Learning To Ski

I have snapshots of memories the winter I learned to ski. Like many memories from early childhood I only remember pieces from the stories of that time. Those pieces and pictures come together to form what I think happened, while I’m quite sure there is some important information missing or an error in the sequence of events. Yet these snapshots of the winter I learned to ski, the winter I turned 5, are still developed in living color in my mind.


I picture my dad putting on my ski boots. I remember how they felt foreign and big and not meant for humans. I remember my skis – short and without edges – the only thing available in 1973 for kids that had tiny feet.  A vague memory of Cookie Monster comes up when I think back to that winter. Yes, a man dressed up as Cookie Monster skiing too. I remember the ice on the hill as the temps were for sure well below zero in Minnesota. The wind was strong, my toes were cold after just one run, and the ice made me fall, slide, and tumble down the hill. Who wouldn’t tumble and slide because of the ice and the skis without edges. I remember sliding down the hill with my skis flying off and my face catching the ice. My dad bought me real gold earrings for my birthday. These earrings were little pairs of crossed skis – my favorite present for turning 5 – and those keepsakes were ripped clean out of my ears on the way down the hill.


But still I skied.


I skied even after falling off a chairlift. Losing skis off of the lift. Dozens of poles. A few mittens. A hat. My pride. And my courage. I skied after getting dragged up on the hill by a rope-tow because I was too afraid to let go. I skied after falling off the t-bar when I was too little to realize not to sit on the darn thing. I skied after experiencing vertigo at altitude. When my dad broke his shoulder while skiing one day. Also slicing his leg open. I skied even after the lift stopped for hours that one day and I about peed my pants as I watched more adventurous(stupid) people jump from the lift.


I skied after friends’ lost loved ones to ski accidents.


I skied even though I’m not a great skier. And may never be one. And that’s okay.


For me it’s the time on the mountain(or hill here in Minnesota), enjoying the fresh air, the beautiful scenery, the peace from the solitude yet you are never really alone, and the joy on nearly every face you see on each run. I ski for the pink cheeks, the brighter eyes, and the stories at the end of the long day. I ski to be with friends and family and to indulge in eating french fries and drinking hot chocolate without apology. I ski in wonder watching the adventurous, watching the experts, watching the ones that take great dares as well as the ones that are barely three feet tall and are taking their first run. My favorite skiing view will always be the snake of littles winding their way down the bunny hill.


Yet I stopped skiing when I became a mother. I’m not sure if it was because of time, expense, or fear of injury – or maybe a mix of those things – but I’ve stayed off the mountain. I’ve watched instead as Jed has taken the girls skiing. I’ve listened to their stories as they laughed and smiled. I’ve kissed their pink cheeks and wiped their noses that run from the cold. I’ve packed bags, found mittens, and mended ski pants. As I’ve only watched.


But something about watching our last 5 year old hit and enjoy the slopes made we want to join in the fun again. My equipment is old – at least 20 years old – before shaped skis or even comfortable boots it seems. So it was donated and I got outfitted again. Last week I joined my girls on the mountain(okay – hill). My anxiety was high – and not just because I hadn’t skied in years, but because I was doing it alone as Jed was out of town. The anxiety of carrying all of the skis, the poles, the goggles, the helmets, the boots, the mittens and coats – and then getting it all on them, and then getting them out on the hill, and then managing different ski levels – well it seemed exhausting and impossible.


However my anxiety was unwarranted. What Jed failed to tell me was that the two older girls didn’t need any help. Or me really. They carried their own equipment to the chalet, procured their own tickets, put on their own boots, remembered their own mittens, stashed their bags, asked me for $20 for some food, and took off to ski with friends and told me they’d text me their whereabouts and meet up with me in two hours. WHAT THE WHAT?? And two hours later, they had the pink cheeks, the brighter eyes, the stories and the laughter as they ate fries and drank hot chocolate at the table with their friends next to mine. Before I could say much more – they left again – off to ski and make their own snapshots of this winter of their childhood.


So I stuck close to Astrid, as she still needed help with boots, help with the lift, help getting up at times, and hey, she still likes hanging with me..and needs me to buy her food. And I’m going to soak up this time with her as I know now we are only four to five years away before she leaves me to ski with friends instead. But whether she skis with me or not – I will still ski…because last week I remembered why I learned so many years ago and how now I never want to forget that girl who liked making new memories.



10 Truths About The First Snow Of The Season

The first snow of the season will always somehow surprise us. It doesn’t matter if it comes in the middle of October or the middle of January. It doesn’t matter that many of us have endured not only the first snow for 20 years, but maybe 40 years of hard Winters. The first snow or storm or the season will still be a shock to even the most native to the north.


Here’s what you may have experienced the morning of your first snowstorm of the season:


1. Your kids will not be wearing boots that fit. Somehow you’ve been in denial that winter is coming and boots have not been purchased. You spend the day in your attic digging through years of snow gear hoping you’ll get lucky and find a pair of boots that fit for each child. Odds are that one child has a pair that is too big and you’ve made them wear extra thick socks, and odds are there is one child who will come home with blisters.


2. All of their snowpants will be at least 4″ too short. You praise jesus for snowboots to take up some of that slack – but still you realize it’s time to shop for some new gear.


3. You dig through the bin of gloves and mittens and wonder why there are no matches. No matches. So you send your kids to school in non matching gloves. One of your children has to wear two left-handed gloves just to keep their hands warms. Turns out that two lefts really do make a right.


4. You cannot find a shovel. You know you need to shovel the walk – you do this every single year. Why can’t you just put the shovel back in the same place each year. Denial that the snow will come is useless.


5. You forget how to drive in the ice and snow. Six months of dry payment has made you weak, stupid, and lazy. Everyone is driving 10 miles per hour except for the one idiot going 55. You see him in the ditch a few miles up the road. You laugh.


6. You’re stressed because no one has boots, or snowpants, or gloves – but yet the kids can’t stop asking to do all the things that kids want to do during the first snow – “Mommy let’s go sledding! Mommy lets build a snowman!” And all you want to do is sit by the fire with a drink.


7. There is no toilet paper in the house, but you refuse to go to the store with all of the other million people who are acting like the world is going to end and buying all of the coffee and toilet paper. You use paper towel.


8. You head out to clear your car windows and realize you have no idea where the window scraper is. Maybe with the shovel? You scrape car windows with a credit card. If you have never done this, well you have never truly lived.


9. You walk your kid into school and you fall right on your butt on the sidewalk. Walking on ice is even harder than driving on ice. You soak your pants and your pride and just need this day to be over and it’s only 8am.


10. But..you still feel like a kid when you watch the first snow fall each year – the freshness of it, and the beauty. You understand the wonder of the season and can’t even describe the beauty of this incredible day. And you take your kids sledding – mismatched gloves and all.




Five Favorite Soup Recipes To Celebrate National Soup Month #askwisestkid

It is January in Minnesota – and this January officially means “Our kids will never ever go to school again because it’s so dang cold!” We’ve been below zero for most of the month, school has been called off, and we are getting a little tired of trying to keep busy and warm inside by doing crafts.


One way we stay warm is to eat a hearty, warm and healthy meal – and since the kids are home – they can help cook too!


We love to make soup as a family as it’s easy for kids to do – they can chop, measure, pour and enjoy the amazing aroma of soup cooking slowly on a stove as maybe we glue glitter the rest of the day.


And if we do brave the below zero temps outside – when we get home, there is an easy and fabulous meal ready and waiting for us on the stove.


Who doesn’t love soup?


Well, it turns out that January is the ideal time to love soup because it is National Soup Month! And this year is very special because 2014 marks the 80th birthday of Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Noodle soup! Did you know that each can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup contains 32 feet of noodles? Today, it is the top-selling soup for Campbell, with sales of more than 250 million cans (or 1.5 million miles of noodles) a year!

[Read more…]


Fun In The Snow

I admit that sometimes I dream of just moving to Costa Rica forever.


The beach, the surf, the peaceful and somewhat slower way of life appeals to my body and my mind.


And sometimes when the winters get long in Minnesota I think about some of the places I’ve lived that didn’t have our weather extremes..


…Los Angeles…

…Medford, Oregon…


..and I listen to people tell us how crazy we are to live where it plummets to 30 below zero and it snows from October until May.


But then we have those perfect winter days – with fresh snow and temperatures above zero.


And my kids cannot wait to get outside to create and play.


And while we love skating and skiing and sledding – and other snow fun activities – it’s just the going out and playing in the snow that reminds us as to why we stay in Minnesota.


They don’t need a sandbox or a ball or a park.


Just piles of snow to make forts, mountains, snowmen and fun.


It might take us 30 minutes to get outfitted to go out.


And maybe their mittens are still drying on the radiators.


But nothing feels as good as the cold on their sweet pink cheeks as they play in the clean, fresh air.


And then enjoy an after play celebrate with hot chocolate…as we dream about the snow angels that we still need to make this year before all of the snow melts away.


Do you love the snow?


Monday Monday

Listen To Your Mother Twin Cities happens in 10 days. TEN DAYS. So now it’s the little details that need to be completed. A million little details. So each and every single minute of every day I’m thankful for my partners in crime on this magical adventure. Do you all know how amazing Vikki, Galit and Heather are? We like each other so much that we’re seriously considering becoming the first all girl middle-aged introverted rap group.


But this post is not about that. This post is about Minnesota..and old school blogging. Remember when it was okay to just post some nice, but maybe not awesome pictures and not worry if you would have a pin-worthy image or if your post had the potential to go viral because of your magnificent words?


This post is not magnificent.


I just want to show you my house and my street last Monday. Last Monday – seven days ago.

And today. This Monday. Today.


To say that we’ve done some major, last-minute Summer wardrobe and sandal shopping would be a gross understatement.

I want to thank Nordstrom for their amazing European sandal selection for girls, and Justice for having shorts and dresses with just the right about of bling.


I’d also like to thank the inventor of the maxi-dress for allowing me to cover my white legs. Maybe my next post will be ‘Ode To A Maxi-Dress’ – or maybe I’ll talk about the weather some more, because damn weather is interesting.


Or not.

I’d also like to note that our ice cream trunk man disappeared for two years. TWO YEARS. After six years of driving down our street every night from April until October, when you disappear for TWO YEARS, well your absence is noted by children who talk about your absence for TWO YEARS every night from April until October. We were so concerned the first year that we spent months driving around St. Paul looking for him, and he was nowhere to be found. So I’ll be damned  if tonight, our ice cream truck man turned the corner onto our street and my kids FREAKED the eff out. Of course the first thing I said to him was “Where the heck have you been????!!!!” He laughed and said “Oh, you missed me – I moved to Colorado for two years but I liked it much better here, so I moved back. I missed your street too!”  I told him to never play with my emotions again, and then I bought a Dreamsicle and all was right with the world.


Just write.


Wordless Wednesday – When it’s really not Frostbite…

Wednesday is getting away from me.  I am sitting here jealous as I watch the news of the snowstorms out East.  Lucky Ducks.

We have about 48 inches of snow so far this year – but it is never enough.  I love snow – and the map of the United States showing 49 of the 50 States with some snow cover right now just makes me giddy.  Global Warming my ass.

And I wonder if when I post these pictures, do the moms in Florida gasp that my baby needs to get inside to protect her precious cheeks ,and do the mother’s in Finland think she can make it a good 2 more hours outside in the cold?

No matter – as this mother in Minnesota thinks her cheeks just look more edible.

Linking up with Seven Clown Circus.


Why a Blizzard is Better than Sex…

Especially at my age…
10.  You can get 18″ in less than 12 hours.

9.  When you put your tree up during the storm, it stays erect indefinitely (if you get my drift…)
8.  You get to wear many layers outside – no cellulite in view

7.  The man does the all of the hard work
6.  The man even gets to show off his hard work to the neighbors and you aren’t embarrassed

5.  The man spends 14 hours plowing out other people, so he doesn’t wake you up when he gets home..and you are okay with that.

4.  You don’t have to shave – in fact – any part of your body.at.all.  (See #8 – dressing in many layers)

3.  It is considered sexy and acceptable to wear a kitty robe and stocking cap to bed.
2.  Watching the cars get stuck in front of your home is entertainment enough for people in their 40’s.
1.  You get to bake cookies and eat as many cookies as you like, because no one is seeing you and your cellulite naked anytime soon (see #8 – dressing in many layers).

This post brought to you by the 18″ we all received in St. Paul yesterday.  YAY US!  I don’t know about you, but I am completely satiated.


First Snow…

I could never get used to the Winters when I lived in Southern California.  I always felt something was missing.  The anticipation was gone for the seasons to change, never having the warm feeling of bundling up in a new coat, how strange Santa looked next to that palm tree, that people would put cotton batting on their lawns to imitate snow, or being told a gazillion times that I could always drive to the snow if I wanted it.
I anticipate Winter with delight. I love the cold, the snow, the layers.

I love the way my kids run downstairs when they see the first snow of the season – and how morning cartoons and breakfast are forgotten as they rush to get their 20 pounds of gear on to go play in it.  How they trample the new, beautiful fresh snow in minutes – making snow bears, igloos, tunnels and snowballs.
I love when they come in – faces pink, eyes happy and beg for a huge cup of cocoa with marshmallows.  I watch them as they wrap their hands around the warm cups and drink in the happiness.
I love bundling up the baby for her first time in the snow – how it takes 20 minutes and she is crying before she even gets outside.  How her little legs cannot walk in the stiff boots or over the new snowy terrain.  How she cannot use her hands in the over-sized mittens, and the snow is cold on her face.
And she stands there and cries in frustration and thinks her sisters must be crazy to like this stuff.
But I tell her by next year, she will love it so much, she won’t want to come in when I call.