before this:

Because running to keep up with your big brother in an ice castle, on ICE, is not safe.

Items the above picture does not accurately capture:

1) ALL THE BLOOD. Afterwards I was able to determine she cut her lip and suffered a few minor scratches on her face, but in the midst of it, I was fairly certain she was going to bleed out. There was blood EVERYWHERE-coats, scarves, pants, mittens-EVERYWHERE.
2) The crying. Oh, man-the crying.... by the end of the episode all three of us had shed tears in public. I have no shame.
3) The 5 year old meltdown over having to leave. Almost messier than the ample amounts of blood.

On a bright note (because, after shelling out $24 for 8 minutes in an ice castle, I NEED to see a bright spot), the ice castle was really beautiful and the weather on the day we went was amazing. Also, the "before" pictures I managed to snap turned out pretty great, too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kindergarten Orientation

A little over a month ago, I covered up my adult acne and hid my (curling iron) hickey to attend our local kindergarten tour. For thirty minutes, the school Principal graciously showed us his school, answered our many questions and tried his hardest not to stare at the growing craters on my chin. I now know the school's average class size and their teaching philosophy. I saw their cafeteria and their gym and their skating rink and their music room.  I met two seemingly wonderful and caring Kindergarten teachers (who also tried really hard not to stare at my acne). I saw art projects the current year Kindergartners had painstakingly painted and talked to 6th grade students about why they adored their science teacher. I left the tour excited, nervous, apprehensive and happy.

And then I went about my business trying to pretend that day never happened.

I mean, surely if I'm still covering up acne and investing in scarves to hide hickeys I'm too young to have a Kindergartner, right? RIGHT?

Apparently not. Yesterday this came in the mail:


In two short weeks, I will escort Tyson into the halls of his elementary school for the very first time. Just typing that sentence makes me want to eat all the chocolate while crying my eyes out. It's a wonder I have acne, huh?

It's just that I'm not ready.

I'm not ready to have him gone 5 whole days each week. I'm not ready to rush him out the door each morning and beg him for information about his day each afternoon. I'm not ready to put him on a school bus with kids 7 years older than him. I'm not ready to not know who he ate lunch with or who he sat next to or who he played with at recess. I'm not ready for homework and field trips.  I'm not ready to pack school lunches. I'm not ready to deal with the tough issues that come with bigger schools-like bullying and fights and inclusion.  I'm not ready to not see his smiling face all day long I'm not ready to say goodbye to my baby. 

I'm not ready, but he is.

He is ready. When he enters Kindergarten he will be almost 6 years old. He'll have completed three years of preschool where he learned not only how to write and read and count, but also the more important lessons like how to listen and be a good friend and be respectful. He's ready for testing and learning to read and new friends. He's ready to play in a gym and have a school library. He's ready to have music class and art class.  He's ready for new adventures, new lessons and new teachers.

He's ready, and he'll do great.

I plan on repeating that mantra when we walk into his Kindergarten orientation in a few weeks. In the mean time, I'm busy praying that some of his readiness rubs off on me by September. Oh, and clear skin-I'm hoping some of that rubs off on me too.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Guy Crazy

This is Mila's bed:

This is Mila's bed on crack.... also known as Mila's bed when she snuggles in for the night.

At last count, there were 22 lovies tucked in there with her. I know I should be worried about her suffocating with all that packed into a full size bed, but, I'm far more concerned with the fact that she calls all these stuffed animals her, "guys."

As in:

"My guys are sleepy too."

"I have to make sure all my guys are tucked in before I can sleep."

"My guys had a bad dream last night."

"Mooomm...give a goodnight kiss to all of my guys."

And, my personal favorite,

"I'm tired. My guys kept me up all night long."

Please, please, please let her never utter this sentence to her Mother again.

Last week, we caught her tearing apart her closet while she was supposed to be taking a nap. As I carried her back to bed and reminded her that this was nap time, she calmly explained, "but Mom, I was just looking for more guys to sleep with."


I figured we would go through a time when she was a little guy-crazy, I just had no idea it would happen at the ripe age of 2.

Does this mean she's advanced for her age?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Elf on A Shelf 2014

It's been 26 (glorious) days since I retired from my part time job as an Elf. Not that I'm counting.

For those reading, I'd like it noted that I took over Elf duty 100% this year-there was no participation or help or even suggested ideas from the husband. None. Oh, no-that's not bitterness you hear in my voice.

While you're taking notes, I'd also like it documented that it was exhausting and tiring and a lot of really hard work. Also, blood, sweat and tears. While maybe not blood-but definitely sweat and tears.

Don't believe me?

I present Exhibit A:


That's three strands of Christmas lights wrapped around our toilet. Strung at 2 AM. Because I woke up in a near panic attack when I forgot to move him before I fell asleep.

Still not convinced?

How about Exhibit B:

33 balloons in a bathtub blown up by yours truly during two nap times. Yes, I wasted TWO nap times blowing up balloons for an elf. If you're not crying by now, I'd like to know the names of the medications you are on.

Also, for good measure, Exhibit C:

A zip-lining elf. Idea credits to Pinterest on this one, but work credit to me. I woke up at 4:30 to construct that bad boy. And there may have actually been blood drawn as I cut the zip line on this one-my memory is hazy from the lack of sleep.

So-yes, BLOOD, SWEAT, TEARS.  All of them.

By day 20 in Elf-land, I almost threw in the towel. Desperate not to disappoint the kids, I searched Pinterest and found what might be the only reason Chippy gets to return next year-elf provoked random acts of kindness day.

On day 21, my kids woke up to an empty box, some supplies from Chippy and this note:

Not one to let an opportunity to get on Santa's nice list pass him by, Tyson dove right in and came up with 2 boxes of old toys to donate before breakfast. Mila was less enthused with the idea of giving up her toys, but agreed to pose unsmiling next to said boxes.


We spent the better part of the morning hand drawing cards for our local police and fire stations and compiling a list of people who make us smile or work hard for us everyday (Target cookie lady, our pastor, the kid's pediatrician, Mommy's Starbucks barista-clearly).


Then we set out. For two hours, we drove around handing out Redbox movie codes, popcorn, donuts, coffee and hot chocolate. In return we received smiles. Lots and lots of smiles-from the recipients, from people watching us, and on our own faces.

It was hands down my favorite day of the holiday season this year and a tradition I can't wait to continue. I'm hoping the kids learned that giving can be more rewarding than receiving. And that it's easy to make someone smile. And that it's important to appreciate the everyday things other people do for us.  If day 21 left even a tiny imprint of those lessons on their brain, Chippy was worth the blood, sweat and tears this year.

That said, on day 23, I did send a subliminal message to the husband:

Still not sure he got it.

Until next year, Chippy.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Christmas 2014

I've delayed writing our 2014 Christmas summary for as long as possible. Too long, maybe. It's just writing the blog entry seemed equivalent to pounding the final nail in our Christmas coffin and I wasn't ready.

A tiny part of me wants Christmas to last year round. The wonder and awe, the magic, the family time-I could take that 365 days of the year. It's the crazy amounts of spending and eating (and the small amounts of sleep) that I could do without.

We are (somewhat) back into a normal routine-eating better and sleeping more, but I miss this:

I don't miss the screaming and yelling over who got to use the red fishing pole, but that hug he gave her as a thank you? Priceless. This year we started a new tradition of the kids picking out presents for each other. Tyson gave Mila a Lego set and Mila picked out this fishing game for him. Both were pleased with their gifts and pleased over giving their gifts. Win/Win.

Other top presents (not from the big jolly guy) included:

Mila- A dress like me dolly from Auntie Katie and Uncle Ryan-if allowed she and her doll would wear their matching PJs all day every day.


Tyson- A Teddy Bridgewater jersey from Mommy and Daddy (#5 to match his age!). Apparently this was, "just what he always wanted!"

Mommy and Daddy-These headphones. The quiet they generate is worth sooo much more than the $8.99 I paid for them. So much more.

Christmas Eve, after the family presents were opened, we meticulously selected the best cookies for Santa, laid out the reindeer food for Rudolph and dictated this well thought out letter in a last ditch attempt to get the best presents next to our stockings.

It worked!

Apparently they were on the extra nice list this year. Also known as the spoiled rotten list.

Favorite present from Santa:


Tyson-this Lego set that he begged and pleaded for. And the country skis Santa bought at a garage sale. And a basketball hoop. I know. Trust me, I know. I think he even knows-he actually exclaimed in excitement, "ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!" when he rounded the corner Christmas morning.

Mila-a new "Get-that." The amount of love she has for these two lovies is alarming. She is still telling literal strangers on the street that she got a new "get-that" for Christmas. They have no idea what she's talking about, but she's telling them.

We capped off Christmas 2014 with more of this:

And a birthday cake celebration for Jesus. Which, more sugar-just what we needed.

Hoping your Christmas was just as magical as ours.