On The Road Again #girlsaretrippin

It’s nearly 11pm and I need to get up by 4am tomorrow. I’d like to hit the road by 5am at the latest. Well 5:30am wouldn’t kill me I guess. I’ll wake the girls at the last minute, throw them in the bathroom to pee, brush teeth, change clothes, brush hair, and then throw them in the sexy and fast minivan, and then throw them each a waffle.

 

Lots of throwing going on here tomorrow.

 

We are heading out on a road trip for nearly a month. We’ve always gone away for a week or so each Summer – but never a month. But I figured ‘what the hell’ and truly I’m not sure why we haven’t done this before.

 

The girls are out of school all Summer, and I work from home. Who knows when I may have to re-enter the ‘going to work-force’ again, so why not use these lazy, open and flexible Summers we have for a few adventures.

 

And since Jed works mainly in the Summer – well, I’m taking the three girls and my Toyota Minivan and heading East for a month. (Jed is staying home to work and feed the cat and watch the house). “HI JED!”

My kids are amazing in the car – and again, thank goodness for electronics. ;) And I love to drive. Did you know I wanted to be an Indy 500 driver when I was little?

 

We are heading out tomorrow and doing a long-ish drive with plans to find a hotel near the Indiana/Ohio border. Then we’ll drive about 6 short hours and arrive at the home of Mark and Fred. I need to meet the man who would actually marry Mark. But I guess since they’ve been together now for 24 or so years, Mark must be a pretty good guy, and well frankly, Fred must be a saint. We plan to stay one night there(or just stay forever unless they serve me boxed Franzia wine), and then we are heading to see Jed’s parents in Connecticut.

 

We’ll spend time with family and friends as we travel through Connecticut, Boston, Maine, and New York…and then we will make our way to Indiana to see my parents and my brother and his family. I’ll leave the kids there for a few days while I go to a work conference…then we will celebrate Astrid’s birthday, and head home via Chicago as I attend another amazing BlogHer.

 

Whew. And honestly we don’t even have a lot of firm plans along the way – I want to keep our schedules pretty open and we’ll just do what we do(WHICH IS TOTALLY NOT ME!)..but hey, I’m going to embrace Summer and embrace a road trip and have some fun with my girls. Our biggest goal(besides seeing family), is to get to see all 50 States in the license plate game.

Then we arrive home and I sleep for 40 days and nights.

 

Or do 42 loads of laundry and get ready to start hauling the kids to camps and dance and piano and get back to the nasty task of grocery shopping.

 

Anyway, wish us luck and we’ll be blogging, updating my Facebook page, and you can follow us along on Twitter and Instagram. We will be using the hashtag #girlsaretrippin(Mom, I’ll explain what a hashtag is when we arrive in Indiana). Congrats to Alison for winning the “Name our trip hashtag contest!” I owe you coffee.

 

Have you taken your family on a long road trip? Where did you go?

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Five Things To Expect From Sending Your Kids Away To Summer Camp

We packed their bags together. We(okay, mostly I) carefully put shirts and shorts together in tight rolls as outfits….enough for six days. We put clean underwear and socks in one tidy compartment, and packed four pairs of long pants to wear during horseback riding. I told them that they would most likely want to change into shorts or something after riding as they would be stinky, and that I packed some extra shirts too, just in case.

 

I also bought them shower shoes for the communal showers at the camp. I filled shampoo and soap bottles so they had enough for a shower a day…but yet I still fretted that they wouldn’t have enough soap. I reminded them to shower each day, and brush their teeth. I packed the requested (1) beach towel and (1) bath towel and really tried to figure out how I could send them each for a few more towels – because how could two towels really be enough for a whole week?

 

Their bags were heavy as they each packed about six books each, and journals and pens and note-cards for writing about their days and to write home. They both love to read and I think I imagined each of them using their few hours of free-time each day leaning against trees and getting lost in a book…just like at home.

 

The bus ride up to camp was three hours long, so I assumed they would need a snack. I packed granola bars and crackers, a little candy snack, and some fun little games to keep them occupied.

 

I guess in my crazy mom head I assumed they were going to fashion camp, where each camper would have a large closet where they could hang-up their large wardrobe of clothes, feel the need to shower daily(just like at home), and they would have unlimited leisure time in which to curl-up with a book. Maybe I also thought they would be alone. Especially on the bus. And the camp would not feed them.

 

I was clueless and should evidently not be allowed to send my kids off to sleep-away camp again as I think I’m actually ‘That Mom’ that packs embarrassing things in their luggage and sends them too much mail.

 

In fact they liked being away from me so much that the first thing both of them said to me at pick-up was “Mom, can we go for 2-3 weeks next year?”

So for those parents who have never sent their kids away to camp – here are a few pointers for you to make their camp preparations a little bit easier.

 

1. They will not shower. Sure, they seem like clean beings at home. They shower daily, wash their faces and brush their teeth..but until their camp counselors actually physically force them into the shower…they will not shower. So don’t waste your time packing all the fancy toiletries and soap and stuff..just assume a few good swims in the lake will suffice.

 

2. They will not change clothes. Ever. Like you know that outfit they are wearing when you drop them off? That’s what they will be wearing when you pick them up. Yes, even those kids who like to change their clothing 85 times when you are at home – they will also wear the same clothing for seven days straight.

 

3. They will not use the plastic laundry bag that you included in their suitcase for their dirty clothing and wet suits and towels. They will throw that wet towel right into their suitcase, and pile in onto ALL of their clean clothing and it will stink to high heaven. In fact it will stink so much that half way home you have to stop and tie the suitcase onto your car’s roof because you swear something died in there.

 

4. They will not read or journal or write notes home. Not because they don’t like to do those things, but because they are busy and making new friends. Don’t get mad because you never heard from them…because they don’t need that shit. Just be glad they were too busy to miss you.

 

Which brings me to #5…

 

5. Chances are that your kids won’t miss you. Oh sure, they still love you and want to live with you and all and don’t want to leave you forever….yet, but Summer camp provides so much to do – new experiences, new friends, new fun, and is busy and awesome and seriously so fabulous, that they don’t have time to miss you. So don’t be sad if your 10 year old – instead of running up to you and giving you a big hug when she first sees you at pick-up – just throws her sweatshirt at you and says “hold this” while she continues to go off and hang-out with her new friends. She’ll eventually come around and give her baby sister a hug…right before she tells you that she needs to come to camp for much, much longer next Summer.

 

So next Summer, when I pack their bags again for camp, and this time for 2-3 weeks, I’m pretty sure a small backpack with two changes of clothing and a toothbrush will suffice…along with my mother-heart during this letting go process that just gets bigger and bigger each year.

 

But that’s okay, clean or not, I’m so damn proud of my kids.

 

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Big Kid Steps

Astrid and I are staying at a cabin. Our room has two twin beds and the first night that we went to bed, I tucked her in and turned off the lights and then I got into my own bed that was about three feet away. This little voice then came out of the darkness “Mommy you are so far away. Please come sleep with me.”

 

I was three feet away I now remind you.

 

I am not a co-sleeper. Once they were six months old and I put them in their cribs, my kids haven’t come into bed with us when they are sick or scared. We put them to bed at about seven or eight – in their own beds and rooms – and we don’t hear from them until morning. Ever.

 

But I know that the cabin is new, the noises are different, and the bed is a little strange. So I walked over and squeezed myself into the twin bed and wrapped Astrid into my arms and she fell asleep immediately likely comforted by my warmth but mainly just knowing that I was close. Very close. And that’s okay.

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My big girls are at sleep-away camp this week. A whole week.

I admit, and don’t call me a bad mom for this, but when I go on a business trip, I don’t miss my kids a whole bunch nor do I feel the need to call home daily(I usually don’t call the whole time I’m gone). It’s not because I don’t love them or have a need to be with them, rather it’s because I know they are safe and comfortable in a daily routine. I know at 6:30 they are getting up, heading off to school at 8:00, eating lunch at 11:30, they have art at 2:00, then come home from school at 3:22, and if it’s a Tuesday they go to dance until 7:00, and dinner is take-out from D’amico’s. I don’t need to talk to them about their days, because I know their days and at any point during the day I can almost picture exactly what they are doing.

 

It’s the beautiful monotony of being home.

 

And they are safe.

 

But this week I am missing them more than I can express and it’s caught me off guard in a very uncomfortable parenting way and I frankly am not happy about it. I think of them constantly but yet I cannot see them in my thoughts because I don’t know what they are doing. I don’t know what their cabins look like, what time they eat breakfast, are they learning to sail or did they choose a drama class, do they love horseback riding, is the lake water cold, are they making friends and I wonder what time lights-out is and are they okay. Are they okay?

 

There’s no phone or email or text to reassure me. Just silence.

And it’s more unnerving than I imagined it would be, even though I know they are just fine.

 

I guess what it is, is that this is the first time they are doing something completely on their own – their food choices, clothing choices, activity choices, friends choices, everything choices – it’s all up to them. I have nothing to do with their days and it’s left me feeling helpless, not needed, and in the dark.

 

Just like it should. Just like it’s suppose to.

 

I guess this is the first step to letting go. To letting them make their own lives. Too soon it will them spending more time with friends and then when I blink twice they will be away to college.

 

So I realize that a week away now, at 8 and 10 years old, should really not be a big deal for me.

 

Even thought it’s probably a big deal for them.

 

Their first real steps walking into their own independent lives without me. Their own memories made, friends forevers, and experiences that I cannot share.

 

And as a mother, this makes me love them even more.

 

But damn I miss them.

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6 Good Things About Summer #vlogging

Summer starts here officially in about 42 hours. That’s when my kids get out of school and we go out for ice cream. They’ve pretty much already emptied out their desks and dumped them into our garbage. It’s also my understand that this week is mainly a movie marathon. Typically they just go outside and play the last week of school, but it’s like 52 and pouring and rain, so shark movies will have to do.

I admit I used to dread Summer. When kids are littler they need well – more active parenting in many forms like actual playing with them, supervising them in the backyard, taking them to playgrounds, arranging for camps, and maybe even buying craft crap for rainy days. It’s exhausting this whole active parenting thing. But something magical happens when kids turn about 7 or 8 – they can usually find a friend in the neighborhood to play with, they can play in the yard without you standing watch, and they can even just hang in their room reading a book for eight hours because they can. They can make their own fun – without a parent breathing down their necks. You know, they can find the kind of fun like we used to do when we were kids. I just hope they don’t start smoking behind the garage.

 

Now I love Summer. Summer is easy. We can do a few camps – which yes, my kids are going to a full week of a sleep-away camp, we can hit the pool a few times, and we are heading out on a big road trip out East for about a month…but other than that – they can just do whatever they want to do and they are old enough to choose and also old enough to help with chores, make their own snacks and lunches and take care of their sister sometimes.

 

I haven’t vlogged in awhile, but MamaKat asked what 6 things we were excited for this Summer – and I thought a vlog would be fun. Evidently, so did Astrid.

 

So what are you most looking forward to this Summer? Do you love Summer with the kids home, or do you wish for year-round school?

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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.

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This Looks Nothing Like The Mall

We decided to let Jed pick our ‘last official day of Summer’ activity. Being the lone guy in a household of girls means that his life sucks a lot because he does a lot of activities that he really doesn’t love. It’s also why he spends a lot of time in the garage.  He suggested that we go to a ‘Toy and Car Museum’ over in Wisconsin. He emphasized the word ‘toy’ and also mentioned that this ‘museum’ had 100′s of antique dolls to admire.   He said it would take us a little over an hour to get there.

 

Now, if you know Jed like I know Jed, ‘an hour’ really could mean anywhere from ‘two hours to two days’ in official ‘Jed time’ but since I was letting him pick the activity I also decided to give him full control over time-management and navigation. (And if you know ‘me’ like I know ‘me’ – this pretty much made my over-controlling head explode).

 

But I decided that today I would be a more of a ‘go with the flow’ kind of gal. (HOLY HELL , I JUST STRESSED THE FUCK OUT TYPING THAT SENTENCE)

 

So we decide to leave at eight to make it to the museum a little after they opened at nine. At seven Jed leaves to get his coffee at Dunn Brothers because evidently the coffee I make sucks, but I totally do not take offense that he must buy his coffee every morning instead of drinking what I make. Nope, no offense at all.  I told him to buy donuts to surprise the girls for breakfast since he was going out for coffee. At 8 Jed walks in house without donuts. “Where are the donuts?” I asked. “They didn’t have any.” He replied. “Didn’t you consider going to a different shop then?” I questioned. “No, I didn’t think of that.”  He said.  Seriously? Men. You do not leave the house promising donuts and then come home without donuts. EVER. I mean EVER. NEVER.  So Jed leaves again for donuts.

 

We leave at 8:20 while eating donuts. At 9:30 I ask if we are almost there as we really don’t seem almost there. “Yes, just 10-15 more minutes I think” Jed says.

 

I look at my phone and see it is 9:30 and I’ve truly made it in my book about 2 hours and 30 minutes without any control over our day and decide to end the madness and I pull out the AAA map of Wisconsin.  And find our destination.

 

A FULL 75 MILES FROM OUR CURRENT LOCATION.

 

“So Jed this place is really about 3 hours from home, isn’t it?”

 

Really, I didn’t think it was that far.  That’s too bad. Let’s just cross the next bridge back over to Minnesota and head back then. Jed concedes.

 

Three girls in unison from the backseat “YAY, let’s head home!!”

 

30 minutes go by. No bridge.

 

“Jed I think you missed the bridge. I told you it was back in Nelson but you missed the turn. YOU MISSED THE TURN!”

 

Well, since we’ve already gone this far past it, why don’t we just check out the museum.

 

(And now it’s finally starting to dawn on me why Jed’s 1-2 hours late getting home from anywhere every single ding.dong day for 14 years)

 

An hour later we finally pull into our destination and we all have to pee. And the first thing I notice is the porta-potty as the only bathroom possibility which truly isn’t a pretty thing for us four city girls. Jed admires the cleanliness of said porta-potty.

 

Okay, that wasn’t the first thing we saw. The first thing we saw was the acres and acres and acres of THOUSANDS of scrapped out cars lining the side of the road as we made our final turn into the ‘museum’.

(Two thumbs WAY up!)

Jed took us to a scrapyard for our final day of Summer. And not only a scrapyard, but a scrapyard also with three full barns full of old cars and motorcycles and the worlds largest collection of old pedal cars.   And what’s not to like about seeing 1000 pedal cars with a 3 year old when the child CANNOT TOUCH OR RIDE ON ANY OF THEM. Good times my friend.

 

Oh but let’s distract the kids from the scrap, the old cars and the things they cannot touch or ride-on and let’s go in the house and look at the collection of antique dolls are STARING at us and now we will have nightmares for the next month about the five foot tall Shirley Temple doll. Thanks, Dad!

 

I needed at least one picture of our ‘fun day’ so I made the girls go stand over by the hearse that had the weeds growing out of the hood, and Eloise was all “what’s a hearse?” and I replied “It’s a car that carries dead people! See, this is fun!! And you will remember this family outing for the rest of your life!”

 

What did you do for last day of Summer break?

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Resting Time

We’re done this Summer. I think back to June and the hustle we had in our hearts and the spring in our steps. We had to do it all – the pool, the park, the beach, the pool, the playgrounds, the picnics, the play-dates.  Hours outside soaking up the sun. Happy kids riding around the block with their friends.

 

Busy busy. Happy happy. Summer.

 

But now it’s the end of August and we’re tired. And done. We’ve been at a loss this week at what to even do. “Does anyone want to go to the pool?” No.  “How about the beach?” No. “Go play with friends?” No. “Bike ride?” No. “Trip to the mall?” No. “The art museum or maybe the science museum?” No. “A hike?” No.“Movie?” No.

 

And then I made the kids go to the pool today and some kid POOPED in the pool and the pool closed. And I had even shaved for the event.  (Not to mention the whole two hours we were there my kids kept asking me when we could go home).

So for four days now we’ve sat around reading magazines and books. Writing in journals and playing board and card games. We’ve taken naps and watched maybe one too many iCarlys. It’s like Winter again but it’s 80 outside and sunny. And we don’t care.

 

School supplies have been organized and reorganized. New school clothes hung and shoes tied and ready.

 

The clock is ticking by. Slowly.

 

And I feel like there should be one last hurrah for us before school starts in 10 days.  But our tired and lazy bodies aren’t craving anything but rest.

Because soon it will be the 6am wake-up, the rushed breakfast, the after-school activities, the dinners on the go.

 

So maybe this restful lazy week is just what we need.

 

To say goodbye to Summer.

 

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Keeping Cool

I don’t do well in heat. Truth be told I would rather live on an iceberg with a polar bear most days. I can picture the conversations we’d have over toasty grande non-fat lattes from Starbucks. Of course this would be right before she ate me.  But still – the weather would be just perfect.

A few weeks ago it was like 90 degrees and as soon as I walked outside I said “Oh my it’s so hot I just might melt!” Astrid looked at me and shook her head saying “Mom, you’re not a snowman!”

But wouldn’t it be awesome to be snowman?  Except for when it’s over 90.

We are in Indiana this week and it’s hot. I mean hot. Like 102 degrees hot today.   For a snowman this is not pleasant weather.

I’m someone who prides herself on complaining about the weather when it’s above 83.   I’m the weird one who dreams about blizzards and new sweaters in the middle of July.

This is also why I didn’t live in Southern California very long.   I missed the polar bears. And I remember when I got off the plane in Bangkok for the first time and wondered how I would ever cut through the heavy air.

So while I’m not truly physically melting, I am hot. And by hot I mean hot not hot.

And we are keeping cool in many wonderful and simple ways.

How are you staying cool this Summer?

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Confidence

 

I came downstairs today a little before noon and immediately started shouting out orders “Eloise finish packing the pool bag!” “Esther get sunscreen on your little sister!” “Astrid go find your sandals so we can go!”  90 degrees outside. No air conditioning inside. We were heading to the pool.

 

But Eloise and Esther both stopped what they were doing and just looked at me. Not moving.  Eloise was the first to speak “Wow mom I love your new swimsuit. You look really pretty!” Followed by Esther “You have a tummy mom that shows in your swimsuit. I like it!”

 

Astrid came up and poked me in the belly button and then she ran away laughing.

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I haven’t worn a bikini since I was 8 months pregnant with Esther. Seven and a half years ago. Before that you wouldn’t catch me in anything but a bikini.   But I’ve hated my stomach since my second child. My doctor decided not to follow my first c-section line and I was left with two scars, an inch of scar tissue on my stomach, and a shelf above the tissue that will never go away.

 

When it was time for my third c-section, the doctor decided to CUT A NEW LINE(I shit you not) adding to my scar tissue and making the shelf even bigger.  And no matter how much I run and do sit-ups I just cannot get my stomach muscles tight and sexy like they once were. So I said “hello tankini” and truthfully I’ve never trusted the bitch.

 

But I started looking around the pool this Summer and noticed that the other moms look amazing. And kind of like me.  So I worked a little harder. Ran a bit farther. Did some resistance training. Introduced a bit of Jillian Michaels to my life.(Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred)

 

And yes I still have my scars(but found a suit that mostly covers them) and I will always have this weird shelf on my stomach(my award I will cherish for three healthy children).  Sometimes I think my doctors owe me a free plastic surgery for this mess.

 

But I don’t care anymore.

 

And my kids think I look nice.  Who cares about the 20 year old pool boy.

 

Tanned belly here I come.

 

I am confident in my swimsuit and my daughters will see that and I hope always love their bodies. Even the parts that they may view as not so perfect.

 

Because if their 43(cough) year old mother can still wear a bikini then I think we can muster up the confidence to do just about anything.

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Speaking of swimming…thank you for the comments on my article last week about getting your(and you)family involved in swimming as I work with USA Swimming this Summer to spread the word on the importance of learning to swim, water safety and swim clubs, as well as cheering the Team USA in Swimming at the Olympics this Summer!

 

Again if you would like more information on swimming and finding a club in your area please visit swimtoday.org for more information!

 

The USA Olympic Swimming time trials are currently airing live on NBC direct from Omaha June 25-July 2.  You can find some of the amazing results on the USA Swimming website and follow along online, on air and in the news!  I’m so proud of Minnesotan Rachel Bootsma who finished second in the 100 meter backstroke and now will be fulfilling her Olympics dreams!   We’ve also been watching as Michael Phelps continues to dominate and quality for event after event.

 

Have you been watching the USA Olympics Swimming Trials?  My kids have loved watching and becoming familiar with the names of the competitors as they realize their Olympics dreams!

 

We would love for you to watch Monday night as The Motherhood and USA Swimming are throwing a Twitter party on Monday, July 2, at 7:30 p.m. ET so we can all cheer on Dara Torres in real time as she swims!!   The party will last an hour, and they’ll be giving away some prizes, talking about swimming and cheering on Dara throughout.  The hashtag for the party is #SwimToday.)

 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by The Motherhood for USA Swimming. I was compensated for my time but opinions are my own.   If you’d like more information on Swimming in your area please visit SwimToday.org and we would love for you to watch the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Swimming airing live on NBC June 25-July2. Check your local listings for times.  Also, this campaign is using the hashtag #SwimToday so watch for the tweets to follow along with important information about USA Swimming.

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Swim Lessons and USA Swimming

Eloise had her first swim lesson when she was 6 months old. She hated it. Hated getting wet, hated getting in the pool, hated the swim diaper, hated it.  But we insisted on ‘lessons’ if you will, and by lessons I mean ‘let’s just get comfortable with the water.’  She continued to cry about swimming until she was four years old. It was about that time that her sister, then two, started jumping off the sides of the pool into our arms and seemed to laugh and actually enjoy this thing called ‘swimming’ because it seems most of the other kids were also having fun.  Eloise decided to try it again and now loves to swim.

I admit the last thing I wanted to do was push swimming on any of my kids.  I grew-up in a long line of women who were terrified of the water.  My own mother would not be able to save me in a pool and my grandmother was rarely seen in water over her ankles.   I was determined to change our legacy.  But the last thing I wanted was for Eloise to associate the water with fear.

 

However, I felt and feel strongly that my kids need to be able to swim…..

[Read more...]

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Me For Once

It’s been an amazing 11 days since school let out. I almost feel guilty saying that because isn’t Summer suppose to drive me crazy(and yes at times it does).  Do you want to know why it’s been better…and no, not just because my kids haven’t been whining.

 

I’ve taken some time for myself. I’m running of course and I also added another 30 minutes each day for some strength and resistance training. May I just say I’ve never felt better.  I got a haircut(first one since last July) and even a pedicure and manicure(my once a year splurge).

 

I’ve also put my phone down and picked my camera up. I’m doing things that make me feel healthy – strawberry picking with my kids, making jam, cleaning out my kitchen cupboards, and donating piles of toys and clothing.

I hear my kids running around playing with each other and the neighborhood kids, I’m keeping my freezer stocked with popsicles and I think I bought an endless supply of sidewalk chalk.

 

We’ve spent time at the pool and time in the movie theatre. We’ve probably eaten far too many donuts but we’ve also gotten out on a family bike ride. Did I mention I got a new bike?

What I’m saying is – things are good. My mind feels healthy without negativity and stress. Summer is good.

 

I know I mentioned to all of you on here and on Facebook(you do follow me on Facebook, yes?) that my post “Together Forever” won a full sponsorship from Brica to attend the Type A Parent conference this coming weekend.

When I wrote this post a few months ago I meant it so deeply – how these girls are together, but can I just say that it’s even better now?  Insanely good and possible.

 

It pains me to leave my kids. Pains me. Like pains me in a way that I don’t get haircuts(and yes Astrid sat quietly on my lap for the whole salon appointment).   But I’m really looking forward to this trip.  Sure I’m looking forward to it because it’s a great conference and I look forward to connecting with other people and brands in social media and blogland – but I’m really looking forward to representing a company like Brica. I love their motto “Making Together Better” and really how it fits in with how we are having such a great Summer. Together.

 

Whether at home, on the go, or at the park – Brica has products that help parents and make kids happy.

 

I would love for you to check Brica out online, on Facebook and also on Twitter.

And while I will miss the most important people in my life for a few days…I know that they are happy and safe at home and that I am doing something good for all of us.

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So am I weird that I hate leaving my kids? And if you had just one product for your kids..what would it be?

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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.

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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?

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The Minnesota State Fair in Pictures

I’m a city girl. I make no apologies for it. I like the mall more than the forest..and my shoes are mostly inappropriate for hiking. Thank god. I am also against bugs.

I have a hard time breathing in barns and consider dirty things pretty yucky. I eat a lot of salad.

But once a year we go all country and head to the Minnesota State Fair. Nine years running. And we LOVE it.

The farms, the animals, the deep fried food, the dirt, the midway games and rides.

We spend eight hours with smiles plastered on our faces and I truly believe an extra skip in our step as we enjoy “The Great Minnesota Get-together!”

I love this annual tradition..and every year we talk about it for months ahead of time in anticipation..and months after as we recount the best memories.

And I insert a bit of city as I make my kids coordinate comfortable dresses.

And okay I have a rule against pop at the fair and insist on the $1 milk.

And if you ever want to find us there to say hello – I am easy to spot. I am basically the only one in a fancy sundress and inappropriately high and uncomfortable heels while carrying a Louis Vuitton handbag.

Sometimes you just cannot take the city out of the girl. And that is okay. It’s still a pretty fun ride.

Do you attend your State Fair? Or your local or County? What is your favorite part?

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How to Stop Yelling at My Cats…

I’ll admit right now that my kittens frustrate me. Please tell me I’m not alone in this. I’m so busy all day caring for three children, a house, and doing work, and just never sitting down and the whole time I have two kittens that are CRAZY and OMG they drive me nuts.  I yell at them to stop this and stop that and to get down and stay off and to just STOP being crazy.

 

They NEVER listen. Instead they just find more shit to do which drives me even crazier. I find myself locked in the bathroom and then they get right outside the door and reach their damn paws underneath like they need to be near me. Assholes.

 

And then I remember why I love cats so much and I feed them again and maybe I don’t yell for an hour. And then I see this…..and decide the cute little jerks can hang out for about 20 more years or so. Or until Eloise takes them both to college.

********

We have a big week this week – the final week before school starts. We need to fit three months of panicked “oh my god we did nothing this Summer” into 3 days – the Minnesota State Fair, the zoo, the pool, Target, Starbucks. The usual suspects.  How about you? Do you attend your State Fair?

 

If you are like me, you have also missed reading your favorite blogs this week. I promise to catch-up when these kids get back to school. Maybe.

 

Here’s what we’ve been up to this week..

 

I became a redhead. Or at least Revlon #50 or something like that. Eloise had to read the direction for me because she has young eyes and doesn’t color her hair yet.

 

The big news of the week is I am giving away a Maclaren Triumph stroller!!! I KNOW – go enter – only a couple more days to enter. $180 value people. I love this stroller and cannot pimp it enough.

 

And I found the most unusual Google searches that bring people to my blog.  It turns out I’m an authority on thongs, small boobs and hair feathers…but you already knew that.

 

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend and my friends on the East Coast are staying safe from Irene. Hugs to you all.

 

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Summer Fun Show Off in Pictures.

One month until school starts. One month. May I have an amen.

 

I’m not a huge Summer fan. Days of no schedules. HEAT. HOLY HEAT. Endless pleas for snacks and food. SAND. HOLY SAND.

 

So why is it my favorite pictures of the year are always taken in the Summer?

 


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When I Need a Teenager’s Pity…

I finally gave in after two weeks of begging.

Daily begging from the three slave-drivers. “The pool! The pool! When are we going to the POOL? We want to go to the pool. We are the only people on the face of this Earth who haven’t been to the pool this Summer!”

Luckily June has been super rainy and cold so I could blame our lack of pool going on God.

That was pretty awesome.

But then He got mad at me and brought sun to us for like two straight days and I totally ran out of excuses as to why I could not take them to the pool.

So at noon on Sunday I made a deal with the devil my children and told them that we would go to the pool at 3:30 and stay and eat hot dogs and nachos for dinner and swim until the pool closes at 6:00.

Now there are several reasons I hate the pool:

1. All three kids are at different swimming abilities. Mostly zero ability, but some with slight abilities and one with no abilities but is a risk taker and all of these abilities leave me stressed that no matter how many lifeguards are at the pool I need to watch all three kids at all times and since they MOVE and want to go in different pools and parts of the pools, I have no way to do this, while the whole time trying to keep Astrid from jumping in the deep end.  It is stressful. Oh so stressful.

2. I hate to swim. I see no pleasure in getting wet. Especially getting wet in unheated water that is FU-Reezing.

3.  I do believe there is just so much pee in that water that I would really rather not swim in it AND I have been in when the poop evacuation has happened. I don’t like swimming with my own kids let alone someone else’s pee machine.

4.  I don’t wax. So the grooming involved in cleaning up after the Winter’s harvest is intense and time-consuming and I’m not as flexible as I used to be to get all up in there to do a good job to be swimsuit ready.

5.  My white body is scary and glowing the first time out. The cellulite looks awesome magnified on my Winter white skin.

6.  It takes almost four hours to pack one swim bag for a two hour swim outing.  I also look like a pack mule hauling all of the fun stuff in while trying to wrangle three kids to a dry area on the pool deck as of course there are no chairs.

*******

So on that fateful Sunday I took the two hours to trim and tidy and then took the four hours to pack the bag, get the suits on the kids, find beach towels and apply sunscreen to every centimeter of every body. I then checked the pool website to double check the hours and off we drove to the pool with very excited kids.

We stood in front of the pay window and the cute girl said “Oh sorry the big pool is closed today for a swim meet, only the baby pool is open.”

Groans from the over five crowd.

“Why wasn’t that information on your website?” I asked.

“Oh wow, do we have a website? I dunno.”

“So is there a discount since it’s only the baby pool?” I asked.

“No, same price no matter what.”

(All this time Astrid is yelling “hot dog hot dog” as I had promised hot dogs for dinner.)

“Oh yeah and the concession stand is closed for the meet, so there is no food.” She said.

“So we cannot swim or eat but you still want to charge me $16 to enter?”

“Yeah, that is the deal. So are you coming in?”

So I replied “You don’t understand the big picture do you? I don’t just say hey it’s 3:25, let’s go to the pool and them BAM BOOM BAM we are at the pool all ready at 3:30.  No, this takes time. This takes planning. This takes work. I just spent six hours of my life on this trip to the neighborhood pool. I shaved for godssake. I am showing cellulite. It took me hours to pack a bag with every possible need we may have at the pool, or for a possible earthquake. But most importantly – I PROMISED  MY KIDS THAT THEY WERE GOING SWIMMING AND DAMMIT WE ARE HERE AND WE WANT TO SWIM but there is no way in hell I am paying $16 to wade up to our ankles in the baby pool AND not have food to buy when your damn sign tells me that no outside food is allowed!!!”

“So, like you are not coming in?”

“No, no we are not coming in.” I sobbed.

And cue the screaming and crying kids as I usher them and our crap back to the car. Dry.

I love going to the pool.

*****

Do you love the pool? What do you love about it? Also, do you wax?

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