Monday, January 30, 2012


I feel like I haven't posted in forever. And it's not that the creative juices haven't been flowing. In fact, it's the exact opposite. I've been focusing on a few other things the past week or so, and its been fun. I have some exciting news to share, but not just yet. Nick is helping me work out some details and fine tuning, but then I swear, you'll be the first to know.

One thing I can tell you is that I've made the switch from shooting AV to MANUAL! I don't know what I've been so scared of all this time. It's super easy. And puts me in even more control of my photos, which I love. Next step? Editing. That's in the works too. I've had some super sweet photographers/friends share their knowledge with me, and I've been so grateful. As if I didn't take a gazillion pictures of my kids before, I will now. Except they'll be even better. Awesome.


We finally took the plunge and are adding a shower to our upstairs bathroom. Yes, that's right, for the last ninety five years there has only been a claw foot tub upstairs, and a lone shower down in the cold basement. It's just become one of those things that we got used to, doesn't faze us much anymore. Except that its freezing downstairs, so hot, hot showers are a must. The family that we bought this house from lived here for twenty seven years, and had five kids. Three of which were girls. I don't know how they managed to bathe/shower seven people everyday. But anyways, yes, this shower, it's gonna be grand.

One thing that's for sure is that there is no wasted space in our house. There are nooks and crannies and closets everywhere. This is the closet that is off the bathroom. Used primarily as a catch all and necessary storage.

We cleaned it out and it looked like this.

I love this picture. My little ballerina girl twirling around before dance class that morning. Seeing that empty space actually made me really sad. Kinda like someone sucker punched me in the gut. Because it reminded me that there will be a day when we leave this house. When the walls and floors will be bare. I love this house so much. It has been so good to us. I have deeply rooted myself here, and this house is a part of who I am. But we came in here knowing it was a stepping stone, that our real dreams were awaiting elsewhere. That day could come very soon, or it could be many more years down the road. We know that when the time is right, our forever home will find us, and well, we'll be called to go.

Regaining composure...Any who, that room now looks like this.

With plans to soon look like this.

That's one heck of a shower. But come on, six years of showering in the basement. We deserve this.


There's not much rhyme or reason to the next photos to come, so I'm just gonna dump 'em, Snippet style.

Awesome hair.

Love him.

Sink baths are back in style as the work goes on upstairs.

Nugget. Excuse me, Ariel. The mermaid love continues.

Too hungry to wait for lunch.

Nugget and her bff, Avery. Whoops, I mean Ariel and Sleeping Beauty.
For the love of reading. One of life's greatest gifts.

We keep missing our opportunity to go out and make a snowman. This is what you get when you don't jump on the snowfall.
Pathetic? Yes. Awesome to a three year old? Indeed. All that matters.
Happy Monday, friends.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I'm needing a little pick me up today, so thought I'd jump on board with Lemonade Makin' Mama and focus on the positives.


Currently loving... the snow. It finally feels like winter here, and it's only nearing the end of January. Ha.

Currently reading... US Weekly, Parents, Parenting, and Family Fun. Wish there was time for a novel.

Currently wishing...I could go to craft weekend.

Currently excited about...our upstairs bathroom remodel. I've showered in a cold basement for the last six years. No more, my friends, no more.

Currently missing... time for myself.

Currently improve my photo skills.

Currently working at...finding a balance for it all.

Currently enjoying...Mother's Milk organic tea with honey.

Currently snacking on...trail mix.

Currently using...Coconut Lemongrass lip balm from here. Its super silky smooth and makes me think of summer.

Currently pants. Would you expect anything else?

Currently planning...Brother's first birthday party. Only three more weeks!

Currently signing...'Three Little Birds' by Renee and Jeremy.

Currently needing...a new broom. Nick used ours to kill a bat the other night. Apparently we stirred some things up with our bathroom demo this weekend. Nasty.

Currently sew. This makes me especially happy.

Currently listening to...nothing. Pure silence, except the clicks of my keyboard. Love it.

Currently doing...lots of crafting.

Currently praying for...peace. patience. my family.

Currently dreaming of...a girls date with my Nugget.

What are YOU currently up to?

Friday, January 20, 2012


A friend shared this today on Facebook, and it is so dead-on that I just had to pass it along.

You can read it here, but it's that good that I'm copying it below too.


Friendly Fire
Written by Glennon Melton

I recently heard a vicious radio debate between women who believe that mothers should stay home and others who believe that mothers should work outside the home. All the debaters were mothers themselves.

As I listened wearily while ducking and dodging the ladies' sucker punches like a cornered boxer, I thought... this is really getting old.

I've been both a "working" and a "stay-at-home" mom so I've experienced both sides of the internal and eternal debate moms endure all day, every day. When I worked outside my house, Mommy Guilt rode shotgun with me each morning, chiding me for dropping off my sick boy at day care instead of keeping him home and for rocking him the night before instead of preparing for work. When I got to work each day Mommy Guilt whispered that a good mom would still be at home with her son and when I returned home she'd insist that a better teacher would have stayed at work longer. When I'd visit girlfriends who stayed home, Mommy Guilt would say "See... this lady's doing it right. Her kids are better off than yours are." And Mommy Guilt certainly had a lot to say when Chase's day care provider admitted that he had taken his first steps while I was working. Every night when I finally got Chase to sleep, finished grading papers, and collapsed into the couch, Mommy Guilt would snuggle up next to me and sweetly say "shouldn't you spend some quality time with your husband instead of checking out?" And finally, before I fell asleep each night, Mommy Guilt would whisper in my ear, "YOU KNOW, THE ONLY WAY YOU'RE GOING TO BE A GOOD MOTHER AND WIFE IS IF YOU QUIT YOUR JOB AND STAY HOME."

And so now I'm a stay-at-home mom. And the thing is that Mommy Guilt stays home with me. These days I experience her less as a drive-by-shooter and more as a constant commentator. Now she sounds like this:

"Did you go to all three of those college classes just so you could clean the kitchen and play Candy Land all day? And how is it that you don't even do those things very well? Can you concentrate on nothing? Look at this mess! A good mom would clean more and play less. Also, a good mom would clean less and play more. Also a good mom would clean more and play more and quit emailing altogether. Additionally, I've been meaning to ask if you're sure you feel comfortable spending so much money when you don't even make any. Moreover, when was the last time you volunteered at Chase's school? What kind of stay at home mom doesn't go to PTA meetings or know how to make lasagna? Furthermore, nobody in this house appreciates you."

My favorite, though, is that when I finally do sit down, concentrate on one of my kids, and read a few books all the way through... instead of saying "Good job!" Mommy Guilt says, "See how happy your daughter is? You're home all day...why don't you do this more often?"

And of course, before I go to sleep every night she whispers... "YOU KNOW, MAYBE YOU'D BE A BETTER MOTHER AND WOMAN IF YOU COULD JUST GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND WORK."

Mommy Guilt is like that scene from "Liar Liar" in which Jim Carrey enters a bathroom, throws himself against the walls, slams his head into the toilet, and rubs soap into his eyes. When a confused observer asks what on Earth he's doing he says, "I WAS KICKIN' MY ASS! DO YA MIND?"

I understand the act of kicking one's own ass. I do it all the time.

What I don't understand is why some ladies insist on making everything worse by kicking each other's asses.

To the women who argue vehemently that all "good mothers" stay at home: Are you nuts? If you got your way, who would show my daughters that some women actually change out of yoga pants and into scrubs and police uniforms and power suits each day? How would my girls even know that women who don't feel like carrying diaper bags can carry briefcases or stethoscopes instead...or also? How, pray tell, could I tell them with a straight face that they can grow up to be whatever they want to be?

And to the women who argue that all stay home mothers damage women's liberation: Are you nuts? Aren't you causing some damage by suggesting that we all must fit into a category, that women are a cause instead of individuals? And doesn't choosing to spend your limited time and energy attacking "us" set "us" back? But for argument's sake, what if you got your way and every mother was required to work outside of the home? What would that mean to ME? Who would volunteer to lead my son's reading group at school, host his class party, plan his Sunday school lesson or wait with him in the parking lot when I forget to pick him up? Who would watch my daughter while the baby gets her shots? Who would knock on my door and tell me that my keys are still in the front door, the doors to my van are open, and my purse is in the driveway?

And if every woman made the same decision, how would my children learn that sometimes motherhood looks like going to work to put food on the table or stay sane or share your gifts or because you want to work and you've earned that right. And that other times motherhood looks like staying home for all of the exact same reasons.

As far as I can tell, no matter what decision a woman makes, she's offering an invaluable gift to my daughters and me. So I'd like to thank all of you. Because I'm not necessarily trying to raise an executive or a mommy. I'm trying to raise a woman. And there are as many different right ways to be a woman as there are women.

So, angry, debating ladies... here's the thing. My daughter is watching me AND you to learn what it means to be a woman. And I'd like her to learn that a woman's value is determined less by her career choices and more by how she treats other women, in particular, women who are different than she is. I'd like her to learn that her strength is defined by her honesty and her ability to exist in grey areas without succumbing to masking her insecurities with generalizations or accusations. And I'd like her to learn that the only way to be both graceful and powerful is to dance among the endless definitions of the word woman... and to refuse to organize women into categories, to view ideas in black and white, or to choose sides and come out swinging. Because being a woman is not that easy, and it's not that hard.

And speaking of "Liar Liar" - angry debating ladies . . . when you yell about how much peace you have with your decisions, it just doesn't ring true. The thing is, if you're yelling, I don't believe that you've got it all figured out. I don't even believe that YOU believe you've got it all figured out. I think your problem might be that you're as internally conflicted as the rest of us about your choices. But instead of kicking your own ass, you've decided it'd be easier to kick ours.

Which is tempting, but also wrong.

So, maybe instead of tearing each other up, we could each admit that we're a bit torn up about our choices, or lack thereof. And we could offer each other a shoulder or a hand. And then maybe our girls would see what it really means to be a woman.


Thursday, January 19, 2012


How did we get here so fast? It is really starting to sink in that my baby will turn one in just a few short weeks. Wow. I remember with Nugget I was so sad at how quickly she was growing and changing. I was excited for each new milestone, but also saddened that is was all happening so fast. For whatever reason, it's been different with Brother. It's true I can't believe he is almost one....I can relive his birth day in my mind like it was yesterday. But I'm also really happy he is growing, changing, and learning new things every day. And I'm here to see every second of it. I think that's the kicker. After Nugget was born, I went back to teaching. I battled myself everyday to find the balance between being a mom and a teacher. I never did find that balance. So now I'm just a Mama. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Here's what's new with Mister Happy at 11 months:

*He signs for 'eat'. Except he forgets the whole hand gesture part and just clicks his tongue. We get it. That's the whole point of it, right, that he can communicate with us?

*Says Mama and Dada, and lots of other various screams and noises to let us know what he wants.

*LOVES to read. Several times a day he will crawl over to one of our baskets and pull out all the books one by one, look at them and turn the pages. He especially likes the touch-and-feel variety and ones that play music. His current favs are Welcome Winter and Baby Beluga.

*He is walking with the help of Mama/Dada and anything he can push around, like a chair or step stool.

*He has just started pointing to things within the last day or two.

*Gives Mama eskimo kisses. Except it's more like banging his forehead against mine while he shakes his head back and forth. But I love it.

*Tooth #8 is making the slightest appearance on the bottom right.

*Some of his favorite activities are eating (seriously, the kid can pack it away), taking a bath, brushing his teeth, chewing on Mama's wallet, taking all the letter and animal magnets off the fridge, climbing on things, banging blocks together, and playing with Sissy.

*He has been a great sleeper lately. He takes a morning and afternoon nap, both anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 hours, and sleeps a solid 12 hours at night. Wish I could say I was sleeping great too, but now I find myself staying up even later to take full advantage of the down time.

*Nursing is still going strong, although he definitely nurses better first thing in the morning and again before bed. Daytime feedings are hit or miss, it depends on how distracted he is. I will obviously continue until he is one, and then we'll just see how it goes from there. I'm hoping he'll just sort of wean himself. I'm a little anxious to reclaim my boobies, but I also really cherish that time with him so I'm sure I will be a little sad when it ends. We shall see. Made it to 14 months with Nugget.

*He's digging his new big boy car seat, although I miss the whole 'Who cares if he falls asleep in the car' thing. That, and now having to dress him in a jacket every time we leave the house. Those car seat covers are so slick. Guess I'll just have to deal.

Hard to believe I'll be back here in no time posting about his big celebration. But it makes me happy too. He is such a joy in our lives; I can't even remember the days without him. We hoped for him, prayed for him, yearned for him. He's been nothing but a blessing. Love.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Here's a peek into our lives the past week or two...

Nugget's dance class resumed after a three week break. She goes to class on Saturday mornings, and it just so happened that Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve both fell on Saturdays. Go figure. Anyway, her first class back was 'parent watch week'. Too long of a break coupled with a bunch of people watching her was enough to send my girl into her recluse. Needless to say, she mostly watched her class dance, instead of showing off her killer moves.

 She still makes for one cute little ballerina.

 I swear, this is the only day of the week she allows me to do her hair.
And a high bun is the request each week.

 Daddy's attempts to get her to participate.

Since Sissy wasn't dancing, Brother wanted to hop in and take her spot.

The Little Mister getting into some mischief...

Why is this so fascinating? Pull out all the wipes, suck on a few, Mom cleans them up, repeat.

I was about to break my back lugging Brother around in his car seat and hoisting him up into the car, so it was time for an upgrade...

And we discovered a new love to keep us busy on gym at the local gymnastics club. The best six bucks I'll spend all week. And FYI, lighting in a large tin shed sucks. Just sayin'.

 He sits like this all the time. Just waiting for the day when he'll stand up and take off walking!

Funny how a year ago when she actually took lessons here, she was terrified of the rope swing.
Now it's one of her favorites.

Brother can't get enough of bouncing himself on the trampoline.

A random fact you may or may not know about dad and I were both gymnasts. I think my dad will get a kick out of these next ones (Hi Dad!)...

 Mounting the bar.

 'That was cool, right Mom? Yay! Clap for me!'

 Waving to his fans, aka Mom.

And the dismount.

The kid has potential. Maybe not quite a 10.0 for difficulty, but definitely for cuteness.

Alright, that's all for now. Happy hump day.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Thursday was Nick's birthday. He turned thirty. 3-0. Wow. Where does time go? It's kinda crazy to think that my husband is thirty, and in just five quick months it will be my turn to join the club too. Why is it that we're supposed to feel old at this point in our lives? We feel anything but old. Our lives are just beginning, we have so many hopes and dreams and accomplishments awaiting us still. I feel like the pages of our book have just started to turn, still crisp and new. We are not old and worn and tattered. We have lots of livin' left to do. I guess it's true what they say, you are only as old as you feel.

 I am so proud of who he has become in his first thirty years of life. I know that he has many more great things to achieve, to strive for, to accomplish. Heck, he's done quite a bit already. But one of the things I admire most about him is that he's not happy with settling. He is always striving to do better, to accomlish more, to be more efficient, to work harder and smarter. He inspires me in so many ways, and I am honored that he is my partner in life.

It only seemed fitting that we celebrated this birthday BIG. Like three days worth of celebrating kind of big. He is so deserving and it was so much fun. The kids and I surprised him on Friday by taking him to downtown St. Paul to Heimie's Haberdashery. He mentioned once a long time ago that he would like to go there and get an old fashioned stright razor shave. Thankfully I have a memory sharp as a tack, and recalled that special wish for his birthday.

I have to tell you that the store was so cool. It felt like we were stepping back in time. It was everything Nick had hoped it would be. It was great to watch him getting pampered, as he is always the one pampering me.

Afterwards, we took him to lunch at Great Waters Brewery. It seemed fitting since we gave him a home brew kit the day before.

Saturday brought lots of fun with lots of great friends. Nick organized an ice fishing event with a bunch of his buddies, and the kids and I stopped out for a bit.

Collectively, they caught one fish, but I guess that's better than none, right?

Despite the cold, the kids had fun visiting Daddy out on the ice. New snow was falling, each flake perfectly delicate and unique as they kissed my babies cheeks. How can a Mama resist?

We made the rounds and checked out all the set ups before heading home for naps.

Afterwards, we invited everyone back over to our house for a traditional Czech dinner and hanging out. The food was delicious and we stayed up waaay to late, but it was so worth it. You only turn thirty once.

Happy Birthday to the greatest man I know, and remember that you're only as old as you feel. I am honored to spend all my days with him, and look forward to what the next thirty years have in store for us.