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.


A Summer of Love…

We just spent the last hour sharpening 72 pencils. School starts in exactly one week. Wouldn’t it be cool if they could just sharpen their damn pencils at school.  A fun getting to know you game? Anyway, I have a lot to vacuum here. It keeps me busy.


Also, I have not picked out their first day of school outfits. This is stressing me out. Okay I am stressed out about Esther – I want her to look cute but I know she will want to be casual and fit in at her new school. Eloise will wear…wait for it….jean shorts and a graphic tee or tank. I know – branching out.

I am also SUPER stressed out that they currently do not have backpacks. I ordered backpacks from Lands End and was SOOO excited to receive them – and when we did – they were so uber small. Seriously. We ordered the LARGE size and you could barely fit a few books in there. Here in Minnesota you also need to fit in snow pants and a change of shoes so I had to deal with the hassle to send them back for a refund AND find new backpacks in record time. Fingers crossed that they arrive in time.


How can school be here now and I can be so damn unorganized? It’s overwhelming for some silly reason. Also, who is going to play with Astrid once her big sisters are gone? Volunteers?


In the meantime I am relishing the nice Summer we had. Really – I think this was my favorite Summer in a long time.   I wrote about it today and am guest posting at Gigi’s Place. Come on over and show some love.  And maybe loan us a backpack or two and a free babysitter.



Camping for Teenagers..

I showed up at six in the morning looking completely unprepared. I was heading Out West for a month of tent camping with the seventh grade science teacher and thirteen other students.

I arrived with a free cotton sleeping bag that had the Budweiser logo stamped all over it with a wool blanket sewn inside for warmth. My month worth of clothes were packed in a blue shiny tote bag. I was embarrassed as only a 13 year old can be seeing my strange completely un-outdoorsy things mixed with the collection of down sleeping bags with moisture wicking properties and large backpacks with multiple pockets.

It wasn’t just my gear that made me unprepared for the journey, it was the lecture Mr. King, the leader gave us about being in the wilderness, being responsible for each other, growing up on this trip with no mommy to cry to, not calling home for a month, sleeping on the ground, cooking and cleaning and working hard, not being worried about vanity or the clothes you are wearing, the lack of showering, being happy to catch a quick rinse in freezing mountain stream, being prepared for long days, and early lights-out..but most of all having the time of our lives going Out West to explore America. Alone.

The first week I spent trying to get my butane powered ClickR curling iron to work and hiding it from Mr. King. Lying to him as to why my hair looked fabulous. I spent the first week mainly confined to my tent as punishment and doing very little hiking with the group as I was always in trouble for screwing up lunch. Not enough drinks or bread for everyone today. Not enough silverware yesterday. No peanut butter on Wednesday. I hated the month long lunch duty I signed up for and found out that since this meal was the one usually eaten on the go, you needed to have it ready the night before. I never got it right. I earned the nickname of Spacey Tracy for the remainder of the trip.

I cried a lot and was cold in my cotton Budweiser sleeping bag.

In week two I wanted a reading light so I pinned a string from the top of the tent to hang the light down on our books. Our tent leaked for the rest of the trip. Canvas boyscout tents do not repel water. My Budweiser sleeping bag and wool insert were mainly soaked for a month. My ClickR was found and confiscated. I went days without a shower and found the cold mountain stream the most refreshing hair wash ever.

In week three I finally learned to roll the tent small enough to not get rejected. The diameter had to only be so big to fit in the van and if it did not fit, Mr. King would throw it back to you and tell you to do it over. There were days I would do it ten times in tears and with frozen hands in the morning air and still not get it right. The boys in the group would look at us in pain and wish they were allowed to come over and help us.

In week four I dreaded the trip coming to an end. It was hard. We saw the Country as a tight group. We had strict rules, but it was an honor to be invited by this great man who took kids to see what they would never see otherwise. An amazing man who did this for forty Summers for his school kids. I sobbed and held on tight to Mr. King in the parking lot they day my parents picked me up and they threw my old, musty sleeping bag in the trunk.

I was never the same.

Six months later I received a letter from Mr. King asking if Spacey would join him the following Summer for his last trip Out West as he was retiring and he was inviting some of his favorite students from years past to make his last trip his best yet. He suggested that I pick a new duty besides lunch.

I sobbed with joy as I asked my mom to dig out that Budweiser sleeping bag and ugly shiny blue tote bag.

I was going camping this time without my curling iron.


This is a memoir post written for the prompt….”School trips. We all go on them. What trip do you remember the most? Where did you go? Who was with you? How did you get there? Have you ever been back?”

Write a memoir post about a memorable school trip. Word limit is 600.