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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I Must Be Doing Something Wrong

I think I’ve lost my ability or maybe my will to multitask.

 

Or maybe I’m just old.

I’ve been away from home for 11 of the last 15 days.  Needless to say my online time has suffered.  I have barely read a blog, I’ve barely written in my own, twitter- what’s twitter?, Facebook updates, what?,  and I apologize if I haven’t responded to your email from two weeks ago because I’m about 14 days exactly behind on emails. No, I don’t hate you. No, I’m not ignoring you. No, I haven’ forgotten about you. No, you don’t smell. Well okay maybe you smell a little bit.

 

But if you text me – I am so on it! Call me maybe?

It’s a good thing I really don’t get paid for this.  How lucky I am.

 

Anyway, I’m back home and I miss you all and hope to catch up with what you all have been up to over the past two weeks – pregnant? divorced? lost 5 pounds? won a spot on the Olympic team for diaper changing? new recipe to share?  Tell me your news in the comments  – what have I missed?

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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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On Vacation

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that your kids are growing up. I mean I buy them new clothes because they seem to grow daily and I don’t try to shove my 9 year old into size 2T clothes anymore.

 

But there are so many moments that they just seem so little.  Or I forget that time has passed.

 

I planned a drive from Minnesota to my parent’s home in Indiana. It’s a solid 12 hour drive and with just one adult(me) it can be very, very long. And while I’ve tried to get Eloise to help me drive she still cannot quite see over the steering wheel.  Maybe if I put her back into her booster seat…

Two years ago when we made this drive I did it in two easy days – six hours each day. It was my plan this week to do it the same way. But I forgot something. Two year ago I still had a nursing baby and no iPad.

 

Turns out with an iPad, a potty trained almost three year old and two other kids who can basically take care of themselves – you can do a 12 hour drive all by yourself quite easily.

 

And since everyone in the car no knows their alphabet we can even play the ‘sign game’ and I even let them win a few times.

 

Anyway, I’m on vacation this week. And by on vacation I mean I’m in Indiana, not on a private beach in Aruba.   But I’ll take it.

 

xoxo

 

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Focus

I think a good vacation is a bit like flying a kite.

When you are flying a kite you only pay attention to the kite and how to keep it up high. Flying.

 

One goal.

I think if a vacation is really a vacation you should really just pay attention to the vacation.

And maybe just the people you are with on that vacation.

The wind is so perfect here.

******

Esther is wearing a dress and track jacket from H&M and shoes from Oilily. Kite from Target. Perfect conditions thanks to the Atlantic Ocean.

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Project 365 Week 10

My funk is officially ending as I’m getting on a plane in about 12 hours to Florida. It’s just me and the three girls.   I attempted to get all of our clothing for a week into one suitcase.

 

Now that was funny.

 

Especially when there are 15 pairs of shoes to bring.

 

I’ve become a chronic overpacker. I beleive motherhood does that to us.  We can’t leave the house with Goldfish crackers ‘just in case’ and pretty soon those Goldfish crackers lead to water bottles and extra underwear and just one more pair of pajamas and six boxes of raisins 42 sundresses five different sun screens 12 swimsuits and a pair of water wings. Just in case.

 

Motherhood can be so cumbersome. And awesome because it gives me a complete excuse to over-pack and have choices. And not look crazy.

 

And then I think back to that three week vacation in Turkey that Jed and I took before kids and we had only one small carry-on bag total for both of us.

 

Maybe my swimsuits were just smaller then.  And I didn’t wear Spanx.

 

Right now I’m on the phone with the airlines to make sure none of us are sitting together as when that happened last time it was TOTALLY AWESOME and I even got to read a book.  I’m sure the gentleman in 28C will love my two year old.

 

I probably won’t be around much the next week and I haven’t arranged any guests post because what if I’m not around much? That would be awkward… but I do promise to take actual real pictures to post upon my return.

Happy Spring Break!

xoxo, Tracy

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Vacation Pictures and My Kids Saw Fireworks..

I’m a strict mom. I have no issue with that statement.

Whenever I watch Super Nanny I cheer for her and want to kind of slap those parents around. I dream of being her personal assistant and would do anything to plant myself in many houses and mold some parents into shape.

Notice I said parents, not kids.

I’ve applauded during some Mommy Dearest scenes. I also hate wire hangers. ahem.

We have really good kids. I mean really good kids. I think it’s okay to brag. And the great thing about these really good kids is they have never been disciplined in their lives. No time-outs, no taking things away, no making them go to bed without their supper.

What makes them good kids is they have been given a set of expectations since birth and every day those expectations are reinforced and they know what’s expected of them. We have NEVER changed the rules, we have NEVER given in to whines or complaints or questioning our rules, and we have ALWAYS been consistent.  We model good and kind behavior, good manners, charity and practicing the Golden Rule. Simple.

Some call me mean, too strict and not fun. Others, and by others I probably mean me, think I’m brilliant and should write a parenting book.

I admit that many of my rules are not just to raise awesome kids, but are selfishly self-serving…like I want ‘me’ time and whining/hanging kids and kids up until 11pm don’t allow for that. I want to eat in restaurants with awesome food that don’t have a kids menu where I am still comfortable taking my kids and we can still go and enjoy a meal, I want to shop at Target with a latte and not have to leave or witness a tantrum. I have never had to walk out of a Target.

Watching my kids interact with others just makes my heart swell. They help, they say please and thank you, they can have a conversation with adults, they watch out for others, and when asked to do something they do it without question.

******

I take a lot of heat for my kid’s early bedtimes.  Eloise is eight and has never stayed up for the fireworks. I blame it mostly on Minnesota and it’s Northern position in the world. Our fireworks do not start here until nearly 10:30 as it is finally dark.

My children should not stay up past nine until they are at least in the sixth grade, right?

So on this Forth of July, after Astrid was in bed by 7:30, the older two stayed up for the fireworks. Thirty seconds after the fireworks ended I had them in bed.

Totally worth it.  When I asked them what the best part of vacation was – it was unanimously the fireworks!  I just hope they don’t tell Astrid about them as she has to wait at least another four years.

(all of the cousins)

*****

Do you let your little ones stay up for the fireworks?  Do you have certain rules in your home that you never bend on? How do you feel about wire hangers?

More wordless/wordful Wednesday and beautiful pictures at Project AliciaSevenClownCircus and Parenting for Dummies

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Excess Baggage…

I will never forget the first time I traveled with Jed. We had been dating about six months and we were going to Paris for a quick five day getaway.  I had three large bags of clothing and products to make sure I was prepared for anything from boating the Seine to a dinner with the President of France.

Jed arrived with a bag that was about the size of my purse. The bag contained two pairs of underwear, one pair of pants, two shirts,  two pairs of socks, a sweater, a toothbrush and deodorant. Of course don’t forget he was wearing jeans, a shirt, a pair of underwear and socks.

I casually asked how these clothes could possibly last him five days in Paris which could possibly include a change of clothes for dinner each evening.  Perhaps he planned to shop. Bonus.

Jed laughed and told me he planned on washing and drying out his socks and underwear each day in the bathroom…you know like usual when he traveled.

And I was like “dude, we are not backpacking or hostelling or camping or anything of the like..we are 30, are staying a four star hotel on the Left Bank, ordering champagne and trying not to look like American tourists in hiking boots.”

So he hung his underwear off the balcony.

********

Thirteen years later we packed for eight days at a cabin in the Northwoods of Minnesota.  I packed 13 dresses, six skirt, eight tops, four swimsuits, three cover-ups, 13 pairs of underwear, six pairs of shoes TIMES FOUR GIRLS so we pretty much needed a trailer to haul our load. But you never know, sure you may just be on a beach with Johnny Jim Bob from way up nord..but you never know when maybe Johnny Depp may show up and them BOOM I like totally have something to wear.

And Jed only brought one change of underwear. He would be totally unprepared for Jennifer Aniston.

Of course I also came home from vacation with suitcases full of unworn clothing as we pretty much only wore swimsuits and cover-ups for eight days straight.  But it’s good to be prepared.

I would have made an awesome boy scout.

*******

It was fabulous to go without the excess – no make-up, no fuss, simple pleasures, no Wi-Fi, little twitter, totally unplugged and building sandcastles instead of connections.

I laughed with my kids and even stood on the dock while the fished..WITH WORMS.

I loved traveling light.

Have you ever totally unplugged?

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I’ll be Back Soon…

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We are driving again today…and tomorrow.  Heading home to Minnesota.  I am optimistic about an easy drive alone with the kids after last weeks driving perfection.

I am refreshed after a week at my parents.  A week watching my girls swim, smile, sing. 
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I am relieved after a weekend away from my kids.  Two days without baby.  I did fine and she did even better.

I am happy after 2 days of girl time – big girl time at our big sales conference for Matilda Jane. I am ready to start the new season and LOVE the new line.  So will you. Every season I say this is the best ever…but it just keeps getting better. 
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I love my life.

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On the Road…

The airlines booked our seats apart last year when I flew with just the 2 girls to Florida. The girls were together – but I was about 10 rows in front of them. I, and the flight attendants, begged and pleaded with nearby passengers to switch with me. At 6 months pregnant and crying, I looked desperate, but not ONE person would switch seats with me. Humanity. Not.

So I left my 4 and 6 year olds to fend by themselves, cursing my fellow passengers and how their important “window” or “aisle” was more important than “family” or “charity”. Bite me I say.

But it turns out, the girls did fine. And without me nearby to hear “mom mom mom mom mom mom…” 8000 times and to hand them their dropped markers and get them another snack, somehow they managed. And I read a book and drank a coffe uninterrupted.

So for weeks I have fretted on how I would manage driving 13 hours by myself with 3 littles in the cars. Who will change their movies, get them snacks, pick up markers, comfort the baby? How will I stay occupied, awake, alert, sane? We don’t have a minivan, my 9 year old vehicle barely holds the sandwich of kids in the narrow backseat. Shoulders are scrunched, the $69 dvd player passed lap to lap.

And again, my kids have amazed me. Dropped markers were left, new markers were found. Movies agreed upon, books read to each other. The baby was soothed with a soft song from a sister. Snacks were shared and passed around. Sisters helped in the bathrooms at gas stations, little girls carried heavy bags up the hotel room stairs.

We laughed, we sang. We had fun. They helped me spot Starbucks for much needed mommy breaks. I nursed in the McD’s parking lots and we made it.

I need to stop doubting my kids and what they can do, because if I am amazed at what they can do at 5 and 7 then I will be awestruck with my teenagers.

(posting light this week while we enjoy a visit to Indiana)

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