High Five Friday

Five Things To Read This Week.

I’ve been writing. I swear to you I’ve been writing like I promised to last month. But I’ve been writing with a pen and paper just like Julie asked me to do. So maybe those words will end up on here. Or maybe not. Maybe they will show up somewhere else, or maybe they will stay in the notebook for my kids to find 60 years from now when they are cleaning up my cat lady house after I die.

 

Speaking of Julie…her novel Letters For Scarlet launches in April and I just finished my preview copy. You MUST buy and read her book. A full review is coming soon…..

 

My friend Christine always inspires me. Like I wake up most mornings thinking about her and seeking out her writing and photographs because she is pure joy, inspiration, talent, and beauty. She had a few articles go crazy viral over the past week, but I love her article on The Washington Post.

 

I adore Jennie – her faith, family and her writing. I needed to read and nodded through this post about Forgiveness. I think you will see your human self in it too.

 

Love, Surfing, and Marriage – yes yes and yes..all of it from my dear friend Michelle.

 

Five Instagram Photos This Week

 

I do most of my writing these days on Instagram. So if you are looking for me – find and follow me over there..

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  1. New neighbors moved in over the weekend so we made and delivered cookies! Hopefully they will be some new “clients” for Eloise’s babysitting business.
  2. Fernie the Bernie…(WE GOT A DOG…more later)…with her sweet sister in the van.
  3. Yoga #poseoftheday – I’ve been doing core work and daily stretches and yoga as I continue to get stronger as I recover from my running injury.
  4. Snow Day! We had 12″ of snow this week and had a blast in the snow.
  5. Matilda Jane launch week! Our new Spring line is available so I spent the week working my tail off. I’ve been a Trunk Keeper for almost nine years and love my job still every single day.

Linking up with Angela at Happy Fit Mama!

 

Have a great weekend

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Where I Give 15 Fs About 2016

This morning I woke up the same way that I wake up every morning. The cat is licking my face as my alarm goes off. I wonder if she really thinks I’ll forget to Feed her. Have I ever Forgotten to Feed her? I Feed her and I make sure the coffee is ready and then I work-out. After my work-out I drink copious amounts of coffee as I watch the morning news. I catch up on Facebook and Instagram and email, and then I wait for the Family to wake.

Just hours into the New Year, 2016 Feels the same. The cat, the coffee, the news, the work-out and the being First up for like always a million mornings later. I like the comfort in the routine and Familiar. I am not beyond Feeling like a toddler in my need for the predictable. Yet I don’t want to get comfortable in other ways. I want to step out of my comfort(and honestly, control) zone to be better and experience new. Just don’t mess with the First hours of my morning.

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2015 brought some big changes in many areas – Friends, Family, Fitness, Finances…and honestly had me using the big F word more than usual. And if you know me and my love for the big F word – well, wow that’s kind of a big deal to use it even more.

 

I’m not making resolutions here, because eFF that – so instead I’m using 15 F words that will define my life living Forward in 2016.

 

Focus – Like how I started writing this blog post on New Year’s Day..and here it is Five days later and I’m Finally Finishing it. Yeah, I need to work on this one. This Focus of putting First things First and prioritizing and letting go of the crap that’s not important. But I won’t be able to really Focus until I Finish Breaking Bad. Check back with me in a Few days after I binge watch the Final two seasons. Just tell me that cute Jesse is okay.

Family – Numero uno. But I can’t do this until I get clear Focus, right. That’s why I have it listed as number two. Family First and always. I love my people and they need to know it more. I mean sure I clean the house and cook their meals and make sure they have Folders and clean clothes. And I give hugs and kisses and encouragement and love. But I need to be more present for them when we are together. Whether it’s the now old cliche of putting my phone down, or maybe even watching the Minions for the 153rd time.

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Fun – Which brings me to Fun. I’m the heavy in our Family. The enforcer of the chores and the discipline. I run a tight ship and have high expectations of everyone. This will not change. But I do promise to have more Fun this year and always. We can all wear dirty clothing for a day if it means a few hours of sledding. More yes and less no.

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Fitness – I qualified for the Boston Marathon and am running it in April. I’m currently in a boot – so no running which totally sucks, but I’m coming back even stronger than before…trust me. My Fitness goals in 2016 are to get back into running shape with overall health and Future in mind…strong core, strong body, good choices. And by the end of 2016 I want to be in even better overall health and in stronger shape than I am in now. My goal is to write more about my Fitness journey in 2016 too. Hold me to that one, okay?

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F(ph)otography – My camera has taken a bit of a hiatus in recent years. I’m giving myself the time to explore and get to know my Friend Canon again in 2016. I need to stop worrying about perfect and just shoot.

Food – I have always watched what I eat, but I’m bringing my Family more into this in 2016. In 2015 I started “new recipe” Wednesday with the family – I cooked something completely new each Wednesday, and it was a huge success(maybe I should’ve blogged about it), so 2016 is continuing that as well as Focusing on cutting out more sugar and meat and processed items from everything we eat.

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Future – No looking back this year. The best is yet to come. Let’s celebrate and make an impact where we can – in tomorrow…not yesterday.

Friends – This is a BIG one For me in 2016. The older I get the more I know how important true Friends are. Yet how difficult it is to Find Friends at this age. We aren’t having babies anymore, we aren’t in college anymore, and I don’t have a workplace that I go to where I’m heading out to lunches with adults. But it’s Finding those true and easy Friends – through school or activities or book clubs or Facebook…AND making the time to have coffee or wine or even a phone conversation. Let’s all make the time For Friends this year. Friends Feed our soul differently than work or Family. Let’s celebrate and make time for that.

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Finances – Our BIG commitment for 2016. We made some huge Financial decisions in 2014 and 2015 – and now it’s time to continue moving Forward to ensure our Future retirement(EEK) as well as the kids’ Future is Funded. We will hold monthly Family Finance meetings and Focus on what’s important with our Finances. Full transparency as we move Forward is key.

(non)Fiction – I WILL write in 2016. It might not be here always, but I will write. I want to write a children’s book that I’ve had in draft for almost three years, and I will pitch some articles this year. I have Found that the less I write, the more scattered and unhappy my brain gets…so I need to do this. And I will.

Facebook – And all social media. I Find it can be such a time suck because I love to see you all – your Families, your pictures, your lives..and I love to support you all…but I need more balance here. I have already stepped away quite a bit and will continue to Focus my social media time better in 2016.

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Fly – We WILL take a Family vacation in 2016. We WILL continue to show our kids the world in 2016. We WILL Focus on our Finances better so this is our yearly goal as a Family – to invest in our Fun, our Future, and our global views moving Forward.

(give)Forward – I have applied for a local volunteer position and intend to dedicate more of my time in 2016 to giving Forward to others(more locally) in 2016. “No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank.

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(my aging)Face – Hey, guess what? I’m 47..and will be 48 in 2016. This happens. Yet, I like my Face in the here and now. I do. I like the lines that have come with time and experience. Even the lines on my arms and tummy – YES that happens too dear young people. But I love it. My Face scared me when I was 41-43 because I saw the changes from 37-39..but now, I think it’s kind of awesome. I don’t need to get carded. I can be somebody’s mom, and I can be old enough to be somebody’s mom in college, and I can be old enough to be your mom, or your grandma…and I’m totally zen with all of that. I take care of my body – good Food and Fitness..and well For my Face…not all the thousand dollar lotions in the world can stop time nor do I want to pay for treatments or surgeries or any of that Fake stuff. I own this Face and I love it – wrinkles, age spots, and randoms hairs and all. Also, wearing reading glasses on a date is incredibly sexy.

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F*ucks – And as with my Face..I just can’t give any F*ucks anymore with any bullshit. “I want real. I want true. If you don’t like me that’s on you.” – Tracy Morrison, 2016.

 

Happy 2016, my Friends. The best is yet to come.

“There is no passion to be Found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living” – Nelson Mandela

 

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Writing This Month

Only three more posts to go before November is over and I can stop this crazy blogging every day thing.

 

I’m barely making it in under the wire again tonight. I’m not sure where my days go, but they are busy. Now I know why I don’t write much anymore.

 

Anyway, here’s what I’ve learned so far this month:

  1. I am no longer a very good nighttime writer. I used to stay up late writing and doing research and reading other blogs. Also, my kids used to go to bed earlier so I had more time at night. Now my kids barely go to bed before I do – or even after I do. Writing at night no longer works.
  2. I no longer have time to write in the morning. I still get up by 5am each day – but after running and working out, then it’s on to breakfast making and lunch making and kids waking and seriously, there’s just no time to write unless I want to wake at 3:30am.
  3. I need to find a time during the day that I can shut out the noise of life and just write. If I still want to write.
  4. Writing IS harder if you don’t do it regularly. My sentences are ugly and choppy. Yuck. I hate reading my stuff right now.
  5. I don’t enjoy writing about my kids anymore. I now have a teenager, a tween, and a six year old – they can write about themselves if they want to share a story. I don’t feel like it’s my place to share here like I used to.
  6. I’m not sure if writing about fitness, fashion, and travel is that interesting? That’s kind of what I have left after kids and cats…so yeah.
  7. I wish I could write about home decor, but I’m so bad at it. Also, it’s expensive.
  8. Should I only blog about cats?
  9. Instagram is more fun than blogging.
  10. But I have missed my blog. I doubt I’ll continue to write each day, but I will make a better effort to write more than I have this year.

I do appreciate those of you who continue to stop by and believe in me. Okay, hitting publish….two more days to go!!!

 

xo

 

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Five For Friday

I’m linking up with Angela again this Friday!

 

Five Instagrams For A Friday:

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  1. #prayforparis I took this shot of The Eiffel Tower on Valentine’s Day 1999
  2. We took a family hike on Sunday. It was 60 degrees in November in Minnesota – CRAZY!!
  3. Mad for Plaid! LOVING all of the Fall offerings from Aventura this season! Love being an ambassador for them. I have coupon codes too – so now is the time to shop!
  4. Physical Training is going well and I’m getting stronger and faster! LOVE my wrap from Momentum Jewelry – 26.2 #boston2016 here I come!
  5. The holiday line from Matilda Jane Clothing is just dreamy – and these girls aren’t too shabby either! And cooperating for Holiday pictures no less!

Follow me on Instagram!

Five Posts For A Friday:

A lot has changed and happened since I posted last Friday. The world weeps as extremists terrorize the innocent. We need to weep along with them, yet let them know that we are not afraid. And we must continue to help the innocent.

 

The world is suffering the worst refugee crises in decades. One mother writes here about why we must all help and why.

 

Angela wrote one of my favorite things this week – nighttime running safety. I’ve written how I am one of those who actually prefers not to be seen as I’m more afraid of being attacked than of being hit by a car – and run knowing that I yield and give vehicles the right of way. Now that we’ve moved out of the city though – it’s DARK out here and I’m running like a Glow-Worm to see and be seen. Love her tips.

 

My dear friend Jennie lives just outside of Paris. Her family is safe and I love what she wrote this week. We continue to send love to her, her family, and her friends.

 

My friend Arnebya is a true gem, a brilliant writer, and just all around kick-ass person. What she wrote here about searching for love as a young girl hit hard and close to home…and now as a parent..whew.

 

And the best news all week – drinking coffee makes you live longer! So I believe I will live to be 526.

 

Happy Friday!

 

 

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Sundays

I had a hard time liking my family today. It can be hard to admit that sometimes. That no matter how much you love your family, sometimes…my god…

 

My husband frustrated me with his continued passive aggressive comments…and the dining room ceiling that is still not done.

 

My oldest for being OMG.SO.13. Seriously.

 

My middle for being lazy with her homework.

 

My youngest for whining more than she should.

 

One cat puked. Twice

 

The other cat bit my ankle. Four times.

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And yet – it was 60 degrees in a November, so we took a family hike to try to clear our minds and frustrations and attitudes.

 

And then I tried to take a 20 minute nap. But the cat wouldn’t get off me. He’s my least favorite today.

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I love my family. My family loves me. And I know there are days they don’t like me. Just like today they really got on my last nerve.

 

Tomorrow is thankfully another day.

 

It’s okay to be honest. Life isn’t Instagram-Perfect.

 

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Five Good Things On A Friday

I haven’t done a link-up in about three years – which is about three thousand years in blogging. But there is NO WAY I’m going to make it through November and 18 more days of blogging without a few link-ups, memes, and picture posts.

 

And this time I am actually thrilled to link-up for High Five Friday with Angela. She is an inspiration to me as a mom, athlete, and all around badass. I love following her on Instagram and on her blog. So go check her out. But come back here and say hi.

 

Five From Instagram. Here are five pictures from Instagram this week.

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  1. Family holiday picture outtake…I think Esther did a pretty dang good job behind the camera! Also…#manbun.
  2. My new Motivate Wrap from Momentum Jewelry. I LOVE it and haven’t taken it off in a week. I am thrilled to be a new ambassador for them!
  3. Ahem. Official confirmation of acceptance into the 2016 Boston Marathon!!!!!!!
  4. The view from my grandma’s hospice room in Duluth. She was moved to hospice on Monday. She is still holding strong, but prayers for peace would be loved right now.
  5. Typical morning in my family room – coffee, the morning news, and core work after my run. Trying to continue strengthening my core to be a stronger runner and avoid getting injured again.

You might want to follow me on Instagram as I do post more there than here or on Facebook.

 

Five Reads This Week. Okay – maybe some are from last week, but these are reads that I loved and you need to see.

  1. My dear friend Anna is HAVING A BABY! Do you know Anna? Everyone needs to know Anna. Her story. Her Family. Her book. I want Anna and her baby to be in my Five Awesome Things For a Friday every single Friday.
  2.  My friend Kerstin is 44 today! I love her list “What I know at 44.” It’s true that we never stop learning. I love that she never wants to work for someone else again. Amen, Sister! And Happy Happy Birthday!
  3. I adore Christine. Like I want to be college roommates with Christine. Do you think that is possible? I love everything that Christine writes, so I laughed a bit as I read her post about running with your significant other. Jed sometimes asks me if I want to run with him. Um, no…I don’t. I love you, but I don’t want to run with you. Ever. Is that weird? Read her post and you decide.
  4. I’ve become a bit obsessed with Fit Foodie Finds. Lee is a Minnesotan and is brilliant with her unique, healthy, and yummy recipes. I am totally making these Healthy Salted Caramel Cups this weekend.
  5. Get inspired by Kim Stemple who has a terminal illness and just ran the Marine Corp Marathon, yet gave her medal to her husband. Her organization We Finish Together has inspired thousands of runners to give their finishers medals to others.

Happy Friday – and leave a link to a favorite read this week!

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Your Story

Eloise and Esther are gone again tonight. I say again because they seem to be gone a lot lately – camps, classes, friends, hockey games, dance practices, homework in their bedrooms, facetiming with friends. So many times it’s just me, Jed and Astrid. We tell her that we are practicing for when her sisters go off to college and she will have us all to herself.

 

But what if by then she decides to choose her friends, her dance, her sports, her homework. Right now that doesn’t seem possible as she is six and loves to be exactly where we are.

 

Last night the three of us went out for a fancy French dinner.

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Tonight we caught up on a few Amazing Race episodes OnDemand. Jed and I tried out for The Amazing Race a few years back. Watching tonight we realized that we were never chosen as we don’t have a compelling story. Our lives are pretty beautifully boring.

 

So I said out loud “I guess we don’t have a story.”

 

To which Astrid replied “Everyone has a story, you just need to tell it better. Even I have a story that will be told one day. In fact if I write it in a diary and bury it, hundreds of years from now someone could dig it up and it would be a story told in a history class.”

 

So then I just sat there with my mouth hanging open a bit, and then I laughed and hugged her hard…because damn, that’s deep.

 

So I’m listening to my six year old tonight and I’m writing this story down in my blog. My blog – the place where I capture our stories so that maybe one day our great-grandkids will know our history. They will just have to figure out how to get it off the internet…because what will replace the internet in 60 years? Maybe it would just be easier to write it down and bury it. But what if they don’t have shovels in 60 years? Or dirt? Maybe I should tell them about the shovels and dirt and internet back in 2015. And OnDemand. Maybe I need to tell them about cable television, OnDemand and The Amazing Race.

 

Everyone has a story. Don’t forget to write yours down. Or type it. Or tell it to someone who remembers things…like your six year old.

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Cats In Costume

It’s Friday and only the 6th day of November with 24 days to go, and NaBloMeAgain is already giving me all of the guilt and crazy feelings, and empty head, and doubts. I just cannot imagine what November 26th will bring. Probably a one word post like…

 

THERE!!!

 

HAPPY?

 

WTF???

 

KALE!

 

CATS!!!

 

ALLTHECATS!!!(Totally is like ONE word!)

 

I’m already getting so desperate for content that I am considering doing several recipe posts. With pumpkin. Allthefuckingpumpkin.

 

Come read me next week for my Cooking With Cats series! Not that cats will be the ingredients….they will be the stirrers. But damn, no thumbs…

 

See, what can I write about? How I sold clothing? How I wore clothing? How I vacuumed. OMG I CAN talk about how I vacuumed because I just got a new vacuum and I love it! I must be almost 50, because I love my vacuum and tell everyone about it. I love vacuums, cats, and pumpkin recipes. My god. I might even take up knitting!

 

This will not end well.

 

I started this post with the simple intention to say “It’s Friday and I am DONE with this – so here are pictures of my cats in Halloween costumes.!”

 

In case you missed their pictures on Instagram – you’re welcome.

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And Crabby Gabby is famous as she was featured on EOnline last week.

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“How much do I hate you, let me count the ways…one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight…..”

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Oh wait – I have to do this again tomorrow….

 

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I Won’t Grow Up

I’m sitting in a chair in our bedroom. I’m hiding because it’s quiet here. Downstairs I hear more kids than are mine watching a movie and fixing snacks and still in their pajamas at nearly noon. I sit directly across from our newish bed. It’s an actual bed – with a headboard and a base for the mattress, and it’s the first bed we’ve owned together. We’ve slept on an old mattress from college – at times on the floor and at times on a $30 metal base – for our whole “been-together” life. Our dressers have been cardboard boxes or tubs or closet shelves or piles on the floor. We don’t own bedside tables or matching lamps or a fancy duvet cover with fancy pillows. But we bought a bed this year. Well actually, we didn’t buy the bed, Jed’s parents bought us the bed as a housewarming gift/maybe belated wedding gift for the wedding/reception that we never had. It’s ironic really that our parents bought our bed for us.

 

My parents have always had a full bedroom suite. My grandparents too. A sturdy headboard with shelves, a low and long dresser for her – with a mirror and shelves lined with flowery smelling powders and perfumes, and a tall dresser for him – top drawer meant for ties and cufflinks. I knew my grandparents and parents were “real” grown-ups because they owned a full bedroom suite. Also because their bedspreads even matched the curtains.

 

I’ve never owned curtains.

 

I believe our kids think we are frauds because of the lack of bedroom furniture. And we certainly don’t feel like grown-ups. (Also I just got my nose pierced last year and Jed has a man-bun….but I digress…) So I’m wondering if owning a real bed at 46 years old will somehow give us the credentials we need to feel like adults. I mean it certainly makes me sleep better and want to head to bed by 8:30 just like my grandparents did – so maybe that’s the secret. But it certainly doesn’t help us make some of the tough decisions that we have to make for our family

 

We’re deciding this week if our kids should change schools – which is major and hard and confusing and new and CHANGE and it’s not all up to the kids(because they would stay..because friends), but I hate being the one to insist and decide. I don’t want to be the one with the bedroom set. I want to camp out on a old mattress and go to bed late and worry about things tomorrow or not at all.

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I look back at the decisions we had to make when our girls were little – how small those decisions seem now in the scope of a long life. Those decisions were basic ones of just keeping a child alive, healthy and happy. Now we focus so much more on the emotional, social, mental, fulfilling needs of the whole person…and they can make their own snacks. This stage is much harder to parent.

 

There’s not a bedroom set nice enough to make me feel adult enough to help make some of the decisions that will need to be made over the next few years.

 

So I’ll just sit in denial in the chair in the corner of my room and online shop for a matching duvet cover and curtains. Nice curtains will certainly make being an adult easier.

 

Next up – watching Wheel of Fortune at 5:30pm, right after dinner. Then we will be ready to make all of the hard  parenting decisions.

 

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Sitting To Write

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
Henry David Thoreau

I’ve decided the only way I’m going to write again is to just do it. I have pages of journal entries from this summer. Most are one or two lines – blog post ideas, submission and stories ideas, quotes from the kids that I don’t want to forget, and then of course dozens of doodles. I’ve always been one to doodle flowers. The same flowers that I’ve drawn since I was about 10 years old when I first discovered the art of doodling during a boring lesson in class. I will go back to fifth grade notebooks and recognize my childish script that is crowded into the center with flowers filling the margins. My flowers always have five petals, a big center, a curvy stem and two leaves.  My artistic ability has not improved in these 35 years, nor has my want to draw something bigger or better. I’m happy with my flowers and the familiar.

 

So I sit content this summer not looking for the new. Not looking for that viral piece, that big break, that instagram picture with 100 likes. I sit here in the happy of my same and good. Yet instead of sitting, I’ve spent more time standing up and moving. And maybe a little time on a lounge chair by the pool.

 

Yet I sit here right now and try to write again. I’m at the breakfast bar that has become our family gathering place, our homework center, our meal eating area, and my desk, and I hear good things. Eloise is above me in the in living room playing the piano. A few years ago she learned Für Elise(the child version) and now is learning it again(for grown-ups) and she plays it again and again and again. She could play this for days and I would never tire of it just like my flower doodles that still make me smile. She misses a key and goes back and picks it up again and gets it perfect this time. It makes me want to stop typing and head to the couch to be near her and either close my eyes or read a good book that might match the rhythm of the music.

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Astrid goes between dancing in the living room – practicing her ballet positions and leaps to the piano music, and heading up to her bedroom to play with Calico Critters. During the summer she has created elaborate houses, roads, businesses and schools with her Critters. She can finally dress them and undress them and manipulate them as she wishes without assistance. She is six. And she is big enough to do anything by herself. It should make it easier for me to find time to write – this time of “no assistance” to her. But instead all I want to do is be near her for as many moments as I can while she is still little. She is still so very little.

 

Esther is in the other room with her iPhone. Yes, I said HER iPHONE – the original sin of parenting in the 21st century – getting your ten year old their own iPhone. Believe me, I never thought I would do it either. And I could go in depth on why we bought it for her – or I could write a list post about the top 10 reasons why our fifth grader needed an iPhone. But you know what, it doesn’t really matter as we just did what we felt needed to happen for our own family. Ain’t nobody got time to read posts about how my choices are better than your choices. They are just different. Or the same. Or whatever. So she’s currently in the rec room making videos with the cats. She’s trying to make them dance and do jumps and maybe even talk. I really have no clue – but she’s laughing and the cats seem happy. I mean, cats rarely seem happy – so they are as happy as cats can get. And all I want to do is shut this laptop down and go spy on her…and the cats.

 

Jed is at work. I’ve said that sentence about 1454 times in the past four months. Work is good. Work is busy. But by August I see how hard it has been for him. So when he’s here(which isn’t much) we all shut down and spend time together. Not a laptop or a phone has even come to bed this summer, and it’s been nice to unplug and see new life.

 

Fall is coming(I’d love to say Winter Is Coming – but fear of plagiarism you know), so there will be a shift. I will sit here alone. And it will be quiet. And my excuses for doodling flowers will be gone. And then I will sit and write about what it was like to stand and live. So I must go now as someone wants to play another song, dance with me, help with shooting a video, or just be given the ease and time to fall asleep together…early.

 

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What The Young Can Teach The Old About Social Media

I have spent the past week with tons of tweens and also with my parents and in-laws. It was dance recital time and our lives were filled with sequins and feathers and smiles and a few tears. But also with technology.

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Seven years ago when we started this dance recital thing, our bag was filled with bobby pins, hairspray and coloring books and parents taking quick pictures of their girls before the big show. Now it’s iPads and iPods and the girls taking selfies with their friends and even Facetiming with other friends to show off their costumes.

 

And in the background and the audience are the grandparents – now taking pictures with their own iPhones and iPads and digital cameras…excited to post pictures on their own Facebook pages.

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Eloise joined the social media world six months ago – and I consider it a process for all of us. As a parent, I thought I would be the teacher – monitoring her use, telling her to be nice, watching out for weirdos…but in truth, she has made me more accountable for my own behavior online.

 

I wrote this article several months back on my blog and am now crazy thrilled that it’s on The Washington Post. THE WASHINGTON POST!

 

What has your tween taught you this week? Mine has taught me what a pique is.

 

 

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On Writing

It’s been almost four months since I’ve really written anything. After seven years of blogging(yes, my blogging anniversary came and went last month without a mention from me), I’ve never been quiet for so long.

 

Even this morning, I actually sat down nearly three hours ago to write this post. I started this post exactly 12 times – but found other things to do…email, grocery lists, bills, laundry, paperwork, messaging friends on facebook, maybe crying a few times, talking to my mom on the phone. So then I would get back to this post and delete everything and start again.

 

Like now.

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This is not what I meant to write about. I’ve started posts about tweens and some troubles we are having. I’ve started posts about our move to the suburbs. I’ve started posts about buying Smashbox at Nordstroms. I’ve started posts about my cats. I’ve started posts about Easter and family. I’ve started posts about training and injuries. I’ve started posts about summer camp sign-ups. I’ve started posts about painting furniture. I’ve started posts about lice. I’ve started posts about books I’ve read. About going to Haiti again this Fall. I’ve started posts about Listen To Your Mother. I’ve started posts about being Pro-Choice and about politics. About morality vs. religion. Did I mention cats?

 

But instead I now sit here and write about writing. I know that I still need to write. I feel it deep and shallow inside of me when I don’t. A weird frustration that I cannot explain. Like if I don’t write soon, that I’ll just explode. Hitting publish on a post brings almost a sense of relief – both spiritually and physically that the words are out there to read and weave and I can move on to another thought.

 

Yet for nearly four months I cannot get the words down. They seem trite or meaningless. Already said or not important. Or maybe too personal and not to be shared.

 

And I now I’m teetering on the edge of unhappiness and what that brings – self-doubt and going to bed before I even tuck my kids in. And I know that I should be using my blog as my place to write and share and feel healthy again that my stories are worth something if even just to me. That’s enough. I need to stop over-thinking every word and every post for it’s virality and SEO and just go back and know that even if I can write 100 words and share 3 pictures – well that is still a story worth sharing.

 

I’m back. I think.

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What stops you from writing?

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A Letter To My 46 Year Old Self

December 22, 2054

 

My Dearest Tracy,

 

Happy 46th Birthday! I know what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking – whoa when your mother was 46 SHE WAS old. Because people in their 40s were OLD. And maybe you are even thinking as you drive by the colleges in your neighborhood that those college kids look about 13 years old and that you are MORE THAN OLD enough to be their mother. Also, you worry that they aren’t wearing a heavy enough coat for the weather.

 

Well get over it.

 

You should see what 86 looks like. Oh honey, you just cannot even imagine how it is when you feel about 29 years old inside and then you pass by a mirror and wonder who the hell that old person is with your eyes staring back at you. Well, by my age let’s just say that I’ve peed myself more times than I’d like to admit because of that scary old lady who now shows up in my reflection. And I know you’ve started to feel that way about yours. That you expect to see your perky 32 year old adult face. But now…

 

Yeah.

 

Well get over it.  Because at 86, well 46 is youthful. It’s the prime of your life. And it’s time you started enjoying it more. So here’s a little list of 10 things I want you to appreciate now and continue to think about as you age. Because things really start to go to shit eventually, and peeing yourself actually becomes such a minor inconvenience.

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1. See those wrinkles all over your face. Maybe starting down your neck. Oh honey – those are nothing. Just minor beautiful marks of age and wisdom. 40 years from now you might lose small kittens in your wrinkles as they are so deep. Please stop buying the latest and greatest creams and lotions and embrace this natural process. Spend your money on good wine and time with friends instead. Oh – and by the way you did it! You aged “gracefully” and “gratefully” if you will, and you never did do botox or get any nips and tucks that sadly continue to get more popular. The best remedy for wrinkles is laughter. Laugh more.

2. Do you remember the other day when your husband said “Hey Trace, you have a little chocolate smudge on your face?” And you were all like “DUDE – don’t touch my fucking face!” Yeah, because it wasn’t chocolate but an age spot that showed up on your cheek? Well maybe it’s time to just get used to people trying to wipe chocolate off of your face, because that is the first of many spots to appear. Also, this gives you an excuse to just eat all the damn chocolate that you want.

3. So your butt is starting to go south, huh? Oh poor dear. And your knees are saggy. You look down and wonder how your grandmother’s knees became attached to your body? You can run 50 miles a week(You DO!), do 1000 squats, yoga, CrossFit, and eat right – but gravity is REAL. Who gives a shit though, right? You are fabulous just how you are and it’s time to embrace it, and sure maybe giggle about your body at every age. And don’t bitch to me about gravity until your 32AA boobs miraculously reach your belly button. Think about that for a moment.

4. Sex. Have more. Sure it changes as you’re getting older. You’re tired because you ate dinner at 4pm and went to bed by 7pm. Or your kids never left home. Good news – yours DID leave home! Sure you don’t look like you did when you guys first met when you were 29, but who does. And who cares. Enjoy it while you’re still flexible and not worried about breaking a hip.

5. Don’t ever stop exercising. Ever. Little secret – you no longer run a marathon in under four hours – but you still run marathons. Exercise will always keep you young and fit and mentally present. I mean there was that one time you went for a run and kind of forgot where you were – but we are blaming that on menopause.

6. Don’t live in a world of denial and vanity – and just buy those damn reading glasses. Stop making your kids read everything for you, borrowing glasses from friends, just ordering the special, or stop reading all together. Embrace the readers. Get cool readers – hell even Anthropologie sells reading glasses. Don’t suffer and do without for vanity ever. Oh, by the way Anthropologie is no longer in business. I guess $200 velvet fedoras adorned with vegan leather plumes are no longer in fashion.

7. Wear whatever the hell you want to wear. Except purple. Don’t ever wear old lady purple or a damn red hat. There’s not an age when you should not wear certain items – short skirts, tank tops, bikinis, high heels. Wear what you are comfortable wearing and show off those amazing legs for as long as you want to, dammit. Societal rules be damned. Sport that bikini if you want to. The human body is gorgeous – in all of its imperfections, wrinkles, and sags. Embrace it and never cover up the grace and beauty of aging. Flaunt it and live a wonderful life without worrying about comparing, covering, or cowering.

8. Travel more – sorry, even if it means going into debt. Even if it means blowing all of your retirement savings and pissing off your children because you will leave them with nothing. Even if it means living in a one room apartment with your 40 cats. The only way to really continue to understand the world is to see the world. Don’t stop taking the journeys your started in your 20s – because by your 80s you still won’t have seen it all. But try. Continue to travel to help others. Continue to travel to experience new places, cultures, and food. Continue to travel to unwind and touch all of the oceans.

9. I hate to tell you this – but this whole internet things just continues to get bigger – with more and easier ways to connect with friends and strangers. Don’t ever be a stranger to technology. You can talk about the good old days when Facebook was all the rage for the middle aged people. But it’s not anymore. In fact there’s a Facebook museum thing you can visit and pull up your wall from 2015. It’s adorable. Stay current – it keeps your mind sharp and makes it easy to spy on your grandkids.

10. Keep trying new things. Don’t ever get set in your ways. I see it starting for you already. People are interesting creatures how they migrate to what is easy and comfortable. Don’t do that. Don’t atrophy your body, spirit or mind by routine and the predictable. Try new things, go new places, have sex at 2pm on a Thursday, take up snowboarding, go back to school and learn something new. Read new and more books. Give back to others in new ways. Challenge yourself.

 

Honey, you have 60 more years of a beautiful life to live. 46 is still young with years left to discover the beauty of yourself and the world. Don’t let the mirror scare you or control you – because what we have to give – our human gifts – come from the inside. And that my dear is still oh so young and fresh and ready to do big things.

 

Live a good, honest, big life. The best is yet to come. No regrets. Hell – that tattoo you get for your 65th birthday is still your favorite.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Tracy.

 

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Listen To Your Mother 2015

A HUGE announcement was made yesterday! LTYM announced their 2015 season with 39 cities!

 

And the Twin Cities will be back again for our THIRD show! Watch for dates, sponsorship opportunities, and information on submissions soon! We cannot wait to read and share your words that continue to give Motherhood A Microphone!!

 

The talented and incredible women that we have met over the past two seasons leave me verklempt – and with friends for life as we continue to connect and inspire each other to write more and share more.

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And I couldn’t live without my partners in crime(and in production) Galit and Vikki. My sisters in this journey. May we one day bring LTYM to a beach in Costa Rica where we can enjoy margaritas and an outdoor venue and a motto of pura vida..and no worries of making anyone mac-n-cheese. Love these ladies.

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You must watch the 2015 LTYM announcement video – and watch for details about a show near you soon.

 

And in case you can’t wait to hear all of the new pieces read – well go back and watch 2014 and 2013. Grab some tissues.

 

Happy almost 2015!!!

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Apple Picking

Astrid sat in the wagon like she always has. Esther typically does too. And then Eloise pushes or pulls and I do the other. It’s quite a climb up the hill from the barn and packing lot up to the lines of trees. Esther starting getting in and I told her that I would try, but didn’t think I could get the old and heavy wagon and both of them up the hill by myself. And half way up the hill Esther could tell I was struggling. She jumped out, got behind the wagon, and pushed Astrid up the big hill. I looked back at her to search her face – was she sad to not ride? But instead I found her smiling and asking Astrid if she enjoyed the ride. She looked proud. Big.

 

For the first time ever we went apple picking without Eloise. This is happening more and more. She’s invited to go places with friends. She has dance. She has to study. She wants to stay home by herself more.

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She turns 12 soon. And we all feel it. This middle school shift of her priorities.

 

Last weekend she went away for the whole weekend to a cabin with a friend. I asked her if she wanted us to wait to pick apples and pumpkins until she returned. But she told us no, to go ahead without her. Her request was that we pick out the largest pumpkin for her, and to pick a good amount of honey crisp for her to eat when she returned on Sunday.

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So we went without her. Reluctantly. She is always the one to grab Astrid’s hand and lead her around the farm – to feed the chickens, see the horse, jump in the hay, and to find the best pumpkin. She lifts her to pick the best apples, and she’d blow on her cider to get it cool enough to drink. Always the biggest sister and caretaker.

 

And I wasn’t sure how this day would go with this hole in our foursome.

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But Esther stepped up as the biggest sister. She held hands and helped. She jumped and ran and helped with snacks. The girls picked the best apples – talking about which ones Eloise would eat. And when we entered the pumpkin patch – I could hear them saying that they’d make sure Eloise’s pumpkin would be the biggest.

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It was okay. But my pictures still show something missing. Just like a part of my heart was gone that day.

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But it’s a dynamic we have to get used to. Because pretty soon she’ll be gone more than home…and then Esther too. And in 13 years will I still go to the orchard to pick apples?

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I guess maybe. But it will probably be without my camera.

 

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What We Keep

At about 3pm today I sat here in the family room just completely broken. Astrid was demanding my time – asking for scissors, or for me to look at a picture she made, or for clean socks, or something. But I just shushed her again and again. I put my hand up to keep her back.

 

So I could hear.

 

I had invited her to sit on my lap and watch and listen with me  – but the people on the screen didn’t interest her.

 

So I sat and watched and listened to history. My history. Their history. Our history. And I sobbed. Big loud and heavy tears type sobbing.

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As I was cleaning out our books and movies and music, I found the DVD that my uncle had burned from the video at my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary party in 1997.  I had never watched it before. I put it in and there on my screen were my grandparents. Just as I remember them. Now both gone, but there all of a sudden in front of me and so full of life like always.

 

I smiled and stood up to touch the screen at the place where I could touch my grandpa’s face. I used to sit on his lap and stroke his face – the whiskers and wrinkles – as he would hold me tight on his lap.

 

I watched the two of them making jokes with each other. Flirting like they always did. Making jokes with the Priest as he blessed their marriage again.

 

My tears were of joy because there they were in my home. Them. Their voices. Their friends. Alive.

 

But soon my hand covered my mouth to try to catch my first sob when I heard her laugh.

 

And I cry again now just typing that. When we talk about saving things as a memory – books, pictures, letters, trinkets – nothing I have of my grandma’s can truly bring her to a place of peace and love in heart. Nothing brings her back to be with me. NOTHING can replace the love she gave to everyone. There’s this void that I’ve felt for nearly nine years since she left us.

 

And at 3:11pm today I realized what it was.

 

Her laughter. Her laugh is like no other laugh. This quiet lady had such a big laugh. Unique laugh. Often laugh. And I sat here today hitting rewind -play- pause-rewind  – over and over and over again just to hear her laugh.

 

“It’s here, Astrid – It’s here – SHE’s here!” I kept saying again and again and again. “She’s right here! We have her. We can have her forever because we still have her laugh!”

 

And Astrid snuggled in my lap for a few minutes to listen and to meet the great-grandma that she never knew.

 

The anniversary party soon faded to black and I turned the TV off. My tears continued to fall and I kept wiping and wiping and wiping to no avail. I hugged Astrid tight and tried to make plans to capture more moments like that video. Now we capture such small snippets of life with our phones. But are we capturing what’s really important.  Are we capturing what their grandchildren will want to see and hear one day. They’ll want to remember what she was really like – when she hugged them, when she laughed, when she told funny stories.

 

It’s hard to guess what could capture that. Because loved ones leave us with these odd material things – furniture, linens, letters. But none of that matters because it’s not them. This helped me today as I made hard decisions to toss or keep. Because I know I have what’s really important. My grandma’s laughter forever in my heart.

 

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Welcome to November And NaBloPoMo

I decided to blog every single day in 2014. Do you remember that promise? Well I made it exactly two months and then quit. Because ain’t nobody got time for that. Well actually some people do – OMG – but I don’t. Yet I loved blogging everyday as it gave me a reason to sit down and clear my mind and write. Sometimes my writing wasn’t have bad. Sometimes my writing was just a bunch of random words about the day. Sometimes my writing was not really writing at all – but pictures of life. And sometimes I probably made some shit up. But every day I sat down and published something.

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So for November, I’m joining up with hundreds of other bloggers and BlogHer who promise to write every day for the month. And here I am with only about two hours before the end of day one and I’m struggling to get a post up. Because time. Where does the time go.

 

I’ll freely admit that I’m having a tough time writing lately. Time is not on my side. I’m being pulled and pushed in so many directions, and with my traveling over the last few months I am so behind in just everything. And then today we went and made a HUGE life-changing decision and I have even more on my plate – so hey, let’s also add blogging every day.

 

But I think I’ll need this outlet and enjoy this outlet again. To share more again. To give you tidbits and slices of our daily doings. And to give another excuse to get my camera out again.

 

And it’s time I get my blogging mojo back and enjoy it again like I really used to. And I bet with daily blogging that discipline will help me get the rest of my life some organization and discipline. Hey, maybe I’ll get laundry put away!

 

Or maybe not – instead maybe I’ll just spend the whole day putting on make-up for Halloween. And then wonder why I never get things done.

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Maybe prioritization is my issue? And this blogging every day is really bad idea?

 

Nah, that can’t be my problem.

 

But if you don’t see a post up one day and it’s pushing midnight – holy heck message me. Because I will probably be online shopping or binge watching Scandal or something equally as important.

 

 

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