It’s Late

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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


It was a good day. Even with bad TV.


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


It was a good Monday.


Five For Friday

I’m linking up with Angela again this Friday!


Five Instagrams For A Friday:


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

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Five Posts For A Friday:

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


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


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


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


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


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


Happy Friday!




Paris Is For Lovers

Jed will tell you that I fell in love with him the day we met. My story is a bit different than his. I mean sure I felt something when we met, but I’m not sure if it was love. It was for sure a bit of curiosity mixed with a bit of “like” and maybe a touch of lust. But I was concerned about his Carthartts and his pocketknife. I wasn’t looking to date an outdoorsman at the time.


That was May.


We didn’t see each other again until August.


By November I was pretty smitten.


And by January I pretty much wanted to see him all the time.


But it was February when I fell in love.


Valentine’s Day in Paris to be exact.


At a table at La Coupole. I ordered some stinky cheese dish with mushrooms. We had a few dogs under our feet as our table-mates on both sides brought their animals with them to dinner. I drank more than my fill of red wine to go with my stinky(and yummy) cheese, and we strolled Montparnasse and over to La tour Eiffel. And yep, it was more than like or lust by then.


It was my first time in Paris. And his first since his childhood. And it’s where we fell in love.


16 years and three kids later…and….


“We’ll always have Paris.”


I promised Eloise a trip to Paris for her 13th birthday. Her birthday is in two weeks – so yeah, that trip isn’t happening. Life, finances, priorities always getting in the way. But after the heartbreak last night, I’ve been searching for flights like a crazy lady – because more than ever I want to get back and take her there and show her the beauty and light and spirit of the people and city…and show her that we are not afraid. We can never be afraid.


We just need to love more.


We pray for peace.


Cousins And Coffee

The post will be short tonight as I’ve spent the day driving four hours to Duluth and back to say goodbye to my Grandma. Her 92nd birthday is just over a month away. She’s lived a long life. But I hate when people say that. What life is ever long enough? Maybe her best years were still to come. I don’t know.


All I know is I don’t want my death to feel like weak coffee, worn furniture, a cramped room, hushed voices, and visits with cousins that I only see when someone is dying. I’m thinking I want some stupid expensive red wine for everyone to share(or maybe some margaritas), mod and colorful furniture, loud voices with laughter, and cousins who make sure they see each other several times a year. In fact I want these cousins to see each other so much that they know pet names and favorite movies and have inside jokes.


I don’t know. I’m glad I went and had weak coffee and sat on worn furniture in this cramped room with stranger cousins because I got to hold my grandma’s hand, stroke her hair, and talk to her for awhile. I kept tickling her feet just hoping she’d wake-up to see me and smile just one last time – but knowing her, she would’ve woken up and asked me why she never received a thank you note from Astrid’s birthday. And believe me, I’m living with that guilt, Gram. And I loved seeing your “boys” and their families surround you today. You look beautiful.


And ironically, my grandpa’s picture was on the front page of the Duluth paper today. He piloted the Vermont tug for years, and was helping the Edmund Fitz back out of the harbor at one point before she sunk on this day 40 years ago.


Maybe this was a sign that he is out there somewhere letting Gram know that it’s okay to say goodbye to us, and that he’s waiting for her. I take comfort in that. I can see them enjoying some weak coffee together soon.




Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy Birthday Dad, Papa, Aubie,


You texted me in the early morning hours today. You do this a lot. You head to work before 4am and you know that I am probably getting up to run by 5am. We’re alike like that, Dad. I like your early morning texts. No one else would think of texting so early.


But today’s text was different. Today’s text was telling me some pretty hard news about Grandma. That’s not the text I’m sure you wanted to send. Not the news you wanted to hear today, because it’s your birthday.


So I want you to know that I’m holding you hard right now. I mean sure I’m on my couch in my home, wearing my jammies and covered with blankets and two cats, and you are in your house a few miles away, most likely already in bed because you get up by 3am. But I’m holding you hard, okay? Because when I see me, I see you, and I see her. The three of us are so much alike – in looks and quirks and all that stuff that comes with being family.


It’s times like now I’m glad that you live close. Well, I’m always glad that you live close. Although I did really like when you lived in Montana as it gave us a great ski vacation every year…but now I want you here. You are so much to my family and your girls adore you and you spoil them so incredibly with your unconditional love and time. And even though it’s hard for us to talk sometimes, I know you are there if I need help, advice, or a laugh. And I’m not sure what I’d do without our Saturday coffees. Does Caribou Coffee know you are spoiling your daughter with a treat from them every Saturday morning? I hope they recognize everything you do.


Because I think about everything you do – as a partner and caregiver, as someone still working hard every single day at a job, as a son, as a brother, as a father, as a grandfather, and as a friend – and I hope you know how much you are loved and appreciated.


So Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you. I appreciate you. I can never thank you enough for everything that you are. And please know that we are holding you right now especially and walking with you and loving you no matter what happens.


Love you,

Tracy, Jed, Eloise, Esther, and Astrid


On The First Day Of Seventh Grade

I’ll tell you what I remember about my first day of 7th grade.


But first…


We moved the summer between 6th and 7th grades, so my brother and I went to stay with our dad in Spokane for most of the season while my mom and stepdad house-hunted, packed up our old house, moved, and got us registered and ready for school. That summer of 1981 I spent watching the Royal Wedding, reading every Judy Blume and VC Andrews book ever written by that time, playing with the random kids in my dad’s apartment building, and making a plan for how I would one day buy my own Papasan chair, because that would make me a real adult.


We also spent HOURS and DAYS jean shopping. My only jeans up until that point were the store brand ones from JC Penney. My stepdad was a store manager, so our jean choices – just like our top choices, underwear choices, coat choices, shoe choices – were whatever JC Penney carried. All that I wanted as a new junior high student at a new school was a pair of jeans that weren’t purchased from Penneys. My dad took me everywhere – and we ran into the problem many pre-teen girls did at that time – jeans just didn’t fit. I was too long for kids, but too narrow for juniors. But we were determined and we found a pair of wide-legged, dark wash jeans from an upscale department store that would be perfect for school.


So after reading Flowers In The Attic for the 14th time, and playing spin the bottle with the boys and girls I met that summer-knowing I would never see them again, my brother and I flew back to Indiana the day before school was to start. My mom had bought our lunchboxes, backpacks, and pencil cases. I had my new jeans and a few new tops. But we lost my all important – “HOW DO I FEATHER MY HAIR NOW, MOTHER??”- curling iron somewhere in the move, and I had to show-up to my first day at a new JUNIOR HIGH with NOT-feathered hair. It turns out my lack of feathering was the least of my problems that day, as I noticed all of the kids wearing straight-legged, light wash jeans. I believe my sweet mom stayed up all night that first day ripping the seams out of my new jeans, cutting off fabric, sewing them back with a straight leg and washing the ever loving crap out of them to make them a lighter wash. And she also bought me a few more pairs of jeans from JC Penney.


I look back to that week 34 years ago and I still vividly see the girl I was. I’m still her in many ways – afraid to buy the wrong jeans, scared of new places, still unable to have perfectly feathered hair, but with parents and a family that is there to lean on, rip apart some seams, and mend things up when needed.


Eloise started her 7th grade year at a new school last week. I’m not going to even try to sugar coat how crappy her first morning was…and she did not even have to worry about having the wrong jeans. But she was worried about her hair, and making new friends, and liking her teachers. I cried a little after drop-off too. Were we doing the right thing – changing schools now, when being almost 13 is already hard enough. But by day three she was excited about her classes, she wasn’t complaining about her uniform, and she had met some kids who asked her to join them at lunch. (I can’t say this to my kids enough –  “ALWAYS BE THE “SCOOPER” PERSON, OKAY!” Always be the one to scoop in the new kids and ask them to sit with you at lunch.) By day five she said she was fine going to the new school, and knew she would still keep the friends from her old school. She said she was okay.


I promised to always have her back and be her soft landing. And I even brought her my box of VC Andrews books that I saved all of these years. She picked a few up, read a few pages, and tossed them back with a laugh and a no thank you. Not surprising as she has much better taste than I ever did. She doesn’t even want a Papasan chair.



I Won’t Grow Up

I’m sitting in a chair in our bedroom. I’m hiding because it’s quiet here. Downstairs I hear more kids than are mine watching a movie and fixing snacks and still in their pajamas at nearly noon. I sit directly across from our newish bed. It’s an actual bed – with a headboard and a base for the mattress, and it’s the first bed we’ve owned together. We’ve slept on an old mattress from college – at times on the floor and at times on a $30 metal base – for our whole “been-together” life. Our dressers have been cardboard boxes or tubs or closet shelves or piles on the floor. We don’t own bedside tables or matching lamps or a fancy duvet cover with fancy pillows. But we bought a bed this year. Well actually, we didn’t buy the bed, Jed’s parents bought us the bed as a housewarming gift/maybe belated wedding gift for the wedding/reception that we never had. It’s ironic really that our parents bought our bed for us.


My parents have always had a full bedroom suite. My grandparents too. A sturdy headboard with shelves, a low and long dresser for her – with a mirror and shelves lined with flowery smelling powders and perfumes, and a tall dresser for him – top drawer meant for ties and cufflinks. I knew my grandparents and parents were “real” grown-ups because they owned a full bedroom suite. Also because their bedspreads even matched the curtains.


I’ve never owned curtains.


I believe our kids think we are frauds because of the lack of bedroom furniture. And we certainly don’t feel like grown-ups. (Also I just got my nose pierced last year and Jed has a man-bun….but I digress…) So I’m wondering if owning a real bed at 46 years old will somehow give us the credentials we need to feel like adults. I mean it certainly makes me sleep better and want to head to bed by 8:30 just like my grandparents did – so maybe that’s the secret. But it certainly doesn’t help us make some of the tough decisions that we have to make for our family


We’re deciding this week if our kids should change schools – which is major and hard and confusing and new and CHANGE and it’s not all up to the kids(because they would stay..because friends), but I hate being the one to insist and decide. I don’t want to be the one with the bedroom set. I want to camp out on a old mattress and go to bed late and worry about things tomorrow or not at all.


I look back at the decisions we had to make when our girls were little – how small those decisions seem now in the scope of a long life. Those decisions were basic ones of just keeping a child alive, healthy and happy. Now we focus so much more on the emotional, social, mental, fulfilling needs of the whole person…and they can make their own snacks. This stage is much harder to parent.


There’s not a bedroom set nice enough to make me feel adult enough to help make some of the decisions that will need to be made over the next few years.


So I’ll just sit in denial in the chair in the corner of my room and online shop for a matching duvet cover and curtains. Nice curtains will certainly make being an adult easier.


Next up – watching Wheel of Fortune at 5:30pm, right after dinner. Then we will be ready to make all of the hard  parenting decisions.



Just Be You

I’ve been spending a lot of time being mad at five year olds lately. I never even knew that one could get angry with a five year old. But this school year has proved challenging for me. Last fall Astrid came home and announced that her water bottle was “wrong.” “Wrong, how?” I asked. “It’s a baby kind of water bottle,” Astrid replied. “Juliet told me that. She asked why I had a bottle for a baby instead one for a big kid and then she laughed.” I looked at her water bottle. The water bottle that she picked out for school. Sure, it was pink and had some hearts on it – hearts and pink – things that she liked. But it wasn’t a sippy cup. It was a “normal” water bottle. Sure, not one that I would carry typically, but I’m not five. “I want a water bottle more like yours for tomorrow, Mom.”


“Well do you still like your water bottle?” I asked.


“Yes, but I’ll just use it for dance and home”


“I think instead you should tell Juliet that you happen to like your water bottle just like she probably likes hers. Tell her that everyone can have a water bottle that they like and it’s not polite to make fun of anything or anybody. Ever.” I gently nudged.


“But she made me feel too bad to even say anything. So I’d rather just have a new water bottle.”


The next day Astrid went to school with one of her sister’s water bottles. I never asked if she said anything to Juliet.



A few months later Astrid stopped letting me kiss the top of her head when we parted ways at her classroom door. “Why can’t I kiss you anymore?” I pleaded. Sad. She would duck away from me when I tried and refused to respond or even make eye contact. I can respect her space and needs and maybe she was growing out of long goodbye kisses and hugs, this wasn’t my first rodeo…but still….I have a 12 year old who stopped parent PDAs when she was about six..and I have a 10 year old who would give a kiss and hug to her parents at anytime and anywhere in front of anyone. This refusal of the morning goodbye peck felt different..and not like her.


“I just don’t need a kiss before school anymore.” She said.


“Really? Well okay, but can I kiss you in the car before we get out for school?” I asked.


“As long as Adam doesn’t see.” She looked down as she said it, “Because he will make fun of me. He told me it’s disgusting when you kiss my head and that I’m too old to have my mom kiss me. He told me he’ll be watching everyday.”


I told her that was creepy. And that Adam needs to mind his own business. And that I still kiss my own mom goodbye and I’m super old. I told her to tell Adam that she can damn well kiss anybody she wants to kiss because it means she loves them and to tell Adam to pound sand. Or something like that.


But again, she just said she’d rather avoid our kiss goodbye if it means Adam will say nothing to her.


And for me, as a parent, it gives me pause at a place of choosing where to pick my battles. Do I tell the teacher about the kids making my child feel bad and that maybe there needs to be a little lesson of “live and let live” and “everybody is different and likes different things” and maybe keep your damn mouth shut if you don’t have anything nice to say. Or do I just let Astrid choose how she wants to handle it. Make the choice to tell the kids to just stop or make the choice to focus on something else and move on. And the child in me wants to plant a “baby water bottle” in Juliet’s locker and plant a big wet kiss on Adam’s head in front of everyone. But I won’t.


I’ll just continue to tell my kids to be them. To love what they want to love and not worry if it’s not the same as their friends. To not worry about what other people think. To not be a sheep. And to never be that kid that tells someone else that what they love or have is wrong. Instead say “Cool water bottle.” Or say nothing at all.


And I’ll try not to give those two kids the evil eye when I see them in the hall. We can all be above that.



Do Opposites Attract?

He is a dog person. I like cats.


He rides motorcycles. I drive a minivan.

4000 Mile Motorcycle Trip - Colorado 2000

4000 Mile Motorcycle Trip – Colorado 2000

He eats meat. I like kale.


He drinks beer. I prefer wine.


He is a saver. I like a nice handbag. And shoes. And a new lamp. Maybe a cute new area rug. And I give to charity. A lot.


He leans right. I lean…no I am…left.


He is a night owl. He married an early bird.


He is a bicyclist. I am a runner.


He is Carthartts. I am Nordstrom.


He is hostels. I am a private shower kind of gal.


He is Game Of Thrones. I am Kimmy Schmidt.


He is going out. I am staying home.


He likes to just drop by. I like to make plans weeks in advance.


He is New England. I am Midwestern.


He is always late. I am always early.


He is Liberal Arts and Ivy League. I am night school and State school.


He is depth charge. I am au lait(skim).


He is naked. I am sleepinallthefleece.


He is Dave Matthews. I am SO.NOT.


He is Valdez. I am Paris.


He is lacrosse. I am golf.


He is racquetball. I am tennis.


He is “pure” – (his word). I am tattoos and piercings.


He is a scuba diver. I like to hang on the beach.


He likes dirt. I like soap.


He is milk. I am dark. (chocolate of course)


Yet, we have made a life together. 17 years ago we met on an airplane heading to Bangkok. His first line to me was “I went to Middlebury.” And my response was “Where?” And we laughed and talked for the 20 hour flight. He’s educated me on Middlebury. I’ve moved him to the Midwest.


I will not say that our life is one of compromise, but it is one of deep understanding and appreciation of what the other likes. And yes, sometimes I motorcycle..and yes he had to stay in a hotel in Paris…with a private shower. And he steals my dark chocolate while I sneak sips of his depth charge.


I think the key to our 17 years together and our 13 years of marriage(TODAY) is our willingness to try new things for each other, while buying beer for a spouse and falling in love with a nose piercing. And maybe sitting through a Dave Matthew’s concert.


You have to celebrate, appreciate and understand someone’s past before you can build a common future together.


May our love, our life, our appreciation, and our adventures continue together.


Happy Lucky 13. xo



Parenting By Improvisation #GoodandHonest #Motts

This is a sponsored post by The Motherhood and Mott’s and their Good & Honest Campaign.


My own mother thinks that I’ve lost my mind. Ask my dad, and he’ll agree with her. I never thought we would be one of “those” families that spends every free moment that we have…well, not being free at all. During the school day I’m running errands for my kids – picking up equipment, forms, ingredients for baked goods and snacks, and then after school I’m driving them absolutely everywhere.


Last Saturday I spent exactly seven hours and 19 minutes in my car driving three kids here and there and everywhere. My car has become a giant receptacle of dirty clothes, uniforms, school work, snack wrappers, grocery bags, instruments, ballet shoes, and books that I read while I sit and wait and catch my breath.


So my parents think that I’ve lost my mind for letting such a schedule happen. For having a to-do list a mile long written on small pieces of paper in my mess of a purse. For not saying no, you cannot run track this year.


Yet somehow – in this chaos of a life, this mess of a car, the mixed up brain that forgets so many things – well, we’re happy. Yes, we are happy between school pick-up and ballet drop-off, and that vocal concert, and the practicing of piano, and the track meet, and the dance recital, and the volunteering at the school AGAIN for eight hours this week.


And like everything from this childhood that I am witnessing – it will not last. In six years one will leave for college..and then another two years later..and in 12 years…gone. I can dedicate these 12 years to this. To this busy that middle school and high school brings. A different busy from six years ago when it was pushing someone on a swing and cleaning up breakfast dishes and wiping butts. At least this new busy gives me minutes here and there to read a book while I sit in a car, or check Facebook, or leave a kid at home while I run the others somewhere, or allow me to stop for groceries by myself sometimes.


And I don’t feel like my kids are running my life by all of us now choosing to be this busy. In someways we love it. And honestly, I think a busy kid has less downtime to get into trouble. Trust me – I know this from my own experience. So I can either embrace and maybe laugh at the crazy that we call our life, I can complain about it, or I can stop it if I feel that it’s wrong. But it’s not. It feels just so crazy right, right now.


What our new and crazy schedule has also taught me is to just let things go and improvise. We used to sit at the table together almost every night for dinner. Now, dinner is mainly on the go and I need to just click away and ignore all of the posts and research about how dinner together as a family most nights is so important. We did that for 12 years…so now it’s time for picnics in the car or on the dance studio lobby floor. And I’m calling it still pretty darn good as we are still together and hey, no dishes!


It feels good to just focus on what feels right for our family as we create our own memories and schedules and know that with balancing life, we are really just doing the best we can.


I love that Mott’s is giving all of us parents a break with their new Good & Honest Campaign. And can I just say that Mott’s Snack & Go Applesauce packets have been a lifesaver for easy and healthy snacks on the run for us!

Let’s be honest. Moms and dads work hard to be the best parents they can be. But they’re not afraid to admit that everything doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes we have to fudge it a little bit and just go with the flow. Even if that means straying a bit from the Parenting 101 Manual.

Spending quality time with kids is important, whether it’s doing homework, working on a fun project, reading or simply laughing at things that no one else could possibly understand. These are the very moments that create long-lasting memories, but sometimes in the balance of life, we falter and recognize that we can’t always be perfect.

The Good and Honest campaign is truly meant to uplift parents and acknowledge we improvise along the way. We celebrate and support those who are doing the best they can every day for their kids.

Now I’d love to here about your Good & Honest parenting moments – do you cut bedtime stories short by leaving out a few words…only pretend to listen to your child practice the piano…’forget’ to pack a lunch just to save some time in the morning? Fess up!


Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Mott’s and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own. 

Mom Mishaps – Things I Forget #SisterhoodUnite

Disclosure: “I’m a Sisterhood of Motherhood Blog Partner, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.”

My child was the one with bare feet during ballet class this past Saturday. The other girls had pink sheer tights and perfect shoes with bows, while mine had bare legs and feet because I forgot her ballet shoes. It wasn’t the first time I forgot. Nor the last. I can make that promise.


My child has also been the one eating the cheese sandwich for lunch because I forgot to send lunch money or pack her lunch.


My child has also been the one without the class snack when I’ve forgotten it was our snack day. Instead the teacher had to give snack from the cabinet. The cabinet that I fill for her when I remember. But of course I remember this when it’s not our snack day.


My child has been the one sitting outside of dance..forever waiting for me. And finally going back inside to call me to find out why I’m not there to pick her up. It’s because I forgot to pick her up. More than once I’ve jumped in my car – without shoes, maybe pants, without my purse, maybe my glasses, and rushed to pick up a forgotten child.


My child has been the one to almost miss field trips because of forgotten permission slips.


My child has gone without a yearbook because I missed the deadline to order(thank you, school for ordering extra for mothers like me).


My child has turned in empty reading logs because I forgot to fill them out.


When I started making the list of what I’ve forgotten for my children, I teetered between laughter and tears. I know some of what I’ve forgotten is so minor that they forgot and forgave within minutes. But some of these incidents will either hurt their hearts a bit longer or give them fuel for stories to share with their children. Hopefully stories that will make them laugh one day. Please let them laugh about it one day.


I want to sit with other moms and hear what they’ve forgotten, or how often they forget something. I know I forget little things almost daily. But big things are forgotten more often than I like to admit. I hope as parents we can give ourselves a little grace each day as our faults, mistakes, and things that we forgot or had to let go pile up, as parenting is messy and disorganized even on the best of days.


And while yes, you may forget snack day and maybe forget to pick up your child, and sure forget to pack the soccer shoes – it doesn’t mean you forget the more important things like that first morning hug, a smile from across the room, or an evening snuggle before fed.


Kids are smart enough to know what’s really important. And trust me, it’s not the snack you remembered for them in first grade.


By writing this, I’m giving myself some grace and I’m going to stop kicking myself for the forgotten shoes on Saturday.


What have you forgotten this week? Come on – spill it!



Similac believes it’s time to embrace mothers who choose to embrace motherhood. Time to put down the fingers and the subtle suggestions. Because no two of us are the same, but we’re all in this together. The sisterhood has only one rule. Nourish each other the same way we nourish our children. And, just like the sister who’s got your back, we’re there to help you get through the first few days and months of motherhood with confidence — and zero judgment. The way it should be.


I would love for you to visit Similac’s new Sisterhood Of Motherhood site, learn more on Facebook.


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Twenty Six Minutes



Located or living underground.




Enclosed or nearly enclosed by land.


Esther calls out 20 more vocabulary words from the backseat, getting 20 more responses from Eloise in the front. Astrid sings FourFiveSeconds the whole time. The whole time being ThirteenMinutes and 6 miles that the four of us are in the car in the morning.


I wonder if Astrid had quite a bender over the weekend that she was repenting about. But I don’t recall anything more than a maybe a little extra root beer in her float on Friday and a late night family viewing of The Hobbit on Saturday. So I just smile and sing along with her because damn it’s a soulful tune. And also because Paul McCartney. And Rihanna. And that other gentleman who is so damn talented..but still. And I pause once again to be grateful that Raffi’s music has not graced our car since 2006.

photo 1-1

Esther and Eloise finish the vocabulary words and now sing with us. Esther does air guitar and Eloise drums a beat on the dash.


I want to cry with happiness for these ThirteenMinutes each morning. And the ThirteenMinutes coming this afternoon.


The TwentySixMinutes that I was dreading when we moved. Our move meant moving out of the bus zone and into the land of driving the kids to school. TwentySixMinutes that I used for showering or working or for silence and for me. A compromise of mine for this move. I dreaded losing this time of mine. I dreaded being in the car more. I dreaded the environmental impact.


But instead I gained TwentySixMinutes with my kids. Sometimes the morning ride is filled with spelling words and plans for the day. Sometimes the radio is just turned up all the way and we sing and laugh. Sometimes we are tired and cranky and silent but together. Sometimes there’s a fight about the wrong shoes or forgetting a book. But always it’s us.


The afternoon ride home is talking about their days. Homework that’s due. What’s for dinner. Sometimes long talks. Sometimes long tired silences. But they are here. With me. Together. TwentySixMinutes for us.


This extra time with my kids without interruptions possible is a gift I did not expect. Surprises will never cease in parenting. And I’m going to take any extra moment that I can with them. No regrets. No benders. No repenting. No dreading.


Our TwentySixMinutes together.


Because it’s #1 on our carpool playlist right now.



Blurred Lines

I can no longer work on my laptop without wearing my readers. My cheaters. My stupid glasses that allow me to see things close-up. The glasses that make me feel like I should wear purple sweaters and red hats and have friends named Phyllis. I now play the game of putting my glasses on and off and on and off and on and off – and figuring out where to put them when I’m not wearing them – on my head, in my pocket, on the table, tucked in the neck hole of my top – somewhere close by because after I look up and remove them so I can see far again(albeit with 300 strength contact lenses) and talk to you, I then need to look again to my laptop or paper or phone and put my glasses back on.


But where are they? Did I put them in my purse, my shirt, the drawer, the bedside table, on my head, or HORROR – on some beaded chain around my neck. I have friends that now have bifocals. Not parents – not grandparents – not aunts or uncles…but friends that wear bifocals. I’ve laughed at them and their aging ways.


Until now. Now I face being closer to 50 than 40, have more friends over 50 than under 40, and feel so far removed from having babies in my house that I felt uncomfortable in the restaurant bathroom last week when a young mom was changing her son’s diaper. “People still do that?” I thought. Because you see, we do forget what it’s like to have little ones at home and what it takes to care for them and what needs to be done for them. We do. It just felt like more than three years ago when that was me in the bathroom changing a diaper. Now I spend more time dealing with my own accidents when I pee myself while laughing or sneezing. I even wonder if I would need my readers to change a diaper at this point.


And I was an “old” mother – still with an infant when I was 41. How can I feel already so detached from having babies at home. Maybe it’s because I can no longer keep track of my glasses, let alone a potential toddler on the loose or remembering to pack diapers and wipes. At the same time.


My only solace to my aging woes – besides the fact that most of my friends are older than I am for a reason – is that my husband is aging right along with me. After pulling the readers off my face nightly while I read, to use for himself, he finally broke down and bought his own glasses a few months ago. As someone who has never had glasses – this was a new adventure for him – a new fashion statement, a new thing to research, a new thing to be excitement about. Whereas glasses for me are something I’ve worried about for nearly thirty years and consider them more “have to” than “fun to.”


And damn if this old man didn’t get hotter when he put his readers on. (Okay, maybe his growing man-bun helped a bit too). So this made me mad because guys always “win” at these things – this aging gracefully and all of that crap. They don’t worry about their graying hair, their stray hairs, their aging eyes, and they don’t they fill their medicine cabinets full of the latest wrinkle creams.  Where I now notice the friends who’ve had Botox and worry whether my latest hair color matches my original color so people don’t take notice. I don’t consider aging to be a measure of hotness or not, but I do see the measurement changing. Maybe that’s why our eyes go bad and readers are required to see any details. Maybe we are suppose to lose them in our purses, pockets, tables, and drawers so we can see the big picture and the beauty in the distance..and forget about those little imperfections that just blur into a beautiful face when we put our glasses down.



She’s Just A Child

This post has been sitting in my draft folder for over a month. I’ve written it. I’ve deleted it. I’ve written it again. I’ve edited it. I’ve cried. I’ve yelled. I’ve been sad. I’ve been protective. I’ve been angry. I’ve tried to forget that I even started this post.


After I let it sit again – and by “it” I mean the encounter as well as my heart, I almost decided just to walk away and let this go. But I think that maybe it’s something that people should hear.


So I’m hitting publish right now. And I’m vowing not to walk away from this issue and be silent. I’m doing this for our daughters.


Dear Mom At The Gap,


She noticed you too. She did. My daughter did. My child. She heard you. She heard every word that you said. She saw the look on your face as you said it. And you hurt her.


And instead of being excited about a new jacket that I offered to buy for her for her birthday, she told me that she didn’t want it and asked if she could just wait for me outside of the store while I finished with my return. I asked to go with her, but she told me to just stay in the store and finish as she was fine.


I watched her through the store window. Her head down as she sat holding hands with her little sister. I kept my eyes closely on her as I stood in line. Wanting to be near her and explain what just happened. Because she’s a child. A child.


I thought about grabbing the jacket she loved again and buying it for her anyway as a surprise. But would it always remind her of what she heard. What you said.


Let me tell you a little bit about my child. My child that I’ve known for nearly 12 years. The child that you hurt – with your 10 second observation and shaming words.


My beautiful child was born a preemie. Weeks early in an emergency delivery, she was born tiny yet perfect in every single way to me. Her limbs were thin – without time in the womb to develop the beautiful baby-squish we all expect. She instead was angular, fragile, and fine. And even as she grew as a toddler and into grade school, her frame was always slight with beautiful and almost magical wispy limbs. Yet she grew tall.


You don’t have to look much further than her dad or to me to see where her body structure came from – we both have thinner frames, small bones if you will, and are tall.


My child is an incredible student. She’s grades ahead in math, was reading at a tenth grade level by first grade, and always finishes in the top during the school spelling bee. She also loves music and is a gifted pianist though you would never know as she only plays for herself(or for us if she thinks we aren’t listening).


My child cares deeply for others – watching her sisters, insisting on taking turns, never going first, and volunteering on the school community service club.


My child is quiet and doesn’t like to be the center of attention. She encourages others to take the spotlight and is an incredible cheerleader.


And my child is a beautiful dancer. She’s been taking dance for nearly eight years at a studio that embraces all children who truly love the sport.


Yet sometimes my child comes home from dance sad. Because she feels different. Looks different. She’s turning 12 soon – hormones raging, middle school angst starting, uncertain about life as she starts to define who she is, what she loves, etc. You remember the time of uncertainty, right? Sometimes she comes home from dance in tears because her legs look different or she can’t make them do what she should be able to do. Her legs are so long and thin that they truly do not come together. Do not touch. Do not work in many ballet positions. She is frustrated, yet doesn’t give up.


And I have those talks with her that all mothers do – that she’s beautiful and perfect and brilliant just the way she is. That her body is just the way it’s suppose to be. I tell her stories about my own adolescence and my thin legs, and about her grandmother getting teased in middle school when she was told it looked like she was “walking on toothpicks.” We giggle at how absurd life can be. And for awhile she forgets that she feels she looks different or “wrong” compared to others.


You see, my child is 11 -almost 12, with no signs of puberty anywhere except for the fact that she’s grown about seven inches in the past year while barely gaining an ounce of weight. She’s become almost as tall as I am – yet with the waist of a five year old, no fat cells to speak off, no hips, no breasts, and no other indication that she’s becoming a woman soon.


And I can give you the benefit of the doubt with your statement that perhaps because of her height – that you mistook her for someone maybe 16 or 17 – but that doesn’t excuse what you said. What you thought. What she heard.


Because she is not you. She is not even me. She is an individual who deserves better. To not be “skinny shamed” if you must when you said to your daughter “My god, look at how skinny that girl is – she’s obviously sick and anorexic and needs help.”


You have no right to judge another person. A child. How dare you decide you have the right to shame anyone because of their body or mind or by how they look. Why as a society do we continue to belittle and judge other women because of their looks and their shapes. Why do we continue to feed this industry that is intent on making us all want to be perfect – whatever that means. And as mothers, I expect better of all of us.


So my daughter, my child, fled the store with her baby sister to get away from you, when just moments ago she was happy and looking in the mirror at her reflection – wearing a jacket that she fell in love with. She’s gotten so tall this year that she can now wear ladies tops, and this was our first trip into a store to try something on in that department. She’s had a hard year – growing tall so quickly – do you remember that weird stage when clothing didn’t fit right. Everything was either too short or too long or too small or too big – that year or so as you transitioned from girls department to juniors? Yeah, that’s where she is. And this is happening while she already feels somewhat uncomfortable with her thin legs and height. It’s a hard road to travel with these pre-adolescent girls. How we find these moments of joy between the moments of uncertainty. And you, you just made it a little tougher for her.


After my child walked out of the store, I approached you and told you that I heard you and that SHE heard you and that you had no right to do that my child nor to your child. I told you that my daughter was 11 – and about the inches she’s grown, and the puberty not starting. But I shouldn’t have to do all of that explaining, because you should never body shame a child, or anyone. And you kind of apologized with a quick “I had no idea she was not a teen.” – but I need you to know that it’s no excuse. I need you to know that when I walked out of the store and took my child in my arms and talked about what happened, and that she’s incredible, and I explained what anorexic means – that even though she smiled when I suggested a Starbucks so we could just move-on with her day – that this encounter will most likely stick in her mind forever. You still remember things like this from middle school, right?


Somehow dammit – as mothers we need to stop the vicious circle of judging and shaming – and start figuring out how to better send messages of health and self-acceptance and love. And I know that’s hard to do – with increased societal pressures and plastic surgery Groupons in our inbox daily. But I truly believe it can be done and if we all just take a simple first step as mothers and women and just stop being so damn hard on one another.





On Being 12

She surprises me with her hug from behind. Her arms around me and her head resting on my shoulder. She touches my hair slightly and whispers “I love you, Mom.” I pat her head awkwardly. I admit this freely. I’m not sure how to touch my daughter. My daughter who turns 12 today.


I’m sitting on the dining room chair and she comes over and puts her bottom next to mine and pushes me over to make room for her. She’s touching me – leg to leg – and her head rests on my arm. She puts her hand on mine. I move away shocked almost. Not sure again how to touch her. What does she want? What is she doing?


The bus is coming. We’ve been at the bus stop now together for nearly seven years. It’s always the same. The bus turns the corner and comes towards our stop. Eloise walks away from me quickly – without a goodbye or a hug or kiss. I yell out “Have a good day, Mo! Love you!” But she never responds. Esther leans into me with a large hug and kiss like we may never see each other again. I watch the bus as it pulls away. Esther waves and blows kisses. Eloise is talking to friends – and never looks out the window.


You might be reading this shocked. Appalled. Confused. I’m her mother. Her mother of all of her months, her weeks, her days, her minutes, her seconds, her every moment…how could I not know what do to when she touches me.


But you see, I’ve respected her wishes, her body language, her distance from touch for her whole life. She was not a cuddly baby. Preferring to sleep in her swing or bouncy seat. To cry it out in her crib than to rock for hours. We bounced her and rocked her and held her for days it seems when she was colicky – but typically she only stopped crying when she was put down and was able to be alone. She was sensitive to touch, she didn’t love to be kissed, and when her baby sister was born – she loved her, but never showered her with affection. While other toddlers were “huggy” and “lovey” – she stood at the wall hoping that no one noticed her. She wasn’t much of a hand holder and tucking her into bed at night was with a quick kiss on the head. Many times, and for years, I tried to push for more. But she politely moved away from me. Until one day I just stopped trying out of respect.


Her affection was shown through sly smiles and kind deeds.


And for 12 years I’ve respected her space. And my place on the edge of it.


Waiting. Hoping.


So the past few months have startled me. Her touching me. Her seeking me out. Her telling me she loves me in return. Her wanting me to spend more time with her when I tell her good night. Inviting me to sit on her bed. My leg near her arm touching through the layer of blankets. She talks and I move a hair away from her eyes and she doesn’t stop me. Her want to share more books – and for us to sit so close on the couch as we talk. I find my body almost melting into her now as I feel I’ve waited so long to really get to know her. Yet I don’t want to ask her why.


So I project like mothers do. And if I had to guess I think she’s realizing that she needs something from me. That she’s not going to be a girl much longer and sees herself as becoming more like “me” and less like “them” – her sisters. Other children. And maybe, just maybe – getting closer to me will be the key and answers she needs for what’s happening. What it’s like. Or maybe she’s scared. Changes coming. Information overload. And she’s finally reaching for me. Like a baby needing comfort. And a mother finally able to do something emotionally useful.


And I’m drinking it in like the finest French wine because what if it won’t last. I have no way to know this. To know all of the answers. To know everything or really anything about her. And I respect this woman-child too much to ask. So I just sit and enjoy each moment she will give me.


I think that’s what I love the most about parenthood – children are so beautifully unique and individual. They are not me or him. They are them. I can’t project me at 12 or you at 12. I can only just stand back from her or lean forward to hold her as she allows and marvel at how incredible 12 is for her.


How at times I see her and still see that curious toddler or that shy girl in kindergarten. But then see someone who at a glance is 17. Her future.


How she’s nearly my 5’7″ height and yet I don’t think has even started growing. And how maybe this new affection is because she wants to borrow my scarves and sweaters.


How she will never own enough books, and how I used to monitor her reading but now I could never keep up. She brings books to me that she knows I’ll enjoy.


How no one will ever have a heart as big as hers.

Mom, it's cold

Mom, it’s cold

How she’s brilliant at math. LIKE CRAZY brilliant high school math at 11 crazy brilliant at it. And how when I offer to help her with her homework she rolls her eyes at me because she knows I can’t figure out a slope to save my life.


How she’s a beautiful dancer.


And plays the piano so well I weep.


How she cares for her friends.


And sisters.


And keeps up on current events and likes to discuss the wrongs in the world.


But celebrates the rights.


How she is organized and neat and finds my chaos exhausting.


How she wants and earns more independence yet is a homebody at heart.


How she is forgiving for everything.


And wakes up each day with a smile.


How she loves to play with dolls.


Yet she begs for an instagram account and giggles as she texts her friends.


How she thinks boys are still pretty gross and stinky.


How she makes me smile every single time she walks into a room.


Whether she leans in for a hug or not.


How today she is 12.


And she teaches me how to be a better mom to her every single day.


And how I’ll never feel like I’ve thanked her enough for being just her – in any which way she wants to be.



Full Day Kindergarten

Two days.


Two days until it starts.


13 years of full school days.


We’ve had a good run.


I’ve had a child home with me most days for 12 years.


Until Monday.


Monday she starts full day kindergarten.


And my days are quiet from 8:30-3:30.


No more weekday trips to the zoo. The library. The coffee shop. The grocery store.




She’s ready.


I think I am too.


But I’m scared.


And so is she.


I’m not sure whether to celebrate.


Or mourn.


Or do a bit of both.


12 years of littles at home no more.