A Trend I Miss From The 80s

This decade is confusing to me. I see my kids wearing neon, off-the-shoulder Flashdance type shirts, converse hi-top sneakers, and feathers in their ears and hair.

 

They are stealing things from the 80s. From my decade. My teenage years were influenced by the end of disco, the emergence of punk, and the puke popular Top 40 that consumed my life. My teenage closet looked like Boy George, Madonna, Michael Jackson, WHAM, and Cyndi Lauper had a love child and it vomited up neon, sequined gloves, lace, oversize shirts, and scrunchies.

 

This is probably why my mom used to cry at the mall when I wanted JUST ONE MORE NEON GREEN TOP, and why she may have snickered when I left the house each morning.

 

It’s also why my brother – HELLO 80s Prep-argyle-stand-up-collar boy – used to refuse to be seen with me.

 

But I don’t want to talk about the musical trends or fashion trends.

 

This is the trend that I miss most from high school.

 

Linking up with MamaKat’s vlogging workshop.

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What Do You Learn In Preschool

I vaguely remember preschool. I remember it was in a church basement; Lutheran, even though we were Catholic. And my teacher wore her hair high up on her head in curls that were neatly pinned like flowers. She also wore a tan, ribbed turtleneck top, a huge smile, and sensible shoes most days. I remember playing with various toys, reading books, signing songs, and learning the importance of sitting quietly on a carpet as we all faced the teacher. My teacher, in 1972, wore a miniskirt as she sat on a chair facing us. We could spy her undies every day. We loved her. And her undies and how they made us giggle.

 

Preschool was a place to go and socialize with other kids, a place where you learned a little body control and how to listen to a teacher, and a foundation for getting you ready for your adventure to bigger and better learning.

 

Preschool should be magical. It should be a place where unicorns graze in rainbow colored fields under a jelly bean sky. Preschool teachers I believe are hatched from pastel colored eggs that have been dipped in fairy dust before being carried down to earth by white swans wearing tutus.

 

This is how I want my daughters to feel when they go off to preschool. I want them to feel like they are wrapped up in magic at every turn.

 

And we’ve found that spot with our preschool.

 

Don’t laugh at me, but I have tears running down my face a I type this. And when Astrid’s teacher hugged me hello this morning I cried then too. Just feeling her warmth and by knowing how safe and happy Astrid is there. Each day her teacher hugs or touches me and tells me words that are reaffirming. “We love Astrid so much. She’s a delight. She makes my heart happy. Her smile lights up a room. She’s a lovely friend. I don’t want her to ever go to kindergarten…”

 

And I cry again. I’ve warned them that I plan to just come and sit in the classroom next year for a few hours even though Astrid will not be there. Because I need more unicorns and fairy dust in my life. Everyone should have a place that makes you feel this good.

 

Astrid’s school focuses a lot on music and art. Each ‘lesson’ or monthly plan is about a band or artist. They’ve studied The Beatles, Bob Marley, Michael Franti, Taj Mahal, Claude Monet and more. They learn all of the songs or paintings, have dance parties, and explore the places and cultures where the artists are from. This is her preschool curriculum, and I melt over it each day I enter that happy place to drop her off. And I linger longer there than I have at any other school.

 

We’ve spent months singing along with Astrid as she continues to appreciate the arts at home – and teach us what she has learned. And I love it so hard that no one is pushing phonics or math or early reading books on this child. This child with a song in her heart.

 

Her favorite song from the year is Cakewalk Into Town by Taj Mahal… and she sang a few versus for us. And I think if we all listen and watch this just a few more times, well no one will get the blues ever again.

 

Guaranteed unicorns, rainbows, swans and jelly beans if you watch this….

What do you love about your child’s preschool?

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America Has Talent

…except in our house.

 

I am not a talented person. It’s okay, don’t feel sorry for me. Let me go ahead and list some things that I cannot do well – play an instrument, sing, garden, cook, bake, craft, decorate, manage money, write, take the pictures that I want to take, clean, sew, build, repair, paint nails, do hair, apply make-up, read big books, bicycle, deal with blood, swim, water ski, snow ski, play a sport really of any kind, keep animals alive, or thumb wrestle.

What I can do pretty well – drive, put clothing together into a nice outfit, make great french toast, tell jokes, manage schedules, travel, ice skate, and dance.

 

But I would not consider any of those things that I can do pretty well as a talent. Talent has always alluded me – and again, that’s okay. I think it makes me appreciate the talents of others even more – a well written book, a perfectly cooked meal, a talented ball player, beautiful music, a breath-taking garden, a welcoming home, great hair, a record-breaking run, a perfectly photographed wedding, a delicious dessert, a hand-crafted gift, a dedication of one to help others, a perfectly arranged vase of roses, a good play.

 

So maybe surrounding myself with talented people is truly a talent that I possess  – because I am not lacking wonderful things in my life – it’s just that I did not create many of them.

 

And again, that’s okay.The world is still a happy, beautiful and astounding place and everyone has a value and contribution as few can really be the best.

 

And my kids don’t have to be talented to make a good life. A lack of a real talent does not preclude happiness.

 

I believe laughter and love and a fair bit of fun and the ability to embrace your strengths while appreciating others’ is what this life is all about.

 

Did I mention that we like to laugh? When I asked my daughters what their talent is – well, they didn’t even start listing off the ‘good at maths’, or ‘great on pianos’, or ‘wonderful dancers’….this is what they wanted to showcase.

 

So, what is your hidden talent?

 

Vlogging link-up with the glorious and talented Mamakat.

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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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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.

 

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Kids and Politics #vlogmom

Isn’t everyone excited that we only have 12 more days of political ads? Seriously, I think political ads and prescription drug commercial should be banned because if my kids aren’t having to listen to a candidate berate and lie about another candidate then they have to listen about some guys erectile dysfunction and why are there bathtubs on the beach?

 

Besides the annoying political ads – which really, I need to know, has your vote ever been swayed by an ad? – You know my house is not all Kumbaya right now because of the bipartisan household that I live in each day.

 

And I know what you are thinking – just don’t let your kids watch that crap on TV.

 

But I just cannot help myself. I fondly remember when I was young and misinformed how much I loved Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Those are the of memories that I want to instill in my own children.

 

Seriously though I want my kids to be informed, involved and excited about democracy and our political process in America. I want them to vote and encourage others to vote, and I want them to stand-up for what they believe in and work for that cause.

 

But what I don’t want them to do is belittle their neighbors, those that disagree with them,  or use negativity of any kind just to make their point.

 

That my friends is being a bully and is just wrong. Is this a line that politicians are allowed to cross?

 

I also make my kids watch the debates. And oh I know it can even be painful for me to watch…but I think it’s important. If you ever want some entertainment during the debates though – just get on twitter. Twitter is hilarious and makes the debates almost fun.

 

On Monday I decided to just tweet everything that Esther was saying to try to keep my tweets bipartisan. She was a hit on the twitter and who doesn’t love a 7 year old tweeting about politics.

This weeks’ #vlogmom topic comes from Julie Meyers Pron – What do you think of this years political season?

Hear what my kids have to say!

Check out what the other #vlogmom vloggers had to say!

 

So what do you think about political ads?

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Sports? What Are Sports? #vlogmom

I love taking my kids to sporting events! For example we go to a baseball game and they ask why no one is running for a touchdown. We go to a football game and they ask when that guy down there is going to pitch the ball. They take after their mother.

 

I was a cheerleader all through high school and while I could cheer “B.E.A.G.G.R.E.S.S.I.V.E” I  really had no idea why I was doing it. Now I did play tennis and run track and loved golf and skiing – but I was never much of a competitive team sports person.

 

When Eloise was three we signed her up for soccer because everyone else was signing up their kids and she spent the whole six week season screaming as she ran away from the ball. So we tried t-ball and she just did it for the snack at the end. Finally two years ago she sat both of her parents down and said “I just really don’t like sports, really, trust me here.”

 

Instead we’ve spent the last five years going to dance recitals. All three girls love it. Love it. If we aren’t at practice we are watching Dance Moms on Lifetime. I think it’s safe to say that we can call dancing a sport at this point. Don’t make me convince you.

 

So what kind of sports Dance Mom am I – well just take a look….


 

Tina Kelley of Mad Hatter Mom asks the #VlogMom prompt this week: Do your kids play sports?  Are you a quiet spectator, or do the people in the next county hear you screaming for your kid?

 

So tell me – what kind of spectator are you?

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Rumour Has It

Do you ever have the most amazing and happy and fabulous and life-changing experience ever and then something comes crashing in at the end and you just want to hit delete delete delete until it could not possibly exist. And then you are just kind of pissed off about the whole thing.

 

But their isn’t a delete key when it comes to life.  It’s like my Apple is just lying to me with that key sitting all cute up there on the right upper side.

 

I went to my high school reunion this weekend and wanted to come home with some seriously funny fodder and crazy stories.

 

Because it was fun. And amazing. And everything it should be.

 

Until the last five minutes of my trip.

 

So instead I come home with a heavy heart. Trying to decide who I am really mad it. If anyone.

 

Because Rumour Has It. Right?

 

So while I try to figure out what this all means, if anything, I thought I would just share Astrid with you. She loves ‘Rumour Has It’ by Adele and only wants to listen to it in the car.

 

And I wonder if maybe, just maybe, she’s got it all figured out.

 

Because Rumour Has It

 

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How I Met My Husband #VlogMom

I love hearing how people met – whether through a mutual friend, at church, at a bar, on a run, the toilet paper aisle at Target…or even on an airplane.

 

Jed and I have a pretty unique story.  He was living in Connecticut and I was living in Minnesota – and we happened to sit next to each other on a 20 hour plane ride from Minneapolis to Bangkok. You can pretty much cover your whole life story in 20 hours.

 

We were both going through major break-ups and probably had no intention at the time to hook-up. But such is life.  However, we do not agree on what actually happened on that flight.

 

He’s convinced that I threw myself at him, begging him for a date and using his whole body as my pillow so I could see the movie better. Whatever.

 

I’m convinced that he whined the whole flight about how this girl broke his heart – blah, blah, blah – and how nobody would ever compare to this 5’11” blond bombshell that he missed so much. (Insert eye-rolling here).

 

You decide…

We met in May of 1998 and started emailing shortly after our trip, but didn’t see one another again until that August. A year later he moved to Minnesota. A year after that I left him in Minnesota and moved to Amsterdam by myself(bitch!). Two years later we were married in Scotland.

 

And the rest is history….

 

This week’s prompt comes from Alissa from Clever Compass: How did you meet your spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend?

 

Watch and find out what the other #vlogmoms have to say!

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High School Reunion- Or, Who Is That Old Bald Guy Hugging Me #VlogMom

If you follow me on Facebook you know that my 25th high school reunion is next weekend. I’ve been posting little clues – like my senior picture. I’ve received a lot of very jealous emails saying that I was a master with my Aqua Net and why was their hair never that big or awesome.

It’s a gift truly. And a 99 cent can of Aqua Net each and every day.

 

And I loved my hair so much that I tried to only date guys who had the same hair. We fell in love in their hairspray aisle at Walgreens.

You can also tell it’s my high school reunion because I am so.damn.hungry! Reunion diets suck. But I refuse to be the old, bald guy!

 

But if you are the old, bald guy – well I’ve put together a vlog just for you on how you need to prepare for our reunion so I know who in the hell you are.

 

You’re welcome.

 

This week, Rajean from B Cause I Said So asked us if we had ever attended a high school or college reunion. Watch my vlog, and be sure to check out my fellow #VlogMom participants below!

 

Isn’t it about time you like Sellabit Mum on Facebook?  I’ll pay you in cute puppies. Maybe. Or kittens if you go that way. Because I go that way.

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My Three Biggest Fears #VlogMom

I used to vlog a lot. But then my children figured out how to unlock the closet door and free themselves and it was very hard for me to find any quiet time to vlog. And then Summer happened. Oh Summer.

 

So with the kids back in school and Astrid now in preschool two WHOLE morning a week, I decided to enjoy some ‘me’ time – and by ‘me’ time I guess that means listening to myself talk because it’s so dang quiet around here. Oh bless ye the quiet.

 

I’ve joined VlogMoms and plan to vlog a few times a month on a predetermined topic.

This week we discuss our three biggest fears.

 

This week’s #VlogMom topic comes courtesy of Lee at CoupleDumb.com.

Let’s see what these other crazy bloggers are afraid of? Do you think the ‘chicken neck’ will be repeated?

What’s your biggest fear?

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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?

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I’m Thankful for Anthropologie..and For These Kids Too, Of Course…

I don’t have memories of large family gatherings for Thanksgiving. We moved away from family when I was just a little girl so most of the time it was just the four of us.  Sometimes we would gather with friends and sometimes my mom would invite someone over who didn’t have anywhere to go. My mom has worked in Social Work her whole life and I truly do not know anyone more giving.

I remember my freshman year of college when I decided not to go home for the holidays.  My brother had also just left for the Service and my parents were left alone on Thanksgiving. When I called that afternoon and my step-dad answered I remembered his funny laugh and jokes about the strangers who were at their table that day. It turns out they did not have to dine alone after all. The day before Thanksgiving a very young couple – he from Yugoslavia and she from Germany had just arrived in The States on a tourist visa and somehow landed in small town Indiana.  Through language barriers and age and distance of upbringing – my mother invited them for an American Thanksgiving and proceeded to befriend this young couple as almost a relative.  25 years later they are still dear friends.

 

 

So here’s the thing – Thanksgiving isn’t an exclusive holiday. Thanksgiving is for everyone. It’s for in-laws to be invited over to in-laws. It’s not spending it with his family versus her family.  It’s for inviting over your widowed neighbor and that college kid who couldn’t afford to go home.  Find that person and please don’t let anyone dine alone.  And give thanks that you have the ability to include others.

 

I’m thankful for both my sets of parents and my in-laws for being such generous people with their time and their love. I only hope I can show my kids such a fine and thankful life.

 

I’m cooking tomorrow. I like to try to bring traditions from both sides of the family. I’m making my mom’s stuffing and cranberries and I’m making my mother-in-law’s potatoes and Holiday Tomatoes.  I’m sharing her potato recipe here today…it’s so nice to make these the night before and just put them in the oven quickly before dinner. What a yummy time saver and I’m pretty sure these are almost fat free. Not really.

Tricia’s Make-Ahead Potatoes

5 lb peeled potatoes cooked and drained

8 oz cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

2 T butter

salt, pepper and onion salt to taste

Mix all together(I use my mixer)

Put into greased casserole dish and dot with more butter.

Refrigerate until ready to bake.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes

 

If you’d like to know what we are thankful for this year – please enjoy this short video.

Happy Thanksgiving you all. So much love to you all. xo

 

Kids-Talking-Turkey

Vlog Talk

”Mama’s

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When Fashion is on the Hot Seat…

You will find me over at Four Plus An Angel today.  I was interviewed on the now world famous Hot Seat. Turns out a lot of women have many, many burning questions about fashion.

 

I wish I had the answers. I wish I could take you all shopping to Paris and Milan. Hell..New York. Minneapolis?

 

And while I am fashion obsessed – you will not find couture in my closet. You also won’t find large department store.

 

You will find thrifted dresses and consignment store skirts. Amazing separates from small boutiques and accessories from kitchy stores.  You will find Anthropologie and JCrew from the sales rack and a smattering of cute items from Target, Gap, and Old Navy.   You will find statement making shoes and a few handbags that I will keep my whole life.

 

But all of it works – because it is me.   The biggest fashion advice I have for you is find YOUR style – not the magazine’s style, or the catalog’s style, or your best friend’s style.  What looks good on you? What can you afford? What are you comfortable in?  What feels good on you? What makes you smile when you wear it? What do you wear that everyone compliments you on when you wear it?  THOSE are the things you need to focus on and your wardrobe will come together and be about you. And you are gorgeous – no matter what you wear.

 

Is that vague enough for you?

Please come over and learn more fashion advice, shopping tips and my biggest fashion faux pas on the Hot Seat. Vlog style.

 

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The Importance of Date Night…

Today for vlogtalk I am talking to you about something very important and serious – the time you take out to spend with just your partner. The dates, the walks, the quiet moments alone.  The time you need away from the kids.

We carve out at least two times per month for a quality date night – really. How about you?

..okay, we carved out two hours in 2008  – or was it 2003?

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The Summer Tradition of Camp…

I heard the other night on the news that we should consider a “less structured Summer.”

I need a moment.

As a stay at home mom, who does love her children more than anything in the whole wide world, I frankly cannot handle a less structured Summer.

Now I was a working mom at one point with a high-level, high paying job – and sure my kids did have a “less structured Summer” if you will in that we did not have big plans for the weekend.  We hung out, we played with friends, we went to the pool – but guess what – the other five days were incredibly structured for the kids.  They were in a place with other kids doing structured activities – just without me. Let’s call this “less structured Summer” daycare if you will.

So now as a stay-at-home mom, and again LOVING my kids with everything that I am oh I am now singing Kumbaya, I feel my kids deserve some structure during the Summer because frankly 82 STRAIGHT days of something “less structured” pretty much means OH MY EFFING GOD MY KIDS ARE BORED, THEY HAVE TOLD ME THIS 456,000 TIMES AND I DID NOT SIGN UP TO BE JULIE THE CRUISE DIRECTOR, THEY ARE NOT OLD ENOUGH TO JUST GO PLAY TWO MILES AWAY WITH YOUR FRIENDS ON YOUR OWN,  AND IF I HAVE TO GO TO THE POOL ONE MORE EFFING TIME AND SHOW MY CELLULITE – SOMEBODY WILL GET HURT.

MOMMA NEEDS SOME STRUCTURE.

My ode to Summer Camp…

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If you feel compelled to sing along – here are the original lyrics that I wrote.

Sung “loosely” to the tune of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious because those kids HAD a nanny. A NANNY. Brilliant.

The Summer plan starts each year
before it’s even Spring
We race to registration day
our checkbooks we do bring.

Seeing all the moms in line
with three kids at our legs
We sign up for camps that day
involving horses and some pigs.

Chorus:
Summer camp’s the only way to keep us mothers sane
If you ask us loud enough the answer is the same
I’ll drop you off and wave bye-bye and peel out of the lane
Summer camp’s the only way to keep us mothers sane

The days so long with kids at home
they ask for things all day
“A snack a meal a ride somewhere”
it is their only way.

We say relax enjoy the time
of nothing scheduled here
For kids that means about ten minutes
and then I need a beer

CHORUS

We’d like to say go out and play
enjoy the neighborhood
But stranger danger and bad men
makes us wishing that we could

So we take them everywhere
and watch them at their play
I’ve got other things to do
like blog and tweet today

CHORUS

Summer for stay at home moms
can really get quite long
24/7 of “I’m bored I’m bored”
Made me write this song

So camp it is to fill the time
they’re no worse for the wear
Even though it breaks the bank
I’d rather have them there

CHORUS

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My Favorite Meal when I’m not Dieting..

The more time I spend with kids, the more my palate suffers. Fine French food has nothing on frozen chicken nuggets.  Why go out for Thai food when you can make Kraft dinner?  Bake fresh bread when Wonder is still in business?

Somebody save me.

Don’t worry – six more days until wine o’clock and my date with the fish.

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