Day Before The Marathon Prep – Pre and Post Motherhood

Day before the Twin Cities Marathon – my prep in the year 2000 before I became a mom:

-Hang out for hours at the expo. Chat with adults without anyone yelling “Mom, mom, mom, mom, MOM!”

-Sample the goodies at the expo instead of feeding them to my children

-Nap

-Hang out with fellow running friends and talk about running. No one interrupts us. We eat lunch at a place without a kids menu

-Nap

-Take a nice slow run at anytime of the day that I WANT

-Relax. Chill-out.

-Lay out clothing for the race and have the ability to start and finish this task like all the way without interruption

-Watch a movie

-Nap

-Fun carbo-loading dinner with friends that includes a bit of beer and lots of laughter. At a place without a kids menu

-Go to bed when I’m tired and at anytime that I want to just knowing that I won’t be woken up all night

marathon-preparation

 

Day before the Twin Cities Marathon – my prep in the year 2014 as a mom of three:

-Run at the butt-cracking-ass-of-before-dawn because I need to get home before anyone else wakes up

-Start the first of five loads of laundry

-Make everyone breakfast. Try to eat some scraps that they leave.

-Take one child to theater class

-Take another child to dance class

-Start laying out marathon outfit

-Crap – Run to expo and grab packet. No time to browse or chat. In/out in 5 minutes.

-Run to grocery store to buy something for dinner

-Pick up child from theater

-Pick up child from dance

-Bring next child to dance

-Continue trying to lay out marathon outfit

-Break-up sisterly fight

-Stop by CVS to get poster board for family tree project from theater class child

-Pick-up child from dance

-Start cooking dinner

-Work on laundry

-Work on family tree school project with child

-Remind another child that they should work on their homework

-Yell at another child to get off the iPad

-Feed family a dinner that everyone hates

-Barely eat because I don’t really like it either

-More laundry

-Dishes

-Homework

-Watch bad shows with kids on The Disney Channel

-Go to bed way too late because I am still up folding laundry and doing family tree research

-Finish marathon outfit planning in my head

-Can’t fall asleep because of all the family to-do lists

-Wonder if anyone else makes “family to-do lists” in their heads while running a marathon

-Wonder if you’ll be woken up during the night

-Fall asleep grateful for all of the beautiful family distractions

 

 

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Like A Bad Line From Frozen

My hair – graying and thinning and splitting at the ends – gave me away last week. Well I thought it gave my age away – but instead my four year old helped me once again look on the brighter side and gave me pause like a bad line from the movie Frozen. “Mama, did Elsa freeze you?” And while that was a lovely thought – gray streaks caused by a princess – I had to instead tell her the truth that most of my gray can probably be directly attributed to her and her sisters. And sure, maybe my age.

 

So I tweeted our little conversation. And like anything Frozen related – people loved it. NickMom and HuffPo even included me in their funniest parental tweets last week.

funny-parenting-tweets

Which sure – fame and no fortune is fabulous – but what our little discussion did do was make me finally call my stylist and get an appointment THAT DAY! So now I’m no longer streaked with magic. Which is a win for this lady but a lose for the Astrid who now thinks that I’ve never met Elsa.

new-haircut

Things that also happened last week – The Listen To Your Mother 2014 videos are NOW LIVE! Yes, you too can stay up four nights in a row living the magic from the LTYM stories. You will laugh and cry and nod and share.  And maybe also eat a Ho-Ho or two if you watch mine. (Wow I look so angry in the still frame…).

I also did a podcast for The Blogging Betties last week. I talked about blogging for a long time, how to recharge your writing, training for marathons, producing a LTYM show, and waved ‘hi’ to my stalker – who still reads me. “Hi hon!” I love what the Blogging Betties do – sharing tips, tricks and advice on how to manage a blog and social media. They are a kick-ass group of professional bloggers.

 

Also – my post – 12 signs you are in menopause struck a chord with many people. Many hot and bitchy people – my tribe. I love you. It was picked up my HuffPost 50 – which once you are on the HuffPost 50 site – well you are pretty much in menopause.

 

I’ll be offline much of the week as I’m visiting my parents and attending a work conference. I hope you are enjoying your summer.

 

And with that – I leave you with cat pictures.

cute-internet-cats

xo

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How To Mow The Lawn

Now you’d think at my age that knowing how to mow the lawn would not be a mystery. And at one time I was quite an expert. As someone who did not marry and settle down to have children until nearly my mid-30’s I had many adult years as a single woman and a homeowner – who also happened to own a lawn mower. And I did this thing called mowing the lawn at least weekly. Unless it was January. I never mowed in January in Minnesota.

 

But then I got married and had babies and I somehow forgot we owned a lawn mower. Well actually I married a pretty traditional guy and me being such a traditional and conservative person..ahem…decided that he could be in charge of everything outside of the house. This left everything inside of the house in my charge. However, I hate cooking, dusting, and doing laundry…and Jed hates mowing the lawn. Twelve years later we have a lot of take-out and very tall grass at times. Somehow there’s a metaphor for our marriage in all of this. Maybe Ozzie and Harriet aren’t our best role models.

lawn-mowing

Anyway, last weekend I decided to mow the grass because we started losing some neighborhood dogs in our yard as Jed was working from dawn to dusk several days in a row – and nothing says ‘asshole neighbor’ like starting up the lawn mower at 5am. So I texted Jed –

Me: I’m going to mow. How do I start the mower again?

Jed: Turn the fuel switch on. Push the choke down. Hold in the clutch. Pull.

Me:

Jed: Hello?

Me:

Jed: Did you get that? If you didn’t – just leave it and I can mow on Sunday.

Me: Yep – got it. No worries. I got this.

 

Well I really didn’t ‘have this’ at all. But I did figure it out in just a few easy steps. If you have never mowed the lawn -or maybe it’s been a few years – here’s a simple primer.

how-to-mow-your-lawn

30 Easy Steps To Mow The Lawn

 

1. Text spouse(see above) and ask for instructions.

 

2. Decide instructional text from spouse is not instructional at all but you’ll be damned if you will admit to him that you have no idea what a ‘fuel switch’ or ‘choke’ are.

 

3. Go into the garage and look at lawn mower to find these “secret lever and button” things that your spouse mentioned.

 

4. Decide they still don’t make sense.

 

5. Consider asking a neighbor for help, but decide they might rat you out to your spouse.

 

6. Further study mower. Decide you don’t really even want to touch it because it’s kind of dirty and gunky and stuff.

 

7. Decide to focus on the mowing outfit instead. Safety first – You need to take your strappy wedges off and put on closed toed shoes.

 

8. Look through closet for closed toed shoes – and realize you have to decide between pumps with a 4″ heel, UGG boots, or running shoes. None of them matches your dress and you consider what clothing you might have to put on to match any of these options. Decide on the running shoes and put them on. Look in the mirror and consider changing into running clothes as these really clash with your dress.

 

9. Walk back out to garage in a completely horrible outfit. Hope neighbors are not home.

 

10. Decide mowing the grass was a really bad idea because it has caused a huge fashion dilemma.

 

11. Stare at mower again. Nothing looks like a choke.

 

12. Huh.

 

13. Go back into the house and grab iPhone.

 

14. Google “What does a choke look like on a Honda lawn mower.”

 

15. Get a bunch of results that tell you how to fix a bunch of shit with a Honda mower but NOT ONE simple picture of a damn choke lever-doohickey thing.

 

16. Google “How to start a Honda lawn mower.”

mowing-lawn

17. Scroll through results. Find a YouTube video of a young child starting a Honda mower. Determine this will probably be your best chance to learn about the mower since it’s not coming from a man.

 

18. Watch video. Consider adopting this brilliant child who showed you where all of the buttons and levers are, and made starting a mower look like something even a 45 year old women wearing a sundress and running shoes could do.

 

19. Watch video four more times as a confidence builder.

 

20. Turn on and flip and do allthethings to alltheleversandbuttons.

 

21. Pull string thingy.

 

22. Mower STARTS!

 

23. Yell “HOT DAMN!”

 

24. Realize it’s been three hours since you started thinking about this mowing the lawn business.

 

25. Finish mowing small yard in 10 minutes.

 

26. Turn off all of the button and lever things and return mower to the garage.

 

27. Husband texts and asks how things went.

 

28. You text husband back telling him you finished hours ago and it was a breeze and it seemed like just yesterday since you mowed.

 

29. Sit down and enjoy a refreshing lemonade and look at the nice neat mow-lines you made.

 

30. Text husband and tell him it’s his night to cook AND do the dishes.

 

So who mows the lawn at your home?

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12 Signs That You Are Menopausal

“You’re in menopause.” My doctor said calmly and with almost a little smile-smirk on her face. “Your tests have all come back – and you’re healthy. Sure a little low on iron as you typically are, but now that those pesky periods are gone – that should just correct itself.”

 

Pesky periods.

 

“Menopause? But I’m only 45. Well now 45 and a half and rolling quickly downhill to 46, but surely right now I’m only 45.” I told my doctor – and not with a smirk-smile on my face but rather a more ‘are you fucking kidding’ me look, and my voice was less than quiet.

 

“Yes, menopause. I mean you might have one or two more periods but your test results show you should be done with them in about six months at the most.”

 

Menopause. But I’m still young. Right? The only person I could think of who reached menopause in their 40s was Ma Ingalls. Remember that episode when Laura announced her pregnancy and Caroline did too – but it turns out that Caroline was NOT pregnant – she was just in menopause. And then she fell into a deep depression. Yeah, that’s where my mind immediately went.

 

And I drove home that day confused. There was no menopause party. There’s no drink at Starbucks that seems appropriate for the occasion. Buying a new handbag didn’t seem logical, and there was no one I could call. I couldn’t call my husband and shock him with the fact that he’s now married to an old woman. I didn’t want to call my mother and join ‘her club’ or hear her words of encouragement as she would tell me that ‘the change’ is not so bad. Because I don’t want to bond over anything to do with my body with a 66 year old. And I don’t want advice about hormone therapy or dropping estrogen levels. Most of my friends are still having babies, counting days of their cycle to get pregnant, and chatting about diapers, and still breast feeding. And then I wondered if menopause was just something you were suppose to go through alone without fanfare or attention. Something that you whispered in passing or kept to yourself. Something you mourn when you walked past the feminine hygiene aisle at Target when just months ago you were complaining about how much you spent each month on tampons because you had to insert three at a time to not bleed through your pants. Because as much as I hate having my period…was I really ready for them to just go away…naturally?

 

Who do you call when you hear the words that you’ve entered menopause? When in your mind menopause is the affliction of grandmothers and looks more like this.

 

signs-you-are-menopausal

Than like this.

the-face-of-menopause

But the signs were there. I just didn’t think about researching them because I feel young and was in no way prepared for hearing that I have started “The Change.”

 

So if you are nearly my old age of 45 and are experiencing some interesting things with your body – well pay attention as something super fun is coming ….

Here are 12 signs that you might be menopausal…

1. You have a few years of horrible and heavy periods. Periods that look like crime scenes and periods that can’t be stopped even when inserting three tampons at a time. Periods that make you throw away all white clothing and carry around a beach towel to sit on. Periods that last for weeks and start again just days later. Periods that control your life and girlfriends hound you to consider an ablation or hysterectomy. If you are experiencing this – get ready for MENOPAUSE!

 

2. You’re bitchy. Maybe you don’t like the word bitchy. But you’re bitchy. So bitchy you think about ways to hurt your spouse because they chew food. That’s right, they chew food AND don’t re-fluff the pillows when they get up from the couch. Oh, and that one time they took a nap on a Sunday afternoon – DEATH WISH. You think about living on a desert island because everyone is annoying. No one gets you and you nit-pick everything. This might just be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. Or everyone else is just an asshole. But if  you are unusually bitchy – time to get things checked out. Because people must chew. Fuckers.

 

3. Are you gaining weight just a little too easily? Like you eat one Thin Mint cookie and gain 12 pounds and two dress sizes overnight. MENOPAUSE is looming. Or you look at a donut and your button pops on your pants…MENOPAUSE. You used to run 3 miles a few mornings a week but now you need to run three times as far and four times per day every day to stay in the same shape…MENOPAUSE.

 

4. Buying more razors, tweezers, and hair removal kits than usual? Buying hair removal Groupons? AND NOT FOR YOUR LEGS BUT FOR YOUR BEARD and you grew a mustache overnight. MENOPAUSE! Unfortunately I have no way to know how bad my hair growth is because I need reading glasses to actually see the details of my face – and I don’t put them on very much – but when I do I’m all like “When did I turn into Tom Selleck and why aren’t my girlfriends telling me to wax the stache?”

 

5. Are you a little sweaty and hot at night? Has your spouse moved to the guest room because they cannot sleep next to someone who feels like the planet Mercury? Those are called ‘night sweats’ and a sure sign that menopause is coming. Also ‘night sweats’ are less like ‘night sweats’ and more like what the ANNALS OF HELL must feel like – and you find yourself changing your pajamas and your sheets several times per night. When this happens during the day it’s called a “hot flash.” Basically you just think about how awesome it would be to live closer to the arctic circle and eat ice 24/7 ALONE.

 

6. Do you seek out older ladies to talk to and think anyone under 30 with good hair is kind of annoying? Hate pinterest and chevron? Do you catch yourself looking at purple clothing and thinking a rousing game of bridge might be fun? Have you switched to decaf? You might just be seeking out more ‘like company’ as you now relate better to people of your mother’s generation. Because you are in MENOPAUSE.

 

7. Do you feel done with babies. Like people ask you if you are done having kids and you laugh and ask what kids are exactly? Do you start getting annoyed when people bring their small children out in public? Do you wonder how it could be that you still have small children? You are probably in MENOPAUSE.

 

8. A little acne problem? Isn’t it fun that the break-outs of high school now have followed you to your 40s with your amazing new hormonal imbalance? Welcome to MENOPAUSE – it’s like being a teen again but without the tight body.

 

9. Having a little memory loss problem? Like where’s your phone – you mean the one you’re talking on? Why did I walk into the bathroom again? Why am I driving and where was I going? How did I end up at the grocery store? Has anyone seen my keys? My wallet? What’s your name? Have you started writing important things on your hand because you cannot remember anything? What was I just talking about ? Who are you? MENOPAUSE!

 

10. Having a touch of anxiety that everyone is better than you and maybe you’ve forgotten something? Having panic attacks about everything – that you’re not enough, that nothing is enough, that THIS IS ALL THERE IS?! MENOPAUSE!

 

11. Are you trying too hard to dress young – perhaps even a bit younger than your age – but then have the urge to buy a few sensible cardigans to cover your shoulders – MENOPAUSE.

 

12. Have your Google searches changed from searching out Hot New Nightclubs to finding the Best Tea Houses in the area? Are your concerts now more 80s bands in a second-rate theater than moshing with the young people at Bruno Mars? Feeling more like Adam Levine’s mother than his possible girlfriend – MENOPAUSE! Did you have to look up the word moshing? MENOPAUSE.

 

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above and need more counsel, just call me – because I think we all need that person to call when we hear the words “You’re in menopause.” Like a girlfriend-done-bleeding-prayer-chain but with a lot of swear words. I want to be that swearing older experienced lady that has coasted through menopause for you. I want to buy you that decaf.

 

And now that the initial shock of the official diagnosis has worn off and I’m still feeling nothing like a grandma, I do think I need to celebrate this change a bit more and I’m not beyond accepting a trip to Paris if anyone wants to treat. But in the meantime I’ll be upstairs in the bathroom plucking stray hairs and sweating to death while yelling at my husband to STOP THE FUCKING CHEWING.

 

 

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Is Animal Humane Society Camp A Bad Idea?

I am a big fan of summer camps. Art camps! Drama camps! Sport camps! Outdoor skills camps! Swimming camps! Sleepaway camps! History adventure camps! Horse camps! Science camps! Yoga camps! Cooking camps! We love all of the camps – but I’m going to have to just say no next year to camp at the Animal Humane Society – because truly this is a super bad idea.

Humane-society-camp

Five reasons that Animal Humane Society Camp is a bad idea:

1. Child comes home talking about the dogs they played with. Asks for a dog. Looks at you with super sad eyes and makes you go on the website to view this dog. This dog is super cute. But you don’t need a dog. You don’t want a dog. You would be the primary caregiver of the dog – and no, you just cannot get a dog. Child is heartbroken. Child cries. Child wakes the next morning with a sad face. “What’s wrong?” You ask. “It’s Bliss the dog. I just cannot think about seeing him again today knowing that he doesn’t have a home….a home as wonderful as ours.” Decide you must be the worst mother ever because Bliss is not coming to live with you. Spend day looking at the dog’s picture on the internet and thinking about your child’s sad face.

 

2. Your child gives up on the dog idea and instead insists that you get a cat. A kitten. Or a cat. Or two cats. Or five cats. Or any cat. Just more cats. Insists that your cat is lonely and needs more companions. You spend the evening looking at all 110 cats on the website. ALL OF THEM ARE CUTE. You realize that you are indeed a cat lady and could probably feed about 20 if your husband didn’t kick you out because you brought home so many cats. Child BEGS you for a cat. You tell her that YOU TOO want another cat – but that Daddy doesn’t want one – so she really needs to give him the sad eyes and maybe a few tears about how sad the cats are and how we NEED a cat.  Dad says no. Everyone is crushed.

 

3. Child decides she now wants guinea pigs. Child has never expressed interest in a guinea pig before – but it’s the next cutest and fluffiest animal after cat and dog. Child makes you look at the guinea pigs on the internet. There is a bonded pair named Elsa and Anna. HOW COULD YOU NOW NOT ALSO WANT GUINEA PIGS? But even with the Frozen theme – you don’t really understand what a guinea pig is and you don’t want one. Say no. Crush child’s dreams FOREVER.

 

4. Child comes home going on and on about adorable little Degus. Degu? What the what? Child makes you go to the website. This is now the most viewed website this week. You find out that a degu is a rat-like hamster creature. You just say no and explain that your 20 cats would probably eat these degus. Child goes to bed devastated that the degus don’t have a home.

 

5. Child barely makes it through dinner after four days of camp because it seems so unfair that she has a home and a family and a meal as a family when thousands of animals don’t. The injustice. And how can we not help just one animal. She makes a wonderful case of why we should help another animal. You feel more guilt about not adopting another pet than you did when you were an active Catholic. This is deep, people.

 

Now if I had my way – we would adopt about 50 animals this week..but Jed would leave us all. And animal control might actually come after us too. Also, how would we feed so many?

 

I love my big-hearted, softie, animal-loving girl. This camp has been perfect for her and I love that she is finding more inspiration on how she can help animals even if we don’t adopt them all.

 

“Mom, I’ve decided that I want to volunteer at the shelter when I’m old enough..and I want to either open my own rescue organization, work for the Humane Society, or be a veterinarian when I grow up. There are so many animals that need help and I want to be there for them.”

 

I’m proud of you sweetie, I love that you want a profession that helps animals. Their love is like no other.

 

“Yeah, I know this what I should do…but in the meantime can we please just get a dog and another cat?”

 

****And I’m totally kidding about saying no to this camp next year because Esther has LOVED it and she’ll be back. And maybe we will have more furry family members by then…And if your community has a camp or volunteer opportunity at your local animal shelter – please look into it. This has been such an amazing experience for my animal-loving-sweet-girl.

 

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Trust Your Training

I kept repeating this to myself all day and night before the marathon. “Trust Your Training…Trust Your Training.” My family could tell I was stressed, worried, unsure, on edge, not myself, maybe a bit bitchy – as they tried to celebrate the night before by making an incredible carb-loading pasta feed.

 

And I just picked at my food. A few noodles and a glass of water was all I could stomach. But I did manage to touch-up my roots. Because as no one has ever said “If you can’t carbo-load, then make sure your gray roots are covered.”

 

But basically every women over 40 includes this step in their training.

marathon-roots-color

I went to bed early and tossed and turned until I finally just went downstairs at 4am and turned on the coffee. I logged into Facebook and Twitter and read the “good luck” messages from friends, the Grandma’s Marathon feed, and checked the weather forecast 52 times.

coffee-before-a-marathon

I ate two pieces of toast and a banana with my coffee and drank very little water. By this point I was already peeing constantly and my nerves were getting worse. I hated being up this early and having to catch a bus with so much time to still kill before the start of the race.

 

“Trust Your Training…Trust Your Training.”

 

I made small talk with my bus-mate during the hour up to the start of the course, and during our conversation I said “I just need to remember to have fun and enjoy this celebration of my training journey. This is the party.”

 

And then I felt better.

 

“Trust Your Training. Enjoy the celebration.”

 

I mean sure, then I had to pee three million times before the race started – and if you’ve never ran a marathon before, the starting area goes something like this…

 

…there are about 10,000 people and 500 porta potties and you get in line…wait in line…pee..get back in line…wait in line…pee…get in line…wait in line…pee..hear them announce that you better get your ass in line to start the race and think “My god, but I have to pee again!” but it’s too late.

 

So then all 10,000 people finally get lined up and start stripping down. Clothes, hats, and gloves are flying everywhere as we strip down to our running clothes and shed our warm-up clothes because it’s only 45 degrees and raining. Now we freeze for a few minutes in our tank tops and shorts. Nobody smells yet though, so we all stand close. But we all have to pee.

 

Then the National Anthem in sung. Everyone goes quiet. Except me when I whisper to the young, shirtless, cold chap next to me “OMG is that Gordon Lightfoot singing?” And he’s all like “Who?” and I’m like “You know the guy who sang the Edmund Fitzgerald song!” and he was all like “The What?” So I gave him a dirty, motherly, exasperated look and scooted up a few rows where I spotted some handsome guys with graying hair and said “Gordon Lightfoot, seriously the best, right?” And they were all like “Right, how amazing?” And then I realized that I found my people. And they are no longer 25 years old.

 

“Trust Your Training. Enjoy the celebration. Teach the young people who Gordon Lightfoot is.”

 

And then the gun goes off and we just stand there because there are 6000 people in front of us. And everyone still has to pee. But after several minutes we finally run through the starting line and run like a pack of sardines for a mile or two. Unless you are a man. If you are a man – you have broken off from the pack and are now peeing on the side of the road.

 

Actually – there are three types of men who run marathons – 1. The ones who pee right on the side of the road in front of everyone, 2. The ones who prefer to run into the woods and hide and pee behind a tree, and 3. The ones who wait in line at the porta-potty.

 

There is only one type of woman who runs a marathon -women who wish we had a penis when we run marathons so we could more easily pee on the side of the road.

grandmas-marathon

“Trust Your Training. Enjoy the celebration. Teach young people who Gordon Lightfoot is. Don’t pee your pants.”

 

So then I started out too fast – like I always do and kept hearing this voice “Don’t go out too fast.” But I didn’t listen to that voice because I still felt great at the half-marathon point and even the 19 mile point..and I didn’t really feel too shabby at the 22 mile point. Also, the urge to pee finally let-up at mile 9. That was the best part of my whole day.

 

But then that damn four-hour pacer lady with the balloons passed me at mile 23 and that really pissed me off because I could no longer keep up. Also my stomach hurt and I was convinced all of my teeth were rotting out because of the 16 gel-shots I had consumed.

 

“Trust Your Training. Enjoy the celebration. Teach the young people who Gordon Lightfoot is. Don’t pee your pants. Don’t puke and keep the balloon girl in sight.”

 

And then I saw MY PEOPLE at mile 24. My aunt and uncle were there – and I was like “WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN.” No, I was more like sobbing and so happy to see someone I knew…because it made those last two miles so easy. Also, my teeth hadn’t fallen out yet.

 

And then I got to mile 25 and starting smiling and almost sprinting at the end and then I saw MY PEOPLE at the finish line – my babies and husband yelling for me..and I waved at them all cool like….

 

“Trust Your Training. Enjoy the celebration. Teach the young people who Gordon Lightfoot is. Don’t pee your pants. Don’t puke and keep the balloon girl in sight. Finish strong.

marathon-grandmas

And I saw that I was finishing at about 4 hours and 1 minute. And just in front of a couple of young guys in their 20s who have no clue about Gordon Lightfoot. We high-fived all around and one of them said “Good job, Ma.”  I finished strong and not even tired or that sore. And I could still walk and talk. I felt incredible actually.

 

“Trust Your Training.”  – When I ran Twin Cities Marathon I trained for a 4:15-4:30 marathon and I finished right in there. This time – for Grandma’s Marathon – I trained for a 4-4:15 marathon..and I finished right in there..and wasn’t disappointed that I did not finish in under 4 hours – because I finished the exact marathon I trained for – and without injury, or peeing myself.

 

Next time – I plan to train for a 3:45-3:55(Boston qualifying for this old lady) – and if I can do it without injury – well I know I can do it. Because I trust my training. The rest of it is just a bunch of mind games.

 

So next time – tell me to simmer down – and to remember that the marathon is indeed the easy part and the celebration. And maybe with a little luck I’ll get to hear a little Gordon Lightfoot again.

cat-wearing-marathon-medal

And even if I don’t reach my goals – at least I still have a cat at home to mess with.

 

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There’s No Such Thing As Normal

“Just stand like a normal person so I can get a quick picture before you leave with your friends.”

 

What’s NORMAL Mom?

 

“It’s not making faces at me and just standing still so we can be quick.”

 

Why do you want to take pictures of me anyway?

there-is-no-normal

“Because I want to remember you just like this at 11. My brain in getting mushy and old so I want pictures to remember 11.”

 

Well then you need to remember that I wasn’t normal at 11.

 

“No?”

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Because nobody is normal. Normal doesn’t exist. Normal is nothing. I’m me. Just me and for sure not normal.

 

“Really? Do you like being not-normal?”

 

Yep – it’s always good to be not normal. Maybe we should not even say normal anymore. Maybe everyone should just be weird. Because EVERYBODY IS WEIRD! I’m weird. So weird. I like being weird. I like weird friends. I like weird people. What if we just replaced the word “normal” with “weird” and then like nothing else would matter. Because you’d be all “Hey, act weird(instead of normal) and I’d be all like “No problem” – I can just stand here and I’m weird because I am weird and then everyone would laugh. Because the word “weird” is kind of weird, right?

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“You’re weird.”

 

I KNOW, right? See, now I can pose “weird” for you – because I don’t know what normal means. But weird – everybody can love being weird. Normal is nothing.

 

“So we should remove normal from all the books, all the dictionaries, all of our vocabularies?”

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I think everyone would get along better if we did. Normal makes me worry, makes me compare, makes me feel bad. Weird makes me happy and I like when people call me weird. I like people who like being weird.

 

“Sometimes I wonder why you’ve never had the girl drama at school like I did growing up, or like I hear about from my friends and their tweens lately. Why do you think you don’t or I don’t hear about it at your school?”

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Because we’re all weird mom. And we like being weird. I think people worry and feel jealous when they try to be and define normal. When it’s not their normal. I’ll never be normal because it doesn’t exist. So I don’t think anyone else is normal either. I find their weird thing. I have lots of weird things. My friends and I laugh about all of the weird things.

 

“I love you.”

 

Because I’m weird?

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“Because you’re you.”

 

So do you want just one ‘normal’ pose. Your definition of a ‘normal’ pose?

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“No because I don’t think there’s such thing as a normal pose anymore.”

 

I can stand still you know. For you.

 

“Okay.”

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But now I’ve got to dance again because I’m weird.

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The 20 Mile Marathon Training Run

I’m currently training for another marathon since getting my marathon mojo back last year. I’m running Grandma’s Marathon in just about a month from now and I’ve been posting my long run pictures on Instagram and Facebook and have received some great comments like “You’re crazy!” “Better you than me!” “Did you really start your run at 3:30am?” and “That’s 20 miles more than I will ever run. As in..I don’t run.”

 

I have to say that the most interesting and most difficult part of marathon training is getting to that 20 mile training run. For many – it’s the height of their mileage and there’s a lovely and enjoyable taper for the next few weeks before the marathon. And for some, the 20 miler is just the first of a few 20 milers that they’ve included in their training plans. There are about four gazillion marathon training plans out there – for the novice, the beginner, the intermediate, the experienced, the professional, the “I want to qualify for Boston” runner, and the “I just want to finish before the sag wagon makes me get in” runner.  Everyone finds a plan and then tweaks it for their personal time, goals, injuries, and condition.

 

But the 20 mile training run is the ultimate, the goal, the big run, the big kahuna of marathon training(and I’m doing three of them for this training program), and for non-marathon runners – it’s seemingly crazy and impossible.

 

So what I want to do for you here today is dissect my 20 mile marathon training run for you mile by mile, so you can better understand how this run is so easily accomplished.

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I hope this is both informative and helpful to you if you’re embarking on your first marathon training program.

(Please note that this particular 20 mile run may not be the same for everyone. I am an early, early morning runner so my run does not interfere with any family plans that day, and because many times my husband leaves for work by 7:30am, so I want to be home with the kids before he leaves.)

 

3:15am – The alarm goes off.  Hit snooze and cover head with blankets. Ignore reality. Cat even looks at you like “What the fuck, dude, it’s like the middle of the night?”

3:25m – The alarm goes off again. Slowly rise and wonder why the hell you are doing this. Question sanity. Question humanity. Question the point of marathons. Question why the cat wants to be fed now because it’s really early for that crap.

3:28 – Eat 1/2 a banana. Try to not puke up the banana because no one should eat a banana at 3:30 in the morning. Look at the bagel you set-out and decide there is no way you can eat a bagel right now, so decide to just eat a few tablespoons of peanut butter right from the jar. Close eyes and try to think of something positive because eating at this hour is just not normal, okay, or enjoyable.

3:35 – Pee and grab extra toilet paper to pack in your fuel belt just in case you need to pee, or god forbid poop on your 20 mile run. Consider how ridiculous this whole running a marathon thing is because you are now packing toilet paper in case you have to poop in someone’s yard. Also bring a bag to pack-away poop and paper. OMG WTF are you doing?

3:37 – Get dressed and finish packing fuel belt – water, gel shot things, toilet paper, pepper spray, house keys, iPhone, and ear buds. Turn on playlist and arrange ear bud cord.

3:40 – Walk out of house and into the complete black of night. Question sanity again. Cry a little. It’s so dark, you’re so tired, you can’t believe you’re doing this. Start RunKeeper app.

3:41 – Start running. Reluctantly.

Mile 1 – Legs try to remember what to do. Legs thinking about the bed. And blankies. Head thinks – “Only 3 hours left!”

Mile 2-3 – Car is coming up behind you slowly so you convince yourself that these are bad guys and this is how your life will end. Grip pepper spray and run like a motherfucker. Have best pace/mile yet because you’re running for your life. Eventually car stops and someone gets out and throws a paper on someone’s porch. Turns out it was not an ax murderer driving slowly behind you, it was a paper boy. Decide that’s a really sucky job because it’s super early right now. Also think about how awesome your marathon time would be if bad-guys chased you the whole time. Consider planning a fake bad-guy marathon. Wonder if it’s a brilliant idea.

Miles 4-5 – Find a nice pace now that someone’s not trying to kill you. Start doing training run finish math in your head. “Okay I’m now 1/5 done with my run – or four more of those exact mile groups and I’m done! That’s not so bad, right?” Wrong – the first five miles are much easier than the last five miles. Consider how to do real marathon math as your legs get tired. Start hating math and anyone who does math.

Miles 6-7 – Your child has been fucking with your playlist and “Do you want to build a snowman” comes up on shuffle. “No, no you don’t want to build a snowman!” You yell. You make up your own lyrics. “Do you want to run a marathon, are you crazy and senile? Don’t you know it hurts like hell, you may shit yourself, you try to smile…” Decide you will break the Frozen DVD when you return home.

Mile 8 – Will the sun ever rise? Will it be dark forever? Will you step in a pothole? If people see you running this early in the morning do they A. Think you’re crazy, or B. Think you’ve just robbed a bank? or C. Think you’re the bad-guy.

Mile 9 – Step in a pothole – tumble forward and scrape hands, knees, and elbow on street. Consider tweeting to the City of St. Paul about the atrocious pothole situation and ask them what you’re really getting for the $6,000 property tax bill. Consider how crazy you’ll sound when you say “I fell into a pothole at 4am whilst out running in the dark without a headlamp!”

Mile 10-11 – A police car drives by, turns around and then drives slowly by again with his window down… You then wonder if maybe you DID rob a bank – because you have guilt because you were Catholic once. You also consider that sitting in the back of his squad car and getting a ride home would be kind of awesome because you’re starting to get tired. He just waves and smiles. You wave back and point to fuel belt and running shoes to like show him that you did NOT rob a bank but are just some crazy-lady taking a very early morning run.

Mile 12-15 – Wildlife miles! First a flock? A bunch? A gaggle? A school? Oh, A HERD! of deer is standing in the road in front of you. Just staring at you. Like not moving at all. You slow to a walk and have to move to the side to get around them because they DO NOT MOVE! You tell them that a deer standing in the road is like totally bad news. They continue to stare at you and do not move out of the road even after you warn them. You decide that you no longer like Bambi and cannot be responsible for accidental deer deaths if they can’t even listen to you. Then a crazy raccoon runs right in front of you and evidently you startle him because he gets up on his hind legs and starts making some crazy-ass sounds. So you cross to the other side. It’s like “Dude, I don’t want to be here right now either, but we need to be here together in peace!” But the wildlife story of the morning belongs to the Flock? Group? Gaggle? of turkeys at mile 15. They were all pissed off that you were on their road and spread their feathers out and started running at you while making some crazy, awful noises. Have second best pace running from turkeys as you did running from the paperboy at mile 3. Think about an actual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot race where actual turkeys run after and attack the competitors. Would people sign up for that?

Mile 16 – Encounter another runner for the first time this morning. They look really fresh and blow past you as you yell “I’m on mile 16 of a 20 mile run – so THAT’S why I look and smell the way that I do!!!”

Mile 17 – Tired. Oh so tired. Think about calling someone to rescue you because you’re not sure you have another three miles in you. Eat another goddamned gel block. Think about how much you hate these things now. Think how real food would taste super good. Like a donut. OMG A DONUT. Where are the donuts? And coffee. Why isn’t there coffee delivery.

Mile 18 – Still running. More slowly. But still running. Do you really have to run two more miles? You need a sag wagon? Where’s my sag wagon? You doubt everything in life because your body cannot take you two more miles. Your playlist runs out and now all you have is the sound of silence for company – and the voices in your head telling you to stop for donuts.

Mile 19 – You can do this. Only one mile left. You can run one mile in your sleep. You can run one mile with your arms behind your back. You can run one mile with your legs tied behind my back. You still want a donut – but you can run one mile. Remember this is what it’s like at mile 20 during the actual marathon and you don’t think you can make it those last six miles..but you’ve trained for this. You’ve got this.

Mile 20 – You DID THIS! Three hours and some odd minutes later YOU ARE DONE! It’s light out, your legs have carried you forward, YOU CAN DO THIS, YOU DID THIS, and now you will hobble into your house and drink coffee and eat a donut. BEST RUN EVER! You cannot wait to do this again next weekend. YOU ARE WOMAN HEAR YOU ROAR! Unless you’re a man. Or a deer. Or a turkey. You forget all about the bad guys, the paperboys, the potholes, the turkeys, and the awful gel shots. It’s like childbirth but you get to wear clothing. And shoes.

2pm Take nap. Let kids watch as much TV as they want.

End scene.

 

Do you love the long runs during marathon training? What do you do to pass the time?

 

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Superhero Moms And A $200 Amazon Giveaway #happymamas

I’ve felt like a pretty bad mother since Listen To Your Mother ended last week. Trying to get back into the everyday of life – packing lunches, doing laundry, cooking meals, grocery shopping, cleaning, and working – has been more difficult than it should be. It’s also why my kids have eaten jelly toast and apples for lunch four nights in a row and we’re down to our last half roll of toilet paper. It’s like Russian Roulette pooping around here because you never know if you’ll end up in the bathroom without the toilet paper. So maybe it’s best to just bring your own if you come over for a visit. Or maybe not visit us at all because our house isn’t clean and I can only offer you water.

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But the beautiful thing about all of this -KIDS DO NOT CARE. Only I do. I care about a clean house and full fridge and clean jeans and toilet paper. My kids haven’t noticed anything amiss because their home is still here, and we are still here. And healthy. And can laugh about the jelly toast for the fourth night in a row.

 

We put so much pressure on ourselves to be a ‘good mom’ and ‘do it all right’ and ‘to be at every thing our kids do’ but we need to realize that a good hug, an I Love You, and just time for a snuggle(or a fist-bump if you have a tween like mine), is really all we need to do to be a Superhero Mom most days.

 

We are a Superhero to these little folks – whether our cape is showing or not.

 

Mother’s Day is a strange day in my book. A card makers holiday that I personally don’t need. I don’t receive gifts, flowers, or brunch and frankly all I wanted to do on Sunday was to stay in jammies all day and watch movies with my kids and maybe not have to cook dinner because I love take-out. I will love you forever if you would just surprise me with take-out. The girls all made me cards – which really they do not have to do – but Eloise’s card this year was amazing. And in my eyes – her gift was much more than just this piece of paper with her fabulous cartoon – it was that she gave me the gift of knowing I’m raising wonderful, creative and thoughtful people.

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Her cartoon reminded me that we are all Superheros who hold this job of mom.

 

In fact I took this SuperheroMom Quiz from coupons.com and found out that I am Cat Woman! As I self-proclaimed cat lady – I think this fits me well!

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Coupons.com is a great source for celebrating moms this month because of the great savings, deals and coupon codes. Take the quiz and find out what your superhero power is, and while you are there be sure to enter enter the Coupons.com Mother’s Day Giveaway this month where you can win prizes like a $500 Visa gift card, a $500 Sephora gift card, a Vitamix and a Roomba. Coupons.com is a great source for celebrating moms this month because of the great savings, deals and coupon codes.

 

Coupons.com is also sponsoring a Happy Mama Moments Mother’s Day Should Be Every Day Giveaway for a $200 Amazon gift card that can be used for whatever you want on amazon.com! For a chance to win see below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this giveaway or post. All opinions are mine.

 

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My Writing Process

A beautiful chain-letter of writing has been circling the internet for the past few months. Typically, I’m not a fan of memes or chain letters, and I’m certain I’ve brought bad luck upon my family for not forwarding recipes to my seven best friends, or deleting emails I was suppose to give to 10 amazing women in my life, or hurt my child somehow by not mailing a book or something to eight of her friends.

 

But this chain intrigued me. As a blogger(and a writer) I love to learn more about my favorite writers and how they write exactly – their process, what they are working on, how they write, why they write, and how the hell are they so damn brilliant when some days I truthfully would rather watch a marathon of made for Netflix series than to even open my computer. Do others ever feel that way?

 

So I’ve been reading about writing processes and learning a lot, nodding my head in ‘yeah I do that too’ and taking notes on some brilliant ideas that they have shared.

 

I was honored when Denise of Universal Grit asked me to share my writing process next. I met Denise through our essays for This Is Childhood. I’ve been honestly overwhelmed being grouped with these amazing women and writers as their words humble me yet push me to write more and better.

 

So with that – I give you my writing process:

1. What am I working on?

Sadly not much lately. After writing a lot over the past six months I honestly am very busy right now with my co-production/direction of the Listen To Your Mother Show in the Twin Cities. I am actually reading an original piece for the show – so I did write that! I also have several essays in draft form that I need to revisit when I have the time as they are topics I really want to explore more. I’m finding that right now this isn’t a great time to write – the kids are busy, work is busy, Jed is busy, Spring is busy – that writing for me has hit the back burner hard this season.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I consider myself a blogger more than a writer – but I hope I do a decent job with both? I don’t know. This question is hard because I don’t feel like I’m different or stand-out from others – but what I do write is real – it’s me – and it will always be more for me(and my kids) than for you. Is that weird?

3.  Why do I write what I do?

I started my blog because I wanted to capture moments of what our lives are right now. Right here. And as a way to make connections. I’ve always tried to be transparent in my writing – but it’s hard sometimes because of the feeling of being less-than or judged. My worst days are when my husband receives a phone call from a family member questioning me or my decision to write what I do. Like it’s not okay to be vulnerable. But I think we can’t be strong without being vulnerable. I hope through my writing that my daughters will see and know that it’s okay to share and just be themselves. Worrying about what other people think will always kill your creativity and joy.

IMG_4105-0014. How does my writing process work?

Ha! What’s that? My process goes something like this…pay very close attention here as you will learn to better your process…

4:45 come up with brilliant story idea while out running

5:15 return home and forget brilliant story idea

5:30 pour coffee and remember story idea

5:32 sit down to write but open facebook

6:15 still on facebook

6:25 oh…pinterest…instagram….twitter…

6:35 read other blogs. think that I’ll never write anything that great…

6:40 brilliant story idea is not so brilliant

6:45 wake-up kids

8:00 wave good-bye to two kids after the last hour of DOING ALL THE THINGS FOR THE KIDS

8:05 stare at third child who is staring back at you. tell her that mommy needs to write for awhile – so just go play.

8:15 realize child will not go play. plan something to do that will exhaust her so she takes an afternoon nap.

9:00 go to zoo. try to act like I love the zoo

12:00 lunch of mac-n-cheese eaten right off the plate of my child because she ate like four noodles and just lives off of air.

12:30 child settles down to rest/nap/watch a show/generally just let MOMMY WORK for two hours

12:35 sit down to write

12:40 open facebook

12:45 “Mommy I’m bored.”

12:50 close computer, snuggle with child, fall asleep

2:30 SHIT – the other kids are getting home soon

2:35-3:15 do ALLTHETHINGS FOR THE HOUSE – laundry, kitchen, sweeping, bathrooms, prep dinner

3:15 kids home – ALLTHEHOMEWORK

4:00 cook all the dinner

5:00 eat dinner

5:30 shuttle allthekids to alltheactivities

7:30 get home from alltheactivities

8:00 littlest bedtime late tonight because of alltheactivities

8:30 big kids bedtime

8:35 sit down to write amazing story that maybe really is still amazing

8:40 check facebook

8:45 fall asleep on the couch

fade to black…

Next week the writing process continues with my sisters from another mister. Since nepotism is alive and well in the blogging-world -I am asking Galit Breen and Vikki Reich to share their writing stories. I love them both so much that I could dedicate hundreds of blog posts just to them – if I ever found the time to write. But they both have inspired me – as mothers and as writers to dedicate time to both amazing crafts(motherhood and writing), and I hope we are old and cranky and still hanging out together when we are 85.

 

Be sure to check-out their posts next Monday, April 28th.

 

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10 Things To Do Instead Of Blogging

10 things I’ve done this week instead of blogging…

 

1. Drank my body weight in Prosecco at our Listen To Your Mother cast gathering, and laughed HARD with about 20 of the most amazing and talented women I’ve ever met. Prosecco wasn’t required to laugh so hard, but it makes my very introverted self talk to all of the people. listen-to-your-mother

2. Ate a peep cupcake. Or two. It’s Peep Week over at Vikki’s place and she merrily and kindly baked Peep cupcakes for my kids. So I ate them.

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3. Astrid is on Spring Break so we went to the zoo to see the farm babies for Easter. It was 19 degrees, snowing and cold. I didn’t really take any pictures because I had decided to put my winter gear away – so I was hiking out there in a spring coat and no mittens and I lost feeling in all extremities. Also, I hadn’t been to the zoo during a weekday in years and it turns out everyone at the zoo on a Monday is four and under – which is just not an age group we associate with much anymore. I forgot how crazy two year olds are and why I don’t have one anymore and don’t want one anymore or why I’m not a preschool teacher. So then we went to the bar to be with older people. Okay, maybe not the bar..but Starbucks for a coffee and nice conversation. And then to the Minneapolis Institute of Art to look at paintings. Astrid needs to sit to “admire them fully” as she now says. It is nice and quiet there.

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4. Saw Muppets Most Wanted – WORST MOVIE EVER. Even worse than The Lego Movie. Astrid and I both fell asleep. When it was over Astrid even said “I’m so sorry mommy for making you go to this.”  I haven’t yet forgiven her.

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5. Running. I’m in full-on marathon training right now. Getting up at 3:30 again to do some long runs(18-20 miles) and frankly this makes me nap most of the day. My legs are working a lot more than my mind and my fingers these days.

 

6. Watching the final Dance Moms episode before the “Moms Tell All” next week! Oh Abby – this season has been a HUGE train wreck. I just don’t even know where to start. When not watching Dance Moms – I am at dance. All three girls are dancing a lot this year and loving it. I used to bring work with me to do while they were in class – now I bring a coffee and People magazine BECAUSE I CAN.

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7. Buying all of the Easter candy. I just realized yesterday that Easter is this weekend! Hopefully our egg hunt won’t be in the snow. Hopefully I won’t eat all of the chocolate before Saturday night and then have to go back out to buy more.

 

8. Texting my mother. Seriously, someone from my mom’s cell phone texted me with a “Hi.” And I was all like “Who is this and what did you do with my mother??” She’s still resistant to the whole thing – but I think she’ll like it. She just needs a better phone because she cannot see our emojis on her 1978 brick phone.

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9. Browsing Petfinder looking for a cat friend for Truffle. I know we don’t really need another cat..but we WANT another cat. Maybe 50 more cats. In the meantime I just go look at the hundreds in our area that need homes and cry a little. The other four people in this home are pushing for a dog. I don’t want a dog because I’m the one home all day and just really don’t want to have that responsibility, and I can’t keep this house clean as it is. However, I said “Sure, we can get a dog as soon as the four of you pick up after yourselves every single day for six months, don’t moan when I give you chores, and take over the bathroom cleaning.” Since none of this has been done since my announcement this week – I’m assuming we will get a dog oh in about NEVER. But it’s not my fault.

 

10. Filing taxes. Being self-employed is all unicorns, rainbows, and good wine until tax day.

 

What have you been up to? I’ve missed you.

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Local St. Paul Mom Gives Her 11 Year Old An iPhone

It was reported yesterday that local St. Paul mom and blogger, Tracy Morrison, gave her 11 year old daughter an iPhone of her very own. The news broke shortly after school when Tracy’s daughter Eloise sent an email to a friend, and end of the message read “sent from my iPhone.” As all news travels in fifth grade, soon hundreds of tweens across St. Paul learned the news and shared the news of the iPhone with their own parents over dinner that night.

 

“I’m not sure what Tracy was thinking!” Said an anonymous St. Paul mom over the phone when we called for comment. “I thought we had an unwritten pact in this circle of friends that no one would have a phone until junior high. I feel like Tracy is setting a precedence and frankly it’s upsetting to our family.”

 

Hannah Johnson, a good friend of Eloise’s from dance also received an email and then an iMessage from Eloise later last evening, was quoted as saying “Eloise is lucky. Her mom is much nicer than my mom. I cannot believe she got an iPhone. I mean all I have is this iPad Mini that I can’t leave the house with.”

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Hailey, Emma, Emily, Sophia, Maddie, and Eva – all classmates of Eloise, said she was like so lucky, but still had mixed emotions about Eloise being the first of their friends to get an iPhone. They were trying to be happy for her, but at the same time spent most of the evening complaining to their parents as most tween girls do about how life was so unfair for them since they only had a sad little iTouches.

 

We reached out to Emily’s parents for an interview, but they declined to comment yet mentioned something about moving Emily to a convent out East where technology was not allowed.

 

“I think it’s just totally unfair to the other parents that Tracy just went out and did this without first notifying us.” Said Emma’s mother. “I’m really disappointed in the whole thing. I mean it puts undue pressure on the rest of us parents – both financially and socially. Being a tween is already a difficult time – and now Tracy is really making our lives pure hell because of this iPhone.”

 

We sat down with Tracy last night to find out what prompted her to give her 11 year old an iPhone after stating numerous times over the past year that Eloise would not have a phone until she was in junior high. And in fact wrote in her blog in 2012 that “she’d be damned if Eloise would have a phone before she turned 12!”

 

“Well, it certainly wasn’t our plan to give Eloise a phone this early. However, as parents I think we all need to grant ourselves some flexibility with the right to change our minds. A big lesson I’ve learned about parenting is to never say never. Sure you might intend to feed your kids all organic foods – but damn Cheetos are yummy. It’s the same thing with the phone. We’ve always planned to delay this day for as long as possible, but since she turned 11 we’ve been giving her more independence in staying home alone for longer, being able to go off with her friends more, and she has more afterschool activities. She’s also proven herself as incredibly responsible. Quite honestly though, this weekend we called AT&T because they were raping us with our current rates and it turned out we could activate my old cracked iPhone 4 that was just sitting in a drawer and put her on our plan and actually SAVE $40 a month from what we were already paying because it was now a family plan. I call it a win/win.”

 

When asked how Eloise was handling her new responsibility with iPhone ownership, Tracy mentioned that Eloise understood there were many rules on usage with her new phone and she would not have it at school with her nor in her room at home, and that there were many blocks on websites and everything would be tracked carefully.

 

We tried to reach Eloise for comment, but she did not return our calls. Instead we received a text from her with just “…’sup, yo, who r u?” and then a long string of panda emojis. So we think that Eloise is enjoying her iPhone ownership very much.

 

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the kids and parents continue to react and accept the news.

 

–St. Paul Fake Planet News, Mandy Johansson reporting

 

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How To Prepare For Spring In 5 Easy Steps

Are you thinking that Spring is here finally(silly, silly you) – here is how to get ready in five easy steps!

 

1. Get those feet Summer ready! Take off UGG to put on sandals you dug-out from under 450 sweaters in your closet. Look down at feet.  Realize that no one should ever see your toes again. Consider cutting nails, waxing, toes, filing off dead skin, painting toe nails, wearing socks with your sandals. Decide it cannot be spring yet and put UGGs back on until June.

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2. Put away coats, hats, and mittens by your entry way!  Haul down 10 giant plastic tubs from the attic and put them in the middle of your living room. Realize your need to wash or dry clean all coats. This takes approximately four days and $400. The plastic tubs still sit in your living room. In the meantime you need to match all mitten and glove pairings. Cannot find any mates. Throw the rest away. Decide what coats your kids will outgrow by next Fall. Decide all of them. Start making piles for ‘donation’ ‘consignment’ ‘hand-me-downs’ and ‘will wear again’ – and then decide this project is way too big for just one day. Let the tubs and coats sit in your living room for another week. Thank god, because it snowed again so you had to wear almost all of the items again. Too bad you threw all of the mittens away. A month later you finally get all of the coats put away. And then it snows again.

3. Find your Spring clothing! Put on a skirt because it’s much too warm for jeans or leggings. Look at hairy legs. Realize it’s too much effort to shave. Put leggings back on. Then UGGs.

4. Prepare of sunlight! What is that giant orange ball of light shining through your windows. Your windows with a film of winter crap, and full of water and snow spots, and fingerprints from the children begging to go outside and play, and cat nose prints. You did not notice any of this because you hadn’t seen the sun in so long. Decide you must wash windows to enjoy the Spring sunshine. This takes approximately four years because you only wash maybe two windows and say screw it because you too want to enjoy the sunshine.

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5. Prepare the backyard to play! The snow is finally melting. The snow that has been piling up in your backyard since November. You see, in Minnesota we don’t get snow and then have a melt. We just have snow accumulation from November until April. As the snow melts your backyard becomes an archeology dig site.  You find: six balls, five hula-hoops, two pens, a sharpie, 22 ponytail holders, nine newspapers, a library book, six pieces of sidewalk chalk that are no longer completely intact, your neighbor’s dog, two towels, a cardboard box, 15 jump ropes, 73 cents, and of course four mittens that would’ve completed some of the pairs that you already threw away.

 

Now I’m too exhausted to even enjoy this warmer weather. Well, only five more months before we have snow again! Thank goodness I did not put my UGGs away!

 

What is your favorite season?

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In honor of our first day hitting 60 degrees since last October – I did break-out some Spring-ish clothing! First time without a heavy sweater and UGGs. And my body did not shrivel up and die.

Whippy Top and Heather Leggings from Matilda Jane, cardigan from Target, TOM wedges, Presley Scarf from Aventura Clothing. (Linking up with What I Wore Wednesday with The Pleated Poppy) Astrid in Matilda Jane.

 

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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.

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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 Are Not An American

We actually watched Pitch Perfect last weekend after Astrid was in bed. I felt we needed to try after my Facebook blew up when I asked if the movie was appropriate for my kids, and if it was any good. Every person on the planet(or at least my Facebook friends) said it was Amazing! Fabulous! The Best! So Fun! The Feel Good Movie Of The Decade! So, who are we to miss out on that. A little sexual innuendo and crass humor won’t stop us from watching Pitch Perfect 42,560 times dammit.

 

And we hated it. All three of us. Like hated almost all of it. I texted a friend saying that I felt strange hating it so much because I was suppose to love it. My kids were suppose to love it too because of Music and Cups. And even that could not keep our interest.

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“You’re not an American.” She texted back jokingly. “It’s like how you like to grocery shop every day for like three apples and a pint of milk instead of stocking your fridge with 740 ounce bottles of ketchup from Costco. You’re not normal. Or American. Also, you are no longer allowed to watch Dance Moms or Project Runway. You are not one of us.”

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My kids love music, popular music, top 40 music, Glee club music, and the song Cups. And even they did not enjoy Pitch Perfect. Maybe it was because the Cups song was only on for a total of about 30 seconds. Or because so much of the music was so poorly done. Or predictable. Or because most of the movie was one long dick joke(pun intended), and that’s not really a word we throw around in our home very often. Ever. Even the person who has a dick in our house doesn’t throw that word around.

 

But when they movie ended both of my kids just let out a “meh,” said it was just okay, wished there was more music and less talking(ha!), and that they didn’t really need to see it again.

 

I put them to bed and tried to process the whole two hour long “Dick Joke Movie” that I just watched. When I asked for public opinion about the movie – everyone mentioned typical light-sexual scenes on par with a PG-13 teen movie. That I can handle. That I don’t mind. That I don’t mind my kids seeing. But in my opinion the whole movie was about how crass can females and males be to each other in college and treat each other like pieces of meat and make fun of their dicks – whether through fake shaking around or through bad jokes, and go to frat parties and drink as much beer as possible. I don’t want my kids to think THAT is how we should talk to one another or act in college. All the time. Parties and crazy times in college – yes. Tweens now thinking this is allthetime acceptable behavior – notsomuch.

 

For me, instead of being a fun movie about changing your tune, letting go of stereotypes with lots of feel good music moments, it was more like my generation’s Fast Times At Ridgemont High with one good song in it. And I sure wouldn’t let my 9 and 11 year olds watch that. I would feel more comfortable letting my four year old watch it for just the music while the incessant dick jokes would float over her head. And those jokes did float a bit over my 9 year old’s head.  But at 11, at the age where you understand almost everything, but are still innocent enough not to know how teens may talk to each other in a joking manner – where you still don’t get many jokes, and are forming your own ways and opinions – I think this movie sucks. Sorry, that’s the only word I could find without making my own crude dick joke. Instead of a ‘meh’ – Eloise gave it more of an “Eww – I hope boys never talk to me like that.”

 

Call us prude, call of sheltered, call us crazy, call us not worthy of doing movie reviews  – but don’t call of Not American.

 

I mean sure, I’ve never shopped at Costco, I don’t buy toilet paper in bulk, we’ve never been to Chuck E Cheese, or purchased LEGOS. We’ve never taken our kids to Disney, we don’t listen to Country Music or watch The Bachelor, and we will never take in a meal at Red Lobster.  We don’t own white tennis shoes and you won’t find me wearing shorts.

 

But you will find us watching Frozen for the 354,687th time, watching Dance Moms, enjoying a Filet O’ Fish during Lent, and flying down a water slide with the masses.

 

None of this has to do with defining myself as American. It just means that I have my own individual taste for things. And don’t like dick jokes.

 

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Zombie Mommy

“Mommy, I don’t like when you leave me.”

 

I don’t always like leaving you either. But sometimes I have to…and I always come back.

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“But if you were dead you wouldn’t come back.”

 

True, but I’m not dying anytime soon – so just for now, know that I’m coming back.

 

“But you will die someday and then you won’t come back and I won’t know you aren’t coming back.”

 

But by then you’ll be older and maybe a mommy too, so you won’t need me as much. So it will be okay. And that’s a long time from now.

 

“I’ll still need you when I’m a mommy.”

 

Maybe for some stuff. But not everything. You’ll have your own house and kids and life and even your own cats. And I’ll be very old when I die.

 

“Well even if you die when I’m a mommy and you’re very very old. I will still wish you were coming back.”

 

Me too.

 

“Unless you were a zombie. That would be super creepy. Don’t come back as a zombie mommy.”

 

I feel like I can promise you that I won’t come back as a zombie mommy and creep you out.

 

“Because if you did come back as a zombie mommy, I don’t think I could let you in my house.”

 

I understand and will respect your wishes if I did show up at your door as a zombie mommy. I wouldn’t let me in either.

 

“Okay, so don’t feel bad.”

 

I’ll be dead. I don’t think I’ll feel bad. I’m going to try not to be a zombie mommy ever.

 

“Promise.”

 

Promise. Now I have to get going to my thing.

 

“Okay, I will miss you, but please come back just as a regular mommy.”

 

Right, I’ll come back as regular mommy. Not dead. Not a zombie. And I’ll tuck you into bed. It won’t be creepy.

 

“This is why I love you so much. Because you’re not a zombie mommy.”

 

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20 Things I’m Giving Up For Lent

1. Caring that I don’t have a set of matching dishes and why should people have this by the time they turn 45.

 

2. Checking to see if my ass looks good in a particular pair of pants. I’m just walking out of the house knowing that my ass looks good in all the pants.

 

3. Caring what you think about my ass.

 

4. Bitching about no one helping me around the house – but making time to make sure that everyone helps around the house.

 

5. Cleaning up toothpaste blobs out of the sink unless I was the maker of the toothpaste blob.

 

6. Wearing matching socks. I wear boots 99.9% of the time anyway – so let’s just all wear mismatched socks. I’m done matching socks at all. Even for you.

 

7. Spending more than I save. I will not buy things because they are on sale. I will buy things because we need things. Not just because OMG so pretty!

 

8. So I’m giving up all of the catalogs that come to my house. HOW to make them STOP!

 

9. Wearing head to toe fleece to bed. This is both because it’s cold and for husband repellent. I hope it gets warmer. For Jed’s sake.

 

10. Feeling not good enough or young enough or rich enough or hip enough to shop anywhere. I will feel comfortable everywhere I go. Except if I go to a strip club. I don’t know if I would feel comfortable there at this point. Unless there were free drinks. But I need to get to the point where I feel more comfortable going into H&M than into a strip club.

 

11. Guilt for not volunteering at school more. I don’t like to be around that many children at one time. All things in moderation.

 

12. Procrastinating. Okay – staying off Facebook until my work is done. Also, no more cat videos until my work is done. Or online shopping until my work is done. No more BuzzFeed quizzes until my work is done. No more finding out what my John Travolta name pronunciation is until my work is done. No more playing with the cat until my work is done.

 

13. Pretending that Astrid is not going to kindergarten in the Fall. Telling her she’s going to be home with me FOREVER is not healthy for either of us. But I’m totally going to college with her.

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14. Obsessing over getting a nose piercing and just going to get the damn nose piercing.

 

15. Embarrassing my tween. I don’t think I really do this. But because I BREATHE, it turns out I do this. I promise to breathe quieter and from a distance that is approved by this tween and not talk about her ever again.  You totally should hear what she said today though.

 

16. Stop eating the peanut butter directly out of the jar and maybe double-dipping with the spoon.

 

17. Typing LOL when I text, email or message people. I feel like it makes me look less professional. LOL

 

18. Stop drinking coffee at 10pm. HEY THERE PEOPLE – WHATCHA DOING UP SO LATE?

 

19. I’m giving up negative people and those who just want to gossip. Seriously, did you hear what Susie said the other day? Right? She’s so weird and I like totally cannot believe she did that! I mean – who’s Susie?

 

20. Eating coconut. Okay – I hate coconut, so I’m not really giving that up. But I could only come up with 19 things.

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What I wore to work today – very awesome gray woolish blend legging-ish pants from H&M, black sweater from Poppy Togs, and black booties from Seychelles.  Astrid is wearing Matilda Jane.

 

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.

 

What are you giving up for Lent?

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