My Self-Care Grade As A Mom

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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




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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Where I Give 15 Fs About 2016

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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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




My super power is being a conversation killer. I used to get offended when it would happen, but now I kind of laugh it off as their loss. Typically it’s nice to have nice chats with people. but sometimes people want to be a conversation killer when they’re talking to someone who is going on and on about Trump or something. So here’s my tip on ending a conversation dead it its tracks – when they ask what you do for a living, tell them that you stay at home with your kids. They will have nothing else to say to you. Ever. Every single time. It’s become almost a social experiment for me at parties. I love telling people that what I “do” is stay home with my kids. I mean because if I stay at home with my kids I must have nothing else to talk about.


I could answer this question differently. I could say that truthfully I am a writer. That I am a blogger. That I run marathons. That I’m in sales. I’ve been in sales for nearly eight years – building a team and a business. But I do all of this from home…because my number one priority is still..and as it was when I quit my corporate job 10 years stay home to take care of my kids. This is my choice and I’m honored to have the option to choose this. I don’t miss corporate America. I don’t miss meetings. I don’t miss many many things. And even though I have a job and do other things that produce not only quality brain stuff – but also money, I will always tell you that I stay at home with my kids. And not just to have you walk away from me. Although sometimes…yay!


So this year I’ve been blogging less. I’ve been walking away from the parts of blogging that were not happy things for my brain anymore. And I’ve walked away from one of my bigger yearly projects because I feel like there is something else for me. During a very brief conversation with a friend Sunday night, we both asked each other what was next with our lives. I am 47 today..and she is about 10 years old than I am..and I LOVE that we are still asking that question. We are not washed up just because we are not in our 20s. We are not done just because we are middle aged. We are not disposable and not interesting because we’ve stayed at home with our kids for a time. We are not done reinventing ourselves. We are still defining our lives. Our long lives. Our meaningful lives. And we can still dream and become what we want to be when we grow up. And we both feel that in 2016 there will be some new definitions and clarity to what that is.


That is what being 47 is for me. It’s being open to new possibilities, to still defining what my now and future is, and to be okay if my chosen profession today is a conversation killer for you.


This quick conversation with this brilliant friend is exactly what I needed when I needed it. I believe it was not just fate that put us together in my dining room on Sunday night.


And as I was going back over our chat in my head, I jumped on Facebook. Within minutes, two of my dear friends posted similar sentiments that released me completely of something that has been weighing hard on me this year.


One posted “…I don’t care if people like me or not. If they don’t, that’s their problem, not mine.”


And the other “…I want to FOCUS on only the people who love me and seek out my company and stop chasing the ones who don’t care.


You can’t make people like you. And spending time on that is worthless. Focus your love and energy where it belongs. I’ve reconnected with a true old friend this year, and THAT is important and fills a heart.


This post is horribly written, and at 47 I just don’t have anymore fucks to give about it.


So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not dead yet. And at 47 it’s okay to keep reinventing myself professionally. And personally, I will surround myself with the people who are good people and give some fucks about me in return and make relationships easy like they should be.


It makes me laugh to think about how we always ask 17 year olds what they want to be when they grow up. What they want to study in college. Where they want to live. As 30 years later I’m still here deciding those things because why not. It’s a long and beautiful life with so much new and beautiful to experience. I will not settle. I will never stop exploring what’s next. And I will not focus on who I cannot change and who doesn’t want to be with me. I will focus more on who does. Those people right in front of me. I will never look past them.


47 is going to be a very good year.



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.


Similac partnered with bloggers such as me for its Sisterhood of Motherhood Program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their words, Similac’s policies align with the WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission(FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

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.