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.



School’s Out For Summer!

This post is sponsored by The Motherhood and Brain Chase.


The girls are officially out of school for the summer. Astrid ended last Friday and the big girls got out on Tuesday.


Typically I take and post their first day of school and last day of school pictures. Typically the growth is noticeable, but this year the changes are less physical in my opinion(I mean Eloise grew about 6″ but she still looks the same to me). This year what I did notice were the academic changes. Well maybe the biggest change is that after seven years of taking pictures in the same spot – we moved houses and have to find the perfect school picture taking place. OMG!


Eloise, now in Middle School, spent time in her room doing homework and projects with friends on Facetime – her advanced Algebra and history classes were more intense and she tackled the challenge while learning amazing organizational and study skills.


(someone is not happy..not naming names)

Esther started fourth grade needing a lot of help with math and working through large projects – but by the end of year became very independent and creative with her projects, writing, and work. I’ve never seen a year where she blossomed like this. I attribute some to maturity and some to having truly just an amazing teacher.


Astrid started kindergarten not wanting to start kindergarten. She wanted to hang with mom forever and didn’t think being in a classroom would be her jam. But she’s now reading – early chapter books, doing math that astounds me, knows every country and continent in The World, and is learning Latin. But most of all she now loves school and is excited for first grade. Yet she didn’t grow out of one outfit(or pair of shoes) the entire year. Okay – maybe her plaid jumper got a bit shorter.


Summer will be a mixed bag for us. I like some scheduled activities and some weeks of complete freedom. But whether the kids are heading to camp or just hanging at the pool – I still think it’s important to mix some learning into the beautiful long days of summer.


So in just over a week our Summer Learning Adventure begins when Esther starts Brain Chase! Believe me – she is counting down the days. However – she leaves the day before (I KNOW!) for sleepaway camp and will be gone for 13 days(I KNOW!). So now she is super freaked out because she is afraid she will miss out on the clues and adventures. But I have reassured her – and I need to reassure all of you – that it’s okay to have plans this summer – camps, vacations, weeks by the pool – and STILL participate in Brain Chase. You can always catch up on work missed(you just cannot work ahead!


By registering for Brain Chase, your student is committing to do about five hours of focused online academic work each week for five weeks. Because the curriculum is web-based, he or she can complete the work whenever, wherever, and in whatever order he or she prefers.

What’s so great about Brain Chase is that it is an online challenge, so you’ll need a high-speed Internet connection anywhere. It will work on the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari web browsers. You will be able to complete math, language and reading assignments on tablets. (For the writing assignments, it’s recommended to have a desktop or laptop available.) To add to your vacation flexibility!
Brain Chase understands falling behind – the summer can be busy. Brain Chase allows students to catch up on missed work from previous weeks (although they won’t be allowed to work ahead).


You can learn more about the flexibility of the program through this post on the Brain Chase blog.


What I love about Brain Chase is that it is not THE Summer activity – it is just another cool adventure to add to our Summer of fun! Brain Chase is the perfect way to supplement the summer’s outdoor fun with positive, educational screen time – it’s not too late to sign up, and it’s flexible enough to fit any schedule. You can add it to your kids’ existing plans to round out their summer fun.


What fun plans do you have lined up for Summer? Let the adventures begin!


This post was sponsored by The Motherhood and Brain Chase but all words and opinions are my own.



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.


Three Little Birds

Astrid started preschool this week which means that I now have seven and a half hours a week to myself. Which means I have time to do nothing really. And I wonder who invented the two and half hour preschool day idea? Because it wasn’t a mom.


So I’m going to blame preschool on men. Maybe white, Republic men who also try to take away reproductive rights from families.


OMG seriously, I’M KIDDING! Don’t send me hate mail.


Okay, quick – LOOK HOW CUTE SHE IS!


And as much as I’m not religious or spiritual or even sane sometimes, I believe things do happen for a reason. I had hoped that Astrid would get into a public preK program this year – which did not happen. And I spend a few(many) days(months) upset about that.


But after just three days of preschool, I know she is right where she is suppose to be – in a classroom on a very part-time basis, having fun, learning about Bob Marley and dreadlocks and singing Three Little Birds while coming home to me for lunch and only spending seven and half short hours away from me each week.


Because next year she’ll be gone for seven hours A DAY – so why rush it. Instead of worrying that she is not in preK, I’m going to worry about did we snuggle enough yesterday, did I tickle her belly and hear that deep laugh, let’s have chocolate for lunch and take a walk in the afternoon and wear silly shoes to the bus stop to pick-up her sisters.


And I’ll completely enjoy this last year before Astrid really starts school and has to stress about tests and homework and friends. Which really makes me sad right now. I received and email from Eloise’s 5th grade teacher about math placement tests and how stressed all of the kids are about them – as in our school they move kids around for ‘just right math’ so kids move to different grades for math…and everyone knows your math abilities. I don’t remember knowing this a kid. And my heart sunk when I got this note and I’m angry for these kids and angry as a parent if I’ve ever sent my kids a message that I care what grade math they are doing – because I just want them to be happy(and also, I cannot help with 7th grade math).


And sometimes I wish my almost 11 year old could just stay home with me too and listen to some Bob Marley and visit the park and not stress about math tests. Because I’ve never used calculus to do my job and make my life more fulfilling, but some good music(and maybe a good twirly dress) – damn that makes me happy.


“Rise up this mornin’,

Smiled with the risin’ sun,

Three little birds

Sittin’ by my doorstep

Singing’ sweet songs

Of melodies pure and true,

Saying’, “This is my message to you-o-o.”

“Singin’ Don’t worry about a thing,

‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright”

Singin’ Don’t worry about a thing,

‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright!”


Back To School

The big kids went back to school this week.

First Day Of School

And I miss them.


Or Astrid misses them. And Truffle – dang Truffle cat misses them a lot because now Astrid has no one to play with, so Truffle has to wear stuffed animals on his back and try to put together puzzles. And he’s really bad at puzzles because he doesn’t have thumbs. So he was fired yesterday as Astrid’s playmate and she asked me to step-in.

Save me!

Save me!

I also suck at puzzles. Also, I’m horrible at playing Little People. And her dress-up costumes don’t fit me. She also doesn’t think I’m very good at reading. You see she and Eloise were trying to get through all of Roald Dahl’s books this Summer and they didn’t quite finish The BFG yet – so she asked me to read a chapter. And I guess I really suck at reading…so Astrid told me to stop because Eloise does voices better and I’m super boring.


So I’m apparently not good for anything but fixing snacks and wiping her butt.


Other than that – Astrid wishes that her sisters never had to go to school.


I’m feeling that way too. I miss them. We had an amazing Summer. From roadtrips, to camps, to days at the pool, and cool nights of riding our bikes to ice cream – this Summer might go down as one of the best.


Which just means that I am going to plan for The Super Sucky Summer of 2014 – because I don’t want to miss my kids next Fall when school starts again.


Because it hurts.


But the girls are back in the school-grove and seem crazy happy just living their fancy school lives without us. They missed their friends I think. And maybe they were sick of me nagging them to clean their rooms.


(Eloise is wearing jeggings and booties from Justice, a top from Nordstrom and we hand-painted her panda nails)

Eloise loves fifth grade and has an awesome teacher. In Eloise’s words – and in one really really long run-on sentence “Seriously, my teacher is amazing – she is super strict – which is so awesome because you know I love class control and someone who is organized and structured and keeps the crazy boys inline – and she’s is totally that kind of teacher…AND the best part is that we get homework every night – even weekends and we have to write a three page essay the first night of school – this is like crazy amazing and I really love my teacher and it’s going to be the best year ever and I’m going to my room now to do my homework so don’t bother me and I hope we get even more homework tomorrow and I’m going to work on some extra math tonight because I am going to try to get placed in 7th grade math this year because I want more work and to learn more and always be challenged.”


Mon Dieu.


(Esther is wearing a dress and jacket from Justice. Sandals are Lelli Kelly)

Eloise loves third grade and her teacher is also super amazing. Esther didn’t have much to say except that she had two recesses and they had grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. Also, her old boyfriend is in her class and she giggled a lot about that because she still likes him, but he likes Ruby better now, but Ruby is Esther’s friend – so it’s okay that he likes her. And she played with lots of friends at the playground and they chased and stuff and she needs to wear bike-shorts under her skirt tomorrow because she wants to climb on top of the monkey bars. Also, they had popcorn for snack and Maggie got cool new shoes and she’s looking forward to music class.  Also, a boy said bad words on the bus, so she moved seats. Obviously.


I think maybe Esther also had math, reading and other such school subjects – but those were not mentioned.


So happy school year everyone!


Another School Year

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


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

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

First Day Of School/Last Day Of School

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


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


Esther – 2nd Grade

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

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

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

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

Eloise – 4th Grade

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

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

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

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

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


What Do You Like About Your Sister

The girls have been playing school a lot lately. Eloise shuts her bedroom door but I can still hear them talking quietly inside. Eloise has the big desk because she is the teacher and she has two little boxes set upon the floor that Esther and Astrid sit at and do their work.


Eloise insists that Esther work on math. She bought her two new 3rd grade math workbooks and I hear Eloise carefully explaining some complicated problems and assigning no less than five pages of homework per night.

Astrid has been given an alphabet workbook filled with pictures of animals and lots of letters to trace. Eloise patiently tells her each letter and slowly makes their sounds, gives her examples of words that start with that letter, and makes up a story about that letter for her. Then she helps Astrid take her crayon and trace the letter as they say it together. Astrid already knows about 10 letters and can recognize almost all of her numbers but Eloise gets frustrated when Astrid gets her ‘P’ and ‘D’ and ‘B’ confused. Astrid reminds Eloise that she is only three years old.


So Eloise lets her just color for 30 minutes. But not a minute more.


They do this now. The three of them disappear upstairs to quietly play school or American Girl dolls and I won’t hear from them for hours and hours unless they get hungry. Sometimes I might just peek upstairs to make sure they are still there because the quiet can sometimes be too quiet. But they always are. There. Together.

I interviewed them asking what they liked about their sisters for MamaKat’s vlog prompt this week. You could tell how quiet they are. I cannot turn the volume up enough and encourage them to talk louder enough because it’s them. The quiet ones. Except Astrid can be a bit of a card sometimes.

But what you cannot hear you can still see. How much they love each other and like to be near each other.


And I hope when they are very, very big with families of their own that they make time for their sisters and remember the days they spent playing simple games in their rooms…just the three of them.


Happy Thanksgiving.



Are You Ready For Back To School?

I won’t lie. As much as Summer can drive me crazy, this Summer has been one of the best ones ever. I don’t know if it’s because my kids are getting older or because I chose to work a lot less or maybe because I did enough ab work that I felt comfortable in a bikini for the first time in years.    Maybe a little bit of all of that or maybe because my kids are just plain awesome.


But I’m ready(and they are ready) to go back to school. So I got sick of sitting around waiting for the day to arrive and decided to send my kids out a bit early in anticipation of their big day.


So if you happen to see them..maybe offer them a peanut better sandwich or a cookie. Maybe a ride.


Are your kids back to school?


One Year

I posted last year about how much kids can change just from the beginning of the school year to the end. Thank goodness I’m not aging at all.  But before I share those pictures I want to share a picture of our sweet neighbor who graduated this week.

Her graduation gave me great pause on just how quickly it all goes as this gorgeous lady was just about Eloise’s current age when we moved in here and I hired her to be my mother’s helper to my 2 year old so I could have some quality time with my newborn.

So what I’m saying is A. Time flies B. Eloise is evidently now for hire, and C. I still haven’t aged a bit.


I’ve been avoiding writing about this school year because I don’t want to jinx my kids for next year…..because if I may just say it “THIS HAS BEEN THE BEST SCHOOL YEAR EVER!!!!!!”

A few months ago someone asked my girls if they were looking forward to Summer. They both got very quiet and then Eloise kind of looked down with tears in her eyes and said that she didn’t want to talk about it. Esther told our friend “I wish school would go on forever.” Please let them think this way forever.

Eloise has been in a deep state of depression this weekend because school is over and she misses her teacher and classmates deeply. Eloise’s teacher this year was one of the teachers that she will tell her kids about.  He’s made a huge impact on her – he’s pushed her to come out of her shell as well as nurtured her to stand-up for herself all the while knowing her sensitivities, her brilliance and her extreme kindness towards others. Mostly though, because of his incredibly warped sense of humor, he has taught her to FINALLY understand my humor and how to notice, appreciate and use sarcasm. Amen.

(can her legs get any skinnier?)

Watching nearly his entire classroom sob as they said good-bye to him on Friday is a testament to what a great teacher he is. I wish I had a picture of him from the first day of school when his hair was still down to the middle of his back.  When he got his hair cut a few months ago we all yelled at him about it.  But the Mr. Potato Head shirt kind of makes up for it.

I hope he likes us a lot as it’s my expectation that both Esther and Astrid will be in his 3rd grade classroom. Thank you Mr. P for being you. And being awesome.


I was a little worried moving Esther to Eloise’s school this year. It’s a big school with some high expectations and while Eloise is my goal-oriented worker-bee, Esther is my dreamer, giggler, and artsy one.

(may she please still wear bows in her hair when she is 18. amen)

I need not worry though because the one thing that Esther will always find is someone to play with, someone to laugh with, and someone who needs a good friend.   While 1st grade had it’s rocky bits as 1st grade usually does, it was a spectacular year.  Esther had an amazing teacher who gives big hugs, high-fives, and smiles, while gently pushing the kids to work hard and find their amazing abilities.  It doesn’t hurt that her teacher is also very funny, kind, has awesome taste in clothing and rides a motorcycle.

Esther fell deeply and madly in love with her and so did we. Thank you Ms. B for being awesome.


I need to note that our school has over 1000 students and both my kids teachers came to their dance recital last week. How cool is that?   If I had the means I would’ve totally bought ponies for our teachers as end of school year gifts.

(Astrid grew hair!)

Teachers make such a profound impact on our kids that I am ever so thankful for teachers like these.  Thank you thank you thank you.


Have you hugged a teacher today?


Project 365 Week 4…Don’t show up at your kids’ school with a camera edition…

I brought my camera to my kids’ school this week. Eloise about died. Esther kept asking for more. Astrid wouldn’t let me put her down so I could actually take more pictures. “TOO MANY PEOPLE PICK ME UP!”  She is such a clinger.

I guess all of my kids have been clingers.

I watch the toddlers at music class (yes, believe it or not we still go to music class) who get under the parachute or dance around the room with confidence.  My kids have always hung close.

I admit that by 4pm I am usually saying to her “can mama have just a little space just for two minutes” or sometimes it’s “JUST STOP TOUCHING ME FOR ONE SECOND!” when I’m particularly frustrated or trying to cook dinner.

But maybe I should appreciate the’ never want to leave my side’ stage more as I know in a few years she will be embarrassed when I pull out the big camera at school. And maybe run away from me. But I am totally following that girls’ ass. Payback is certainly a bitch.

The kids did not have school today. Eloise kept saying how ridiculous that is and that she would rather be in school because school is so amazing and then she said “Mom did you know that some of my friends like totally hate school! Can you believe that…I mean who would hate school because like it’s the greatest place on Earth. Except for maybe Paris or something like that. But school. It’s so awesome. I could go everyday!”

And I was all “I know – I loved school too. Every.single.day Except that time in 5th grade when someone dumped a bowl of potato soup on my head and the bowl stayed on my head like a hat. That pretty much sucked. But the other days were awesome. I still can’t eat potato soup.”

And then Eloise was all like “Do you know what would make school even more awesome? If you didn’t bring your camera into my violin lesson like ever again.”




How To Write a Random Blog Post…

It seems everyone is preparing for Thanksgiving this week. The grocery stores are full of turkey just like the Republican candidate debates. Oh my hell – are they really debating like every week. And is my dear gifted and talented friend Michele Bachmann still in? She never would have figured out how to get a glass of water either. OMG does this mean my kids are Republicans?

We have cleaned out our attic. Goodwill is happy. Thank god there were no dead bodies up there. Sometimes you wonder, right? But I now have proof of perfect attendance in 7th grade and that I was voted senior with the worst car AND that I read a lot of soft porn in junior high and my mom probably did not know. Cool. I’ve stashed those book away for Eloise to enjoy someday soon. And my soon I mean in 20 years.


A wore a skirt – put a bird on it – with birds and enjoyed school conferences. Next time I am taking pictures of the teachers and what they wore because both teachers this year are uber fashionable. Eloise teacher(a guy) wears cool wool vests and Chucks. His hair is also longer than mine. #jealous


I auditioned to be a Victoria’s Secret runway model and showed you my favorite Hanky Panky bra. So far Victoria’s Secret has not contacted me. I guess almost 43 year olds with flat boobs are not the demographic they are after. WTF? SO surprising. Well, when they open the geriatric section of “Pink” they will be knocking down my doors.Maybe.


A couple of notes:


If you are local to the Twin Cities – I will be working an upscale Holiday London Themed Boutique from 10-4 at Benilde -St. Margaret’s.  Details here – it is Saturday November 19th from 10-4.   Time to start your Holiday shopping!



Last week I was treated to a 15 minute style consultation at the New Perfect Fit by Clinton Kelly at the Mall of America!

“Perfect Fit by Clinton Kelly is launching in Mall of America bringing shoppers a brand new experience in custom tailoring. By fusing expert stylists who are personally trained by Clinton Kelly with skilled tailors, Perfect Fit offers shoppers a unique experience in a boutique setting where they will receive personal style consultations and expert clothing alterations. Whether it is an outfit just bought at the mall – or something that has been sitting in the closet for years – to a bargain bought at a local thrift store – Perfect Fit works with both men and women to transform drab to fab!”

I loved my style consultation with Sasha as we talked about cuts that are right for my body and how to wear certain current styles. Totally worth the money for this great service!



On Tuesday night I attended the Minneapolis launch part of mom.com! Yes I even got to meet and touch(nicely) Andrew Shue!  I’m so excited for the launch of this great site for our area.(Here I am touching him. Photo credit – Toys in the Dryer)


A couple of products I want to just quickly share with you…

Last week my girls received the Safe Sporter water bottles from Kid Basix! I have to tell you that we are kind of water bottle whores – like all of us drink water all.day.long and my kids seem to have about 30 different ones rolling around here because we keep buying new ones because there is something we don’t love about the ones we have. Anyway – WE LOVE these. Love the stainless, love the colors, love the grippy, love the size and love that there isn’t a lid to loose..and they don’t leak. One week in and and every morning it is the water the bottle they ask for in their backpack! WOOT!

We also received a copy of a wonderful childrens book – Humble Pie from iLuminate Books.  My kids are loving it and it’s such a great story for the holidays.

“Nellie, a boastful little girl, gently reinforces the virtue of humility in this tasty tale and takes readers to a place of glowing hearts and imaginations. On each lovingly illustrated page, young Nellie reflects on her behavior and demands, as well as her ability to stir up brand new beginnings.

In the first book of its kind, Humble Pie lets children bring their own imaginations to the page! Follow Nellie as she learns that a spirit of humility brings light and love to life.

The glow-in-the dark cover and inner pages softly glow in ambient light, then the real fun begins when readers take to the page with the accompanying iLight Wand! Use the iLight Wand Light and Pen to make hidden glow effects magically appear?Draw. Trace. Write. Glow!”


Oh wait – speaking of Thanksgiving – did you see what Scary Mommy did? Yeah – that is all kind of awesome world. Loved being able to help.  Do you have charities you support during the holidays?


Well we will also be supporting a local charity here at Sellabit Mum.  We have a extra Cities 97 Sampler 23 disc that we will be giving away next week here and your comments will help out a local charity – so stay tuned.


Happy Weekend y’all. (that is how I used to talk before Minnesota sucked my Southern drawl right out of me – now I sound like I’m on the movie Fargo..and Sarah Palin will never be sexy.)


What I Wore Wednesday – School Conference Edition..

Short post today with no witty banter. I know. Boring. Okay I do talk about school conferences below if you would like to weigh in..or maybe tell me a joke.


But I wanted to at least put one picture up of something I wore this past week. It was a very chilly, windy day – so layers were required.


I wore this to school conferences. I don’t get out much so I like to look professional.;)

Sweater – Anthropologie last Fall

Necklace – Allora Handmade

Shirt – Matilda Jane

Earrings and tights – Target

Belt – Anthropologie from this Summer

Applique Bird Skirt – Boden from probably 2 Falls ago

Boots – Naturalizer Arness riding boots


Do you love school conferences? I love them. It makes me admire and love teachers even more for all that they do. I love the way my child’s face beams when she hears good things about herself. I love they way she takes pride in showing us what she has done.


I love that my kids love school. Both Jed and I loved school so I hope that is a hereditary trait.. So far so good.


But Astrid has mentioned she never wants to leave me. We are still unclear as to who this child belongs to.




My Kids are Gifted and Talented…

Daily. No hourly my kids do things that make me go “OH YES, this is why you go to the G&T school! You are so brilliant my perfect, smart and amazing kids!”


For example, just last week as I was cooking dinner my kids came into the kitchen to get a glass of water. They opened the cupboard and Eloise said “Mom, all of the small glasses are dirty.”


So I said “Well use the big ones.”


And Esther said “But we only want a small glass of water.”


So I said “Then fill the big glass just half full.”


And Eloise said “Well that seems like kind of a waste.”


And Esther said “Yeah, and what if we forget to turn the water off and fill it too high and then don’t want that much water and then have to dump it out.”


And then Eloise said “It would be weird not to use the whole glass.”


And so I said “Well then why don’t you guys share a glass and only drink half each.”


And then Eloise said “Gross.”


And then I said “I’m sure you can figure this out.”


And so Eloise said “FINE, let’s go Esther we’ll just get a drink tomorrow after the small glasses are clean!”


And so they walked out of the kitchen. Still thirsty.


Gifted I tell you.


And I have extremely high hopes that their baby sister will follow in their footsteps. Maybe. Probably not.



If the video isn’t working for you…you can find it here.



Kids in Their Natural State…

I always hated zoos before I had kids.  Seeing animals in a small enclosure out of their natural environment. It made me sad. Watching the tiger walk the same path 532 times a day in a sad circle.  The monkeys swinging on the fake trees.  The giraffes standing on the cement slabs.


I’d tell myself that they were saved and they were safe here and there was a reason they were here. But it didn’t matter – it still looked unnatural.


I’ve managed to overlook some of that since having kids. Kids don’t really see the environment. They see the stripes of their coats and their ability to swing and their unusually long legs. They watch the mama’s carry the baby animals and nurse them with love.  I watch my kids watch the animals and it seems quite natural.


I love how kids don’t notice the bad.   Things are truly only bad for them if someone teaches them that it is bad.  They are a beautiful natural open slate of goodness. They see only the most beautiful stripes.

I clean my house for playdates.  The playdates where the kids are just dropped off at the curb. The six and eight year olds come in and for some reason I want my floor scrubbed and toilets bleached. I push away the clutter and papers and dirty dishes and just life.


I’ve never had kids before – I didn’t realize they don’t see that. Or if they do – they don’t care.  Kids want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a treat of hot chocolate. They want a friend’s mom who let’s them spread crafts all over the dining room table, and to play the music loud and have a dance party. A dance party around the mess of life perhaps.  A life in it’s natural state.


And sometimes I remember. I remember the best friend I had who didn’t have the cleanest house. And while I knew that and kind of noticed that it was different from my house – it never bothered me because her mom would brush my hair into the most amazing styles and make the best tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches. And I remember the laughter in their house. Laughter in it’s most natural state.


My kids attend a very diverse school – diverse in every way possible. Not one kid in that school is the same – whether my race, religion, economic status, the clothing they wear, the language they speak, the home that they live in.  This school is a blend of our inner city living and it’s beautiful and completely in it’s natural state of where we live.


And my kids attend birthday parties in apartment buildings and at grandmother’s houses and also at nice houses on the boulevard.  They go to playdates in neighborhoods that we may not consider the best and sometimes they play right here down the block.


And while my kids see the difference and I want them to love and appreciate the beautiful differences of people – they don’t see where they live is any different from how we live. They see their good friend with a parent or grandparent who makes them a peanut butter sandwich with maybe a juice box and who let’s them watch a movie or sits and lovingly paints their nails.   They only see their friend.  Their friend in a completely, natural and beautiful way.


I need to think like a kid again as it would save me tons of cleaning hours and I’d probably laugh a lot more.


Wouldn’t that be the perfect natural environment to share.


What I Wore Wednesday – Field Trip Chaperone Fashion

What to wear on a five hour outdoor field trip when it’s only 40 degrees?


I admit I’ve never been on a field trip with Esther. Mom guilt here. I’ve been with Eloise and somehow always chose wisely – you know like going to a play or the art museum or a concert. Inside cultural stuff.


So how I ended up going on a five hour HIKE – OUTSIDE – IN THE WOODS – IN THE COLD with a bunch of six year olds is beyond me.  All of the other parents showed up in jeans, hiking boots, North Face puffer jackets and wool mittens.


I was not that prepared. And I was cold, which is why after four hours of hiking I took the four girls in my care to a restaurant for hot cocoa and cookies. They told me it was the BEST FIELD TRIP EVER. Cocoa trumps nature any day. Right? 😉

Frye Veronica Shortie Boots

CAbi boyfriend jeans

Matilda Jane Kiara cardigan sweater

Infinity Scarf from The Pleated Poppy

Gold earrings from Target

Hat from Nuxie Made


So do you chaperone field trips or do you politely decline? Any good field trip war stories?  I hope the bus drivers get combat pay for those.
pleated poppy


A Cardigan Trumps a Sweatshirt Everyday…

I’m not going to go into my deep issues the the hooded sweatshirt in this post…no that is a topic which deserves a post all to itself.   Do you want me to write it? Will you be offended?  Will you promise to NOT buy me a hooded sweatshirt with a kangaroo pocket..especially in purple or with any writing on it if I do write about it and offend you? Do you want me to buy you all cardigans?   I need a cardigan sponsor.


No this is about a conversation I had with my daughter two days ago about what I expect her to wear to a school program.  I will not name which daughter by name – perhaps we should just call her Daughter 1.0.


Mom you know I’m not wearing like a skirt dressy like thing on Friday, right?


Why are you asking me this?


Because I know there is a school performance on Friday and you always expect me to look nice and I just need you to know that I am wearing jeans and you need to support that.

Okay, I can support the jeans for this because it is more of a casual thing and not violin..but with your jeans you cannot wear a sweatshirt – you have to wear a cardigan sweater.


But mom, no one wears cardigans – everyone will have on just t-shirts and sweatshirts.


Well I think that is unfortunate as I think you should look your best for a performance and school or for special occasions or going out for dinner to a friends house or church.  You are wearing a cardigan.  You can still wear your nice skinny jeans and Boden sneakers.


Mom we don’t go to church.


Well we did that one time two years ago and you wore a skirt. And you wore a cardigan out to dinner on Monday night.

But none of my friends are expected to dress nicely like ever. Why should I?


If all of your friends ate broccoli would you?


Well no, I don’t like broccoli.


But everyone else is doing it.


Mom that is like totally not the point.


So you are the cool individual who hates broccoli, why can’t you also be the cool and strong individual who rocks a cardigan?


Mom you are so weird. What does broccoli have to do with a cardigan?




Well I will bring the cardigan and only put it on for the performance but I will take it off immediately afterwards.


Thank you.  Will you also eat your broccoli tomorrow?


I will if it means I can wear my hooded sweatshirt.


Skinny jeans from The Gap

Mini Boden Star sneakers

Plaid top and cardigan both from H&M



Getting Ready for Back to School…Eye Exams right after Cute Shoe Shopping…

Please remind me next year that I should not wait until the last two weeks before school to do everything. I am holding you all accountable for that.


We have had all Summer. All.leisurely.Summer to get ready for school – but what fun is that when you’ve got the pool and the beach and the sun and fun.  Responsibility? What responsibility?   We’ve decided to just skip this school thing and become beach bums.


But alas reality set in and I was like “shit – you growing people with books need shoes!”


So besides a quick trip to the Fair, we have been on-task for two weeks.  Shoe shopping, back to school clothing shopping, school supply shopping and more school supply shopping and oh crap look we need “special plastic folders” so let’s travel 400 miles to find the last two in the free world school supply shopping, hair cuts, feather replacement. ahem, dental appointments, lube oil and filter..oh wait that is not for the kids, and this year I took both kids to the eye doctor.

I wear glasses and have since I was 18.  I probably needed them sooner and now I blame my lack of glasses on my one and only D in my life in AP English in 12th grade.  Maybe it was because we had to read Madame Bovary – but I pretty much think I needed glasses. When I did get glasses I got huge red framed ones and looked just like a permed brunette Sally Jessy Raphael. I will spare you from pictures. Now I’m approaching the land of the bifocal. Oh joy.


Esther wears glasses already. She was having trouble focusing on words and letters when she was in preschool and her teacher recommended an eye exam and now she has glasses to help her focus and help her slight farsightedness(is that a word?).  Eloise does not wear glasses and has never complained of problems but it had been almost three years since her eyes were checked by our pediatrician before kindergarten and it is recommended that kids have routine eye exams.  The earlier any vision issues are identified the better.

Esther and I will continue to go in for our annual eye exams and now I will also have Eloise and Astrid’s eyes also checked routinely to catch any vision issues immediately. We will probably continue to make our appointments for right before school and make it part of our total back to school routine – right after we buy tons of cute shoes – now we can get shop for awesome frames. Right?

What is your back to school routine for getting ready?  What are you still rushing around to do? Do you have regular eye appointments for your children even if they do not currently wear glasses?



Disclosure: Highland Family Eye Care provided exams for my kids but the words, opinions and any cute shoes purchased for school are all mine. You can visit Highland Family Eye Care on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about eye care for you and your whole family.