Monday, November 29, 2010


This year I’m going to enjoy the journey from Thanksgiving to Christmas. There, I've said it. Now the difficult part.... remembering to put that idea into practice!
Here’s to a meaningful holiday season where the small moments (the important ones that make up real life) are enjoyed and tucked safely away.
To gift giving that is more about the intention of doing something special for loved ones than the gift itself.
To the cookies and delectable treats prepared with the help of little hands, and not worrying about the mess made in the process.
Here’s to the partridge in the pear tree.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Secret & A Question

On my way home from the office today, I heard a story on the radio that had me wondering a number of things.

First off, I feel compelled to tell you my dirty little secret. I listen to NPR. Yes, that’s right, National Public Radio. Don’t judge.

I left the office early tonight because the weather was bad. It was the kind of icy-winter-weather-advisory bad that makes me want to snuggle up on the sofa. Not only was I listening earlier than usual, I was able to listen longer than usual. The programming was not what I normally get to enjoy.

The story was about snakes. But not just your run-of-the-mill snake, the story was about flying snakes. The researcher who was studying how these snakes fly was being interviewed. He said the following: “…the snakes leap from the branch of a tree and can fly up to 800 feet. They flatten themselves out from the back of their head to the start of their tail....”

Creepy, right? Snakes are bad enough, but now they will not only slither-up on you, they’re going to fly at you from as far away as 2 football field lengths.

But my first question is the leaping part. In order to leap, don’t you have to have legs, or at the very least, feet? And what’s this business of flattening themselves ‘…from the back of their head to the start of their tail.’? Aren’t snakes ALL tail?

I’m more than a little disturbed by all of this. So... if anyone has recently discovered snakes in their house... it may be a good idea to make a second story window wasn't left open. Apparently, the snake could have flown in.

Forget Me Not

The Minnesota weather this week belies the fact that it is indeed only November and Thanksgiving is only two days away. (My Christmas tree softly glowing in the next room doesn’t help either.) Despite the chilly weather and the excitement that the impending Christmas holiday brings, Thanksgiving is important and I am guilty of not giving it the space, the deserved attention, it is due.
I am thankful for much. I’m thankful for people. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you are one of the blessings that I have counted.
Life is not idyllic. It is real. I like real. My house is chaos most of the time. At any given time there is someone yelling. There are tears. There are crumbs and something sticky on the floor. There is laundry… (*sigh*) … so much laundry.
There is also laugher. There are sweet moments between siblings. There are kisses. There are hugs. There is love. I am thankful for all of these things, and so much more.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Forbidden Fruit

The saying goes, "There is more than one way to skin a cat." As gruesome as that sounds, it’s nothing compared to the sound a little boy makes when his sister unwittingly picks up and chews on one of his toys.

Let's forget for a moment that the little boy in question has several tractors. And that at any given time, he's horded more around him than he can possibly play with at once. None of that matters, because this tractor is the favorite one he isn’t currently holding.

Dear reader, I’m sure you can almost hear the sound that was made at the moment Ellie touched the beloved farm implement. The sound was so much more than loud. My alarming new case of tinnitus is proof. And in case you’re wondering, two crying children can almost harmonize. Maybe that’s how Donnie and Marie got started?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Free to a Good Home

It started out as a mealworm. The little guy came home from school in a plastic tube filled with oatmeal, back in early October. I didn’t think much of it. To tell you the truth, I forgot all about it. So you can imagine my surprise when I went to grab the phone book out of the drawer today, and much to my dismay, found the tube. It no longer contained a little worm. Now we’ve got a big, black, UGLY beetle.
Gavin told me what the beetle was called… but to tell you the truth I wasn’t listening. I was too horrified by the bug. (Did I mention that it’s large?) Don’t get me wrong. I’m very impressed that Gavin remembered what it was, and knew so much about it. He also informed me that these particular bugs need to live in the dark. Perfect. Not only is this bug big and ugly, but it’s more comfortable in an environment where it can sneak up on the humans. (I’m sure it’s plotting an escape now.)
So now what? What am I supposed to do with the oatmeal eating bug that needs to live in my dark phone book drawer? I can’t leave it there. That just doesn’t seem right. I thought about releasing it into the wild… but with a high temperature of 29 degrees today, that didn’t seem right either.
So, if you are looking for a low maintenance pet... have I got a deal for you!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Traveling for work can be wearying. Driving to the airport, waiting to board, waiting to take off, waiting to land, schlepping to the rental car, finding a place to park the car in the full hotel lot at midnight, ironing the clothes that I'd wear in too few hours and finally settling in to try to sleep. Waking groggily in the morning after too few hours of rest and nervously preparing to do justice the work done by 10 people the months prior.
It's glorious when the rental car is returned, the boarding pass is printed and the TSA agents are checking the poor fellow behind you. (Or the poor fellow's behind. Can you believe those scanning machines?) The seats on the airplane seem softer and the flight seems shorter. The drive home is cheerful.

No matter how long the trip, how tiring the trip... getting home is glorious. With these rosy cheeks waiting for me, how could it not?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Boys will be boys?

I may never understand little boys.

I should be offended that Benett will lick a dirty pumpkin or eat crumbs from the kitchen floor without a thought. But when it comes to eating a meal. Something that I've actually prepared, he refuses. Vehemently refuses.

He would rather lick a gourd and scavenge from the floor than eat my cooking. I should be offended. But I'm not. Why? Well, little boys grow into men. And if Benett is anything like his father, he will try my cooking and smile. He'll tell me how much he likes it despite the fact that I know he doesn't. And I'll love him for pretending. Until he has a bowl of cereal later.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Barn Raising

When we decided to have a home built, Monte and I knew we wanted to be in the country. There is something about the air here. It's fresher. Except when it's not.... maybe it's not so much the freshness of the air but rather the wide openness of it all.

For me, as much as the house, I was looking forward to the little barn. After all, you can't live in the country and not have a barn.

We commissioned Ryan to help us raise our little barn. It was satisfying to see it happen little by little. Gavin was small at the time, but he even got to help in the process. His little hand prints are in the cement floor. I love those little hand marks.

The barn has been standing for a few years now. As the years have passed, our barn has weathered. The paint is chipping in places. The weather has added character... like the weathered hands of a farmer. But like the weathered hands of a loved one, the barn is comfortable. The chipping paint makes it feel... right.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Boy

I love this child. He is genuine. He throws himself at whatever it is he’s doing with complete abandon. No trading for this boy…. Nope, he gives away his silly bands. He is brimming with love and compassion. He is good at math. When I grow up, I want to be like him.
Gavin is full of energy. He is full of the dickens. He loves to tease his brother. He schemes and ponders and asks questions like, “Mommy, what if our house was hit by a shooting star? Would we still get the wish?” He makes me laugh, even when I’m so mad I could spontaneously combust.
How does he know so much? I'm fairly certain that Gavin is clairvoyant. He just knows things... he's adamant that he is responsible for his brother and sister... because he 'wished' for them. I'm glad he did. That's funny, because, you see, I wished for him too. Maybe it's just the way of things, to come full circle.
I love this child.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Two Can be Terrible

This little boy is Benett. He is two. I probably don't have to say much more than that... but I can't resist.

For Benett, being two means that he has a new job. That job is to figure out who he is, to become more independent and to learn to express himself. He takes this new job seriously. Very, very seriously.

So serious in fact, he forgets that the rest of us have to live within the same four walls. We've been trying to remind him. Each of use in our own unique way.

Little Miss Ellie is less subtle in her approach than the rest of us. She howls. I can almost hear her say, "Benett, stop! Please, I beg you! I'll do anything just stop the [insert loud noise of choice]. You're scaring me."

Once she gets going, Gavin starts. "You guys! Stop! [even louder] MOM! Benett and Ellie won't stop crying!"

At this point, Monte and I look at each other. I can hear you, Monte. You're not saying it out loud, (I don't think) but I can hear you clearly. I can hardly stand it either.

And then... low and behold... quiet. They're all sleeping. I'm not sure how we did it, but they're all in bed. Sleeping. The only sound I can hear is that of the dishwasher. I had no idea the dishwasher sounded so magical.

So with my magical dishwasher lulling me to sleep, I'm headed to bed. I need to get a good night's sleep. I know Benett is taking this time to think up new ways to do his job. He's learning a new trick in his sleep that will make me look back on today with fond memories of when things were easy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


The seasons are changing and it is decidedly cooler. Autumn is here. Frost has been covering the lawn each morning and everyone is getting ready for the impending winter.

This weekend we tried on all of our winter coats, snow pants, hats and mittens. It felt good to get prepared. This guy seems to be doing the same. His coat is getting heavier, even his ears seem to be preparing for the cold wind that will be blowing soon.

Good bye Autumn, hello winter. Go easy on us!

Monday, November 1, 2010


This picture of Ellie looks like I feel. TIRED. Not just a little yawn, but the what-do-I-do-next kind of tired. Dog-tired. Weary. Why you ask? Well...

The long days at the office, without a doubt contribute. It's not just the length of the day, because some days are magic. Everything seems to be going your way. You know the kind of day I'm talking about... the stars are aligned and working in the zone is easy. But lately, a day at the office is more akin to sprinting on a treadmill. (Not that I've done that anytime recently, but that sounds tiring.)

It could be the three very active little people who call me mom. Repeatedly, call me mom.... I think the boys are having a private contest to see how many times they can say "mom" in a 12 hour period. Let's not go there.

It could be the husband. I love him. Really. I adore you, Monte, but GEEEEEEZZZZ why do some things require so much explanation. It's got to be a Mars vs. Venus thing.
Maybe it's because the list of things that need to be done exceeds my will to start even one of those things. Say it with me everyone, LAUNDRY. UGH... children are little. Why do their clothes make up such a significant portion of the laundry pile?

So thank you, Miss Ellie. While I am weary, you are just trying to lick your tray, because that's what babies do.

Enough said.