Multiples Illuminated – A Review

One of my goals in 2016 was to read more books. Not just blogs, not just Facebook updates, not just Instagram quotes, not just tweets…but actual books. I know as a society we are moving towards having the attention spans of gnats as we continue to gather information in such tiny bite sized pieces, but I long for the good old days of a heavy book in my hand while I lounge on the hammock in my backyard with a margarita. Okay, I don’t own a hammock nor have I ever made myself a margarita, but wouldn’t it be nice?

 

And I know who does not have time for all of that relaxation and hammock nonsense – mothers of multiples – that’s who. But they DO need to carve out some time for some good reading and resources. Which is why I’m writing this post.

 

You parents of multiples – lean in here, you are not alone. You have a community of help….

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One of my dearest friends and incredibly gifted writer(and mom of twins!), Alison Lee has co-authored and co-curated an incredible book with Megan Woolsey, that was just released in time for Mother’s Day – Multiples Illuminated A collection of stories and advice from parents of twins, triplets and more.

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Now, I don’t have twins or triples, but I have always been both fascinated and in awe of families who do. We all know how overwhelming just one baby can be – but to have two or three or more? Now that’s a lot of diapers and lack of sleep. So I LOVED the stories that are shared in this new resource for parents about to become parents of multiples.

 

What I loved about Multiples Illuminated was how it took you through the whole process of (perhaps) infertility and becoming pregnant, to finding out you are having more than one baby, pregnancy, (perhaps) a NICU stay, and coming home. And then how to survive those early days and nights(breastfeeding more than one baby as an example), and into the infant and toddler stages. I laughed, I cried, and I felt each story that I read in this incredible resource. The essays and the contributors are pure gold.

 

Multiples Illuminated also provides a place in each section for you to reflect and recall some of your worries and memories as a wonderful keepsake and journal on your own parenting of multiples journey. This will be a book that you keep by your bedside(or your hammock) for years.

 

If you or someone you know is expecting twins(or more), I completely recommend this book full of advice and incredible stories to you.

 

You can find out more at the Multiples Illuminated interactive website, order here, and also follow them on Twitter and Facebook as additional resources for your growing family.

 

***Disclosure: I was not compensated to read nor review this book in anyway. All words are my own. Now go buy the book, get a hammock, and read more. Drinks are optional.

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My Self-Care Grade As A Mom

I texted a friend before heading over to Julie’s book signing last night. I told her that Julie needed to use me as an example on how mothers are NOT focusing enough on our own self-care. I had a crazy day(and week). I was working, the fridge was empty, the house was a mess, the laundry sat in piles, I had not combed my hair or put on make-up and honestly haven’t had a cut or color since September, and I was sitting in the dance studio basement trying to get the bills paid so they were only a few days late.

 

But I told me friend that I was going to Julie’s reading come hell or high water. However the only way for me to attend was to drop some kids at dance, head home with another kid to quickly let the dog out to pee, and then go to the bookstore with my six year old and hope that it ended before I had to get back for dance pickup. And yes, I was the only one at the signing with a child. I laughed at myself and my situation and at how sometimes we just need to make somethings happen for us and our families. And last night – while in full motherhood and working mode – I needed to carve out 90 minutes for me. And I explained to my six year old that we were going to a thing for Mommy and she would need to bring a book and some coloring to keep busy(and not talk) so I could visit with my friend and celebrate Julie and her new book about Self-Care.

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Because kids, sometimes its not about you. I mean 99.9% of the time it’s about you. But I’m taking that .1% and holding onto it tightly as I try to increase my time and focus on my own self-care as a mother, so I can be a better mother. Last night was just what I needed.

 

And I realized that I need to set a better example for my kids on how a mom needs to take time for herself too. It’s always a joke to some that all we want for Mother’s Day is a day off from mothering, but it’s a joke that rings true for many(and many times for me too).

 

But this year I’m not asking for that day off on Sunday, because I just had five days off last month. I did something that I recommended to everyone – I took a long weekend with one of my best friends and spent it celebrating my running the Boston Marathon. I ran a marathon and seriously I had never felt so refreshed and renewed and happy. And I know it was because I got away completely and was able to focus on me(and not feel selfish about it) and enjoy adult company and so much laughter for a few days. It lifted me up and made me ready to come back and know I would be a good mom again.

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My kids were sad that they didn’t get to travel to Boston with me, but I hope they understand why I needed to go with friends, and they will use that as an example on their own motherhood journey someday.

 

And they know how important is to take care of ourselves..always. I model this to my tweens through my dedication to running and keeping fit. I never think of my daily run or workout as time away from my family – I see it as time for me to stay healthy and strong(both mentally and physically), and teach my kids that it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle now and throughout their lives. Remember to not just try to say the right things to your kids, but truly act and do how you want them to remember to live their lives. Actions are always louder than words.

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It’s important to me to keep an open dialogue going with my tween and teen about everything. From self-care and motherhood to friendships and making good choices. I love what responsibility.org is leading as part of their Ask Listen Learn project to build a foundation of trust and continual conversation between parents and tweens. By encouraging a healthy lifestyle that doesn’t include underage drinking, Ask, Listen, Learn has the resources for parents to be informed and talk with their kids about why drinking underage can have long-term and short-term consequences on a developing brain and body.

 

Everyone says that parenting a toddler is hard – but these tween and now as we enter the teen years, are getting even tougher as their independence grows. NOW, and today and tomorrow and always is the time to model a healthy lifestyle and continue to talk with your kids about everything. And if you don’t know what to say or do – well you are lucky because there are so many resources like Ask Listen Learn for those of us who need a helping hand. You are not alone.

 

Please visit asklistenlearn.org for more information and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

 

And remember that it’s okay to take time for yourself too. Happy Mother’s Day.

 

Disclaimer: I was compensated by Responsibility.org for a post, but all words, actions, and love for my tweens are completely my own.

 

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Boston Marathon Recap

It was wicked hot out there.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

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I ran a marathon without much training.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

I didn’t train on any hills.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

My legs cramped up like they’ve never done before.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

I’m not sure I should be running this far on my injured ankle.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

I can’t begin to drink enough water.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

I never, not once, not even for a second, once I stepped up to the starting line thought “I can’t do this.”

 

Because I was ready to earn the sentence, “I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.”

 

No buts anymore. No buts.

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I could leave my recap as just that – I came, I conquered(okay, endured), I finished. But I have so much more to say. So here it is….go get a coffee…

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I ran the race I trained for. I mean, I barely trained as I was in a boot for six weeks and just started running six weeks before Boston. And in my previous post, I said my head was telling me “4:15.” And that’s the race I ran. My plan – as stupid as it may sound to an experienced runner- was to go out and run as well and and as fast and as far I could, and then walk, limp, crawl the rest of the way…but there was no way in hell I was walking off the course. And in my head that meant a 4:15. I thought I could run a 1:50 half and then keep a decent 9 min/mile pace until 20, and then figure out the last 6 miles at a 12 min/mile or so…which puts me at about a 4:10 without water stops…so a 4:15.

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Sure I had an optimistic plan – a 3:51 so I could Boston Qualify again with a few minutes to spare. And maybe,  just maybe, on a cooler day that could’ve happened. Because hell, it was wicked hot. 70+ and sunny is awesome for spectators – but it’s about 20 degrees too hot for runners. I was sweating and my body temp was up just walking the mile to the starting line. They had water stops at every single mile(thank god), and I drank 1-2 cups and poured one over my head at EVERY SINGLE MILE. And I was still thirsty. And hot. And sweaty. And don’t even ask me about the dang headwind. But you know what – I did not care because I was running my first Boston Marathon.

 

Things started off very close to plan – I ran a half marathon in 1:52 and that was great, but I was getting tired. Thank goodness for those Wellesley girls as their kisses pulled me through the next few miles.

 

Miles 14-16 starting slowing down for me and I was walking by mile 16. Not because I was tired(I was), but because of leg cramps. I have NEVER felt cramps like that – they start in your toes, work their way up your foot and to your calf and then FREEZE. Like you are going to fall over if you take another step.

 

So miles 17-21 were brutal. It was still hot and still sunny and I was already walking, and it was time for the Newton Hills. NO ONE CAN PREPARE YOU FOR THESE HILLS. The downs were actually worse than the ups…so I basically would run a quarter mile, walk a quarter mile, and repeat for these four miles. But holy hell – I was running the Boston Marathon – I was NOT giving up. I was honestly happy with 10:30 min/miles with all of the walking I had to do.

 

Thank goodness for the amazing crowds and volunteers along the way. They made a VERY tough day brighter with their huge numbers and encouraging words. I wrote my name on my arm and leg and had hundreds of people shout my name as I ran/walked by. It was also during these miles that I saw the most people getting medical attention. MANY people on stretchers, getting IV fluids and being massaged for cramps.

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Miles 22-25 are kind of a blur. At this point I had to stop and stretch a few times just to even keep walking. My pace slowed to 11 min/mile but I kept on moving forward. At least the course flattened out.

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I saw my friend Kristi, my sister-in-law Amy, and my mother-in-law, at mile 25. It gave me the courage to kind of run that last mile in as I took a right on Hereford and a left on Boylston. I can’t even begin to describe how loud the crowds were down Boylston Street. It was surreal. I cried the whole time as I tried to keep running and thank the crowds for coming out to cheer. High-fives all around, my friends. It was all I could do to lift my arms at the finish and then I just cried as I hugged my “medal-giver” as I finished with a 4:12. It was all in the plan…

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Would I have loved to BQ last Monday? Sure. But I am a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

It was a tough day out there for many. I was looking at some stats since this is a very fast race with some of the fastest runners in the world – so many earn another BQ each year. In fact in 2014 11,053(36%) qualified to run again the next year..and in 2015 12,767(48%) did. But this year, in 2016, only 4324(16%) runners qualified again. That’s CRAZY low and a testament to the heat this year. So KUDOS to them and to all of us who showed up on Marathon Monday!

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I’ve never enjoyed a donut and a beer more than I did that evening.

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I plan to be back to Boston Marathon again soon. This won’t be my last. But this will always be my first and it was truly a beautiful and perfect day.

 

Nothing(except the time and love of my family and friends), will ever compare to running this special race. You sure know how to throw a party Boston.

 

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Eleven

All she wanted for her birthday was to make homemade sushi and donate $100 to WWF to save the tigers. I bugged her for over a month for more ideas. Two years ago, another 11 that I know well, wanted her own MacBook, an iPhone(with Instagram), the latest American Girl doll, and a party for 20. Now that 11 is honestly pretty dang sweet and outward thinking, but she has always wanted a little bit more and wanted to be a little more grown-up. Always in a hurry.

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This 11 has no problem staying little. She has no need to be one of the cool kids. She probably doesn’t even know who the cool kids are. She doesn’t care if she has the right hair or clothes. She wears her sister’s hand-me-downs without question. She’s in no hurry. Ever. A true stop and smell the roses girl. I have so much still to learn from her.

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She’s true and sweet and silly and kind, and will wait to grow up when it’s time to grow up.

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And her favorite birthday gifts(besides the donation), were the pie in the face game, a puzzle that was too easy, and a Style Me Up coloring book for ages 5-8. Screw that ageism crap.

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Yet while she wants to stay little, she’s the first to offer to help – to cook, clean, unload the dishwasher, feed the cat, clean her room, walk the dog.

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She’s a good kid with a beautiful and generous soul, and I’ll keep her close and little and sweet for as long as she lets me. The time to be little and innocent is short. She has so many years coming to be all grown-up.

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So for now – Happy 11 sweet Esther. We love you.

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High Five Friday

Five Things To Read This Week.

I’ve been writing. I swear to you I’ve been writing like I promised to last month. But I’ve been writing with a pen and paper just like Julie asked me to do. So maybe those words will end up on here. Or maybe not. Maybe they will show up somewhere else, or maybe they will stay in the notebook for my kids to find 60 years from now when they are cleaning up my cat lady house after I die.

 

Speaking of Julie…her novel Letters For Scarlet launches in April and I just finished my preview copy. You MUST buy and read her book. A full review is coming soon…..

 

My friend Christine always inspires me. Like I wake up most mornings thinking about her and seeking out her writing and photographs because she is pure joy, inspiration, talent, and beauty. She had a few articles go crazy viral over the past week, but I love her article on The Washington Post.

 

I adore Jennie – her faith, family and her writing. I needed to read and nodded through this post about Forgiveness. I think you will see your human self in it too.

 

Love, Surfing, and Marriage – yes yes and yes..all of it from my dear friend Michelle.

 

Five Instagram Photos This Week

 

I do most of my writing these days on Instagram. So if you are looking for me – find and follow me over there..

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  1. New neighbors moved in over the weekend so we made and delivered cookies! Hopefully they will be some new “clients” for Eloise’s babysitting business.
  2. Fernie the Bernie…(WE GOT A DOG…more later)…with her sweet sister in the van.
  3. Yoga #poseoftheday – I’ve been doing core work and daily stretches and yoga as I continue to get stronger as I recover from my running injury.
  4. Snow Day! We had 12″ of snow this week and had a blast in the snow.
  5. Matilda Jane launch week! Our new Spring line is available so I spent the week working my tail off. I’ve been a Trunk Keeper for almost nine years and love my job still every single day.

Linking up with Angela at Happy Fit Mama!

 

Have a great weekend

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Where I Give 15 Fs About 2016

This morning I woke up the same way that I wake up every morning. The cat is licking my face as my alarm goes off. I wonder if she really thinks I’ll forget to Feed her. Have I ever Forgotten to Feed her? I Feed her and I make sure the coffee is ready and then I work-out. After my work-out I drink copious amounts of coffee as I watch the morning news. I catch up on Facebook and Instagram and email, and then I wait for the Family to wake.

Just hours into the New Year, 2016 Feels the same. The cat, the coffee, the news, the work-out and the being First up for like always a million mornings later. I like the comfort in the routine and Familiar. I am not beyond Feeling like a toddler in my need for the predictable. Yet I don’t want to get comfortable in other ways. I want to step out of my comfort(and honestly, control) zone to be better and experience new. Just don’t mess with the First hours of my morning.

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2015 brought some big changes in many areas – Friends, Family, Fitness, Finances…and honestly had me using the big F word more than usual. And if you know me and my love for the big F word – well, wow that’s kind of a big deal to use it even more.

 

I’m not making resolutions here, because eFF that – so instead I’m using 15 F words that will define my life living Forward in 2016.

 

Focus – Like how I started writing this blog post on New Year’s Day..and here it is Five days later and I’m Finally Finishing it. Yeah, I need to work on this one. This Focus of putting First things First and prioritizing and letting go of the crap that’s not important. But I won’t be able to really Focus until I Finish Breaking Bad. Check back with me in a Few days after I binge watch the Final two seasons. Just tell me that cute Jesse is okay.

Family – Numero uno. But I can’t do this until I get clear Focus, right. That’s why I have it listed as number two. Family First and always. I love my people and they need to know it more. I mean sure I clean the house and cook their meals and make sure they have Folders and clean clothes. And I give hugs and kisses and encouragement and love. But I need to be more present for them when we are together. Whether it’s the now old cliche of putting my phone down, or maybe even watching the Minions for the 153rd time.

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Fun – Which brings me to Fun. I’m the heavy in our Family. The enforcer of the chores and the discipline. I run a tight ship and have high expectations of everyone. This will not change. But I do promise to have more Fun this year and always. We can all wear dirty clothing for a day if it means a few hours of sledding. More yes and less no.

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Fitness – I qualified for the Boston Marathon and am running it in April. I’m currently in a boot – so no running which totally sucks, but I’m coming back even stronger than before…trust me. My Fitness goals in 2016 are to get back into running shape with overall health and Future in mind…strong core, strong body, good choices. And by the end of 2016 I want to be in even better overall health and in stronger shape than I am in now. My goal is to write more about my Fitness journey in 2016 too. Hold me to that one, okay?

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F(ph)otography – My camera has taken a bit of a hiatus in recent years. I’m giving myself the time to explore and get to know my Friend Canon again in 2016. I need to stop worrying about perfect and just shoot.

Food – I have always watched what I eat, but I’m bringing my Family more into this in 2016. In 2015 I started “new recipe” Wednesday with the family – I cooked something completely new each Wednesday, and it was a huge success(maybe I should’ve blogged about it), so 2016 is continuing that as well as Focusing on cutting out more sugar and meat and processed items from everything we eat.

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Future – No looking back this year. The best is yet to come. Let’s celebrate and make an impact where we can – in tomorrow…not yesterday.

Friends – This is a BIG one For me in 2016. The older I get the more I know how important true Friends are. Yet how difficult it is to Find Friends at this age. We aren’t having babies anymore, we aren’t in college anymore, and I don’t have a workplace that I go to where I’m heading out to lunches with adults. But it’s Finding those true and easy Friends – through school or activities or book clubs or Facebook…AND making the time to have coffee or wine or even a phone conversation. Let’s all make the time For Friends this year. Friends Feed our soul differently than work or Family. Let’s celebrate and make time for that.

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Finances – Our BIG commitment for 2016. We made some huge Financial decisions in 2014 and 2015 – and now it’s time to continue moving Forward to ensure our Future retirement(EEK) as well as the kids’ Future is Funded. We will hold monthly Family Finance meetings and Focus on what’s important with our Finances. Full transparency as we move Forward is key.

(non)Fiction – I WILL write in 2016. It might not be here always, but I will write. I want to write a children’s book that I’ve had in draft for almost three years, and I will pitch some articles this year. I have Found that the less I write, the more scattered and unhappy my brain gets…so I need to do this. And I will.

Facebook – And all social media. I Find it can be such a time suck because I love to see you all – your Families, your pictures, your lives..and I love to support you all…but I need more balance here. I have already stepped away quite a bit and will continue to Focus my social media time better in 2016.

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Fly – We WILL take a Family vacation in 2016. We WILL continue to show our kids the world in 2016. We WILL Focus on our Finances better so this is our yearly goal as a Family – to invest in our Fun, our Future, and our global views moving Forward.

(give)Forward – I have applied for a local volunteer position and intend to dedicate more of my time in 2016 to giving Forward to others(more locally) in 2016. “No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank.

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(my aging)Face – Hey, guess what? I’m 47..and will be 48 in 2016. This happens. Yet, I like my Face in the here and now. I do. I like the lines that have come with time and experience. Even the lines on my arms and tummy – YES that happens too dear young people. But I love it. My Face scared me when I was 41-43 because I saw the changes from 37-39..but now, I think it’s kind of awesome. I don’t need to get carded. I can be somebody’s mom, and I can be old enough to be somebody’s mom in college, and I can be old enough to be your mom, or your grandma…and I’m totally zen with all of that. I take care of my body – good Food and Fitness..and well For my Face…not all the thousand dollar lotions in the world can stop time nor do I want to pay for treatments or surgeries or any of that Fake stuff. I own this Face and I love it – wrinkles, age spots, and randoms hairs and all. Also, wearing reading glasses on a date is incredibly sexy.

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F*ucks – And as with my Face..I just can’t give any F*ucks anymore with any bullshit. “I want real. I want true. If you don’t like me that’s on you.” – Tracy Morrison, 2016.

 

Happy 2016, my Friends. The best is yet to come.

“There is no passion to be Found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living” – Nelson Mandela

 

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How To Get Your Kids Into The Holiday Spirit!

I’ve been doing this parenting thing for 13 year now, which makes me quite the expert. I laugh as I type this because we all know that parenting is basically making things up as we go along while we hope the kids don’t catch on to our big charade. Or maybe I just don’t know what I’m doing. Please don’t tell my kids.

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The holidays always highlight the biggest flaws in my parenting, when this should be the time for me to really shine. I mean how can decking the halls, cookie decorating, shopping, listening to holiday music, and visiting Santa become bad parenting moments.

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It’s because they are never perfect. And nothing shines a spotlight on parenting imperfection like the holidays. The stress, the pressure, the events, the busyness, the food, the lack of time – many parents reach their breaking points. My breaking point comes in small doses that I put into the loving way I talk to my kids.

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Here are 10 things to say to kids this month to really get them into the Holiday Spirit! It’s worked for us! No stress here at all…nope, no stress…

  1. Get out of bed NOW! We have to be first in line to see Santa or we are not going at ALL! You will never see Santa again. It’s either first or NOTHING!
  2. Stop touching your sister or Santa will leave nothing for you! COAL! COAL! Do you like coal???
  3. Oh great, the frosting is now brown, it’s like you HATE CHRISTMAS.
  4. NO COOKIES FOR YOU!
  5. The heavy ornaments go on the top of the tree, the light ornaments on the bottom. How many times do I have to say this? You don’t deserve to decorate the tree EVER!
  6. Just pretend to hang the ornaments on the tree so I can get the picture. You’re standing in the wrong place. THIS IS STAGED DAMMIT! DON’T MOVE!
  7. THE ELF WILL DIE IF YOU TOUCH HIM! DID YOU TOUCH THE ELF???
  8. No presents for you!
  9. Oh sure, eat all the chocolate while kids everywhere are starving. It’s like we are made of chocolate now.
  10. This is not suppose to be fun – it’s just a picture for Instagram! You’re a child – do you not understand a game of pretend?

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Okay, I need some stress relief. Let’s just look at cat and Christmas tree pictures…

 

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Five For Friday

I’m just sharing five Instagrams for this Friday. I thought I would have more time to write today, but instead we were crazy busy and this is the first time I’ve even opened my laptop.

 

I hope you all enjoyed time with family and friends yesterday and today.

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  1. We celebrated the last day of school before break with a big coffee! She likes coffee. I like that she likes coffee. Maybe she will never grow because of the coffee. Maybe she’ll be my baby forever.
  2. A little yoga after my run on Wednesday morning. Seriously perfect sunrise. I was nice to run when it wasn’t pitch black.
  3. Thanksgiving family selfie. Beautiful snowy day!
  4. My first run this year with icy roads. I love and hate the snow and ice. It’s beautiful but makes for a difficult run.
  5. We went to the MOA for Black Friday. Eloise turns 13 in 5 days so she got to pick out a few things for her birthday. We had such a blast. I am NEVER a Black Friday shopper – but this was worth it. Just me and Eloise and her friend. We laughed for hours.

Happy Friday Friends. xoxoxo

 

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Lazy Day

I spent most the day cooking. We are heading to a friend’s house tomorrow as we are still without water in our kitchen. So I cooked and hauled dishes back and forth to the bathroom most of the day.

 

We had other plans today, but the girls asked if we could just stay home and have a lazy day. It’s such a treat to do almost nothing all day and not leave the house. I did finally make them get dressed by 1pm. I’m not sure why I made them get dressed, but their jammie bodies and messed up hair started driving me insane by then.

 

So they dressed but we still didn’t leave the house. We cooked and cleaned a bit and watched Lean On Me OnDemand, but most of the day they spent in their rooms playing. Eloise and Astrid made a movie that they won’t let me see yet. I hope to share it with you all soon.

 

Astrid also drew several pictures for me. She drew a koala for me(named Astrid), and this koala has a bicycle for transportation. Miss Astrid Koala gets on her bicycle and travels to her cabin in the woods, and then to the White House, and then she rides her bicycle onto a boat to go to Paris and the Eiffel Tower. These are the places that Miss Astrid Koala wants to see this year. I think it’s a good plan. Also, Miss Astrid Koala has some pretty amazing handwriting.

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I don’t save much from the kids…but these I will stash away carefully in her memory box. I wonder if she’ll remember these drawings when she opens the box someday. I wonder if she’ll remember the story that goes along with the drawings. I wonder if she’ll remember the first time she sees the Eiffel Tower.

 

So now the kids are in bed and I’m eating almost all of the Party Mix that I made before I go to bed too.

 

I hope all of your Thanksgiving preparations went well today.

 

I hope you got to be a bit lazy.

 

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It’s Late

It’s 8:30pm which means it’s super late. Super late. Like I should’ve been in bed an hour ago late. I mean it’s dark by 4:30pm so bedtime can’t be much later than 7:30, right? Please tell me I’m right. So why are all of my kids still up?

 

I was talking to a friend last week. This friend is still deep in the trenches of littles. She has a two year old, four year old and six year old. Bedtimes are still a very big deal in her house. The whole snack time, bath time, book time, bed time thing. I loved that routine until I didn’t love that routine anymore. I told her that soon…so very very very soon…the kids will go to bed after you do. In fact they will bathe themselves, then get their own snacks, put their own clothes in the hamper(if you are lucky), read their own books(any books they want…in fact big books that you don’t even understand), and then they will just turn off the lights when they are ready to close their eyes. Sometimes you mumble to them before you head off to bed, “Turn off the lights before you fall asleep, okay?” That’s the new goodnight routine. Even our six year old now showers herself, gets her own snack, and reads her own stories. But she does get an extra snuggle, a proper tucking in, and has to go to bed before us. Mostly.

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And soon, I know, I’ll be in bed before the kids get home. They’ll be out and I’ll be worried and sleeping with one eye open, listening for the door to open and close.

 

Just like it might be hard for her to imagine a life without a bedtime routine, it’s hard for me to imagine a life without the kids at home most nights. But it doesn’t matter if I can imagine it or not, it will still happen and I am always amazed by the relative ease of parenting transitions as fighting them is futile. Just like I can’t believe my once small child is taller than me. Or better at math. Or borrows my shoes.

 

But I have to go because it’s late. It’s 8:30 and everyone is still up and I know I need to the get the youngest to bed so I can get to bed. Or maybe I’ll just have her sisters give her that extra snuggle so I can go shut my eyes to be ready for tomorrow and the new changes it could bring.

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Monday

My dad and I spent the day in Duluth. My grandma is still kicking. Well, not really kicking…but still here with us. She’s been in hospice for two weeks and has surprised everyone. Well, she has surprised everyone that doesn’t know her well.

 

She’s too stubborn to die. The doctors had given her days just two weeks ago. Now they aren’t sure when she will slip away. But she’s failing. She hasn’t really eaten or drank in almost a month. Is DNR and doesn’t wake-up much.

 

But she smiled when I talked to her today. I spent the day beside her and watched The Price Is Right, The Young And The Restless, and Dr. Phil.

 

It was a good day. Even with bad TV.

 

Besides spending more time with my grandma, it was a bonus to spent five hours in the car with my dad. It’s not often that we get that kind of time to just chat. We talked about old times and good times and kid times, and we drank a lot of coffee. We always drink coffee together.

 

It was a good Monday.

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The AMAs

I’m sitting here with my three kids(and my two cats) watching the American Music Awards. Jed is in the other room watching Fargo or something. He doesn’t love pop and current culture. But ask him about Dave Matthews – he is your man! Although he is learning to Whip and Nae Nae…okay, not really. Please don’t ask him to Whip and Nae Nae. Mom, I’ll wait while you Google Whip and Nae Nae.

 

My girls are spending their time either sitting and singing and talking about which artists they love, or  jumping up and lunging towards the TV as their favorite artists perform. Astrid’s now gone to bed. I’m debating on if it’s a good idea to let the other two stay up until 10pm until this is over. I think they should. They’ll remember this one time on a Sunday night.

 

I wonder if they will remember watching this with me 30 years from now. Will they be 40ish watching with their own kids talking about how One Direction played a new song or that Ariana Grande was amazing. What will their Nae Nae be? Will they tell their kids that the music was better back in the teens or that new artists totally ripped off Rhianna, just like I’m pretty sure 5 Seconds Of Summer just played a Duran Duran song.

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I made my parents watch the AMAs with me back in the mid-1980s. My parents were not exactly relevant nor pop culture educated at the time. They still loved the hits from the 50s and 60s and felt comfortable and happy in their old music bubble. They didn’t understand my love for Boy George and Culture Club, my 80s punk, Billy Idol, or my need to wear pink eye shadow striped across my temple or streaks in my hair. I still remember jumping up and down and lunging at the TV and dancing when my favorite bands came on. My parents sat back in their recliners – my step dad with a smoke and my mom with a cup of Constant Comment tea – and smiled while shaking their heads. They didn’t get my obsession with the popular music of the day, but they respected me enough as a teenager to give me the latitude to like what I liked. Just like I don’t judge a little One Direction love going on here these days.

 

For me music will always bridge the generations – I still appreciate the 40s Big Band music that my Grandparents’ played, the twist and shouts that my dad loved, the folk music from my mom(with some Beatles mixed in), my 80s punk and pop, and now I can Whip and Nae Nae like a boss.

 

I just hope my kids let me come to their house in the 2040s with their kids so we can watch the AMAs all together…and let me share some music to pass down to the next generation of music lovers while I sit back with a cup of tea and a smile.

 

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Five For Friday

I’m linking up with Angela again this Friday!

 

Five Instagrams For A Friday:

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  1. #prayforparis I took this shot of The Eiffel Tower on Valentine’s Day 1999
  2. We took a family hike on Sunday. It was 60 degrees in November in Minnesota – CRAZY!!
  3. Mad for Plaid! LOVING all of the Fall offerings from Aventura this season! Love being an ambassador for them. I have coupon codes too – so now is the time to shop!
  4. Physical Training is going well and I’m getting stronger and faster! LOVE my wrap from Momentum Jewelry – 26.2 #boston2016 here I come!
  5. The holiday line from Matilda Jane Clothing is just dreamy – and these girls aren’t too shabby either! And cooperating for Holiday pictures no less!

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Five Posts For A Friday:

A lot has changed and happened since I posted last Friday. The world weeps as extremists terrorize the innocent. We need to weep along with them, yet let them know that we are not afraid. And we must continue to help the innocent.

 

The world is suffering the worst refugee crises in decades. One mother writes here about why we must all help and why.

 

Angela wrote one of my favorite things this week – nighttime running safety. I’ve written how I am one of those who actually prefers not to be seen as I’m more afraid of being attacked than of being hit by a car – and run knowing that I yield and give vehicles the right of way. Now that we’ve moved out of the city though – it’s DARK out here and I’m running like a Glow-Worm to see and be seen. Love her tips.

 

My dear friend Jennie lives just outside of Paris. Her family is safe and I love what she wrote this week. We continue to send love to her, her family, and her friends.

 

My friend Arnebya is a true gem, a brilliant writer, and just all around kick-ass person. What she wrote here about searching for love as a young girl hit hard and close to home…and now as a parent..whew.

 

And the best news all week – drinking coffee makes you live longer! So I believe I will live to be 526.

 

Happy Friday!

 

 

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Kid Update #3

This will be short. She’s turning 13 in exactly two weeks and so I’ve written little about her over the past few years. She has her own Instagram to share her own thoughts and life.

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It’s been a rough year. She’s changed schools and houses and is dealing with all that comes with being 13. I’m just trying to be a soft landing for her and to keep the lines of communication open. Most of the time my questions are met with one word or no word answers. But there are times of light too. And some laughter mixed in. I cherish those times and feel the bad times deep within my heart.

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I understand when she retreats to her room and I give her space. But I savor the time she gives to us. And I watch from a comfortable yet nurturing distance as she morphs from a girl to not so much a girl anymore.

 

13 is hard.

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Kid Update #2

Mommy blogging again here today. Let’s talk about sweet Esther.

 

Esther is still sweet. Crazy sweet. Typical middle child sweet. I told her she needs to be louder and squeakier so we hear her more. But she isn’t. She lets her sisters be demanding.

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Esther asks for nothing.

 

She didn’t even get a birthday party this year as her day was mixed into packing and moving and the busy. I still feel the guilt. But Esther doesn’t complain.

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Esther is a cat lady in training. She loves the cats. She would have 40 cats if Jed would let her. She also constantly searches websites for dogs. She wants a dog. Maybe five dogs. And hamsters. And a guinea pig or two. Fish. More cats. She wants to be a vet when she grows up. I think she will just start her own rescue agency and rehome pets. Or just keep all 200 pets for herself. She’ll need lots of Febreeze in her house.

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Esther is still dancing. She is always smiling – whether she’s on stage or not.

 

Esther moved schools this year. She’s struggling a bit. She’s making friends quickly, but the schoolwork a bit more demanding. Esther would rather spend her time looking at animals online than studying for a history test. But she’s adjusting.

 

She has become even more interested in cooking this year. Her favorite shows are Master Chef Jr and The Pioneer Woman. She also watches HGTV with me and has great decorating ideas.

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Esther will be 11 this winter, but she still wants to snuggle with me and hold my hand. I’m wishing she stays little just a bit longer. I don’t think she is ready to grow up either. Eloise has always been in a hurry to grow up while Esther has always wanted to stay little.

 

Esther will take care of us when we’re old and need our diapers changed. She’ll put us up in one of her rooms with her 300 cats.

 

 

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Kid Catch-Up

Since I’ve rarely blogged in 2015, and now I have to blog for 30 days straight, I thought I would take this opportunity to catch you all up on what the kids are up to. And hey, it gives me three days of blog material. I need more kids.

 

Let’s start with Astrid, because she’s the easiest to still talk about. I mean she can read now, so maybe she reads my blog and I’ll hear about this in the morning…but I’m going to go ahead and talk about her.

 

She makes me laugh. Daily. And sometimes cry. She still loves me more than anything on this here Earth – which helps because we also have an almost 13 year old who doesn’t seem to like me very much.

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Astrid is tiny. So I still pick her up out of bed every morning and carry her downstairs and snuggle with her on my lap while sipping my coffee and watching the Today Show headlines. It’s our 7am routine. She has a thing for Matt Lauer too. You have no idea how super sad it’s going to be when she is too big to carry downstairs. The saddest day ever.

 

She’s growing out her hair. She wants it to go below her butt before she gets a haircut. It’s about an inch above her butt right now. I’ve started calling her Rapunzel.

 

She’s addicted to Calico Critters. She has 32 babies, 17 adults, and 7 kids. She plays with them constantly.

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She is good at math and piano. I guess they go hand in hand. Her piano teacher(who is also a doctor) has told me this.

 

She started dancing Hip-Hop this year. There’s nothing cuter than a bunch of six year olds dancing to rap music. Well maybe kittens are cuter. But it’s a close one.

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She likes to read about Geranimo Stilton.

 

She loves cats, chocolate, lemons, and sushi. But doesn’t eat cats.

 

She has the best smile.

 

She runs the household. We have no problem with this.

She wants to marry me and bring me to college. This could happen.

 

She continues to complete us. Unless she’s talking in this really annoying whiny voice. Then I want her to go to her room. This also happens.

 

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Sundays

I had a hard time liking my family today. It can be hard to admit that sometimes. That no matter how much you love your family, sometimes…my god…

 

My husband frustrated me with his continued passive aggressive comments…and the dining room ceiling that is still not done.

 

My oldest for being OMG.SO.13. Seriously.

 

My middle for being lazy with her homework.

 

My youngest for whining more than she should.

 

One cat puked. Twice

 

The other cat bit my ankle. Four times.

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And yet – it was 60 degrees in a November, so we took a family hike to try to clear our minds and frustrations and attitudes.

 

And then I tried to take a 20 minute nap. But the cat wouldn’t get off me. He’s my least favorite today.

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I love my family. My family loves me. And I know there are days they don’t like me. Just like today they really got on my last nerve.

 

Tomorrow is thankfully another day.

 

It’s okay to be honest. Life isn’t Instagram-Perfect.

 

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