The Four Friends You Need

I believe there are four types of friends that you need in your life, and that you need to also be for others.

 

1. Be someone who will bring a latte(or insert drink of choice)when a person most needs it. When you are sick, tired, overwhelmed, sad, need a smile, alive, just because. Because. Be that person. And don’t expect to be invited in or stay – unless they want you to. But don’t just dump and run either. Especially if it’s below zero in Minnesota. Because a frozen latte would kind of suck for that friend. Because now it’s something not to be enjoyed – but something to be thrown away and cursed at. And now they are disappointed because a latte sounded so good and now that didn’t get one. So be the friend that will bring a hot latte just at the right time. Otherwise forget about delivering it and just drink it yourself.

 

2. Be someone who will never judge. I mean sure, those pants look ridiculous on her, and yeah she didn’t do the best job on that project, and sure she should respect her mother-in-law a little more, and maybe she’s a horrible driver, and maybe SHE’S WRONG – but be the friend who lets her know that she’s awesome even though she’s really not. Because everyone needs someone just to sit with them and let them know they are okay. Even though you know deep in your heart that she’s wrong. But don’t tell her that. And maybe don’t drink wine during this gathering with her because if you drink wine the judging would start. So just drink coffee and nod and give her that caring look. This is what friends do.

 

3. Move the body. I mean I hope none of my good friends murder anyone, but if they do, someone needs to help them move the body. I guess I would do this in a strange Scandal type of way and I’d even wear a white trench coat and drink red wine while I was doing it. I mean, please don’t kill anyone – but yeah, I’ll move the body for you. But I don’t dig holes because I’m deathly afraid of worms – so you’re on your own there sister-girlfriend. You need a better friend than I am to dig the hole for the body that we just moved while wearing our white trench coats.

 

4. Take care of your pets when you travel. And not just feed them, water them, clean the litter box, and bring in the mail and papers – but a good friend will play with the pets, treat the pets as their own, and maybe text pictures of the pets to you each day. Yes, a good friend sends you pictures of your happy, healthy pet each day. Be that friend, even if you hate cats.

truffle-cat

What’s on your list of the type of friends you need and that you need to be for others?

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You Just Call Out My Name

I’m not quite sure what I want/can/need to write about today. So much. Yet so little. In fact as I type I have no idea what the title of this post should be, where to start, how to finish, or frankly what to say.

 

So let’s talk about my new toothbrush. I finally bought a spinbrush/battery operated one and I find it so confusing to use. And they don’t really provide directions on the back of the packaging. I mean, they tell me how to change the batteries and brush heads – but not how to properly use the toothbrush. With the standard manual brushes from 1987 you put the toothpaste on, wet it lightly and then brush. (Or do you wet it before the paste?) – see, maybe I’ve been brushing wrong all along. I need to add this to my list of “Ways my mother ruined me!” because those are fun discussions to have with her at Thanksgiving.

 

However, if you put toothpaste on a spinbrush and then turn that sucker on – well that toothpaste goes flying across the room and splatters onto the wall, or your daughter’s hair. It happens. So I brilliantly figured out that you have to apply toothpaste, wet the brush, and then insert it into your mouth before turning the power one. BUT, it turns out that I have weak thumbs so at that strange angle I cannot actually turn the sucker on when it’s in my mouth. In fact I have to wedge the brush between my knees and then use both of my thumbs to flip the switch on. And if I had applied the paste before this time, well the paste ends up spinning directly up into my face. Which may have happened. Twice. So now the only solution is to squirt toothpaste into my mouth and then turn-on the brush(wedged between my knees and applying pressure with both thumbs) to be able to brush without the mess.

 

This my friends is not only a first world problem, but also a cry for help on tips on how to make the muscles in my thumbs stronger.

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While I’ve been getting used to my new toothbrush, I’ve also been out of town for most of this week. I went to spend time with a friend. It’s a long story – and not my story – so I’m not going to tell it – but here’s what I’m going to say…

 

YOU NEED GOOD GIRLFRIENDS IN YOUR LIFE.

 

I know you have your husband or boyfriend or dad or mom or mother-in-law or a sister or aunt or niece or daughter…..but when you need an objective ear and someone who will both yell at you, cry with you, laugh with you, and at the worst possible moment – tell you an inappropriate joke – you need a good girlfriend for that.

 

And I know you are busy with your family and kids and school and work and online shopping or cursing at toothbrushes – but never be too busy to realize that the relationship you cultivate with a friend is worth it’s weight in gold. No platinum.

 

So make time for that coffee date, that spa trip, that two hour chat on the phone when you think you should be doing laundry instead or mopping your floors.

 

And it’s hard for me. I’m a loner. I like my house. I like my pajamas at 5pm. But reaching out of my comfort zone to have the amazing women in my life with whom I am not related, yet they know more about me and get me more than even my husband, well those are the people I will call someday if I should ever need them.

 

I hope you all have these kind of friends in your lives.

 

And stronger thumbs than I have.

 

You’ve Got A Friend

Written by Carole King – 1971

When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend

If the sky above you
Grows dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind begins to blow
Keep you head together
And call my name out loud
Soon you’ll hear me knocking at you door

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there

Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend
When people can be so cold
They’ll hurt you, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend
You’ve got a friend

Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend

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The Friends We Make On The Internet

Sometimes people don’t believe me when I say that my blog friends are my real friends. “How can you be friends with someone that you’ve never met?” They say.

 

“Easily,” I say.

 

The funny thing about the Internet is that it connects you to people you wish could live next door…but don’t. Sure, maybe you can make life-long friends with the people on your street, at school, at work, at church, or with the ladies you meet at the playground…but what are the odds that they really get you? Or are you just friends because of proximity and time or because your kids play soccer together?

 

And are they the friends that you slowly stop writing to and calling as time goes by after your move away, get a new job or the kids graduate?

Friendship is hard.

 

And while I used to kind of make fun of the online dating sites – now it makes complete sense to me.

 

Because that is exactly what blogging is.

 

You meet people through their words – their words that you read, feel and hear..and you ‘get’ them. You find a whole community of people where you can share stories – happy and sad – and pour your heart out and pee your pants with laughter – and they are not in your living room – but on your screen.

 

But you still see their faces in their words, you message each other when you have a bad day with the kids, and you lift each other up and send virtual hugs, wine, and love through the miles.

 

And my ‘blog friends’ now reach far and wide across the country and many oceans as we share our own virtual martinis at 3pm and talk about our days – the mundane, the special, the beautiful and the very, very hard.

 

All of it.

With people I’ve never met, some I may never meet, but with people who are truly my friends.

 

Many say that social media and the Internet can be such a bad thing as you never know who you are going to meet, and sure there are some scary things out there – even around my very block, in my very town…but, it’s also given us an opportunity to be heard, to be seen, and to share and publish our own stories while we make connection with people we would’ve never had the chance to connect with before.

 

The world is big. But the internet and blogging has truly made it very, very small and cozy and beautiful, and I’m grateful for this space and my friends that I’ve made.

 

Case in point – I met Mark a few years ago through blogging. I fell in love with his writing, his humor, and his photography. I’d visit his blog and his Facebook page daily for little snippets of his life as I drank my morning coffee. And he’d return the visit. We had a lot in common – so we both stuck around reading each other’s blogs – kind of like we were meeting over the chain-linked fences of our parents in the 1970s – we are the same age, have embarrassing pictures from the 80’s, have kids the same age, were Girl Scout cookie parents, have a passion for photography, liked the same music, love wine and old houses, and enjoy similar humor. Instant friends.

So it didn’t seem weird to me to message Mark to say “Hey we are passing through your area on a road trip and I wonder if we could stop by and see you guys on our way through?” And it didn’t come as a surprise for Mark to say “Um, you are staying WITH us for the night, I insist..and the wine will be ready!”

 

And it really wasn’t a surprise when we pulled into the driveway(some 19 hours of driving later) and Mark stood there with my glass of wine in one hand as he hugged me with the other and then ushered my kids into their home. I sat and talked and laughed with them for hours while my girls disappeared for the rest of the night with their kids – swimming, running around, playing games and just being kids – and acting like they have known them forever. Kind of like how I felt with Mark and Fred.

 

Hey, I must’ve like them a lot – because they live in the suburbs and even I was able to overlook that issue.

But I do have to say that Mark and Fred are not perfect – even French guys serve bottled dressing to their guests…

 

You just never know who are you are going to meet on the Internet…

And I’m so grateful for the friends and connections – and comfortable homes and good wine – that I’ve made from this space.

xoxo

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Another School Year

I’m just going to go ahead and sum up this school year with one word. Meh.

 

In full disclosure,  I don’t really think it’s my business to talk about the school year. It’s not my school, not my teacher, not my friends, not my daily routine. It’s theirs.

But I’m still going to give this school year a ‘meh’ as last year was such a ‘WOW’ that this year just seemed to fall a bit flat for both my girls. It’s bound to happen I guess. Some years are just so awesome and some years are just ‘meh’ and you hope to hell that the years of ‘really sucked’ are very, very few. Eloise had a ‘really sucked’ during her first grade year, and thus far Esther has been lucky to live in the mainly ‘WOW’ category, with now one ‘meh.’ Not bad in my opinion.

First Day Of School/Last Day Of School

My kids love school. They don’t get excited about Summer. They like structure and seeing friends every day. They like to learn new things and be challenged. They don’t like bugs and honestly being outside is not their favorite thing. They’ve spent the first three days of Summer mainly reading books. Eloise read 400 pages today and we took a trip to Half Price Books and bought 12 more books. They did spend two hours gardening this morning, and after each of them received about 10 bug bites, they declared that being inside really is usually the best answer. Did I mention my girls hate sports and love ballet? Also, being in a classroom all day every day is their version of a good time.

 

I asked both of my girls four questions about their school year… 1. What was your favorite party of the year? 2. What was your least favorite part of the year? 3. What subject did you like the most or what did you like learning about the most? and 4. What subject wasn’t your favorite?

 

Esther – 2nd Grade

1. Favorite part – “My teacher is super nice and always likes to give hugs and also smiles at me every morning.”

2. Least favorite part. “My art teacher yells at my friends and that makes me sad. She’s not a very nice lady.”

3. Favorite subject or learning experience. “I loved writing original poetry and wish we had more time to write more poetry. I’d like to buy some poetry books to read this Summer.”

4. Least favorite subject. “I’m not sure I will ever use math. Math is seriously no fun. Do people really like math and who are those people?” (Um, YOUR MOTHER DOES!)

Eloise – 4th Grade

1. Favorite part. “I love my teacher because she is super awesome, just real and super nice..and she really likes me.”

2. Least favorite part. “Sometimes I felt like there was a ‘lack of class control’ and my teacher had to spend more time getting kids in control rather than spending that time on actual education. I feel like our class size was way to big for one teacher to really do a good job, and I feel that with fewer students we would’ve had more time for more projects, more subject matter and really more instruction time. Sadly, I feel like I didn’t learn as much as I wanted to this year.” (WHOA)

3. Favorite subject or learning experience. “We wrote an actual ABC picture book for little kids. I wrote mine about bears and it was really awesome to publish an actual book with all of the writing and illustrations. The best part was taking it home to read to Astrid as she was my target market. She loved it!”

4. Least favorite subject. “I did not love learning about the Greek and Latin roots of words because there were too many tests and seriously it wasn’t that much fun. I mean I understand the importance, but it was super boring.”

So now let’s bring on Summer! Linking up with Memories Captured.

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One Week – Feeling Lucky – LTYM- Cat Planking

The rock I’ve been hiding under, or pushing through fields, up mountains, across oceans, and through arid deserts with my dear friends Vikki, Heather, and Galit, will finally arrive to the Twin Cities next Thursday.

I can’t believe I’m saying those words – but yes, Listen To Your Mother will debut in Minneapolis on May 9th. I currently feel like the luckiest person in the word. Lucky that I’m involved in such a movement as this one that celebrates motherhood through all of it’s good, bad, laughable, sad and downright silly. Lucky that I’ve gotten to know my new lifelong friends even better…and I can now stalk them comfortably and they won’t think twice about it.

 

Lucky that we have such a great community in the Twin Cities that supports the arts, the written word, the spoken word, the theaters, the everyday moms and dads and kids. Lucky that we have an amazing cast for our show who is going to wow you and make your cry one moment and the next they will make you stand up and cheer. Their brave, beautiful and incredible stories are going to be told. Told.

Next week.

 

Lucky that I have a family that supports these endeavors, the long Google chats, the midnight emails, the trips to Target for chocolate, the time away for auditions and rehearsals. Lucky that I know Ann, the woman who started this all and let me be even a small part of the wow.

Lucky for the press we’ve received, honored to help our local charity, and overwhelmed by our local sponsors who also believe in this show and in our community.

 

I’m also lucky to have a gorgeous dress to wear for the evening from my favorite local St. Paul shop – Poppy Togs and Clogs. It’s my go-to place for dresses, scarves and jewelry. Jill knows my style and always has a great selection and great tips for styling.

So to get ready to show my arms and tighten my abs, I’ve been planking every day. As a LTYM team, we’ve decided that daily planking is required for the next week. I’ve stepped it up a bit though and added a cat on my back for extra difficulty.

Cat-back planking will soon be all the rage. Trust me.

 

But whether you plank with a cat, or frankly plank at all, I hope you’ll join us next Thursday night, May 9th for LTYM-Twin Cities!

 

Tickets to Listen To Your Mother – Twin Cities are for sale still at $15 each, and will be $20(cash) at the door. Come join us and enjoy an evening of celebration. I promise it will make you want to stand up and voice your story. It’s truly an honor to be in this space, this time, this community right now.

 

Happy May. Happy Mother’s Day. xo

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Homebody – Outside The Zone #SOCSunday

I worry for my children. Not because of drugs or bad guys or car accidents or bad fashion choices or clogs or boys who will be mean to them.

 

I’m worried that they will become homebodies like their mother.

 

Give me the choice of a party or sitting quietly in my room reading a book or god forbid needlepoint…you will find me under my grandmother’s quilt with some sort of busy-work in my hands, reality TV on, and a cat on my lap. This is me at 43, will be me at 75, and was me truthfully at 16.

I have to force myself to go out. To reach out of my comfort zone. To make small-talk. To make new friends. To dance without abandon. To leave my house after dark.

 

Did you know that people leave their homes after dark?

 

So when I ask my kids what they want to go do on a day off from school – I list the usual suspects..the playground, the museum, the mall, the movie… they typically say “let’s just stay home and play or do nothing.”

 

And while I want to hug them for saying that I worry that they too will be the ones happily sitting on the couch on a Saturday night with their kids while they read a book and watch Project Runway on the DVR and realize when they are 43 that they have very few friends.

 

Maybe I need to set a new example.

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Linking up with Jana at Stream Of Consciousness Sunday.

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5 Reasons You Should Attend Your Class Reunion

I just attended my high school class reunion. My 25th in case you were thinking it was just my 10th. I know right, I look barely old enough to have children.

 

I had a blast. Connecting with old best girlfriends and reconnecting with people I haven’t seen in 25 years will be the highlight of my year. But, there were a lot of old friends who did not attend. I’m sure there are lots of reason they did not attend – prior commitments, financial reasons, family obligations…but I do hope that people didn’t come because of carrying the insecurities that we all had at 18. Because it turns out – when you are 43..nobody really cares about all that anymore.

 

Here are five reasons that you need to just get over it and attend your class reunion

 

1. Everyone is old. It’s not just you. Now I know that you think you’ll be the oldest. You look in the mirror and see those not so fine lines, that gray hair, that neck with a few wrinkles and wonder if those 18 year olds you remember will make fun of you because you now look like your mother. But guess what – THEY ARE OLD TOO and look surprisingly just like their parents. The only 18 year old I saw were my classmate’s children coming to pick them up after the reunion so no one got a DUI.

(What I wore to the Friday night football game – as I do not own sport-theme hoodies- Dress from Matilda Jane, leggings from Target, sandals from Born purchased at 6PM for a steal)

2. No one cares what you do for a living. After 25 years no one can even hear over the loud music to be able to listen to your career stories. Let go of your hang-ups of what you have or haven’t done. Nobody cares. They just want to see you.

 

3. Remember – these are the people who probably saw you at your worst. Remember 14? 15? Weren’t those kind of sucky and awkward years? Yeah, well these people went through them with you. Now is the time to laugh about those awkward crazy times when you thought you knew everything but truly knew nothing. These are your people. They don’t necessarily have to be your people tomorrow, but tonight..well remember at one time these were your best friends so break open a 4-pack of Bartles & James and party like it’s 1987.

 

(What I wore for Saturday coffee with my brother – leggings and dress from Matilda Jane Clothing and cardigan from The Gap)

4. No one cares if you still fit into your cheerleader uniform anymore. In fact no one even remembers if you were a cheerleader. Call it old age, diminishing memories, or too much wine – but no one cares. Leave your insecurities at home. These are the people you should feel comfortable with – these people are home.

(Me sandwiched between two of my dearest friends – I know you cannot really see it, but I’m wearing a dress from Desigual.)

5. It’s always nice to go home. Maybe you don’t have the connection there anymore and maybe you don’t feel the need – but going to a place that was home is good for your heart and soul. Take the time to visit your old school, cruise down Broad Street like you are still 17, call an old, favorite teacher and schedule a breakfast date.

(Sunday morning breakfast with my all-time favorite teacher – and yes he is pushing 90! – You cannot see everything I have on – but my sweater and dress are both Anthropologie – my denim dress is this season and I LOVE it)

High school might be crazy and an era you may at sometimes want to forget..and maybe you think you don’t need to connect with those old friends again…but remember at one point they meant the world do you, and probably held back your hair…so just take one night to yourself and buy an old friend a cheap beer.

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Linking up with What I Wore Wednesday.

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If you have skipped a class reunion I would love for you to share why!

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Isn’t it about time you like Sellabit Mum on Facebook?

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Torn Between Two Lovers

I find myself quoting the last episode ever of Desperate Housewives, which really sucks when I’m trying to be all educated and ‘writer like’ and all I can think about is the last thing that Susan Delfino ever said.  Especially since Susan is not even a real person – SO GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

 

You know you’ve reached middle age when your memories become more important than your dreams.

 

And that really kind of sucks. You know like a really amazing Jack Nicholson movie where Helen Hunt depresses you AGAIN because is this really as good as it gets and you wonder why she just cannot be happy. Maybe it’s just that permanent sad expression on her face and you’re like OMG I have that face.

 

Seriously.

 

Confused?

So here’s the thing. My heart is all screwed up and confused right now and I don’t know what to do or who to even talk to about it because anyone/everyone involved has an opinion to sway me to that side because they are on that side. So I tried to talk to Astrid because I see her the most and she just asked for more Goldfish crackers and my other two kids have finally figured out that if I ask them for advice then things are REALLY BAD because mom is confused again.

 

Okay, I never told you the thing.

 

So I have a problem. I have two things that fall on the exact same weekend next month. And this truly never happens to me because I only leave my house about once per year so now you understand how crazy this whole thing is.

 

-One of those things is a fabulous opportunity to see old friends that I haven’t seen forever, laugh a lot, reminisce, maybe drink a wine cooler, and feel completely in my comfort zone. And it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.

-The other of those things is a fabulous opportunity to meet new friends, laugh a lot, make future plans, maybe drink good wine, and live completely out of my comfort zone. And it’s scary and exhilarating to think about.

 

(Please note neither of these opportunities involves lovers of any type but I thought the title of the post was catchy)

 

So then I wonder. Am I middle aged? And is it bad to feel that way. Because I feel comfortable in those memories. And why can’t we clone yet in the year 2012 because my life would be so much easier right now because this decision needs to be made this week because my head is exploding with uncertainty. And my heart needs to get past this.

 

Just Write.

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Do you remember my post about the crazy anti-tree-climbing lady? Well I’m thrilled that it was picked-up and syndicated at BlogHer this week. I would love some sparkle over there. Thank you! xo

 

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Breakfast at Bernies

I can do my BlogHer 2012 recap in two different ways – I can go into details on the people I met, the food I ate, the things I learned, the places I went, the unicorns I danced with and the shoes that I wore OR I can write a just write post in 12 minutes and just try to do the last three days of my life justice without boring the crap out of you people while I talk about vibrators and unicorns.

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Well I’m not sure where I was and what I did exactly but I know I talked to a lot of people and shouted over very loud music because my throat hurts and I truly don’t recall smoking a pack of Marlboro Reds so we are just going to go with ‘lots of talking’ and ‘loud music shouting’ stuff that happened.

 

The reason I don’t have any recollection of the weekend is because I took only two pictures. And I briefly remember sprinting for my lunch one day like a bad episode of Supermarket Sweeps. You know because we were having chicken wraps or something. Thinking back though maybe it wasn’t for the chicken wraps – maybe it was because Katie Couric was speaking at lunch.  I do love Katie(and chicken wraps) but I’m still kind of mad at her for leaving Matt and all. I mean there he was on bended knee with the final rose and she dumped him. Oh wait…wrong show.

 

I found this one picture of my feet and my new ‘Pebbles’ shoes from 6PM – I’m in the hotel room alone eating about two pounds of chocolate as I never had lunch or dinner that day.  It was my understanding that lunch was like seafood hoagies or something so I passed.

And the only other picture I took was this one of Heather’s coffee stained breasts and bad-ass tattoos(that aren’t really real unless you believe in unicorns) and I’m not sure why I took a picture of her breasts but I asked if I could take her picture and she told me that her face was too tired for pictures at the time.

So basically at BlogHer I wore cool shoes, ate chocolate and liked Heather’s breasts.  Totally worth the trip to New York City, right?

 

I also feel like a had a dream about running through Central Park every morning and this strange high-kick work-out with The Rockettes at Radio City but I have no photographic evidence of those activities. We’ll just blame those on the rainbows because the unicorns were already taken.

 

And this one night I walked in my four inch heels from 35th and 9th to 54th and 6th and it made me never want to leave NYC because it’s amazing even with bloody feet. It’s also one of the tests you have to take to prove you can indeed make it in NYC.  I love the energy of the city and the fashion and sometimes even the smell.   So I was just pulling my phone out to tell Jed to pack-up the kids as we were moving to NEW YORK CITY  – but I had one glass on wine in me and whenever I drink my inner southern inbred Hoosier(hello, I am one) comes out and I say New York City like the guy on the Pace Picante Sauce commercial, which makes me for sure fail one of the tests to actually become a native New Yorker – but when I pulled out my phone Jed had just texted me this…

Which basically said that I could stay in St. Paul but he was stealing my kids and moving them out into the country with horses. Which at this point didn’t seem all that bad with my bloody feet and Pace Picante accent but then I remembered that was Michele Bachmann’s district and I didn’t think I could be nice to those people and where could I put my marriage equality lawn signs?

 

So I did what any single girl mourning over the loss of her family to the Republican countryside would do – I went back in my room and snuggled in bed with my roommates(Jennifer, Erin and Elaine) and as we went through our weekend swag we realized that all we had were vibrators, stuffed animals and chocolate. Which means that BlogHer is truly just like the show Survivor – I mean if you were going to be deserted on an island and could only take three things – wouldn’t you take a vibrator, a stuffed animal and some chocolate?

So evidently my weekend was highly successful and thankfully not well documented.

 

Oh, also I guess there was blogging stuff going on.  Again, this might be a rumor as I have no photographic evidence. But I do vaguely remember unicorns.

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You Are Not Alone

I met these young people about nine and half years ago.  We were all new parents with babies ranging in age from six weeks to three months.  We all showed up on a cold January evening with babies bundled in their car seats, diaper bags overstuffed, and eyes bloodshot from lack of sleep. (We also had natural colored hair, more hair, and less wrinkles)

We were strangers with a common thread. We had no clue what we were doing AND we thought we were all alone. You know that feeling of new parenthood – sitting at home crying at 3am thinking that no one understands what you are going through, that no one out there is experiencing the same struggles, that no one else has sore nipples. (Jed complained about this a lot)

 

And it’s January in Minnesota and colder than cold and you are still on maternity leave so you realize you haven’t actually left the house in over a month and diaper delivery is the best invention on earth.

 

Yes, sure maybe you have parents to talk to, or friends who have done the new parent thing already but truly aren’t you sick of them telling you how to do things and my personal favorite ‘this too shall pass’ or maybe even ‘back in my day’ and you kind of want to stick an ice pick in their eye or maybe put some hot pepper flakes in their coffee.  No, what you need is someone to talk to who is as vulnerable as yourself, one who walks around with baby spit-up on their shirt, and someone else who is still incredibly awkward trying to nurse in public without giving the world a show while dealing with a diaper blow-out that covers their lap.

 

So you call this place called E.C.F.E and find out that there’s a new parent class starting soon. And you fret for the two weeks prior to the first night.

 

You try to find an outfit that fits and looks okay and isn’t stained. You try to nurse beforehand and get the baby a good nap so she’ll be happy. You apply make-up and try to look as put together as possible and you leave your home determined that this is the right thing and you’ll do great.

 

You walk into this room and find nine other families who look just as sleepy as you and also look relatively scared to be there too.

 

And you find that no matter how hard you tried to prepare for this outing that your baby still wanted to nurse four times during the 90 minute class, she puked on your shoulder and could not be consoled so you ended up doing the ‘baby dance’ in the corner for almost the whole class unless of course you were nursing or changing a diaper.

 

You leave exhausted and YET you think I CANNOT WAIT TO GO AGAIN NEXT WEEK!!!

 

Because these were your people.  You are not alone. You don’t have to do this alone. Ever.

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That original ECFE group continued to get together nearly monthly over the next 4-5 years even after our class stopped.  We were there for second babies and the start of school.  And then things happened – the kids started kindergarten and we started drifting.  A few families moved away and we drifted some more.

 

But there will always be that bond.  That bond of being friends – those first kid friends that you make.  And even when we haven’t seen each other in years we still pick-up the conversation with hugs and laughter as we share our war stories from the parenthood-front.

 

Nine and a half years I’ve known these people. These incredibly special people who were right there when we all needed each other the most.

We laughed today that we need to form another E.C.F.E. group – I mean we don’t need this ‘early childhood’ stuff anymore..but we need more of a P.T.F.E – that’s Pre-Teen Family Education as our kids start reaching THAT age.  Seriously, don’t you think that’s brilliant? There would be wine of course at this one.  And we’d just leave the kids at home.  Maybe this course is actually just called Moms Night Out?   I don’t know but I do know that I need to see these people more.

*******

Did you have a good support network with your first child? Seriously(and ECFE has no idea who I am) find your people at classes like this.  You’re not just saving your sanity, you’re making lifelong friends.

 

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50

When I first met Kristi I will admit she was a bit of a mystery to me – this stay at home mom with a cute toddler.  My boyfriend(now husband) and I would go for motorcycle rides with a guy we met through a local motorcycle meet-up.  He had a wife and a toddler at home who I never really got to know..except from a quick ride by and a wave.  We would chat occasionally. I found out that she had a very successful career in the corporate world but quit it all to stay home with their son. (I admit I didn’t get that). I wasn’t a huge fan of kids at the time but I remember meeting Charlie and saying “if I ever have a child I want them to be exactly like him!”

Soon I found myself moving to Europe. During this time Jed stayed behind and I believe found himself at Kristi’s doorstep nearly nightly at their dinnertime. Ironic, no? ;) Jed would email and call me bragging about Kristi’s cooking. Kristi’s gourmet baking. Kristi’s decorating. Kristi’s home. (I think he was trying to be adopted).

Anyway, when I moved back from Europe – all eight months pregnant of me – I found myself feeling like Kristi was an old friend that I had known forever from the stories I had been told over the past two years.   And not knowing what a baby needed or what to buy or where to buy…Kristi took me under her wing to get me properly set-up for motherhood.

 

Kristi was one of my first visitors in the hospital after Eloise was born. Her little 5 year old Charlie hid behind her maybe a bit overwhelmed with this tiny baby, new mother, and hospital smells and sounds.  And for the next four months of my maternity leave the four of us(Kristi, Charlie, me and Eloise) would have outings to the zoo and the mall and the museums and out for lunch. I had never been so enamored with a five year old boy but I completely fell in love with his mom.

And when I quit my job to be a stay at home mom just two years later I ‘got’ what Kristi found so beautiful about this life.  I will never be able to completely thank her for that.

 

May I tell you how lucky I am to have a friend like Kristi? I feel there are truly no words to describe her. Besides my mother she is the first person I call with good news, bad news, advice, love, or just to hear her voice(even though she mainly keeps her phone off because she has a healthy balance that way).

Kristi has taught me to be a better mother – she’s shown me how to be there but to let go, that the big decisions really aren’t as big as we think they are, to pave the way for me five years ahead so I know what is coming, to give advice and love after a loss because of the pain of infertility that she experienced for so many years, and she gives me much needed breaks from motherhood over many glasses of wine in her backyard.

 

Kristi is what Martha Stewart will never be – she’s a gourmet cook, an expert baker, a master gardener, a savvy businesswoman, an incredible mom and wife, a jewelry designer, a crafter-extraordinaire, an amazing decorator, a professional seamstress, a beautiful writer, a designer, and a junker who can make an aluminum can look like a piece of art.

 

And she does all of that and more while being the kindest, most giving, incredibly loving and gorgeous person that I have even known.

 

Kristi has one of those homes that you just want to stop by daily for a cup of coffee. It’s a true home in feeling, decorating, and love. And it’s because of her and her dedication to family.

Therefore my kids beg to spend time at Kristi’s. “Can we call Kristi to see if she can bake today?” “Do you think Kristi would teach me to sew tomorrow?” “Can Kristi pick me up from school so we can have lunch..she makes the BEST lunches ever!”

 

And maybe that is the magic of Kristi. She’s not just my dear friend but she opens her home, her heart and her arms to my children(and an occasional meal for Jed). And they adore her. Even Astrid does. They run into her arms and chat away about projects they are working on. They feel her warmth too. How can you not.

She is truly a fairy godmother sent down from heaven to make this world more beautiful and I thank those heavens daily for the honor I have to be in her life.

 

And if I had the ability to Saint a friend – well Saint Kristi seems to fit quite nicely.

 

And it may seem like I’m going on and on about her..but truly I feel like I’ve said nothing to really explain this extraordinary woman. You have no idea.

So happy 50th my dear, dear friend. And here’s to at least 50 more of a good life, good friends, good wine, good coffee, good company and really good hugs.

 

I love you.

******

I would love for you to go wish Kristi a very happy birthday today. Thank you my friends. xo

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Happy SITS Day! – It’s a Party!

I’ve been at this blogging gig for four years now.

 

Sometimes it seems like yesterday that I started, but then I go back and look at pictures and realize that my kids have really grown and oh my – where did all of those wrinkles come from?

 

And just like my sagging face and growing children I see this blog-land evolving daily.

 

But the one constant in this land is the support, friendship, love and community that I’ve found through this sport(and I call it a sport because I’ve decided that sitting on my butt for a few hours a day with my fingers quickly working must be a sport right? Has anyone figured out yet how many calories blogging burns? Wait, I don’t want to know. Let’s just continue calling it a sport, mkay?)

 

So I am glad there are communities like the SITS girls where we can find each other and cheer for each other, cry for each other and most of laugh and celebrate this beautiful thing we call life…because that’s what this is all about right? Life. Finding connections. And laughing as much as we can.

 

So I’m honored to have my SITS day today.

 

If you are here for the first time from SITS – my name is Tracy and I write mainly a humor blog. Or if you must – a lifestyle blog with a humorous twist as I document the lighter side of parenting. OHMYHECK so dang official, right?

 

I am married to one husband and we have three daughters. I am a work at home mom as I stay at home and work in fashion and do some freelance writing(and looking for more..hint, hint…) I wrote about my work at home journey here as I begged you all to stop the mommy wars. I also offered wine.

I write humor and but can be incredibly sentimental and serious at time when it comes to my kids as I truthfully started this blog after my forth miscarriage as I needed a space to heal. It worked. Blogging is amazing.

 

If you are wondering about my unique blog name I suggest you start here for some answers.

 

I dabble in photography and my goal is to take it a step further this year.

 

I also obsessively chat fashion which pretty much puts my husband to sleep.  Whatever works, right?

(memories captured)

I pretty much just want this to be a place where you can cozy up with a girlfriend for a cup of coffee and spill your secrets while knowing that they are safe with me because we all need a place to unwind and relax and have a little fun now and again.

 

Thank you so much for the visit. I am so happy to meet you.  I hope you stay around awhile. I don’t bite. Well not hard anyway.

 

Would love to also connect with you on twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest! Feel free to subscribe via RSS if you’re in the mood. Totally worth your time. xo
****
Also linking this intro post to the Ultimate Blog Party!
Ultimate Blog Party 2012

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How to Have a Successful Bowling Party…

1.  Rent out one of the oldest alleys in your town.

2. Husband realizes that his old alley doesn’t have computerized scoring. Has no idea how to score bowling. Oh those snobby New Englanders who attended the opera whilst us hearty Midwesterners were either getting lucky in the back of an Oldsmobile or bowling. Or possibly both.

3. Hire two year old to score bowling.

4. Everyone ties with a 59! Prizes for all.

5. Make sure all lanes have bumpers. No gutter-balls increase everyone’s enjoyment. Even mine.

6.  Invite 10 people that you like. And make sure those 10 people like to get a 59 when they bowl.

7. Let the older kids have their own lane and their own score-keeper because they want MORE than a 59. Because they are old and cool. And Midwestern.

8. Bring homemade cupcakes.

9. And enjoy the cards your friends made for you even more than the gifts.

10. Hug your best friend a lot. And congratulate her on her awesome score of 59!

Go forth and bowl my friends.

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Peace Love and Happiness

I love my eldest daughter. What I really love about her…is that she is a good friend.

 

Everyone wants to be Eloise’s friend. Even her sisters want to be her friend.


The girls walked into the party gushing about being so happy to be at Eloise’s house. At Eloise’s party.

 

Parents dropping off and picking up their girls gushed about how sweet Eloise is and that Eloise’s house parties are legendary and they are so glad that Eloise is friends with their daughters because Eloise is just so.nice. Eloise is inclusive. Eloise would never be mean.

 

It’s true. And here now I’m gushing more because my post last week just could not cover it all.

 

Eloise even apologized to me at her own party for a few of her friends…because Eloise is quiet, as are all my girls, and we have a very strangely quiet house. We are all quiet. I cannot explain this.

 

But I understand that most people are not quiet and Eloise knows me and how I go crazy with noise and said to me during the party “I know some of my louder friends kind of drive you crazy and I see you get your crazy face on because of the loud but I need you to know that even though they are loud, I still love them and they are my friends and I can accept the loud because I like them…so I’m sorry they are loud but stop the crazy face just for my party.”


So I accepted the loud and turned off my crazy. For Eloise. And realized I could use her help making friends of my own as I kind of figured out why I don’t have any school mom friends when some started calling to RSVP for the party.

 

Potential mom friend(PMF) “Hi this is Mary’s mom and she would love to attend Eloise’s party. Thank you for inviting her”

 

Oh we are so glad she’s coming. I promise she will be safe here and we won’t break-out the wine until the kids leave.

 

PMF “Oh okay, well what will you be doing at the party?’

 

A little pizza and ice cream eating. Knitting. Face paint. Body glitter. A movie. The normal stuff.

 

PMF “A movie – what movie will you show?”

 

I don’t know yet – we are debating between Judy Moody, Elf and Debbie Does Dallas.

 

PMF “Well do you want me to pack snow gear in case they decide to play outside?

 

That’s a great idea as I may totally just throw everyone in a snowbank if I get sick of them.

 

PMF “Well, okay .Um. I’m wondering if maybe you need another parent there to help you on Saturday?”

 

Oh my word no, I can totally handle 12 girls or I can just lock a few in the closet if it gets to be too much.

 

PMF “This is Eloise’s mom I’m speaking with, yes?”

 

Oh yes – we are nothing alike.


******

I seriously cannot figure out why no one wants to be my friend?

 

 

 

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The Friends We Keep

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. – Oprah Winfrey

Today I am guest posting over at Friends You Love.

 

When Kristin asked me to guest post I had to ask her four times if she really meant me? Why me? Really me? Because I wonder if I am really a good friend.  It’s one of the areas in my life that I question – Do I really do enough? Am I really there for my friends?

Because as you know – as mothers of young children – life gets busy – between work and parenting and your significant other and the vacuuming and grocery shopping and then after school activities..well and twitter, ….what comes last is you. And part of you is that critical time you spend with your girlfriends.

 

I know I don’t see mine quite enough.

 

But one thing I know is that they understand because they are living that same life and usually apologize to me in the same sentence that I am apologizing to them.

 

Because even if we only make time twice a year…we are still dear friends. We are still there for each other.

 

And this I know – because these are the type of friends we keep. Forever.

 

Which is what I wrote about today at Friends You Love – which is a website put together by some amazing women and bloggers to celebrate friendships and about building friendships and making our existing friendships stronger.

 

I would love for you to visit me there, dear friends.

 

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This will be the last time I talk about BlogHer…

I’ve been on a post-BlogHer love fest the past 48 hours. My outgoing twitter stream is filled with “OMG you are the best!” “Meeting you was my conference highlight!” “You are so damn gorgeous I kind of hate you!” “Where do you live so I can continue to stalk you!” “You are the best brand of ____ ever, pay me big money to write about you!” “Did BlogHer make my ass look big?” “Please tell me that nobody has pictures of me dancing at Sparklecorn!” “Does anyone remember Sparklecorn?”

(Hanging with the lovely Kate and Tracy)

I totally forgive you for unfollowing me today. I forgive you for tweeting about your dog. And poop. And sleep. And what you ate for lunch. Like totally. Kind of. Also you can read my BlogHer recap post here.

 

Also, a note to the grandparents – I promise to take cute kid pictures soon. I’m still trying to find my kids. They grew and I don’t recognize them. Also they are sticky. My BlogHer friends were not sticky.

 

In the meantime – here are my Top 10 BlogHer Conference Tips for Newbies:

10.  Wear what you are comfortable in. I like fashion. I wear fashion. I also wear Spanx and couldn’t eat for three days. I also wear wedges and now cannot walk after dancing at Sparklecorn in 4″ heels. There were ladies in jeans and there were ladies in evening dresses. Be yourself.

 

9. If you must eat – which ask my new friend Tracy as I was queen of the “where in the hell is the food” – take time to have a light dinner before you go out. Trust me on this one. The food at the parties is not real food and is usually not plentiful and it is impossible to balance a drink, your plate, your purse, your swag bag, your business cards and shake hands and hug people with all of that going on.  No one wants to spill their nachos on Scary Mommy.

 

8.  Make a plan before you go to BlogHer. I spent A LOT of time in the weeks leading up to BlogHer making plans and appointments and getting party inviations and connecting with the Bloggers I love so we could actually hangout at BlogHer. Get a facebook chat page or Skype or just get their cell phone numbers.  Texting was a godsend during the conference.  By doing this upfront work -I never felt isolated or alone while at BlogHer. I always knew I could find someone from my group if I needed a back-up, someone to walk with, someone to dine with, or someone to party with.   Find your posse and smother them with love – the payback will be tenfold or more.

 

7. BUT – with the point above – do not be an island or a clique that cannot be penetrable….There were a few times during the conference I saw someone sitting alone or standing alone on the edge of the dance floor. Sure some people want to be alone – but do not assume that – so go over to them and invite them to dine with you, sit with you, bump and grind to Cee Lo with you. You may just make their day and wouldn’t you want to feel included. Make new friends but keep the old. Girl Scout promise my friends.

 

6.  If you have a roommate(s) – lay-out clothing ahead of time before going out or going to bed as odds are there will be times you are dressing in the dark as to not disturb your roommate’s beauty rest. A few minutes of pre-planning will make you a more considerate roommate.  I think we had a great system and worked really well together – at least they never yelled to my face about my 5:30 workout wake-ups.

 

5.  Put yourself out there if you want to meet someone.  I know this is shocking, but The Pioneer Woman may not just come up to you and introduce herself. She might, but maybe not as she can also be shy. I KNOW how intimidating it is to introduce yourself to that “Big Blogger” – but if you really want to meet them, then you must put forth that effort. I know – they seem busy and preoccupied and talking to that other “Big Blogger” – but really – just go be real and introduce yourself. You will never regret it.  Ask them good questions, tell them they look awesome in that dress, that you like their writing, that you stalk their house..whatever you feel comfortable admitting.

 

4.  If you are in the expo and want to talk to brands and someone else is having a really good conversation with said brand – WAIT YOUR TURN, bitch. Do not interrupt. I rarely get mad, but the pushiness of some at the expo did make my head explode slightly.  Kind of like when I’m talking to another adult and my kids start talking to me – I also stop and turn and say  “please say excuse me if you feel compelled to interrupt but be prepared to wait until I am done.”  Seriously people – do unto others.  Also, it’s just a vibrator.

 

3.  Don’t use all of your drink tickets. I admit I was slightly nervous with only my 10 drink tickets to use over the course of three nights of parties. So I immediately started stalking pregnant women and Mormons to get more. I quickly ended up with 50 drink tickets. However, even after “buying” many friends drinks over the course of three days- I still came home with 30 unused drink tickets.    There is nothing worse than a sloppy blogger.  Also, my local Starbucks is not accepting these as currency.

(Dancing the night away with Elaine and Tracy – also my sexy duck impression needs work)

2.  Don’t be a swag whore. You don’t need it. Your kids don’t need it. Don’t take it just to take it. It’s wasteful. I came home with a small bag – a few stuffed animals for the kids, some nail polish, gift cards, make-up, chocolate bars, coffee…all things we can use.

 

1.  Smile. Nothing is more welcoming than a simple smile to someone else. Smiling makes you happier and more relaxed. Laugh often as it’s good for your soul. Compliment others and give lots of hugs. Exude positive energy and more positive energy will find you. Trust me on this one.

 

What tip do you have for a conference newbie?  Any funny conference mistakes/moments you would like to share?

 

 

 

 

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An Inspiring Blogher ’11 Recap…

I was not quite sure what to expect at a Blog conference with 3500 women and a handful of very smart men.   Would it be overwhelming, would it be inspiring, would it be fueled by coffee or wine, would it be dancing on stages with new friends and strangers, would it be wearing McDonald’s bags on your head, would it be getting your picture taken in the bathroom with The Bloggess, would it be trying to cop a feel of Bob Harper during an early morning work-out(not by moi of course), would it be a flash-mob, would it be chaos, would it be fun, would it be exhausting, would it be informative, would there be babies in attendance that made my heart hurt to be home with my family, would there be moments I simply let go and enjoyed just being about me for a change, would I get the chance to read a book on plane and not cut up anyone’s food, would it be blisters, would it be hilarious, would it be calm, would you see most women carrying around a swag bag containing both a vibrator and some scotch tape and a stuffed Elmo, would it be fashionable, would there be tears, would there be laughter that just would not stop, would there be private conversations and large meetings, would there be parties I wasn’t invited to, would there be parties that we all could attend, would there be meetings I did not get, would there be meetings that I did attend and were perfect, would there be hugs, would there be curious looks, would there be sweat, would there be SQUEEEEEEEE’s o’plenty upon meeting some of your best friends or the writer you admire.

 

It was all of that. And more.

(Jenny, The Bloggess)

It was in a word – fabulous.

 

It was everything I thought it would be. And more.

(Yuliya, She Suggests – and a California Raisin of course)

It was energizing and inspiring.

 

It is so much more than a “blogging” conference. It’s a connection conference, a collaboration conference, an alliance conference, a working together conference, a letting go of your insecurities conference and knowing that there is a place for YOU in this scene.

(My Trainer Bob Harper – OMG SQUEEEEEE……)

I am no one particularly special. I’m a mom. I have a shopping addiction. I love fashion. I am a wife. I have three amazing children. I have a blog. My blog is my blog. I have readers. I love that my mom reads my blog as well as a dear friend in France. I have followers. I have comments. I have pictures. I have content.  I am a writer.  I like to laugh.

 

And I am okay. I am not in any competition to be any better than anyone else. I let go of my “not getting along with other women” thing so long ago. My blog is not in competition with your blog. Maybe my blog and your blog can work together and do great things?

(My twin in Desigual – the lovely Gigi, Kludgymom)

I play well with others. I am a hugger. And a squeeee-er. I talk to everyone. I like feeling connected to others.

 

In my 40’s I am so inspired by brilliant women who do so much more than I do – and instead of feeling jealousy or want of what they have and do  – I just purely want to go up to each of them and hug them and squeeze them and look them directly in their eyes and thank them for what they are doing for all of us.

 

As women. Making it a more beautiful place for all of us.

 

Yes, I’m happy and sappy and BlogHer for me was perfect – because of all of you. And perhaps also because of my mother making me listen to Helen Reddy in the early 70’s.

 (So thrilled to see the incredible Romy Raves again!)

…oh and I met her and her and her and her and her also her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and  her saw her again, and then stalked her and her and her and her and her ..shhhh, but they were super nice about it. I roomed with her and her and they are the loveliest ladies EVER. And also I love her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her and her  and her and her …and more..can I link 3500 people in my post? Oh, and I held and smelled her baby, and met her baby….

 (Team Amazeballs at the BlogHer 5K – clothing sponsored by Champion USA)

Oh, and I finally met my soul-mate in person in this crazy world of connections. I squeeee’d and maybe cried and maybe spanked her ass but also kicked her ass in the 5K. Not that it’s a competition or anything.  Now to convince our husbands that we all need to live together.  She completes me in this space.

 

 

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